Ruby started his Rally Obedience class last week and really showed off for the instructor. He kept his excitement up for the whole hour without me lifting a finger for it except for releasing him every few minutes so his brain got a break. I wasn’t even using toys, just food. Why do I never get such excitement for work when we’re practicing alone?
Really nice precision in heeling, matching my pace from slow to running and back and following direction of movement, without crowding that I usually see in agility. Backing around me – no problem, changing positions – no problem. Ignoring distractions like a pro. Lovely sends to the table even though he has never done that before. Down stay on the table was iffy – his elbows came up, anticipating recall to heel. In short, he loved Rally Obedience. It did help that we were doing all this around agility equipment. Maybe he thought this was just a long agility warmup 😉 I hope he will keep the attitude even after he figures out that this isn’t agility!
Speaking of warmups they have changed quite a bit since we started K9 Conditioning class. In addition to 15 minutes of walking and some tricks we now do a series of exercises to warm up the joints – even toes! I don’t yet know how much they’re helping, but this week Ruby had first two agility trainings after a month and he looked great in the evening, wasn’t sore at all. Of course I made sure that these trainings were easier on his body after such a long time off, but maybe also the new warmup and cooldown routines helped some.
Perhaps the most challenging exercise for us was the tucked sit which I already wrote about last year. We started working on it at that time and both dogs got to the point where they would do it nicely on a box. We didn’t progress further with it as it wasn’t that important to me. For this class we’re supposed to get the dog to sit without moving front feet, then kick back into stand (again without moving front feet), then fold back into down without moving any feet and then stand back up without moving feet.
Tucked sit is the hardest part for us. Since they’re supposed to do it on a long bench I transferred their existing understanding by rotating the bench by 90 degrees so they had as little space on it as on the box. They recognized the exercise right away, but it took them a session or two before they were able to do it with their back feet on the bench as well. Since Ruby spent two weeks with my friend when Java was in heat I am still helping him by holding his collar and luring with a treat, but he is catching up with Java.
Java went to a local lure coursing training. She was going crazy before the lure even started 🙂 She sure knows that she was bred to chase it! I really wish I could take her racing, but with the closest track 400km away and no boxes to train with we wouldn’t be able to train properly for it.
Oh and if you’re following us on Facebook (I can’t see why not? 😉 ) you saw that we had a Whippet Agility Day and six whippets came out to play. Six! It was huge, I tell ya. Two of them were mine, but still, I never saw so many whippets doing agility and it made me HAPPY 🙂
All photos were taken by my wonderful sister (more info: Stisnprtisn!)
I have a really neat blog post coming up about doggie body language. I just have to find some time to write it…