As for the challenge this week I worked the dogs at Target at the entrance on Monday, then took them to the park while my daughter was at swim practice. On Tuesday we went to an outdoor cafe for lunch. There were some people there from the dog club with a bunch of dogs my dogs didn't know, and I was able to have some other people do the Collar Grab game with my dogs, I was able to work the dogs with distractions and also bring out their mats and have them work on just hanging out and staying calm. As a bonus someone held my dogs for me while I went in for some lunch so they got some practice staying with a friendly stranger. All good things.
Wednesday we had a private agility lesson. In the spirit of solidifying more basic behaviors I asked Deanna if we could look at some weave pole entrances and I wanted to working on handling my flailing arms!!!! I am just so used to using my arms I do not know when I should be pointing to jumps and where I should just run and expect my dogs to know to catch the jumps. So check it out, we did all these short exercises with NO ARMS at all. DEFINITELY out of my comfort zone!
We did a really fun weave exercise just setting up lots of different amounts of weaves and numbers of poles at different angles, then as the dog was leaving one set of poles, I reminded them to look for the next. This was all to help so the dog understands WEAVE UNTIL THERE ARE NO POLES!! Basically I would like the weaves to be seen as ONE obstacle and no matter what I do, pull off laterally, or stop or decelerate they should keep weaving once they are in the poles. Breeze did pretty good, which is not surprising because she learned with the 2X2 method so it is looks sort of like that.
I feel like we identified some interesting things with Liz, she has a habit of running in front of me and then whirling toward me and barking and yelling at me. A typical herding behavior a dog would use to stop sheep or cattle. I think I have always worried that it meant Liz was getting stressed so I would stop and connect with her and then tell her where we were going. Somewhere along the way I think Liz has decided that she has to stop me and then get the next directions for where we are going instead of understanding that by me running toward something she already has the info she needs, just keep going little Liz!. Pretty frustrating for both of us. The fix for this....I keep running even if I end up running over her a few times, yikes, I think there is a fall coming. We did a few of the sequences a few times and Liz seemed to settle down and seem more confident and she seemed to be figuring out that she needed to keep going. It will be intresting to see if this was a one night thing or if being aware of this will help long term ;-).
My last HUGE out of my own comfort zone thing was my computer BLEW UP and I had to get another one. Of course I had not backed up anything. Yep, how stupid was that??? My IPOD has tons of things I want on it and now I do not know how I can get anything else on it without it syncing to itunes and having all my good stuff erased. Then apparently Windows 7 does not work with outlook express and it took me like two days to figure out how to use the Windows Mail. I hate change. Of course it took me days to figure out what program I could use to edit videos and the video editing is a lot nicer but it took me some time to figure it out. So I do think the dogs and I have both met our challenge and expanded our comfort zones a bit.