No classes this week, but the school offered a "guided practice" session last night. It was for Master's level dogs, but since I was already taking my daughter and her dog, I signed Duster up as well. We adjusted the exercises to his level and he did very well. One of the challenges was a set of 12 weave poles with a tunnel set in a u-shape just 3 feet from the last weave pole, which was not the next obstacle in the sequence. Of the five dogs in the class - four very experienced Master's dogs and 14-month-old Duster - only Duster and one other dog actually completed the weaves. All the other dogs dived out at pole 10 to run into the tunnel. It was an interesting exercise in handler body language: some handlers focused more on keeping the dog out of the tunnel, and their dogs were the ones that didn't complete the weaves.
The second exercise was a jump-tunnel grid that was intended to practise blind crosses. Because of my mobility issues I don't handle in that way, so my challenge was to handle the exercise at a distance. Duster did very well. We're starting to understand one another.
He continues to be a bit tentative on his dogwalk entry, and on the teeter. He has always driven onto the dogwalk - it's an obstacle he likes - but he slipped off the "up" ramp about a month ago. While he was only about a foot of the ground at the time and wasn't hurt in the least, it's made him over-think and he hasn't got over the incident yet. Once on, he's fine: it's just the act of getting on to it. I think we may go back to the low dogwalk for a while, to rebuild his confidence. As for the teeter, any suggestions you may have to help him overcome his nervousness would be welcome. He will go onto the obstacle, but flattens over the apex, and this is the only obstacle he won't perform at a distance from me. I'm going to devise some teeter games and prop the teeter on a table so that the swing movement is less, but all other suggestions will be gratefully received.
Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.