Last night I had no choice- we had to go to obedience class. If there was even the slightest chance that there is any kind of relationship between going to obedience and having nice contacts, then we are going to obedience class.
I was not looking forward to it because there has seemed to be little improvement in our scary areas the last couple months. And having not practiced any former obedience recently, well, you can see there was not much to give me hope that this class would be any different.
Ah, Dog. Sometimes you just like throw a curveball at me, don’t you? Just so I can never completely understand/create expectations of you. Isn’t that just like a female??
Of course, she was stellar. Her heeling was perfect; the ‘about turns’ that normally get a bit laggy were miraculously tight; her attention (usually ping-ponging worriedly between me and the other dogs) was focused only on me; she didn’t try to race me on turns. And out of the blue, for no particular reason other than she felt like it, she decided last night was the night she was finally going to give me a Total Recall. The Dog will usually either a) not release when I call or b) release but trot slowly in. Then instead of coming in for a nice front, she will sit about three feet back from the 'front' position. (Another example of her being super intimidated and not finding the front zone to be a Safe Zone- at least she is consistent across all arenas with her weirdness.) We have tried about a zillion ideas on getting her to come All The Way In, with confidence, but nothing has really worked. Until last night! And she did it more than once, so it wasn’t even an accident. I think it is safe to say that there is at least a relationship between rewarding coming into front fast in agility and getting a Total Recall in obedience.
Since she was clearly on a roll, I decided to do a short turns session when we got home from class. She had been doing really well on her right turn but wasn’t getting the left. As she is a lefty and majorly favors left side anything, this was quite uncharacteristic. But on the first shot for a left turn last night she nailed it, and now is, true to form, performing the left turn perfectly. Her right turn is fine, but she does a weird thing with her head- sort of tosses it up in the air going around the bend. I have no clue where that came from as I have only ever rewarded at the base of the cone. Maybe she is just showing that it is her awkward side. I think it will get better when I switch to using a toy and get some more speed up into the turn, which we will try tonight. Plus, food makes her act dorky.
Here is a super short video of our session. Disclaimer: she HATES it when I try and video while I am asking her to do something, so it is not quite the standard. Also I am normally better with my C/T, but sort of ran out of hands. Alas, Boyfriend hates the clicker noise thus refuses to be my videographer.
Anyways, just super proud of The Dog this week. Some pretty major breakthroughs for her, though I know they seem minor from the outside. This whole week has been a giant Click/Treat for me.