So. Last night went better. We got to class super-early. I stopped en route and grabbed some dinner (salad in place of fried Chimichanga). Forest had his dinner in the back while I had mine. No rush, watched the Advanced class before ours. He tried to get wound up once he was done with dinner, but I just stayed calm and ignored him. Put his leash on and worked on laying on the mat in the trunk. Took it out and down to class with us, clicked him for “go to yer bed”. He seemed happy with that for the beginning as opposed to laying on dirt or wet grass.
We usually seem to do jumpers first, which is definitely our strong suit. He was great, as usual, any bobbles were entirely of my doing. He runs really fluidly and I don’t have to give him much verbal direction except when calling him back towards me. He’s getting quite good at going ahead of me. I actually realized last night that I think thats where a lot of our hang ups are occurring–at any point where there is a loss in momentum is where we tend to melt down… And, he may make me lazy as he is so good at going ahead of me, its a lot of work to get out ahead of him in front as opposed to sending him from behind. Maybe I’ll start charging myself $5 for every lazy rear cross…
Standard course was not perfect, yet it was miles ahead of two weeks ago. I think maybe he has a hard time seeing things occasionally (?) in the dark, or maybe its me who has a hard time seeing. Either way we missed a few easy, obvious entries–to the tunnel and to the teeter–but got back on track quickly.
I did notice at one point where after we kept missing the tunnel entry he scooted away and started eating grass. I think I was starting to get stressed—I always thought he didn’t care so much what I was thinking/doing/saying, but am coming to realize he really is a pretty sensitive guy. It was pretty eye opening now that I am more aware of what to look for. I calmed down, gently grabbed him and told him it was okay. I think after that we got going again.
We also were just doing the short weaves as we had a few first time Novice people joining. He missed a few times more because he hasnt figured out how to slam on the breaks yet, but was no big deal. We practiced the full 12 set at the end of class. He nailed it on the second try so we quit with that.
Also reinforced a TON throughout class, including clicking him for laying/sitting on his mat. I should have fed him less for dinner…
Overall a much more relaxing experience than last class, so that is a step in the right direction.
Tomorrow night starts our Control Unleashed session. Six weeks long, looking forward to it—I think it will be a big step in the right direction. I love my agility trainer, but she definitely does not have the time nor the training style to address individual behavioral issues. I hope this can help us work through both of our stress and focus issues. Fingers crossed.