Thanks, TwoBigEars! It promises to be an interesting ride, at least
We had another lesson today, which will be our last Sunday lesson as that particular trainer is not going to be coming out to that field anymore. I'm learning so much about how much work I have to do on my handling skills, lol! Xuri reads my cues very well so any mistake shows up instantly... "good dog, shame about the handler," am I right?!
I really really hate standing still at any point on course, so I am working on figuring out which turns work best for us as a team that keep my feet moving and also motivate her. But at the same time I need to seriously work on slowing my mind down as we take each obstacle. It seems that every time I remember to calm down and make my cues more clear, I forget to move to the next obstacle afterwards, lol!
We did have a bit of a revelation about blinds today. I've done a fair bit of foundation groundwork with blinds but haven't incorporated them in sequences much. Truthfully, I never really think to do them because when I first took agility classes back in the day, that was when everyone was of the mind to NEVER EVER take your eyes off the dog, and blinds were therefore the work of the devil. We did a few in sequences today, however, and they really work for us as a team. I am still most comfortable with rears but I need to be more aware that other options (perhaps better options) do exist. Fronts are NOT my friend at the moment... darn dog is so fast I get flustered with my footwork. I nearly plowed into a jump and ended up falling down trying to execute one particular front cross today- whoops! Glad my dog is willing to keep playing through all of my mistakes.
We did have one moment of brilliance today when I was discussing options for a particular serpentine sequence with my trainer. She was recommending I incorporate those blind crosses, and I thought, "hey, I think we could fit a ketschker in here." And it worked out BRILLIANTLY. Definitely going to keep an open mind to fit those in when appropriate.
We also did the chute for the first time today. Trainer held it open for the first three successions, and it was free-sailing from there. I love this dog.
On tuesday we join a group class 2 hours away. We are starting at intermediate level (skipping the beginner class of leading the dog through the obstacles on leash). I know she is 100% ready as far as the obstacles go-although we will have to be creative about avoiding contacts for now-however I am a little nervous about getting her in a group environment. Which is incidentally exactly why I WANT her in that group environment. She hasn't had much exposure to OTHER dogs doing agility, and I have a feeling that she will find it very stimulating. It's also been a while since she has been in a group class situation and I just hope we will not make fools of ourselves. I would hate to show up and have an over-excited, reactive dog. I think I've done all I can to prep her, but I do have that fear in the back of my mind. I will certainly be bringing multiple bags of pepperoni, and an arsenal of balls and other toys.
Don't mind my long-windedness. Hopefully at least someone will get some entertainment from reading of our progress. Meanwhile, I think it will be neat to have a record of our training.