Today was the first of the new series of classes. Kathy has combined a couple classes together to reduce her costs and keep the classes going. So this class is now a combined beginner/intermediate class.
It was challenging for Gimme because now there are 6 dogs in class, instead of just the two others she'd been accustomed to. One of the new ones is supposedly a Chinook, but looked more like a large yellow mixed breed to me - even after I double checked pictures online. He's supposedly a nice dog, but I caught him right away giving Gimme a hard stare. Happily, Kathy was right on top of it and put a sheet up so he couldn't practice eyeing Gimme (he wouldn't go in a crate, so he and owner sat in an expen). His owner doesn't have much control of him, so I'll be keeping an eye out on them all the time and am sure glad knowing Kathy is so aware.
Gimme did well despite the new dogs. We started with the three more experienced dogs out together to practice several of the Novice RFE behaviors. Our goal was to note which areas need work in terms of fluency. Oddly Gimme did most of them better regarding end position on my right "side" (i.e. not swinging her rear out). I really can't explain this. I have not been practicing behaviors more on the right than the left and really haven't felt like we've made as much progress as I'd hoped in repairing her association and accuracy with "side".
Then while the beginner dogs were out practicing the same behaviors, we each went one-by-one beyond the divider to work a small RFE course. Kathy made sure to position the students so the dog closest to the divider was a very mild-mannered Sheltie. So, while Gimme was distracted, we were able to successfully work through it in a nice, positive way.
Then we repeated with the three more experienced dogs doing some more behaviors. Kathy immediately saw Gimme was the only one with any duration to her "salute" (bow). So she had me demonstrate how I was teaching duration. Gimme does really nicely once I get her started and will hold "salute" for 30 seconds while I do metronome feeding. Our next step will be to add some of me straightening up between treats.
While Kathy had the beginner dogs out on the floor again, one at a time, the rest of us started packing up. I took Gimme along the wall did part of the course again on our way out. As we entered the course, there was another team starting at the beginning (about 4 stations behind us). It was a good distraction for both teams and Gimme handled it well.
We also went tracking again and I'll blog about it tomorrow. Gimme has really had a full day and is snoozing as we speak.