Last night was the last training class for this year - I won't know what to do with myself on Tuesday evening for the next two weeks. A fundamental truth of my life for the last 10 years - if it's Tuesday, it must be dog training!
And the sessions last night were truly enlightening. We did run-throughs, simulating trial conditions; Roc in Open and Dax in Novice.
And Roc reacted just like at a trial. He was nervous, despite knowing both the place and the people! And he weirded out a bit - he's been missing the broad jump the last two trials and in class, so we've been working on that. His broad jump was perfect. But he completely ignored me when I told him to "down" on the recall. Funny little dude. It's always something different.
Dax did much, much better than expected. I haven't really been practicing with her much - I'm a lazy sod at heart. But we have been teaching her to target, using a foam plate. She touches it with her nose and is rewarded with a cookie. While the other dogs were having their turns in the ring, I played with her target. At first she acted like she'd never seen it before - first time in this venue, I guess. Then she caught on - you could almost see the light bulb turn on - "Oh! I know this game! I get COOKIES!" And we were off and chasing that target, bobbing for cookies.
I held it in my left hand, in front of her, and did a bit of heeling. Worked like a charm. But trying to walk and hold something in front of a French Bulldog's face will give you very funny posture!
When it was our turn in the ring - I was very proud of her! She heeled very nicely off leash, proving me totally wrong, since I hadn't wanted to take her leash off at all! They will make liars of us every time!