We didn't have tracking this week, but did have our first Tuesday night nosework class. I had Tonya work on Gimme during the day and she had to cleanse and align all her chakras. She thought Gimme would probably be pretty tired afterward, then very active today and normal tomorrow. Gimme didn't seem tired in class, nor particularly active today.
We started with a converging odor challenge, three hides in a smallish space. The hides were around the edges, with a lot of stuff in the middle of the floor. Our task as handlers was to observe how the dogs worked to solve the challenge, so we might recognize it if we see the same behavior another time. Actually Gimme was pretty darn fast at it. She got hung up a little bit on all the stuff in the middle of the floor, which was trapping odor, but then she went on to solve the challenges. She is the more experienced dog in this group. For the second search they removed the excess stuff in the middle of the area and moved the hides a little bit. All the dogs did better on this and Gimme was even faster.
For our last two back-to-back searches, they had two areas set up with two hides each. One hide was accessible and one inaccessible and our job as handlers was to see the difference in how the dog's handled the two hides.. The person who went before us left the divider open between the two areas, so when we entered, Gimme ran straight into the second search area. We did it first, but it did present an additional challenge, since she could then smell odor from the "first" area, but couldn't get to it. Interestingly when we did go back to the first area to search it, she went straight to the hide she had smelled before and sourced it very quickly. She did well with both these searches.
I have entered her in an NW3 trial. I won't know until the end of next week if we'll get in. I don't feel we are truly ready, but this trial is only 30 minutes from home, so I thought it might be a good chance for us to get our feet wet at level 3. Dorothy says we are a lot more ready than the vast majority of people who are entering these days. I'll let you know if we get in.
This morning was RallyFrEe class and it was all about spins. We started by working a course with a lot of spin-based behaviors. Gimme was really focused, but just had real difficulty with the idea of people watching her. Its never bothered her before, generally she loves an appreciative audience. Once we got away from the beginning, then she was able to do better.
Our course was:
1) Right heel forward
2) CW spin
3) Thru right turn trx
4) CCW spin
6) CW spin to center 7) Back 3 steps 8) Free choice into right
9) Switch back
10) CCW simultaneous spins
11) CCW spin to center
12) Free choice into left
13) Free choice
14) Thru left turn trx
15) CW simultaneous spins
#6-9 and #11-12 are combinations. The diagram to the side here doesn't have numbers, but if you start at the beginning you can plug them in as you go. After we did the course, Kathy had us do some heeling adjusting our speed. She got exactly what she expected to see. I have a tendency when Gimme shows a loss of focus to slow down, which actually gives her more time to look around and be distracted. When Kathy got me to move faster, then Gimme was much more attentive and did much better. This will be a hard habit to break, but it will be worth it since Gimme looks so darn cute when she is heeling well.
After we did the course, then we each got a chance to do a spin and identify some element of it we wanted to work on. Gimme has been really good at spins, but when I tried to get her to do them while I kept moving (about a month ago), it seemed to confuse her about what "spin" and "turn" mean and I haven't gotten it back. (I really must stop breaking her behaviors) So our verbal cue isn't as strong as it used to be. Kathy says a spin while moving is a very different thing for dogs and really is unnecessary, since you can always work a pause into your choreography or use a different behavior.
Overall Gimme did very well about the other dogs today, which was very good. She's learning to check in with me when she sees other dogs and is staying quite calm, even when were are sorta close. I've taken to leaving her a little opening on the side of her crate so she can watch them work if she wants to. She did watch for awhile and then on her own moved to the back of her crate where she didn't have to watch.
Tonight when I got home from work, I found her toy obsessed, whiney and needy. I checked her false pregnancy support package and it showed we needed to add a very small amount of Pulsatilla and Ignatia Amara, while everything else stays the same. Since we did our evening supplements, she has settled right down and is quite relaxed. This is such a far cry from what we were seeing before, so I'm still thrilled.
We are leaving tomorrow morning for a 3-day barn hunt trial in Oregon. It'll be fun and I'm sure Gimme will enjoy herself. When Gimme is happy, Mommy is happy... ☺