We started the morning with RallyFrEe class. Gimme did okay, despite being separated from the baby for a full hour. Each time I set up her station a little different, tweaking it to make it better for her. Gimme was mostly able to do relaxation-is-its-own-reward. She came out of her crate to watch other dogs a few times, but was nicely calm about it (which Kathy noticed and commented on).
Kathy set up the room with two "circles" of five platforms and ring gates between them. Gimme didn't do as well with the first circle because some of the platforms were a bit small for her. She did best at "heel", which we've worked the most. "Side" was more challenging, simply because we haven't done as much of it - so I practiced it the most. I had to remind myself to go back to basic-basics and click/treat attention to engage her brain. I used her special bowl and when she did something particularly nice - I released her to "bowl" for treats. I think running to the bowl adds to the reward for her.
I thought we were going to get a semi-private lesson because only one other person showed up. But about the time we moved to the second circle side of the ring gates, another person showed up with her entire entourage (long story). "Sudden environmental change" is the hardest for Gimme, so I had to go back to c/t basics. By the time we were partway through our work with the second circle, she was getting into it. I think the releases to the special bowl helped too.
For the last part of class, each of us was given some novice signs and one at a time we came out on the floor to demonstrate them and work through any challenges we are having, with Kathy coaching. Since we were the only dog on the floor and the others were crated, I was able to have the leash off when I needed to and discovered Gimme really likes working without it. In many respects she is much better than students who have been training with Kathy for awhile. Once she got into it and realized she could move at speed, she was very flashy. A couple people commented how nice she would look in freestyle.
Our first sign
was the left-side-switch-back. Gimme knows this well and can do it
fluently. Our first try wasn't very good, but when I cleaned up my
hand signal she got it. Then a few repeats and she was fast and
My second sign was figure-8-twice and Gimme was a bit distracted when she saw someone in the hall (an area where she's seen dogs going through). She was tending to make big distracted circles, instead of tight turns around my leg. When I got her making tight ones, she then demonstrated her special version, which is to go through and immediately turn around and come up under me. Kathy thought my hand position wasn't clear, so we cleaned it up, but Gimme did it again anyway. What seemed to help the most was dumping the leash. For one thing, it means I can move more smoothly and then Gimme can move faster.
Our biggest challenge was the bow sign. I only taught her to bow in front of me, facing me - who knew it would ever be an issue. So we worked through it with Gimme next to a barrier and in front of me facing to the side. I've been working on this since then and it is coming along. Sometimes I even turn so I'm just 45º off parallel. I can't do it much right now, since I strained my knee at work and kneeling is painful. So, I am trying to do just a couple short sessions each day.
My current plan is to enter the World Wide RallyFrEe video event - open now for entry. Then shortly thereafter Kathy is hosting a video event, which we will also enter. I don't know how ready we are, but I figure its a good opportunity to work out the taping bugs.
Thursday night was our last agility class for now. Tonya was there when we arrived and I had her check with Gimme to see if she
needed adjusting, which she did. We decided to hold off adjusting her until Friday, rather than risk throwing away the adjustment. We only
jumped 12" so it wouldn't hurt her. The first session she was really good,
responding well and pretty darn focused. She was even playing with a toy we
brought in. For the second session she wasn't nearly as focused and kept
running off to sniff and a few times going to the door. I think two classes in
one day during baby-mode is just too much. So I got her to do the weaves
nicely, rewarded her with all the treats in my bag and then took her back to
Today we started using a the new stuff Tonya gave us for her false pregnancy.
According to the company owner it works wonders for dog's with false
pregnancies. Tonya said Gimme has the most severe false pregnancies she has ever seen. Its
too soon to see if its really helping, though she does seem relatively calm.
She got them today around noon and was interested in the leaves, sniffing a lot, but not eating them. I poured a
tiny amount of chicken juice on it and she snarfed it all up. I just gave her a second helping. Tonya said to start with the maximum amount. So she gets
it twice a day for ten days and then I go to once a day. After, if its working,
we'll start reducing the amount to find her maintenance. Cross your