Yesterday was very interesting, to say the least. We started the day the night before. I went to Auburn to see my Dad at the memory care facility, then joined Mom for dinner out and spent the night, leaving for RallyFrEe class in the morning. I have decided to change this up for next week, will be going to class on Thursday morning, then going to see Dad, followed by lunch with Mom. This way I'll be able to sleep in my own comfortable bed and Gimme and I will be less tired for class.
As it was, Gimme adopted two babies. Mom has the guest room decorated with all her stuffed animals and dolls. I'd been sleeping in my Dad's room downstairs, but the bed is so hard I am really stiff and sore for more than a day after sleeping in it. So I tried the guest room because the bed is a little softer. Gimme discovered a small stuffed lamb and claimed it as her baby and carried it around for much of the evening. Then later Gimme also claimed a brown and white beanie baby puppy. Mom said she could keep these babies because she couldn't let the grandchildren play with them after Gimme dog-slobbered on them. How rude! In any case, Gimme was happy and I didn't tell Mom how many of the other stuff animals Gimme has dog-slobbered on in the past - I just didn't have room to bring them all home, doncha know.
Gimme has been better in this false pregnancy, though its clearly still here. We've added a flower essence remedy for it and I am awaiting the arrival of red raspberry leaf extract. Up until Wednesday night she was only doing a lot nesting. At times the nesting looked more like humping, especially when she managed to move the dog bed out of the office down the hall and into the living room on two different occasions. I kept it in the bathroom with the door closed for a few days. After catching Gimme standing waiting by the door a couple times, I disappeared the dog bed into the back of my walk-in closet. I don't really care about her humping the bed from time to time, but she seemed to be getting stuck in the behavior.
She is in full baby mode now. After we finally got home, she immediately found her SuperCow (the baby last time around) and kept it for most of the day. When we got home from class last night, she decided MrFroggy is the chosen one. She's been carrying him around ever since. She's pretty whiney and clingy. I don't know how this will work for the barn hunt trial this weekend, but time will tell. She has done a trial before in false pregnancy, but I don't think it was this early - when its most intense. I'll be taking MrFroggy, along with SuperCow, NewLamby, and BeaniePuppy, so she'll have any puppy she wants. In the past she's done fine with leaving babies for short periods of time (such as the length of class) as long as they are there when she gets back to the car. So hopefully it will work well for her barn hunt runs. The car will be pretty full of stuffed critters, especially when you consider her four large puppy buddies are already there, and now we're adding four pseudo babies.
About RallyFrEe class, it was again good. Kathy had set up for mini courses of 4 to 5 stations, which we got to rotate through. This meant all four dogs were out on the floor at the same time, which was challenging for Gimme. I ended up having to put the treats back in my hand to help her focus. It was challenging for me because of the treats in my hand AND managing the leash. Kathy said we don't have to have them on leash for Novice, which is good. Its damn hard to do leg weaves and thru's with the leash.
Gimme did a good job with relaxing in her crate. The only time she got really upset was when a person from the next class started to come in with her dog (at the gate closest to where we set up). This was sudden environmental change and Gimme was pretty much maxed out by this time, so I had to move her farther away so they could come in and get to their crate. For the last part of class we each told what we were having the most challenge with during our mini-courses and then the class brainstormed different solutions.
I mentioned how I'd had to put the treats back in my hand (not luring just there) to help Gimme focus. Much of the solutions were stuff I already know, but two ideas were stand outs and came from my classmates. One was to actually move her soft-crate onto the course and use it as a target for her to go to after performing well. She loves her soft-crate; its her safe place. I found it interesting how once its set up in place *I* think of it as permanent, when its really so easy to move around. The other idea was to use a food target to help her focus, know the reward is "right there", and yet not have to resort to food in my hands. Of course, our special bowl would be perfect for this and we'll start by trying it next week and then use the crate on course if its needed.
Kathy is setting up a RallyFrEe video event, so we'll be entering it. I understand the RallyFrEe World Competition is coming up before then, so I may enter it as well. I'm not sure we are really ready, but both are video events and I think it would be a good opportunity to work out the bugs of getting a place to practice, set up the course (I'll get the course 10 days before deadline) and doing the video. I talked to Chris last night and we've discovered I can do it on Wednesday night before agility league and William is happy to video us - an hour rental is just $16 and he doesn't charge for video. I will want to go at least once in advance to train so Gimme knows we can do something besides agility there.
Speaking of agility. Class went pretty good, better than I expected after her clinging and fussy day. In an interesting change of pattern, Gimme actually did better the first run than the second. In hindsight I think this was because she'd already been away from the baby for an hour and a half by then, and this after class in the morning. It might have been different if I'd thought to bring the pseudo baby along.
I have decided to discontinue agility training for the time being. Its clear we are not making enough progress on her reactivity to compete in agility any time soon and maybe never. Moving dogs are a much bigger trigger for her. So it doesn't make sense to keep expending $$ and effort in this direction, especially now since we've started RallyFrEe classes where we can both video and live perform. I am looking into VALOR, a video event for agility as a possible option later.
I told Blynn we taking a break after the last class of this session (next week). It was sad and Blynn said she'd miss us, but also thanked me for telling her in advance. I've had students just drop out without saying anything and I always found it very frustrating, so I didn't want to do this to Blynn. She's a great instructor and I'll continue to refer people to her. If we get really involved in VALOR, then maybe we'll be back.
Well, Gimme is resting nearby with MrFroggy, but its time for me to get off to work and she needs breakfast. I need to check the dose on all her homeopathics and supplements and it'll take time, so need to get going.
Remember we have barn hunt trial this weekend. Given Gimme's condition and the changes I'll be making to our reward system - I have no clue what to expect, so do cross any body parts you can spare for us.
Left heel FWD
CCW spin TRX to center
Thru to right heel
Pivot left 360
Circle around CCW
Right heel FWD
Pivot left 360
Pivot right 360
Left heel FWD
Front cross dog
Walking weave x 3
Figure 8 thru 2x
Circle around handler x3
Circle around CW
Front cross handler
Left paw lift