I had hoped to have Tessa ready for Advanced by this point, and I entered her in Advanced three times.
But, we really aren't quite ready!
I have worked with her over the winter. Quite a bit. I can honestly say that I have at least started to introduce all of the exercises that she ought to know! But few are fluent!
The courses came today and there are exercises in all three of the courses that we don't have quite near finished enough yet.
So, I am going to make this an experiment! Why not?
Between now and the competition, I am going to take time to work with Tessa every single day on the behaviors that she does not yet know to fluency! I am going to use a high rate of reinforcement and just make her as familiar with them as I possibly can!
Those exercises are:
- Back Away in Center (she has to back 4 steps away from me and then wait while I return to her and get back into the approach position)
- Back Thru Moving 3X (she backs under my legs from heel to side, side to heel, etc. three times as I move backwards)
- Back Around Handler (yeah - we are still working on this one!)
- Distance Behavior (she has to back step 4 steps away from me and then perform a behavior "out there")
Really, it's not a ton. However, the following could also use some finishing touches . . .
- Bow (from Novice, needed on every course - yikes!)
- Back up in Left Heel 4X (her backing is fine, it's getting her into position properly to back that is hit or miss!)
- Alternative Position (she knows to "scooch" behind me to stand perpendicular to me in "follow", but I need to make sure she understands the cue)
- Sidepass Left 4X on my right (I think she can do this since she will be moving toward me, but I'd like to practice a bit)
There are a few things that I am pretty confident of. Her pivots are super nice now. We have Free Choices to use. Her Thru to Front X3 Back is actually one of her favorite exercises! Her Switch Backs are lovely.
So, we will work our rear ends off for the next week and then see what we see. I'll bet that at least one of the behaviors really "clicks" for her!!
And I am kind of excited about this training challenge!