Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some More Firsts for Hardy!

After our successful weekend, Hardy started a couple new classes. Monday evening, we joined a conformation class (something I have never done before). We were the only new team in the class (read: only ones who had no idea what we were doing) but everyone, especially Dorothy (the instructor) were terrific and helped us feel successful. Hardy and I didn't work on stacking (and everyone else already knew how to) but we did a lot with moving our dogs. We moved around the ring in a group and on our own and then did the patterns ( L shape & triangle). As Dorothy explained, since conformation is a "beauty pageant", the goal is to always present our dogs at their best - whether standing or moving. Moving worked better than I expected ... my chair handled it well and Hardy caught on very quickly and moved out at a nice steady trot while in front a bit and nicely away from my chair. For all the people who don't think you can train a conformation dog in obedience because they can't learn the difference between sitting when doing obedience and only standing when doing conformation, Hardy figured that out very quickly. When we came back from moving around the ring or doing one of the figures and stopped "in front of the judge", Hardy stood right there and never offered to sit. We had a blast and are looking forward to class next week!
Yesterday, Hardy and I attended our obedience class in the morning. We worked on stays with distractions - balls, Frisbees, umbrellas etc. Hardy did quite well although he really wanted the Frisbee.  We worked on "scary" things - fans, the umbrella opening and closing, and Mary (the instructor) with a big jacket and hood covering her face. Hardy didn't think anything was scary. We did recalls with distractions - Mary standing & sitting between us and our dogs, then Mary holding treats sitting between us. Hardy just ran past her and came right to me. 
Next, Laurel and I had obedience class in which we did similar types of things. Laurel also did very well until she realized it was Mary sitting between us and she had treats. She broke her stay to visit but when I put her back, reminded her to stay, and then called her, she ran past and came right to me. Then Laurel and I did Heather's competition class. Laurel did very well on everything but the drop on recall. We have really gone back and forth on this. When we started it, Laurel would run and then drop so fast that she slid about five feet and got "rug burns" on her pads. After doing that a couple times, she became reluctant to drop so we went back and started over. This summer, her drops improved again and when she first came back after the injury, she was doing a great job. Now, however, she's struggling again ... she wants to come to me before dropping so we'll go back to basics and rebuild it again. 
Finally, Hardy had his first agility foundations class with Ana. He won't be jumping any height until he is over a year old but until then, we'll be working on groundwork, introducing him to the obstacles etc. There are three dogs in the class - the other two are much older and more experienced but with such a small class, we got plenty of personal attention. First, we worked on having Hardy switch sides while moving - from the left of my chair to the right. No problem there. Then, we asked him to go up the A-frame (not at full height) and again, absolutely no problem. From there, onto the tunnel (a dark green one) - first straight and then curved. Once he realized we wanted him to go through the tunnel, there was no hesitation. Then, he did his first jump (4 inches high) so that we could do a combination. Jump, treat, tunnel, treat, A-frame, treat with him to my right and Ana holding the leash without assisting and then we reversed it so he would be to my left. He did a super job going both ways! The only difficulty he had was a little jump combination (the start of a pinwheel). There wasn't enough space between the jumps for me to get through so I couldn't use movement to encourage him to go on. It took him a couple tries to figure out what we wanted but once he did, he did it very willingly. And then, finally, we worked on teaching him an automatic sit on the table and discovered that he is willing to sit or down without any difficulty. All in all, I'd say, an incredibly successful first class! 
It will be very different doing agility with Hardy but once again, he will definitely benefit from all that I have learned with Laurel!

No comments:

Post a Comment