I really wish I had taken some pictures to go along with this post so that it doesn't seem so drab in comparison, but alas I did not. Today I headed down to Canby, OR with both dogs for an obedience and rally match put on by our obedience club, Sherwood Dog Training Club. It was a fun match and both dogs had some really great moments in and out of the ring!
I had each dog entered in one Beginner Novice run and one Novice run. Our obedience instructor has encouraged us to try out the optional titling classes as an additional way to get ring ready. The really nice part about these classes is that they offer other behaviors to train for and additional classes that I could enter Heffner in (due to the group exercises he will be trialed very selectively. There are some dogs that I know he will be fine holding a stay next to and others that he will not. I therefore need to be choosy about how we trial). And they're fun! Our first runs were in Beginner Novice and each dog had pretty good runs. I liked their attitude in the ring and they were over all pretty happy.
For the Novice runs, both dogs were actually more animated and seemed to really enjoy the Novice exercises. Bess was VERY enthusiastic the majority of her time in the ring. To the point that it was cracking me up. Her recall in particular was hilarious! It was a good recall, she was just REALLY excited to do it. When I released her she just launched out of her stay and came tearing up to me. It only took her a few strides before she pulled up into a nice front. Which was followed by a nice finish.:0) She was sooooooo eager to please for the entire run! I want that dog in the competition ring! Even the judge was laughing at her enthusiasm.
While Heffner wasn't quite at Bess' level of enthusiasm, he still did quite well. I think I figured out the key to getting him to just sit and not move around when I'm setting him up for the beginning of the exercises. I need to just walk right up and act like it's a halt. The less I mess, the less he futzes. I was particularly impressed with one aspect of his recall. There was a saint bernard outside the ring that kept catching his attention. The handler was having some repeated problems getting the dog to do what he wanted and I think that the dog was a little reactive to boot. I wasn't entirely sure how Heffner was going to handle doing a recall to me when the saint bernard was going to essentially be at my back, and Heffner would therefore being running straight towards the dog. Before I gave the command I could tell that he was starting to fixate on the dog. But once I gave the command his eyes were glued on my face and he came in for a nice front. It was kind of like a switch flipped. He went from concerned and getting ready to fall back into on guard mode, but then he heard the command and he was all about business and what was expected of him. Which included a nice finish! I was super proud of him for keeping his brain where I needed it to be. There were also a few little incidences outside of the ring where a couple of dogs lunged and barked at him, but he was awesome! No outbursts! The only reaction it got from him was one of startlement because he wasn't even paying attention to the dogs who were bothered by him. He got cookies for that!
All-in-all it was a great way to spend our morning! I got there early to help set up and I stuck around a while after we were done running to help with ring stewarding. It was a really fun match!
I didn't get a chance yesterday to post about how Heffner's chiropractor appointment went. He got two thumbs up again!! Three days in a row of agility last weekend didn't break the big boy! He held the adjustments well and she said he was actually a lot easier to make the minor adjustments to. She also thinks that he's looking stronger and his overall movement is much improved.:0) I was very happy! From here he'll move into a maintenance pattern of adjustments. What I would like to do is just get him adjusted the week after an agility trial, or if I see something that seems a little off. I did make an appointment for Bess to see Sandra so that she can get checked out and I can make sure that everything is a-okay with the wee hopper. My guess is that she will have some minor imbalances that are a result of her chest laceration last year. Her overall movement is good, but I think it will be beneficial for her to at least periodically get adjusted.
I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!!