Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wall-e's fourth rally class

Wow, it's hard to believe there's only two classes left.

At this class we learned:

Halt - 90 Degree Pivot Right - HALT
Halt - 90 Degree Pivot Left - HALT
Spiral Right - Dog Outside
Spiral Left - Dog Inside

At the next class we'll learn the remaining Novice exercises.

At the beginning of the class, the instructor accidentally turned the heating fan on (I'd told her about Wall-e's fear of fans at the first class, but she forgot; no big deal, it happens!). Wall-e was scared and wouldn't take treats, so I reminded the instructor about his fear and took him outside as she turned the fan. He didn't want to go back inside, but I carried him in. I would have rather shaped him to go back inside, but it was cold and I would have let tons of cold air in the building. I was impressed with how quickly he recovered, though; he started taking treats again as soon as he realized the fan wasn't on, whereas several months ago he still would have been very stressed.

We didn't practice any pivots at this class because they require a bit of training (preferably in an environment without the distraction of other dogs!), but we did practice spirals. Our first spiral lefts were NOT pretty. I kept almost bumping into Wall-e because I wasn't cuing him properly (hmmm, why does that sound familiar?). But by the end of the class, we were both doing better.

The sequence for this class was Start, 360 Degree Right, Fast Pace, Normal Pace, About Turn - Right, Call Front - Finish Left, Halt - Sit - Down - Sit, Halt - Sit - Down - Walk Around, Finish. We were doing pretty well up until the Halt - Sit- Down - Sit, where Wall-e did his sit and down really crooked. He's always had crooked sits and downs, but I've never really payed attention to it as much as I should. The instructor recommended that I retrain his sits and downs a bit to get them straighter, and she helpfully showed me how to reward him to encourage a straight position.

Below is a picture from our third class a week ago; you can see how crooked his sit is :) They were even more crooked at this class. That's what happens when you don't train for straight sits; I never really did :)

I agree that I should retrain him and we've started doing that this week at home. It'll take a while to build the muscle memory of doing straight sits and downs, but with a lot of retraining, I definitely think he'll be able to do it. I just have to remember to always reward on the left side of his head, away from me, instead of towards me.

I have to say, as I watch the video clips from this class, that I just love how happy Wall-e looks as he trots beside me, even after his scare with the fan at the beginning of the class. I'm actually glad that the incident with the fan happened because know I have a lot more confidence with Wall-e's ability to recover from stress.


  1. Wall-e looks very attentive to you. I'll bet he makes a great Rally dog.

  2. I know what you mean about straight/correct sits. I never bothered to teach Marge a formal, correct finish, so while she does sit straight, she often sits with her back legs in line with me (when it should be her front legs). Doesn't matter in the Rally ring, but we'll get docked points for it if we ever did regular Obedience.

    Can relate about the fan, too. Marge was petrified of it at our old training club.

  3. I did notice how crooked Eva sits but didn't really think about it until I read this post. I always thought Eva sits like this because of her weak hindlegs and now I wonder whether I could correct her sits. May I know how you teach Wall-E to do straight sits and downs? Thanks!

  4. that really sounds like a great class and sounds like you guys are doing so well, very cool!

  5. Glad your class is still going well and Wall-e was able to recover quickly from the fan in the building! That's progress! I sit crooked too! I really like that photo of you and Wall-e - crooked sit and all! :)