Friday, February 13, 2015

Novice Obedience Run Thru

Last night I got the rare opportunity to do a Novice Obedience run through at my dog club.   Run thrus are not offered very often and when they have been in the past, I wasn't able to attend.  I was told that only Perri and one other dog were going to be in attendance, so I decided to bring Ein with me as well.

Ein hasn't been to a dog class in probably over a year.  He was pumped.  It was absolutely adorable and made my heart melt.  Ein was forging on the heel on lead.  FORGING.  Never before!  He was forging and gazing up at me and panting and absolutely and utterly in love.  This dog missed the memo that "heeling is boring."  The Figure 8 was great and not so much forging, Ein paid a little more attention to where he was stepping since we were not going in a straight line.  The stand for exam was pretty much "eat this cheese while our instructor touches you." but he was still not comfortable with it.  He never will be.  The heel free he heard "forward" and shot off without me!  I was shocked, I was laughing.  Ein did do some disconnecting during the heel free, and some stress sniffing.  He has always had a hard time with feeling insecure when the leash is off.  Either that or he was mostly rattled from the SFE.  We had a recall anticipation but after that he did a lovely recall, front and finish.   Good boy!

It was fun.  It was far from perfect but "happy" is my main criteria for Ein!  No more stand for exam, I should not have even done that last night.  He loves to heel with me and do recalls, but stand for exam?  No.  (We also did not do group downs.)

Perri was next.  Her heel on lead was a dream come true for me.  Her figure 8 was also good.  She lagged a little on the outside turn and I had to think to myself "keep walking!" and she caught up to me with head up and happy attitude.  Earlier before the run thrus we did some figure 8 practice and Perri did one butt sniff.  I broke off our heeling right away with an "oops!" and reset her.  For the rest of the evening she did good work on the figure 8.  The stand for exam was good.  The heel free was interesting.  There were two different times where she spaced out, very briefly, during our heeling but she snapped back into it and locked back into heel position and continued her head up happy heeling.  The second time was after an about turn.  She saw our instructor and started walking away from me as we completed the about turn, only a few inches and then chose to come back to heel position.   Some people might be very unhappy with that, and I certainly would have preferred no disengagement, but that was a pretty amazing choice for Perri.  (Understand - Perri used to get completely lost and shut down and that would be the end of any type of teamwork.  Seeing this dog bounce back from any shut down is dizzyingly beautiful for me.)
The recall was fast and happy, the front was straight but further away than I would like.  The finish was fast but too far behind heel position.  Both of those things were a little strange for Perri - but one thing I did consider was that I had recalled her to front in the exact area of our training club where, last week, we were working on some ring confidence exercises and I was wearing fleece and kept shocking Perri's nose with winter static.  She was very upset that night and could not focus on me inside of that work area.  I have to wonder if there was some residual nervousness.
Group stays were good.  The down stay was a little hair raising.  The class before us was a manners class and there were a lot of treat crumbs all over the floor where the dogs were in their stays.  Perri sniffed the ground and licked the ground and stretched her giraffe neck as far as it would reach while keeping her body in the stay position.  There were also some loud banging doors and commotion as the class in the neighboring room left for the evening.  She stayed, though.   Through everything we have struggled with, Perri has always been a great stays dog.

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