Adventures in Heeling!

We are still having so much fun with our heeling class!  And I am continually shocked by how amazingly well Inara is doing.  She’s ignoring the other dogs or just watching them calmly.  Generally now the only barking we have is upon first entering (though this past week she barely barked at all when we got there) and then maybe some play barking as she rolls around on the floor during our breaks.  I never thought I’d see her so relaxed and silly around other dogs!

This week in class we worked on some crazy turns that Ginger said we’d need to know for advanced rally classes or if we did agility classes.  We also worked a little on heeling on the right side, which confused Inara immensely.  She’d do it for a few steps and then cross behind me to get back to my left, LOL.  I think I’ll hold off on working on that outside of class – I want to get normal heeling perfected, first!

Ginger had us do some jumping this week, which Inara adored.  She flew over the jumps with room to spare, tail wagging, and then turned around and pulled to be allowed to go back over.  She didn’t even bark at all at the other dogs jumping, which is amazing!  I think at some point I’m going to have to accept the fact that she’s learning now and stop being shocked when she acts normal, LOL.  I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted, though – we’ve had to work too hard to get to this point.

Tonight we went outside and practiced our heeling in front of the house.  This was our first time trying it outside, so I began with clicking and treating every couple of steps.  By the end of our session (30 minutes?) she was able to heel 2 houses down before I treated her.  We also worked on getting into the heel position.  She’s still having a bit of trouble realizing that if she’s in front of me and I say “heel,” that she needs to get beside me.  But I think she’s starting to get it.  A few times tonight she would move from right in front of me to perpendicular, facing me, and then pause, and then swivel and sit beside me.  It was neat watching her figure it out and try different things to see what got her the click.  And the best part of a good training session?  Having an exhausted dog afterwards!

Tired Inaras are good Inaras!

We have an obedience trial coming up at the end of August.  I use that term loosely as it’s really more of the obstacle course from hell (in a fun way!).  But I’m really looking forward to it as I think we’re going to make an awesome showing.  Inara and I are really learning to work as a team and trust each other.  If she’s on her game we may even try the novice obedience, which is off leash.  When she’s in her working mode, she’s astoundingly attuned to me and I think we may be able to do it.

The next 2 sessions of class have been postponed until September due to scheduling conflicts with everybody, so that sucks.  I’ll just have to hold my own “class” and continue working.  I may even sign up for this class again, just to keep working on it.  Or I’ll try something else.  Who knows?  The possibilities are nearly endless now that I have a less reactive dog.  🙂

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