Tuesday, April 28, 2015
When Less is More
Perri's Tuesday evening Rally-O class has been a sore spot for me for the past few months, and it has gotten to the point where I am downright sad and miserable for the entire class. Perri does nice work, and then a switch flips and she stresses down...and then I stress down. My confidence is in shatters regarding Perri and all things obedience and I need to find my way back to where I want to be. I need to find my way to being the handler that Perri needs.
I am very fortunate that our rally-o class focuses on more than just coursework: we break skills down, we work on ring entrances and ring confidence. It is a very positive place for Perri and I. It's just exhausting for me because I lose her so easily - and it has been getting worse. I decided that it would be best for Perri to have an extremely short, but positive experience in the ring from now on at our classes - and build on that when I feel that she can be successful. My plan for tonight was to do a ring entrance and play with her tug toy and have a party, then leave the ring. That's it. 90 minutes round trip of driving, that's okay! Then I had an even better idea...
Ein came back to school with us! Ein is just pure happiness. He calms me down, he calms Perri down. And I would get to enjoy playing rally-o with a dog who is more confident in the ring, while still giving Perri what I think is best for her. Everybody wins!
We worked on a finish from a stand and I did that with Ein. He was simply overjoyed to do this, like he is about everything! After that we were to work on backing up in heel position. Ein might have gladly done this but I wanted to give his hips a break so...I got Perri out. This was going to be her short and sweet for the night. Major success. We did one step into heeling and reward, one more step and then the back up. Perri absolutely adores backing up so she was having the time of her life. Her ears and tail were up the entire time, she was happy, she was everything I love about her. She was beautiful. Our class finished the rest of the night by working the rally-o course and Ein was back in action. He even got to do the drop on recall exercise - and surprised me by breaking his down before I asked him to front! Hey, he was excited. He of course had to have a do-over, but he was just as happy as can be to do so.
I left our training club tonight so happy and successful and proud of both dogs - it's the best I have felt in a while on a Tuesday night. I think this is the right way to go for both Perri and I for a while, and little red dog sure is happy to play his part in helping us both out!