We had obedience class last night and at our club I was asked to help in the beginner’s class for this session. I assist the other two instructors in that class, which was fun getting to see some new dogs coming into the training program and how their owners are responding to the class and homework with their dogs. The only problem is that I gave up having Jasmine in the Versatility 2 class which is running at the same time as the beginner class. Blueberry is in the Versatility 1 class, which follows the V2 class, our instructor said that she didn’t mind if I rotate Jasmine & Blueberry on alternating weeks. At least Jasmine will be able to work in the class setting and I will just have to keep up with the homework on my own right now.
Blueberry is doing much better in busy, crowded settings, but she still stresses when she is on her own, without one of the other girls for some confidence. She spent the first hour at school waiting in her crate, which after a little while she settled down. Blueberry doesn’t do anything crazy, she just tenses and won’t relax. Before we went to our class I walked her outside and got her playing with me to get her mentally having fun and to forget about the other people for a few minutes. Once our class starts we have a minute warm-up time, our instructor expects us to some or all of the following, short heel pattern, spins, tugging, stretches, etc., anything to get our dog’s muscles loosened up and their focus on us. I usually add some bunny hops, and “get close” work for Blueberry as she likes those moves. We started class working on sits in front boxes with opposition reflex in a 360 circle, this is where we leave the dog in sit and put pressure on the leash with the dog putting opposing pressure against us to reinforce the sit position. Blueberry does this very well and we are almost out to a 6′ leash on this, soon we will add a flexi and more distance. We spread out and did “get close”, our having the dog in heel position, then sliding to the right with the dog moving sideways back into heel position. An exercise to reinforce the “heel position” and the dog’s rear end awareness. We also did some bunny hop work and Blueberry really does well at these two exercises and likes them. We then lined up on the rail and worked on “get back”, clicking each time step back the dog took. Blueberry caught on pretty quickly as we started this last session and she kept wanting to sit down instead of moving backwards. Within a few sessions she got the idea and last night she was moving quickly back several steps at a time without trying to sit at all.
Putting the stand, get back, and get close commands together to complete a left turn was next on the lesson plan. I really have to put some work into her stand command and response as she is really slow to stand up and many times I need to remind her with my hand on her belly. At the top of our practice list this week to get a better response on that.
Circles to the right, then circles to the left, then we all fall down!!! Oh, wait we didn’t fall down, but some got a little dizzy working on the circles!!! An exercise that you wouldn’t think is that complicated, just need to walk in circles, right? Wrong! Trying to get your feet to walk in a straight track, look where you are going, keep your shoulders turned, feed your dog at the right time, keep their body bent to the right direction, not forging, or keeping up, whew no wonder we get dizzy on circles. I can’t even count all the hours I have put into circles with my girls and still have to fix things.
Chair fronts were next, with me sitting in a chair and our instructor holding Blueberry. Blueberry hates this one as Linda walks her away from me and holds her until I call. Then Blueberry comes rushing in and tries to get a straight front, but was a little crooked last night and she is stopping farther back on her sits. Another one to add a little more time in our practice this week.
Lastly we worked on touches/go outs, depending on where our dogs are. Blueberry is still working on touching the stansion, but we are moving along a little faster now that I am actually working on it regularly.
After class I bought a Gentle Leader for Jasmine to see how that will work on her when walking her and dealing with our neighbor’s dog barking at her. I used it this morning on her and Blueberry when I walked them, once they got the idea it worked nicely, so we will be using it on our walks from now on.