Today Heffner and I headed down to My Dogs Gym in Salem for an advanced rally workshop. There ended up only being three other people who came to the workshop, so we got a lot of one-on-one time and the atmosphere was nice and laid back. Heffner was a really good boy for the majority of the time we were there. We got there pretty early and were the only ones set up, besides the instructor, for a little while. As such, Heffner had a bit of a barking explosion when the first dog showed up. He was fine once things got going and everyone was there. He was otherwise excellent in his soft crate. No whining what so ever when I walked the courses or got out of his sight. No pawing of the crate (HUGE bonus there!). He has generally gotten a lot more relaxed in the soft crate. At one point I was just having him hang with me outside of the crate, but with the flap open. He chose to go in there and lay down after a while. That's pretty huge for him! He's making great progress over all.:o)
I'm also really pleased with how happy he was on the courses! There wasn't any air conditioning in the facility and while it started off at a good temperature, it did start to get a bit warm even with all of the fans going. He didn't quit on me once through all three of our runs! He was also paying attention a lot more than he has in the ring. I think I got some good ideas as to what I'm not doing in the ring that I otherwise do when we practice obedience in general and do these rally matches. I brought the tripod along and videoed all three of our runs. Unfortunately the quality isn't that great. Guess it's time to up the amount of nagging I do to Adam about getting a video recorder.;o) Of course, it would also probably help my case if I could keep BOTH of the dogs out of the vet's office!
Without further ado, here's our first run:
This was a nice, simple course to warm up on. While we will have to do our Advanced courses off leash, in this type of setting without physical ring barriers, I chose to keep it on. Throughout all three of the courses you'll also see that we really took our time working through each of them. I wanted to make sure that I was clear on the signs and that I was doing everything that I should be doing. I'm pretty happy with how our 90* pivots are coming along. The right pivots are rougher than the left ones, but we're working on that.
After that nice warm up, a second course was set up and our instructor went over some of the challenges that we would face in that one. Included this time around were the off set figure 8 and a jump. I didn't realize before, but for the jump the judge can choose from a bar, broad, or high jump. Thankfully we're fine on all three, but it's still good to know.;o)
On this course, we also had our first 180* pivot thrown in. I'm actually totally comfortable with pivot to the right, it's the 180* pivot to the left that you'll see later we had some serious issues with. That definitely needs some work. Overall, I'm really pleased with how he did.:)
Our third and final run of the day was probably more impressive because of how well he was still working for me in spite of the rising temperature (I would guess in the upper 70's, maybe right around 80) in addition to having already done two other runs. I was REALLY proud of him! At the beginning of this run you'll notice that we did a double about left turn. That is not a standard AKC sign. Our instructor decided to throw it in there to spice things up. I thought it was great because I would also eventually like to do non-standard classes as well as a few other venues. This is the run with the wicked 180* left pivot. Yeah, it's pretty rough, but we'll get there.;o)
Basically, I'm really proud of how well he did and I really enjoyed working with him today! He was such a trooper! I feel confident enough now that I'm going to start sending off entries for rally trials for him (Bess is already entered in a trial this month). It was also nice to get to spend that one-on-one time with him. I love having multiple dogs, but also love spending that alone time with them.:)