Monday, July 29, 2013

We've Never Had This Before

Tonight was Rally FrEe class - our first class of the new session.  Both dogs did a really nice job.  Our instructor encouraged us to use a different Free Choice behavior at every Free Choice sign and that was a nice bit of a challenge.  It made us break out of "the usual"!!

Tessa did a really nice sit pretty and, with a lot of help, she did a 360 pivot in side position!!  We still need to work on transitioning things to verbal, but she is doing good work and I am happy with her.

Dean was just plain fun tonight.  He was engaged.  He was enthusiastic.  He was eager to do whatever I asked at every sign.  His eyes were lit up with fun and he was very into it.

Dean and I have something that we have never had before.  In all the years that we have trained, worked, and competed together, we have never hit a stride like this where his skills just shine and he is enjoying himself every time we go into the ring together.

Rally FrEe has been a tremendous gift to us.  He can take part in the group class.  There are no jump bars falling, there are no teeters banging, and there is very little social pressure in the setting.  He doesn't have to go to the car when it's not his turn.  He is relaxed and happy.  And he is becoming more and more interested in the task at each sign and he is just not concerned about what is going on around him.

And, I think, for the first time, I just love working with him.  I'm not trying to make him into something he's not, but honing his skills in a way that respects who he is.  I really appreciate what he brings to our working partnership.

I wish I would have had this attitude with him when he was young, but in a way it is perfect that this time is now.


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