We had Syn’s last K9 Fun 101 class this morning. Lots of fun. They set up a short course with some of the equipment we’ve done over the course of the class – a couple of very low jumps, an open tunnel, a collapsed tunnel (with somebody holding it slightly open), 2 barrel-racing poles to go around in different directions, a weave channel, and chalked boxes to sit in, down, and do a trick. We got there a little late so we ran last, which gave me enough time to notice that everybody was having trouble with their leashes, so I took Syn’s off and ran her “naked”. Had NO trouble keeping her attention, and I was very pleased with how she saw each obstacle and was interested in what she was supposed to do with it. The last tunnel she was truly aimed at, and I sent her from more than 5 feet back. The first time we ran the course we did her great relax on her side on the floor in the middle of the ring for a trick, and the second time we did her swing finish. Lots of fun.
She’s still got her Out and About class in 4 days, and some friends are working on putting together a cooperative teaching-and-training class. Syn needs some conformation practise in the next month, and a little bit of rally practise wouldn’t hurt either, though I’m pretty confident we could wing that.
For supper, we worked on L2 Sit, Step 4 – Dog sits as you walk around her. This will definitely be part of her rally tests next month, and it’s something that we’ve been struggling with for over a month. By “struggling with”, of course, is that I’ve been trying to explain to her that she has to stay sitting in place while *I* walk around, while she cheerfully and willingly jumps into heel position, so the only “struggling” part is mine.
Well, tonight she got it. She doesn’t quite believe it yet, but she got it. I was working really hard to lure her into holding her sit while I walked around her, and then I thought I’d try it with her lying down. About the fifth time around, she let me get about a third of the way around, and then she rolled on her hips to watch me come up on the other side of her rather than trying to keep an eye on me all the way around. EE HAH! We tried that another ten times, then tried it sitting again. She’s not quite sure she should stay where she is when she’s sitting, but it was much better than it’s been and I got successfully around her five or six times before we ran out of supper.
Yesterday we did 2 sessions on Rally behaviours – walking around behind her while she was sitting and down (it’s getting better, but not great yet), and a bit on SHUTTING UP while I worked with Stitch. Also coming but not great, though it would have been a lot better if I had been actually working on it, with her in the crate with an open door, or on a mat, instead of just shutting her in the crate and remembering once in a while to drop in a treat when she was quiet.
This morning she was out in the yard and screeched, then ran into the house. Immediately she turned and ran out again and this time barked in a high-pitched “you better watch out but don’t hurt me” voice. By then I was looking out the window. There was a cat crouched down in the yard. Stitch, hearing Syn bark-screaming, ran out to see what was going on, chased the cat twice around the dog yard, and then watched it sail over the fence. As soon as it jumped for the fence, Syn started running toward it, shaking her fist and, in her best deep aggressive voice, yelled “Yeah! And don’t come back!” Too funny.
This afternoon we went to our Out and About class again. She walked all the way to the class (maybe a block) with a loose lead, past kids and canoes and lots of dogs and geese. Then she walked with the class on a loose leash. She was BRILLiant. She got a little too close to one of the other dogs and got snarked at, and screeched, but no harm done and after 5 minutes of me acting totally normal and asking for sits and downs, she was fine.
We stopped at a little play area with a very short plastic slide up 3 very small steps. She climbed up the steps – as she had climbed everything we had passed the whole class – benches, steps, platforms, fence rails. Then she asked if she should slide down the little slide and as I was moving my hand toward her to either lead her down or hold her back, she slid down and walked jauntily on to the next adventure.
Half an hour later we stopped at a large play structure with many platforms at different heights, things to climb and jump over and go through. And a very long tube slide at a very steep angle. Some people tried to get their dogs to go down the slide but only one would, and reluctantly. Syn and I played on other parts until everyone was gone and then I was (really) just wondering if she’d climb all the way to the top with me. Yes, she would. Then the instructor looked up through the slide tube and called her and it must have looked a lot like the tunnels from her previous class because she slid down the long slide. Oh, oh, my poor little baby! Is she OK? Hey, where is she? Oh – she’s right back up her beside me again! And she’s asking me to roll more treats down the slide so she can go get them! And she did – eight times, each time running back up to me to go again. It was amazing. Too bad this is a girl puppy because, people, she has steel balls.
After tonight, I think teeters and jumping off boats may not be a really big deal later on. Tired and happy. We’ll be away for a few days. Stitch and I are going to an agility camp. Syn’s coming along for the ride.