Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Obedience Match - My Dog's Gym

Sunday Leo was feeling back to normal so I decided to go ahead and take him to Salem to the drop-in obedience match planned at My Dog's Gym. We headed down before 8 am as they said sign ups were prior to 9, even knowing we wouldn't get a shot at our class level until nearly noon. I was exhausted and when I arrived there learned the people running the show had been locked out of the building accidentally. They couldn't reach the building owner and had called a locksmith. Oh, and I had forgotten my crate and a chair. I was feeling all sorts of like maybe staying in bed would have been the better choice. The good thing about having a well behaved small dog is that the truck or the building were options. Leo is both and we settled in to watch, learn, and wait. He was very well behaved like always and about every hour we got up and practiced some short exercises outside the ring. It was good for him to work in such a distracting environment and in a new place.

It was finally time for those of us interested in running Beginner Novice around 12:30. The rally portion of the course was as follows:
I had entered Leo for two runs. Our first run I practically had to drag him through the ring entrance. Not sure what it is but the little stinker acts like the ring gates are going to get him. He was very nervous and it took multiple attempts to get him to even come close enough to resemble a halt. Once we got going his heel was definitely lacking. He was moving out sideways from me. It didn't get better after we made the first left turn and it came to a screeching halt in the back corner for the second left turn. He hated that corner and had planted his feet. Just lovely. At first I attempted to just keep moving figuring he'd give in and work. He didn't. I had to stop, pick him up, and focus and reward at the corner and the sign. Then we got moving and he did better for 5-9. From there we moved into the figure 8. He was lagging a bit, but certainly showing that he knows what we're doing better than the rally section. His halts were nice. The sit for exam was easy - he gave Chris (the pseudo judge) a lick on the hand. We then moved over near the center of the ring, somewhere between 8 and 9 signs for the sit and walk around. He held that like a champ, sitting and not sliding into a down, and waiting until my return and release. His head pivoted but he didn't move. Go Leo! Then we worked the recall. I knew from past experience his recall can be lackluster. He just doesn't seem confident in his return to me? So I pulled out the big guns - cooked chicken heart. I made sure he knew I had it then when I gave him the recall command, I changed my stance slightly to give him the sign that coming was a good thing to be excited about. His movement was much quicker and I didn't even try for a front, just rewarded and praised. 

After decompressing and talking to and cuddling Leo for a few minutes while another dog was in the ring, it was our turn again. I'm glad to say Leo was much more relaxed this time around. He wasn't as afraid of the corner, his heeling was closer (not great, but not horrendous either), his movements were more precise. All in all, the improvement was worth the second run. He still appeared fearful of the signs so I've decided we'll live with our rally signs hanging out around the house for a while until the Specialty. Everything else went splendidly. His figure 8 was much tighter, very little lag, his halt close and prompt, no kiss on the sit for exam, but still calm. His recall was good, about three inches shifted to my right and an inch or so off my toes,  but a decent pace and closer than sometimes. All in all, a very good opportunity and I'm glad we went. 

We have another match at our obedience club this coming Saturday and will again run twice for Beginner Novice. We'll also head to Canby the following Saturday for the Clackamas County Kennel Club match. And then we'll have our chance to see if we can pull it off! 

Today Leo seemed 100% like his normal self. I hadn't given him a Pepsid AC pill since Saturday evening and he's been fine, no vomiting. Well, tonight after work and my having run an errand, I came back out to the truck and he promptly vomited. He seems to feel completely fine still and ate dinner, although I did give him a dose of Pepsid. I sure hope this isn't ongoing and I just need to keep him on the Pepsid for a few days to let his gut heal. 

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