Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oh yeah....our Mock Novice Obedience test

What a great class!  Keegan did an outstanding job.  We certainly got our groove on.  This will be a great reminder of where we started...and it will be interesting to see a progress report come fall. 

I don't know of many intermediate classes where you get to practice off leash walking / stay skills with other dogs/ people around.  Rita tortured us with toy/ running distractions during stays to prep for the test too.  She keeps you on your toes!
Bonus was the way the course was outlined, we used a lot of play, toys, treats and massage to keep our furry pals engaged.

Highlights for me were;

1-Being able to walk around people on/off leash without Keegan the kangaroo jumping on them....focusing on moi :)  He would normally lunge to try to say hello to people (which has them running the opposite direction) so this is an AWESOME accomplishment.

2- Our stays are coming along!  Now I can slowly add distance, duration and distractions.   I don't rush a stay.  Secret is to keep the dogs internal state in mind and train when he's calm, release before you see body language that they're not really engaged,  so you build a strong foundation.

3-Keegan LOVES to socialize and he chose to be with me instead of running to the gate where the rest of the class (dogs included) were hanging out.  He's always got to be in the middle of the trouble, so this was HUGE.

4-Pat on the head...Keegan really doesn't see the point of them.  He loves to sniff hands and does not enjoy head pats. He will duck away, or squint eyes getting ready for impact...and I'm so proud that he was comfortable to stand still while they performed the stand/stay & pat head/shoulders/bum while paying attention to me and not moving.  All thanks to putting "bonk" on cue to help associate an approach & pat on the head with something rewarding...also helps warn him what's coming up so it alleviates stress.

5- I used TTouch type massage along Keegan's back, played tricks between exercises, deep slow breathing just before we started, and during his stay I also did slow sleepy eye blinks and used my calm cue to keep Keegan relaxed and engaged.  He's easily excitable and these are our management worked! 

6-We played a ton of emotional self control games on a daily basis...which also helped!

Happy Happy Happy we are!  Hmmmm what's next.

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