So Inara had a crazy amazingly good weekend! It was busy and stressful for her but she handled herself spectacularly.
Friday night we started a new class at Fortunate Fido. It’s an intro to C-WAGS Rally-O. We’ve not done any Rally-O before so this is new stuff for us. Also, there are other dogs in the class, which Inara is learning to deal with well. However, this time there are FIVE – count them, FIVE! – other dogs. Holy crap! The most other dogs we’ve dealt with is three. Fortunate Fido isn’t huge, so having six dogs in there is cozy. Ginger had a ring gate up between us and the closest dog (I think more for me than Inara, LOL), but it was still nerve-wrecking!
Ginger had us come in first so we could assume our position by the bathroom. I kept her in the bathroom while the other dogs came in, but she was still VERY worked up. Lots of barking and ignoring my existence for about 10 minutes. Once she settled down I opened the bathroom door but we stayed in there, just clicking/treating for attention. Eventually we were able to move into the little hallway outside the bathroom where she could peek out to see the other dogs but they weren’t in her constant sight. We continued working on focus and played a lot of Look At That. After maybe 30 minutes we were able to do some of the exercises, out in full sight of the other dogs. By the end of class, we were actually doing a Rally course out in the middle of all the other dogs! We had five dogs around us and Inara was doing a small Rally course! I nearly died of joy.
And then Saturday there was a big dog event, the Doggie Doo, where vendors and doggy professionals can set up tables and the dog-owning public can meet everybody. There are TONS of dogs there, not all of them under great control *wink*. But Ginger asked Inara and I to help out with a demo of shaping. Oh dear. Terrifying. But we’ll give it a shot.
We got there early before there were too many other dogs. Before long though, the hoardes arrived. And Inara had a melt-down. Okay, that’s a lie – she had several melt-downs. But you know what? She recovered each and every time. I was able to regain her attention. And we did our demo successfully. Within a few minutes, Inara had been shaped to push herself on a skateboard. And we did a little Rally course as well! In front of an audience of both people AND dogs! I was completely beside myself!
Isn’t it amazing what our dogs can do when we give them a chance to push beyond their (and our?) perceived limits?