Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Class #3

We survived yet another Monday night class, this time without a single hysterical fit. I won't say Strum was ever calm per se but at least no lunging or screaming. Now I had to manage him the whole class which is super fun let me tell you but at least he managed to control himself for the most part. I had a little angry barking from him when I tied him up to walk the courses but he stopped after a few seconds when he realized it wasn't getting him anything. I tried going over to him and rewarding when he was quiet but then he'd start up with the barking again when I left him and he didn't bark after the initial outburst so I decided I could live with a brief tantrum right when I left him and not worry about trying to teach him to shut up for now. I think he'll soon grow out of it (at least I hope so) and his fit doesn't last very long. The one mistake of the night was taking him outside for a break and playing reverse tug/fetch with him. This only got him more riled up and he seemed twice as jeeped when I brought him back inside. After that I took him outside for calming walk breaks rather than rousing play breaks.

He did great with the exercises except some of the weave pole stuff which was way over his head. This week I begged off of the weave stuff I knew he couldn't handle. He needs a boatload more training and I've got a whole plan worked out and it needs to be done away from class.

The exercises were from a Nancy Gyes seminar that my instructor Rob had just attended. We did them one way, then another. Thankfully Rob let us substitute and off-arm cue for an RFP and we had our choice of lead-outs, didn't have to do a lead-out pivot. The rest of the handling was all front crosses, no rears for some reason, probably not intentional, just the way it worked out. I had trouble with one exercise because there I was, running backwards on a front cross again. Rob pointed out that this was o.k. for a few steps but loses it's effectiveness when you do it for 3/4 the distance between 2 jumps and he was right. I had a terrible time working out the footwork on that one but had a bit of progress after trying it a few (zillion) times. The rest of the exercises and front crosses were mostly fine. Some turns were wide and Rob had me tighten them up but otherwise the Strum man did great. Only two bars down the whole night and at least one was likely a handling mistake. He might have been a bit wound up for that second one though.

One more class in this session but I'm going to sign up for the next session since I think these classes are helping Strum a lot. I also signed him up for a 4 hour seminar on handling/timing up at Stacy Peardot's place next month. Hopefully the little monkey brains will behave himself. Maybe I should start stocking up on Valium now.


  1. Love it when progress is happening. And it's so helpful having someone else tell you exactly what you're doing that might be counterproductive.

    I think that long sessions like seminars or camp are good for getting a dog to lose the total excitement at the uniqueness of being in class or at an event and to start calming and working. For Tika, going to camp seemed like the start of her maturation as an agility dog. Hopefully your 4-hr seminar will help.

  2. He was up at Stacy's place a couple of years ago for a 4 hour foundation seminar and did great but this will be different because other dogs will be doing agility this time. Thankfully there will be only jumps & tunnels, no contacts which is what really sets him off. It should be cool enough outside that I can put him in the car for a break if he gets too crazy and there is plenty of land to walk him on. Hard to say exactly how he'll do but I won't know until I try and I feel like I've seen enough good stuff from him that he's ready for something like this. Or there's always the Valium option.