Wow is pretty much how I felt today about Heffner after our obedience lesson. The boy was freaking awesome! Off leash heeling felt so good and he was really on it with the turns, speed changes, and halts. As we were going along I kept thinking, he is just totally on today. My feelings were affirmed when our instructor stated that that was the best heeling he has done. :0) And THAT was the best positive reinforcement that I could receive! And it gets better!!
With the trial looming in less than two weeks now, I've really had a fire under my butt to get working on the stuff that I've known I need to be working on, but haven't put as much effort into. Things like speed transitions for the figure eight. We've been working on it and it thankfully was showing with Heffner. For Heffner I decided to start our figure eights going to the right. It just works better for him to start out at a faster pace by being on the outside of the loop. He's happier and he's more up when he gets to move out. And he was nailing it today! He was picking up his pace in the same general spots that we've been practicing and it just felt so good! Another total high!
The final crowning glory of Heffner's portion of the lesson was the dumbbell. This post would turn into a real novel if I gave the whole back story of how I've been training each dog to work with the dumbbell, so I'll get to that in another post. In a nut shell, dumbbell work hasn't been going all that spectacularly with Heffner and I was having some difficulties figuring out how to get it to make sense to him. And because nothing can be easy, methods that have worked with Bess totally don't work with him. So I was a little hesitant when it came time for a little work with the ole dumbbell in our lesson. Things had been starting to click at home for Heffner, but we were making slow progress and I wasn't sure how well he was going to do in the class setting. Well, he pretty much blew me away! The beginning was a little rough with a few unasked for drops of the dumbbell, but the rest was freaking great. He was happily trotting around the ring with me, going over the high jump of his own volition and when directed, doing turns, and basically frolicking with me around the ring, ALL WHILE HOLDING THE DUMBBELL IN HIS MOUTH!! I cannot fully express the sheer magnitude of how awesome that was! I was just ecstatic that he was having such a great time with this "dreaded device" in his mouth!
Today, Heffner was an obedience super star.:0)
Bess was having a bit of an off day. It was like the dogs switched mind sets or something. Bess was sluggish and just didn't have her normal panache while we worked. I am just going to chalk it up to her having an off day. 'Cause the other option is not as much fun to ponder with two obedience trials coming up in two weeks. Bess is due to go into season about the middle of next month. I've already started noticing some of the behavioral changes that go along with that, so I'm pretty sure that she'll be on time. The down side of this is that her mind tends to wander and she's not as into working during this time. As I said, I've got her entered in obedience on the 30th of this month and the 8th of next month. Having an unfocused dog in the ring isn't exactly something that I want to worry about. So I'm not. She was having an off day and we'll get back on track just in time for competition.:)
I hope everyone had a great weekend!