the sheltiechick blog

Payton in class, round two

This afternoon I texted with Auggie’s breeder. My initial thought was to just bring the puppies over to the training building after her class tonight and let her see how things are going and give me some tips, especially on an issue I’m having with Georgie. But she told me she was just starting a new class and asked if I would like to bring the pups along.

I decided to bring Payton, since our rally trial is in three weeks, and he could use some work in a new location and with some other eyes watching. Georgie will wait for another day; besides, I can’t really work two dogs at once.

The class is a unique one we developed to meet some in-between demands… people who weren’t quite ready to jump into agility, but were looking for something more than just pet house manners. We delve into some rally exercises and do some extended sit-stays and down-stays in a line up like you would at an obedience trial, and also do some beginning obstacle introduction with agility stuff (jumps, tunnels, tire.)

So away we went tonight. Payton did fairly good with heeling though he is still very forgey, and forges more on me the longer we heel. I stepped on his paw once and almost tripped over him several more times. Sigh. And the sits, oh God, the crooked sits! I’m still hoping to clean it up enough in the next few weeks that we can scrape out at least ONE qualifying RN score.

But in light of my decision earlier this year to stop always being so negative about my dogs and their behaviour, I am not going to tell you where he was awesome.

First, his first sit-stay was ALMOST great, but being his very first time in a lineup with dogs he had never met before, he got up and came to me just before I went back to him. The next several sit-stays, however, were lovely, and I was even able to test him some by doing stupid dance moves and things (I made sure none of the other dogs – or their handlers – were looking at me while I was doing this.) So he rocked those!

Next, his recalls were equally lovely, though the first was lacking the enthusiasm I like to see, but he gets a pass because once again, he was sitting in a lineup with dogs he had never met before.

After that, we moved on to introduction to agility. First we had a jump, and I felt bad because Payton and I are totally cheating. We have at least a dozen jumps of varying type at home and he has seen regular jumps over and over and over again being that we’re doing beginning jump training! The other students were like “ooooh!” but HE’S CHEATING HE’S DONE THIS A MILLION TIMES ALREADY.
Next we got out the tunnel. Payton has seen a tunnel before but not fully extended, and as many times as I see it in my basement and think “I need to get that out and work on it,” I have yet to actually do that. So I wasn’t sure how he was going to do with a tunnel stretched all the way out.
Of course I am an idiot and had no need to worry. He darted right through it, then came back, then back through again. Everything was going GREAT until Auggie’s breeder suggested I run with him through it.
So I did. And Payton went OMG YOU GUYS THIS IS SOOOO MUCH FUN and the next thing I know he jumps on top of the tunnel, STAYS THERE for a second or two, then hops back down. How he managed to actually stay perched on top of the tunnel is beyond me, but he did it.
But I said I wasn’t going to be negative, right? Well, as embarrassing as that was, he only did it the one time and then appeared to realize that on TOP of the tunnel is not how we do it. I ran him back and forth several times after that in both of our turns, including setting him up for some odd entries.

The best news: he is really fast. Not so fast I can’t keep up, I am a runner myself and just generally a gym junkie (in fact, I’m blowing off a Wednesday class at the gym to take him to this class… but I figured I can do those weight lifting sessions at home…) so I have the added bonus of being able to sprint myself and not end up nearly killing myself. But he is definitely fast.
Now I just have to figure out how to not kill that speed in him. Which means I need to become a far better handler and very soon.

So there you have it. My dog is a huge brat and embarrassing, but he’s a very talented little embarrassing brat too.