Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Agility update

Katie, her Daddy and I went to our second beginning agility class tonight.  Katie has been wound up like a top all day and I didn’t have high expectations for class.  I wasn’t wrong, at least at first.  They started out with the dogwalk and she was having none of that.  There were only three of in the class at first, and three instructors, so one of them took us aside and wanted to work with her on the wobble board.

This is when I had a memory flash of Dianna’s blog where she said she should have listened to herself rather than let an instructor tell her what to make Miley do on the table.  I know that the wobble board was what got Katie totally freaked out last week.  So when the instructor tonight suggested we use it to get Katie desensitized to the dogwalk I said NO.  I told her it had caused Katie to shut down last week.  So the very nice instructor went and got a blue board that sat flat on the floor and a lower table, and I worked with Katie to first touch and then get on those.  It took awhile and a lot of chicken, but eventually she would sit on the blue board, then on the low table.  By the end of the class she’d jump on the taller table.

She never did walk the dogwalk, but she’ll put her front feet on the yellow part.  And she’ll do the same for the A-frame.   She just won’t put her back feet on anything!   The teeter?  Well, she’ll quickly put ONE paw on it and then take it right back off then look to me for a treat.  She’s so funny!  I guess she’s right, she did touch it! LOL!

They also introduced a longer tunnel, the tire and the chute.  She loves tunnel and jumps and only balked at the tire a few times.  I think that was more me than her, she wasn’t always sure where she was supposed to jump with it.  I was worried that she wouldn’t do the chute, but she was on a roll running through stuff, so even when they dropped the chute on her she ran through.  I don’t think she’s ready to just charge through it without someone holding it open yet, but she sure didn’t show any fear.

In fact, I think she had a blast today.  We made sure to make it all fun and not force her to do anything.  We’re going to be working on our board in the driveway.  This past week I got her to walk it a couple times, mostly though she’d rather avoid it.  I did use Marie’s suggestion with the board that if she touched it I threw the treat away from the board to alleviate stress.  She doesn’t seem as afraid of it as she used to be.   If I can get her to run it regularly this week I’ll raise it up a tiny bit see how that goes.

Tomorrow is our rally class.  I used obedience/rally stuff tonight to warm Katie up and she was spot on.  Maybe tomorrow will be a great class too!  After that husband and I are going to the North American Auto Show.  We haven’t been in years.  Should be fun.

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Katie says it's a whole new world

We’re still enforcing the “OFF!” for the furniture, including the bed.  It’s very hard for us, harder for me than for my husband.  Sometimes we’re sitting on the sofa doing something and don’t even NOTICE when she jumps up and sits down next to us.  Of course the sooner we say “OFF!” the better, but once in awhile one of us notices the other person sitting on the sofa or asleep in bed with Katie curled right up against the totally unconscious person.  I have to say she’s not stupid!  She’ll try and if she gets an inch she figures she’s in like flyn.  NOT!  Mostly though she’s trying really hard to be good, though you can see she really wants to be next to us.

And to keep her busy…we’re in two classes this training session!  Last Thursday husband and I took her back to the rally class.  That’s 30 minutes of obedience and 30 minutes doing rally.  Katie kind of enjoys this because she understands what’s expected of her.  Though she HATES being put in a crate so that I can walk the rally course prior to us trying to execute it.  She backs right up if she figures out we’re heading over to the crates.  Here’s a picture of little Katie in a huge crate next to a huge dog in a middle sized crate.  The big dog next to her LOVES shelties, but Katie isn’t so sure she wants to initiate a friendship!

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Yesterday Katie, husband and I went to a beginning agility class.  There were only 6 dogs in this class so that was nice.  Katie loves to jump and run through the tunnel.  But she continued her fear of the dogwalk.  Sometimes I could get her to jump back on and walk down the other side, but as the class continued and we tried again she balked and refused to do anything whatsoever with the dog walk.   As for the teeter?  No way no how.   By the time we got to the teeter she wouldn’t go anywhere near it.  I’m sure it looked a lot like a dogwalk.  The other two dogs in my group (a poodle and a miniature aussie) of course had no trouble with anything.

This morning Katie and I went back to our rally class.  The agility stuff was still set up in a ring, and as we were early to rally we went over there so she could sniff it.  My rally instructor came out of the bathroom and stopped by to see what we were doing.  I told her about the dogwalk fear and she said let’s try!  She allowed me to put Katie on the top of the dog walk and as she spotted one side, I walked the other so Katie couldn’t jump off.  Katie walked down the ramp just fine.  But she was still scared to walk onto it herself.  Wednesday night the agility instructor wouldn’t let me pick up Katie and put her on anything.  Ah well.  We’ll see how it all works again next Wednesday night.  Husband dug out the plank I was using last summer and says he’ll put it up on a couple of concrete blocks so Katie and I can practice walking just slightly above ground on a board.  Maybe that will help!

Meanwhile, I took a picture today of Katie on the table.  She wouldn’t stay on it Wednesday night (she’s not allowed on furniture at home you know!) but she stayed on it today for me.  Such a girl.  And a picture of her sitting next to the dreaded dogwalk.  She looks happy, but I think it’s an act!

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Katie 2229Today in rally she was about perfect.  I got a shot of her in the line of other dogs doing her sits/downs.  She never moved, even though she was right at the end next to a fabric wall behind which were three owners who were practicing open sits/downs and had “left the room.”  They were talking quite loudly and she kept looking over that way but she never broke.  Even when one of them sneezed!!  And then someone knocked over a CHAIR for heavens sake!  She flinched but didn’t move.  I’m very proud of her for that.

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We’re also working on “Paw” where I ask for her left hand.  She’s obviously a right handed dog as she wants to offer “Shake.”  But sometimes she will raise her left paw fractionally and she almost always shifts her weight over to her right foot when I ask for PAW!  So that’s some progress.

Sweet girl.

Aug 22 07


Out of control rally fun match

I worked all day today, rushed home, grabbed the dog and drove 45 miles south to a fun match this evening. The result? Katie was out of control. We had little to no time to warm up, though the facilities were very nice. She was scared; she loves to go to school, but when we arrived she knew right away this wasn’t any school she’d ever been to before. She immediately peed all over the asphalt behind the car. Poor girl, she’s never done that before!

Inside we were one of the first few people there, so we started right out with Rally. They were really good with me. There was a “off set figure 8” that I had never seen before that some lady explained and explained to me. Then the judge explained it again better! Also a right step that wasn’t set up very well and that we never did do quite right.

Katie was a wild thing, paying attention to the other dogs, other rings, loud noises, people going by. She didn’t focus on me until the judge asked me if I had treats, which I did. Once Katie figured out I had treats she focused a lot better! LOL! But still.

They let me go through the course twice with a judge and we learned a lot. But half way through the second time Katie just sat down. Then jumped on me. She was WAY DONE MOM! We finished strong though once I got her moving again.

In obedience they were really patient with me too. Most of the issue is me, obviously. The obedience judge gave me some good pointers for stand for exam, and for getting her to heel closer to my leg. So that was well worth it, though I was somewhat embarrassed by how out of it she was.

Then I FORGOT to stick around for sits and downs, which we really could have used practice on. On the other hand, Katie was not in the mood to sit still for very long.

So all in all, it was an OK $10.00 spent. It did show me that we have a TON of work to do, mostly on heeling correctly. The rest will come from that. And from me studying my rally move cards more!

Don’t know about Katie, but I’m exhausted! I have to work all day tomorrow and all day Sunday, so I’m headed for sleep now. Unfortunately, Katie, now at home, wants to PLAY!

Silly dog.



Dog rally…and it's snowing agin.

Katie and I went back out to where we used to go to obedience and met with our agility instructor who also teaches rally. That’s where dogs (and us humans) go through a series of dog obedience drills on a course. Each station has a sign with instructions like: Sit, Down, right turn, 360 degree turn, and lots of other stuff. I almost didn’t go because it’s been so long since we’ve done any obedience, and crazy Katie is pretty much out of control lately. I figured we’d just embarrass ourselves. But here’s a lesson: “Do what you fear most.” Katie did GREAT! We got all sorts of compliments from both instructors and some of the other students. Isn’t it funny how you always think someone else’s dog is beautiful and well behaved but you don’t notice your own is the same?

Katie loved being back at school. In the parking lot, once I had attached her lead, she leaped out of the back of the SUV and trotted toward the door. Once inside she was a different sort of girl than the one I’ve been dealing with these last few snow filled weeks. She was attentive and alert and obedient (mostly). She only barked once and that was when we were in the back and one of the instructors was explaining something and Katie wanted to stop sitting and listening and go Go GO! It was a little “yip” that reminded us that it was time to MOVE!

So we had fun, and I’m hoping to be able to drop into rally class whenever I’m not working. Maybe even do a “fun” trial with her in March. They had one yesterday but I didn’t know about it. I think we can do this, it’s stuff we can practice here at home, and she’s loving the showing off part of it. I can tell.

Meanwhile…it’s snowing again here. Yesterday the total back yard was grass, turning green even. Today? Well, it’s snow covered and slippery, just like the back roads we took on our way to and from school! Guess all that spring stuff was just a teaser.   Darn.

Time for a nap now.