I meant to type a post on Thursday evening saying that I'm pretty much going to be running until we leave for Lodi, CA on this upcoming Thursday! It has been quite the crazy weekend, but in a good way! Thursday night was spent cleaning up the house in preparation for the weekend. I was able to fit in some training with the dogs, but that was about it. Friday I worked a half day in order to get home and finish cleaning up the house and getting ready for the evening's festivities. I have been planning and was hosting a bachelorette party for a friend of mine. We were starting off the evening at our house with some yummy girly drinks and then off to see Kooza, the Cirque show. Followed by some other fun activities. That pretty much filled up my Friday. Then Saturday we had more girly fun activities. I was able to do some training and exercise with the dogs, but not a whole lot. Today I had originally planned on going to an obedience match in the morning with both dogs, but I was so wiped out from this past week and all the other things going on, that I decided my sleep was more critical. Maybe not the best decision since we've got our first time in the obedience ring in a week, but I did make up for it. I took the dogs out to the public library for some obedience work in a very distracting and outdoors setting. Since the trial will be outside, I figured it would probably be a good idea to work with them in that type of setting and see how it went. And I'm quite pleased with how it went!
Heffner definitely needs some time to just check out whatever new site we're at. He needs the time to look, sniff, and generally take it all in. Once he's had a few minutes to do that, then it's a lot easier to get him into work mode. I do know that I will have to give myself not only some time to let him sniff around, but some warm up time with a lot of attention heeling. After a good ten minutes of working through it, it was a lot easier to keep his attention. I also increased my rate of reinforcement with him and I got some lovely animated heeling. I was really pleased with how well he did once we worked through the initial distractions.
Next up was Bess (I was driving back and forth from the house because it was too warm out to leave the dogs in the truck). I expected her do well and I wasn't disappointed! I gave her a few minutes to check things out, but she started focusing and working so well right off the bat! The one thing that we needed to work on was our figure 8's. I need to work on getting her to automatically pick up her pace when she's moving on the outside. We worked around a couple of relatively closely spaced trees. I was pretty happy with how she was doing. Things are going along quite well and I'm pretty pleased! I'll probably try to work in one more session at the library, just to help make me feel a little more solid before the trial.
Things are moving along with our finishes. Bess has really caught on to both sides and I can pretty reliably give her the signals without any verbal. I'm still using both on Heffner for the right finishes.
All-in-all, I'm getting pretty excited about Lodi and looking forward to heading out! I'll have more posts of substance after this one, I promise!