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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Treasure's Newest Project

Treasure celebrated her birthday in style.  She had a spa day so she is looking as beautiful as ever.  The weather was gorgeous Saturday, so we spent some time outside and she likes to lounge on the wooden deck where it is warm from the sun.  She had special food and goodies and we had extra snuggle time and treats! 
 
 
 
Treasure's actual birthday was last Tuesday and we celebrated by going to a new rally obedience class.  Actually, the class started two weeks prior, but due to some unfortunate situations, we hadn't been able to make it.  So, we are half way through and have been to two classes now.
 
Because the idea of rally is that the dog is next to you throughout the exercises, I'm using the solid leash for the courses.  I realized last week that while we do some heel practice with the solid leash, I really don't do any type of distance walking with it.  If Treasure and I are going for a walk, I use the regular leash and let her follow behind me.  If we are going a distance, we use the stroller.  So, last week was awkward for both of us.  Me trying to handle the solid leash for a longer distance while also trying to cue the other exercises in between, and Treasure trying to figure out why we were walking with it differently than usual.
 
So, this past week we took longer walks - thank goodness we had some nice weather - using the solid leash.  My goal is still to teach Treasure to target her shoulder to my leg, so she can take her cues from my moving leg.  But this has been a work in progress for a while and I haven't found a way to teach it to her that makes sense to her yet.  We are making very slow progress with it, but progress none the less.  But, I think I may have come up with a way to do it better. 
 
So, I am getting more short targeting of her shoulder to my leg and I am always rewarding there in position.  If I can, I am helping her into position at my leg before feeding.  And the marker signal helps at this time as well, if I have enough hands to be able to do it with good timing! 
 
Tonight at class, she was walking much straighter and a bit faster than last week, which was a huge improvement, and my handling of the leash, treats and touch signals was much smoother.  It all felt like it was coming together. 
 
I'm unsure about whether we'll be able to do any rally competitions in the future, but we are having fun and learning something new together!  That's the main reason we do any of these activities.  Maybe we'll get to the point that we can do a few competitions in the future.  Right now, the organization is not sure just how to handle our inquiry about accommodations for Treasure's special abilities.  It will take time for us to practice and to see just what works best for us as far as tools and techniques.  Then I can approach the organization again and see if we can work out specifics. Stay tuned for more about our rally adventures!