Started new class yesterday!

Inara and I started a new class at Fortunate Fido yesterday – Attention at Heel.  The description is:  “We work on attention and proper heel position.

  • Heel position
  • Find heel games
  • Back up in heel position
  • Attention games
  • Canine freestyle moves

I thought this would be a good class for us as Inara’s loose-leash walking (LLW) is atrocious and this can only help.  This will also help us in our C-WAGS competitions.

There are only 3 other dogs in class – a young yellow Lab (who likes to stare at Inara, not aggressively, just rudely), a Golden that thrashes at the end of his leash and plays tug with it, and another Golden who is very very senior.  Tough crowd for Inara!  Ginger gave us our usual spot by the bathroom so we can easily do our “Sucks To Be You Sequestering” (STBYS) as that has been so effective so far.

Inara was a little more worked up yesterday than she has been, but I attribute that to being cooped up for the past week due to the heat, as well as having been out of class for several weeks.  She did her usual “I’M HERE!!!” barking upon entering, so I just picked her up by her harness and carried her straight into the bathroom for our first STBYS.  It took her a couple minutes to settle down but she worked well once she was relaxed.  She got into a couple barking matches with the young Lab, forcing us to go into the bathroom.  We had to do several STBYS’s, some of them for a few minutes at a time, but overall I was pleased with her behavior.

We worked on “fronts,” which Inara can basically do but often is slightly crooked.  Ginger said that this class is to prepare us for competition so we’ll only be accepting perfection – time for the crooked fronts to stop!  We obviously worked on attention/eye contact, as well as having the dogs sit, down and stand in the heel position.  Inara doesn’t know stand, so that’s another thing we need to work on.  I’ve worked so hard on ingraining an automatic sit that she gets confused when I want her to stand!  I can’t even lure her into a stand from a sit – she just scootches forward on her hiney and stretches her neck real far.  So I have to get her up and walking and then click the split second we stop before she can sit.  I think this is going to be a tough one for us.

She did impress me though because Ginger wants us to teach them to target things with their back feet.  I’m pretty sure Inara doesn’t realize she has back feet most of the time.  But Ginger used us as the example pair since Inara’s done some shaping exercises before.  She put a folded blanket in between 2 ring gates set up to mimic a hallway.  I walked Inara toward the blanket and then backed up a step so she was sitting in front of me, with her back to the blanket.  I then used social pressure to encourage her to move backwards and get her back feet on the blanket.  With just a few clicks she was doing it on her own, and making the other people laugh because she was trying to stretch and reach the treat while keeping one foot on the blanket, LOL.  I was really impressed and it was fun having my dog be the “this is how you do it” dog.  🙂  We then worked a bit on the touch command, which Inara is great at – she can be sitting in a heel beside me and jump straight up to touch my hand and then land still in the heel position.  It was a good class and I think we’re going to have fun and learn a lot.

Outside of class, we’ve been trying to meet with friends 2-3 times a week to walk with another dog.  She’s doing great!  She’ll bark a couple times when she first sees the other dog (shocking, I know), but then very quickly can walk beside it, just a couple feet away, like it’s not even there.  It’s very cool.  🙂

I hope everybody else is doing well with your challenging dogs!

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