Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to School!

After a nice long summer break, the spotties headed back to school tonight! And after back-to-back agility classes, I'm exhausted. I think they are too. :)

First up was Indy's level 7 class - She did pretty good, although she's not a big fan of running when it's hot (neither am I) so we were both a little sluggish. Since adopting the AP system of handling earlier this year, I've been really trying to challenge myself and not fall back on my "safe" ways of handling. It's hard sometimes! Even though I'm seeing progress, our runs are definitely not pretty at the moment - but I think we'll get there. Oh and she did the teeter tonight - that is always good news!

On to Peyton - For the past year I've had him in level 3, and while he's made a lot of progress (thanks mostly in part to CU!), I'm not entirely comfortable with how he works around other (novice) dogs. For the most part, he really doesn't care about the other dogs in class unless one gets loose and runs in his face - which, let's face it, can happen when dogs are learning to work off leash. It makes him anxious, it makes me anxious, and combined, it doesn't make for the greatest class experience. So, I've decided to try him out in a new run-through class this session. It's basically set up just like a regular run-through, with excellent level nested courses. Um, yes - excellent courses. And while we are definitely not ready to run full courses at that level, I'm hoping that I can work through the course in sections and progress at our own pace. The great thing about this class is that Peyton gets along great with the other dogs in it. Tonight was the first time I can say that I had no worries about another dog coming after him. It was a great feeling!

We started off a little shaky - during our first run, we got a little off track and Peyton decided to go pay his very best friend Riley a visit. Luckily Riley is a super obedient golden and did a pretty good job of ignoring Peyton's attempts to play. Once I got Peyton back we headed to our mat to chill out a bit and try to refocus. Our second attempt was pretty good, and our third and final run was even better. So in summary...

The good:
- Nice lead-out and great start-line stay
- G
ood contacts
He nailed his weaves (12 upright - no babysitting)
- Pretty good focus and no leaving me to sniff (wow!)

Some areas we need to work on:
- I definitely need to support him more with my handling
- Running, especially long lines - he is fast!
- Tunnels - we've not done much tunnel work

- There's more, but l'm trying to focus on the positives! :)

Overall it was a really good night for the spotties and it's great to be back in class - even Indy agrees!

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