This week marked the last week of Level Three, and my how the time flies! Looking back, it doesn't seem as though we've made a lot of progress, but as I've mentioned before, the progress is more subtle. Rubi is still a spaz when she first comes through the doors, but she's a fairly controllable spaz. I don't think she's anxious about the other dogs like she was before we started Level Three. Now, it's more of an excited-to-be-in-the-club-working kind of eagerness. I wonder, too, if Zach bringing her in from outside (he's dropped her off the whole session since I assist with a class right before working with B) doesn't get a little wound up as well. I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Rubi and I ended the class on a good note. We were able to work off leash - something we haven't done since about week two or so. And as a crowning achievement, while working off-leash, one of the other dogs escaped his handler twice to run over and, "just say hi" to Rubi.
Rubi, for her part, was all, "oh, hai, other dog. Come back later, mmkay? Am busy right now."
Oh, happy dance.
I love working with this dog; she cracks me up. Before letting her off leash, I worker her on the forty-foot long line. We worked going to her mat from a distance, with a goal of about twenty feet. Rubi doesn't get a lot of distance work what with my insane paranoia about letting her off leash, so I didn't ask her to go to her mat from twenty feet right away. We started at about three feet, then I backed up to five, then to eight, then down to six again, then up to ten - slowly adding on distance, but keeping it easy and rewarding at the same time. Did you ever take a hard test in school and then come across an easy question? One where you were like, "oh, yay! At least I got that one right!" And then it was easier to keep going. It's the same thing when working on variables with a dog. If the work is always increasingly difficult, it's harder to stay motivated. If I throw in something easy every once in a while, it will help keep B's enthusiasm up, and we can work for a little longer.
Rubi decided at about fifteen feet that she didn't have to run to the back to the mat - she could keep an eye on me and move to the mat at the same time! So she started poggo-sticking backwards to the mat, watching me the whole time (because it's hard to run backwards). As if that we're snicker worthy alone, once we hit twenty feet, Rubi got creative. After all, fabric is fabric, isn't it? And there's this wad of fabric much closer than the mat . . .
Sorry for the crappy cell phone pic, but she looks pretty dang pleased with herself, doesn't she? Clever beast.