Sunday, March 20, 2011

rally class with the shriners

Yesterday, Oreo and I went to our 4th rally class.  I had a video shot, so I can show our behaviorist.  I'm sure she will tell me all the things I'm doing wrong. 

This is a painfully slow video to watch.  Oreo had a lot of trouble focusing. 


In the waiting area was a man, 4 women, a couple border collies, and a boxer puppy who had just had his ears docked.

When the puppy first walked in, I honestly thought he was wearing a shriner's cap.

Kinda looked like this:
Apparently, this shriner's hat contraption is a way of making the ears stand up straight.  It was very disturbing to me, and Oreo, as we had never seen such a thing.  I couldn't stop looking, but then had to turn away quickly.  I thought, how strange, sheltie people want floppy ears, but left to nature, sheltie ears often pop straight up. And the dogs with floppy ears are surgically altered to point straight up. 

Silly humans.  Always wanting to improve nature.

Back to rally.  Oreo was very distracted by shriner puppy and people this week.  I think it may be because the shriner family (2 dogs/3 people/1 shriner) arrived late, and Oreo hadn't had time to get used to their presence.

Although, since Oreo is pretty much always distracted,  I guess I really can't blame the shriners, despite the ridiculous hat.


Oreo had a few, brief brilliant moments (his left pivot and 360!). Of course, I messed up more than a few times.

Rally is way more challenging than I ever thought.

This was our course map, in case anyone wants to see what I was SUPPOSED to do.


Diana said...

That he can work and take food is awesome. He seemed nervous when walking away from whatever he is looking at. But then I changed my mine about that because as you are heelin back in that direction, he is walking very quickly, like he wants to go toward it and see what it is. I take that as a very good sign. (Hey sign and rally with signs, LOL) He wants to go toward something that is different. Thats really awesome! Did you ever let him go see what ever it is he is curious about?

Sara said...

Thanks Diana. Your comment made me feel better.

I did c/t for looking at the dogs/people before he went in the ring. But I don't think I did it for a long enough amount of time. Next time, I'll try and satisfy his "curiosity" as you said.

Priscilla said...

I don't think I'm able to give any suggestions for the rally but when I was watching the video, I felt like seeing myself with Eva there. She would be like another Oreo, the ways Oreo walked with you, he took the treats from you and when he wanted to see what had been happening around you, I thought I saw Eva there.
I think he did very well, he was eager to take treats from you and he kept on looking at you when he was walking too. It's so lovely to see two of you work together.
Yes, humans are strange creatures!!!

Ludo van Doggy said...

No wonder he was a bit distracted with that big crashing sound at the beginning. You both did really well though.
It's illegal to dock ears over here, so we'll never have to contend with the weird hat thing.

Dawn said...

Well. I did this whole LONG response and then lost it. Darn.

But the crux was that when Katie was stressed she never accepted treats, so I think Oreo is less stressed and more interested.

I might suggest that you get a shorter, less heavy leash so you don't have to handle so much. And yes, dropping the leash would get you NQ'd in a Rally ring...but heck...once you get past Novice you'll be off leash and you won't have to worry about managing the leash as well as the dog not to mention your own feet and shoulders and and and...

Rally will be good for Oreo, he will learn to focus on YOU in different buildings with different people and dogs around. Have fun!

Sara said...

Good idea Dawn. I'll bring a shorter leash next time. The leash is driving me crazy!

Jules said...

It seems like you found a really great rally class! I am jealous.

I can totally see why the shriner cap would freak Oreo out!!

I agree about the shorter leash. My trainer had me do that for Ike - primarily because at home we usually practice off-leash! So Ike was bothered by wearing a leash. Mendota (I think) makes a 5 foot VERY light/thin leash - perfect for rally. It's not leather, but it is soft on the hands.

Sara said...

Thanks for the suggestion Jules. I'll see if I can find that leash.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Oreo did do a good job considering the shriners and all! I too was glad to see him taking treats. Those rally signs confuse me and I don't see how you manage to get them right!

Sophie said...

Oh my, I can't even fathom seeing a dog with a big ol' hat like that on. Forget Oreo for a second - I'm surprised *you* could even look away! :)

Oreo might have been slow, but he had good eye contact with you, and that he could take treats was telling. He was staring a lot at the other dog (presumably, from how the video's shot!), but he didn't seem to try to get at or away from it; he just looked curious/bewildered (and I don't blame him). I think he reacted very nicely, personally!

Sara said...

Thanks Sophie.

Kathy said...

The noise at the start seemed really echoey and loud, and like everyone said it is cool that Oreo seemed distracted and not quite sure but not so over the threshold that he was not able to listen and he was taking treats, it looked like you did great with the whole situation ;-). Loved seeing Oreo work!

Helen said...

I agree with you about dogs ears. My shelties ears are left the way nature wanted them to go. Tucker's are drop and all the rest have had prick ears. A sheltie breeder actually told me that Beckett would be losing his "personality" if I didn't tip his ears.

Marie said...

I totally agree with the long leashes being a pain. I think I've tangled my dogs and myself in them more than once, in actual trials. I hate that they want a 6' leash.

I also agree that Rally is much more challenging than most people think. I think having to think about the signs and still pay attention to your dog is a difficult task.

You and Oreo are doing really well, and I hope the Boxer pup and his family get there on time next week, so Oreo has more of a chance to check them out before he has to go to work.