Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Training update

I really haven't posted about our training stuff lately, but we've still been plugging away at it.

Lola had been really stellar recently on our walks in regards to her freaking out at other dogs. On our walk this weekend, we ran into at least a dozen dogs and she was chill the entire time. And then ironically, tonight we saw a neighbor (who I know) and her dog. We went over to say Hi and she's usually fine once she can greet the other dog. He growled at her & she freaked out, barking & lunging in his face. I was actually pretty upset about it because she'd been doing so well and now my neighbor thinks my "good" dog is Cujo.

But I reminded myself that regression is an essential part of learning and we'll just take a few steps back and work a little harder. She's made great progress and I can't forget about that just because of one minor setback.

Penny finished up her Rally class this weekend and our graduation consited of running through 3 mock courses and being "judged" by the instructor (who just happens to be an AKC Rally judge). For those of you unfamiliar with Rally Obedience, it's basically a bridge between the CGC and Traditional Obedience competition. The Dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the Rally judge. The judge tells the handler to begin and the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations (10 - 20 depending on the level). Each of these stations has a sign providing instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. The exercise can be as simple as a Right Turn or as involved as Call Front, Right Finish, Halt or Serpintine Weave. Scoring is not as rigorous as formal obedience.

The team of dog and handler move continuously with the dog under control at the handler's left side, however perfect "heel position" is not required. They perform the exercises indicated by a numbered sign at each station. After the judge's "Forward" order, the team is on its own to complete the entire sequence correctly. Unlimited communication from the handler to the dog is to be encouraged and not penalized.

Although we may never actually compete, it's a lot of fun and a really great relationship builder.

I had my friend Annette record one of our runs. This was very interesting to watch. Penny was great...I am a mess! I'm very sloppy and kind of all over the place. And our finishes need a LOT of work. But of our 3 runs we got 2 perfect scores (100 out of 100) and a 99 (one point off for a tight leash). Of course, our instructor was pretty easy on us! But we had a good time.