Perri and I will be working in the Get Focused! class as a Gold Level team in the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy this term. The first thing that we had to do was post a base line video of our dog working so that our instructors could begin to evaluate us. I thought for sure there would be some moments of Perri-ness at rally class. There really were not. There were only wonderful moments. Seriously. The only moment she acted remotely nervous was when we approached the OffSet Figure 8 and I felt her say "!!!!" for a moment when she saw the bowls. But then she just kept it together and kept right on heeling.
We have been working hard on verbal Stands so I tried that. I got the little butt pop up and back down again, but we tried a second time and she got it. We have been working on the Halt-Side Step Right-Halt, and that went pretty well. Still a lot of hand guidance from me, but that is where we are at with it. And we are worlds away from the clunky hot mess that that exercise was two weeks ago! (Platforms for the win!) Her heeling was heavenly. And it scares me. What if! she stops actually moving with me? What if! she starts lagging again? When is the honeymoon going to end? Unfortunately, when I see improvement in Perri, the first thing I do is start wondering how on earth I am going to manage to keep her doing what I love.
A few days later was agility class - and though we are having more and more good moments, agility class seems like the time of week when Perri is at her worse. Only last night, she was absolutely awesome. She was the best she has ever been in agility class. We did three runs, and on the first run she was absolutely flying. She was not afraid of any of the obstacles. She collected and entered the weave poles and stayed in them and her footwork was perfect. This was the first time in agility class with Perri that I have ever felt like we were dancing together. Finally. She was working like she worked at the agility trial in the beginning of July. And it felt great! By the third run Perri was running out of steam - she wasn't driving into the tunnels anymore and she wasn't running full out at top speed anymore. But the whole class was a breath of fresh air for me. The whole week. It was not just "good for Perri" - it was just plain good. (And I want more!)