Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Circles Circles and Circles!

Last night at Rally FrEe class, we did a course that focused on circles.  It was especially good because Tessa was on the right for a good bit of the course, so most of the circles were counter clockwise around me, which is her weaker circle.

But she did well with it and by the end of our second run on the course, I believe she was really starting to get the idea.

Tessa really gets the idea of things quickly.

We started out, as our instructor was setting up the course, out on the floor practicing skills.  I worked on some of Tessa's bows and some leg weaves, but mostly we worked on paw lifts.  Tessa is great at paw lifts in front of me.  She can raise both paws on hand cue, and is getting there with verbal.  But we haven't done much at all with paw lifts in heel and side.

At first she was confused and kept offering sit pretties.  I decided to back up a step and work on paw touches to my hand in heel and side.  To make things clearer to her, I reached over her, very exaggerated, when I wanted her to paw touch with the paw farther from me, and I reached my hand under, toward her chest, when I wanted the closer paw.

She got that immediately.

From there it was easy to switch to paw raises, and she was offering the correct paw raise on hand cue (mostly!) within minutes.

I intend to keep working this, starting with the paw taps and moving to the paw raise, and then work on verbals.

I have a bit of an issue because I will flip the cues that I use when she is in front.  I am actually thinking of teaching one cue per paw per side!!!  That means I would end up with six paw raise cues, but I'm not sure it can be helped!!

The other thing that I am considering is teaching a cue for the paw that is closer to me and a different cue for the one that is farther.  I'm not sure if that would work.  I don't know if she would get it.  I might ask on some of the lists to see if anyone has tried that.

Afterward, we did the course.  At first Tessa was a little hesitant on the counter clockwise circles, and she really seemed confused on the sign where she circles me twice (although this was a clockwise, which is her stronger circle) as I pivot in the opposite direction.  That was a move that Speedy used to do well and love.  In fact, he still does it!!  By the second turn, she was doing much better with it.

So, we have some circle work and paw lifts to work on, and Tessa is all for it.  I love watching her at class.  Her eyes are lit up with fun.  She is interested and eager to do everything.

And I'm kind of looking forward to having Dean join us next session . . . .

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