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Old 07-03-2010, 12:08 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Georgia
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Default Update on Enzo's training.

This is our second Rally class that we've had. If you're interested in the first, you can check out my blog in my siggy.

I knew that Patty was going to have a small course set up when I got there, and I was pretty excited to see how we would do. What I didn't know was today there was going to be someone else there learning with us. It was really good for Enzo to work around another puppy. She did well when we were working, not so good when the other dog was looking at her. I think Enzo was trying to start something (not bad, just play) because she was staring at her HARDCORE, lol. It was a six month old ridgeback, and she did pretty darn good for a six month old puppy.

The course started out with a walk forward and then a halt where the dog sits. We went forward to a left turn which lead us to a U turn followed immediately by a right turn also followed immediately by a 360. When we came out of the 360 it had us go forward into a halt, walk around your dog. The dog had to be in a sit. That KILLED us the first few times through. Enzo WAS NOT getting it. She kept spinning around to follow me. I couldn't make her stay still to save my life.

Patty had me put her up against a shelf thing that had dog food on it to keep her from spinning around that way, and I walked around her, well, around the side that was free to walk around several times back and forth, reinforcing her for sitting still there. Her head was doing the owl thing spinning around to look at me, but I also learned that in stationary exercises I can NOT look at her. If I do, she will jump up and wait for the next command. We finally got it after a bit of the sitting next to a wall and I was able to walk around her.

Patty had me walk around her several times every time so that she gets used to me doing it several times, and that way, at a trial, she will still be waiting for me to keep walking around her when it's time to move forward and won't hop up. That's also how I practiced it later. She does it on a completely loose leash which I thought was rather good, as the puppy had to have a tight leash to keep from jumping up. I don't want her to ever have a tight leash (she's actually really really good at walking and keeping it loose, even when she's "free")

After that we just walked to the finish. The first few runs we did we were treating when necessary, but after I think three I wasn't giving Enzo any because she was keeping focused, keeping up, and staying willing to work, so I just jackpotted at the end, which is what we'll have to do in a trial anyway.

We had several runs and she did better and better through each one. Patty got out her puppy and did some runs with her, and the other lady and I were doing two runs each and then while she was running through, I had Enzo in an honor down. I wasn't seriously having her down, just more of a self control down, but she did okay. There were a couple times where she just was too excited and jumped up a couple times. No wookie noises this time while we were working.

The hour went by incredibly quickly for me, Enzo I could tell was getting a bit tired, because when we tried to take her pictures for her ILP she was a rowdy brat. I could not get her to stand for anything. She's never really been trained to stand, but she'll usually stand there if I hold the treat low. Not this time, she kept crow hopping around into sits. We finally got some pictures of her, but I suspect they won't really be that good. They looked okay on the camera, but I'm not sure how they'll turn out in the prints.

We went home after that, and I let her chill for awhile. I wanted to get more practice in though, so after a couple hours, we headed out to Petsmart. I knew they'd be busy, and I wanted to get her more used to working around noise.

She did excellently. Seriously, that was the BEST focus I have ever gotten out of her ever. We heeled right past people. I brushed right by them (on my side, not her side) as we went to the restroom to get some water for her. She kept her attention heel perfectly. Ive found that as long as she's attention heeling, she's not trying to greet inappropriately.

We walked all around the store, and she would glace at people, and then look right back at me. No one bothered me, so I think that was helping her keep her focus. A couple people spoke directly to me, in passing, but they didn't speak to Enzo, so she didn't flip out.

We worked a lot on coming to front (she sits crooked 7 times out of 10), the left finish (she sometimes doesn't go back far enough) the right finish (she doesn't come far forward enough). We did a lot of heel work, left turns, 360s, right turns, u turns, ect. She did very very well. No lagging at all. We worked on down and sit stays, and we did those with me returning to her about half the time. I realized in class that I ALWAYS call her to front, and if I ever have to return to her, she'd probably break her stay so we worked on that some too. As long as I don't look directly at her, but somewhere off in the distance where I can still see her in my peripheral vision she's good.

What I'm most proud of is she's learned the left about! It only took a few times of me luring her (believe me, that was an exercise in coordination for ME) and she was doing it reliably. I don't know if she'll do it off leash yet, probably have to go back to luring a few times, but every single time we did it, and I cued her "about" she came around correctly. She never tried to go off the other way while my back was turned or anything. She was brilliant. We stopped really doing a whole lot at that point and took a short break. I let her just lay down and chill for a minute before we left, just to be able to reward her for being calm.

As we left I asked for attention, not really a heel, but just some focus, and she did well. We walked by about four dogs and a ton of people on the way out, and she kept her focus on me completely. She only shifted her eyes one time, and that was to check out a dog scrabbling at the end of his leash to get to us.

All in all, I'm really really happy with how things are going. She's doing excellently.
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