Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rally Match!

Today was Miley's first rally match!  And I'm happy to say that I'm pretty proud of that little turd!  I intentionally picked a training facility that we've never been to before because I wanted to see how she did in a totally new environment.  I also chose to do only two runs.  At this point, more than that is going to overload her.  I also wanted to see what kind of an acclimation period she was going to need.  I already know from our weekly attention practices out at various stores that she doesn't need more than 5-10 min. in non pet stores before she's focusing on me and wanting to work.  Pet stores are an entirely different beast and I have an entirely different set of goals for them with their cascade of ultimate distractions.  True to form, Miley was ready to start focusing and working within just a couple minutes of getting brought out of her crate.  And I even managed to video our warm up!

The blue square that you see on the floor is just a taped off section.  Since I did so much front feet targeting with her on various objects as she's been growing up, she naturally sees this outline of a square as something that she should target.  I'm totally okay with that. :) It's our warm up and I want to see how she processes and reacts to this brand new environment.  And check out that rear end movement!!  Girlfriend has some skills!  It actually didn't take much to get her to start pivoting into heel position.  I got so excited and was really jackpotting for it when she started doing it, that you can also see that she's started getting a little over zealous with it and has started wrapping around behind me.  She only recently started doing that and it doesn't take much from me to get her back into position, so I'm not going to worry too much right now.  We're gradually working on the whole sitting in heel position.  When she's had a really good warm up, it comes faster.  It's just not automatic right now.

Part of what I was shooting for with today's match was maintaining focus as we entered the ring and went up to the start sign.  If I lose Miley as we're entering the ring, or even before, I'm setting us up for a struggle.  She's a little sensitive to proximity of objects around her.  So going through a ring entrance is a type of pressure that she's not comfortable with without some help still.  This also carries over onto the rally course a little bit.  There is proximity of signs and obstacles that create spacial pressure on her that she isn't entirely comfortable with without support from me.  This is something I'm confident she'll get more and more comfortable around with time and more maturity.  Right now I'm pretty pleased with how she's doing.  She is definitely the most attentive dog that I have had to date.  Now I need to not ruin that!!  I did take video of both of our runs, but I will admit that the vast majority of that is going to be interesting only to me.  I did pull out a clip of us working on ring entrances, with a little bit of the course afterward.

I can't help it, I'm proud of her!  Her very first match, in a brand new building!  Her focus just makes me want to squeal at times!  I love it!!

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