Class was very active. Jo set up a large balance course, so we didn't have a space cordoned off just for us, but it was okay. There were only three dogs in class and Gimme did well with it.
The course Jo set up was a basic "U" shape and after we each ran through it she added things to make it more challenging. It started with the two jump platforms with three cones between them for the dogs to step over, then a short ramp onto a round platform and over the sway bridge. Then there was a square platform, a long ramp to another platform. The things on either side of this ramp were PVC dividers. From here we made another turn onto the narrow board, a platform and down another ramp.
Balance course A video - Gimme did really well with this. She finds the narrow board challenging and I have a plan for training this at home. She was distracted by stuff off to the side. She wants to do everything zippity fast, which can translate to "unsafe" when I submit for titles. Thus, my goal for these was to get her to move smoothly and controlled. I'm also being very careful how I use treats, since I want her thinking about what she is doing with her body and feet, not focused on food. So she does each course with praise and support throughout and food only when she is done.
For the next course, Jo added a small jump on the first ramp and some fitpaw pods on the last ramp. Balance course B video Gimme has no problem with these, but she did think she is supposed to step over/around the pods. After the turn I told her to step on them and she did fine. The golden you see at the turn around point is only about 7 feet away and while his presence was distracting, he's very calm so Gimme was able to work through it.
This time Jo added a PVC framework with a bunch of colored straps hanging from it forming a curtain and a big box at the end of the end ramp. Balance course C video The box put us closer to the golden, but Gimme handled it well. We are supposed to "spot" the dogs, especially when they are doing elevated stuff. I find having my hand in Gimme's harness makes her tense, so I usually just hold onto the leash close to the harness. There will come a time when I'll want to spot her with my hand in her harness, so I plan to get her used to this. I'll likely use it consistently when we set up our balance board at home - starting when its still really wide. This way it will feel familiar and not be a predictor of something challenging.
This time Jo added a pole, stuck through the
PVC dividers, for the dogs to go under. Balance course D video Gimme had to sniff it and then went "below" for me. On the way back I wasn't fast enough, so she jumped over it. Then I had her go "below" twice.
For the last balance course, Jo lowered the bar between the PVC dividers and added a group of items forming a side street (2 milk crates, 1 tub and 2 oil pans). Balance course E video Gimme did really well with this, though she thought it was especially dopey to crawl under the bar when she could so easily jump over. The peanut butter go toob was sufficient motivation to convince her to do it my way. The little side street took her straight to the toy on the wall from a couple weeks ago - which she clearly had not forgotten. On the way back she wanted to bypass working the side street obstacles and just go straight to the toy. I cued her to jump over the bar.
I really liked the gradual approach to adding these challenges. You'll note toward the end Gimme was moving more comfortably on the narrowest board.
While Jo took the course down, we were told to grab something and practice our 4-in behavior. I grabbed a milk crate. Box work video Gimme loves doing "box" work. I have to make sure my timing for rewards supports an automatic wait as well as having all four feet in the box. Of course she likes to embellish. I wanted Jo to see how she hopped both back feet in simultaneously, but when I tried to get it again, then she was trying to back on and stand on the rim at the same time. Clever girl.
Then Jo set up the support framework for learning tic-tacs and we were each challenged to do as many Parkour things as we could. Creativity video We did "box", "gwon", "cane", "hands" and "bacon". Gimme wasn't sure about some of this because I was using english instead of the cues she knows. Plus she'd never done "bacon" on something so small.
Then the last thing we did was get an introduction to the tic-tac trainer. The idea with tic-tacs is for the dog to rebound off a vertical surface, placing all four feet on the surface. This is trained starting with a slightly angled surface, which is gradually raised toward vertical. Jo is very specific to get the dog's angle of approach right. She told us having the angle too straight on (instead of 45 degrees from the side) encourages running the surface, which is a hard habit to break. Tic-tac video Gimme was very good at this, though it took me a few tries to get my part of it right. I have the perfect thing to use for a tic-tac surface to train with at home - its a go-go dancer platform, which I took for the wood, but will now have a new life as a tic-tac trainer.
After this busy class Gimme slept contentedly on the way home.