Sunday, February 3, 2013

Rally Free Preparation

So, Tessa and Dean are registered for the Rally Free competition in April!

I am very excited.  I am excited to be starting out in a brand new sport that will be brand new to everyone there.  I am excited to give Tessa a chance to have a sport that is as much of a first time for me as it will be for her.

I am also excited to have something to train for!  I haven't been this motivated to prepare in a very, very, very long time!

We began today.  Tessa, Dean, and Speedy each had a training session.  Even though Speedy is probably not going to do this, I am going to go ahead and work on some of the exercises with him since any of them can be Freestyle moves, and he will enjoy it.


Tessa went first today.  We worked on her single leg weave.  Tessa has never been terribly excited about leg weaving and I really want to build her understanding of the move.

As we learned in class a few weeks back, I set her up in heel, stepped forward, and had her do the single leg weave, with a c/t when she landed in side position.  I did elect not to use a cue today.  I'd like to see her offering the behavior a bit more solidly before I start working the cue with her.  I use "through" for a single weave.

After we did two of those on each side, I switched to paw lifts.  We had never tried those in heel or side, so I had her do some in front of me.  One thing we have to work on is her understanding of raising the correct paw on the correct cue.  As of now she knows she is supposed to lift a paw, but as often as not, she lifts the one I didn't cue!  This is one of those things she is going to figure out in her own good time.

Some work with her understanding of the name of each paw is in order, but for today we went ahead and practiced in heel and side.  She didn't do too badly.  She seemed to enjoy the exercise a lot.  I think she will do well with this once the name of each paw is solid for her.

We also did a few circles around me in each direction.  Her clockwise circle, on the cue "circle" is very solid.  Her counter-clockwise circle, on the cue "reverse" needs a bit of work, but is actually quite good for a behavior we haven't done all that much with.


Speedy also got to practice paw work.  He did really well with it, actually.  It figures, of all of my dogs, his understanding of which paw is which is solid.  We haven't done much with lifts in heel and side, but he seemed to enjoy the change.  This is a great behavior for him to work on since it provides a bit of a stretch to his front paws.

We also did some work with circles and reverses.  Circles were excellent, reverses needed a bit of help.

Finally, I tested his verbal recognition of position cues.  We need to work on that.


Dean's single leg weaves are awesome!!  I say "through" and he looks for the leg to dive under and through he goes!

His paw work is very good, but he tends to get excited and sit pretty to offer both paws at once!!!  This is something we will have to work on a bit.  The good thing was that in heel and side, he actually did better than he did in front.  Verbal games with "paw", "lift", and "pretty" are in order!!

He also did circles and reverse circles.  We definitely need to work verbals for this.  He is stellar on hand cues, but tends to loop into position instead of circling on verbal alone.

I really want to do what I did when I was first training Speedy to do Rally - print small versions of the signs, cut them out, and draw out three exercises to practice each time we train.  That way things will get changed up, but we will be able to focus on working out some of the weak areas.

I know we are all really going to enjoy this!

By the way, if anyone is wondering what on earth I am even talking about, here is the Rally Free website.  Check it out!

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