Sunday, November 15, 2009

More on Rallo-O

Rally-O again last night. Mom and I need to be more patient as we are slow learners (remedial, actually). I know how to DO everything, it's just that the chaos around me is much more exciting to watch than even getting treats. In fact, that's what is most fun about Rally.  One night I actually looked up at the ceiling in this unfinished warehouse and saw a giant metal blower duct.  I didn't know what to do … bark?  run?  bark?  run?  I was paralyzed by my indecision.  I stood and stared at the ceiling for almost one minute.  Every human was laughing at me.  Don't they know I'm a sentinel dog and supposed to be aware of everything around me that might be dangerous to THEM?  (and me?)  Eventually, I moved on.  I stared that monster metal into complete immobility.  I obviously am the master of the metal duct. 

There is always something cool and unexpected in Rally-O.  You never know what is going to happen.  In the agility ring next to us, there was a pit-mix of some sort (do you really think I can really tell breed differences?) off leash that charged the fence separating us twice. We all went nuts, barking and lunging. The females in my class (a GORGEOUS black standard poodle and a terrier of sorts named Ruby) were cowering and the dob and me almost choked ourselves trying to protect OUR turf.  Oh, BTW, the dob and I are friends now, even though he's much bigger and a year older than I am. 
The one thing my mom is learning in Rally, which is really the important thing, is how to manage situations when this happens and how to always be on watch with me to see when I am going to be over-aroused and what to do. Unfortunately for her, I get over-excited fairly often, despite her reading what to do in "Control Unleashed" and lurking on a CU Yahoo Groups site.  She tries to refocus me, walks me away, gives me treats for obeying commands, and will even take me outside.  Makes me feel kind of special.  I must remember to get over-excited more often. But if you take a look at this picture, in the Pairie Wolf Dog Park by the 'lake' where dogs are swimming, can you see how good my 'stay' is with distraction?  As you can also see, I've already had my swim, actually belly wade.  BTW, that's my brother (the tall one) and my dad (the short one) in the background. 

The instructor says that this chaotic environment is what happens if we ever are good enough to compete (as if), so it's a useful learning experience. I guess that Rally is fun for me because something exciting is always going on somewhere and fun for her because she can keep on learning to be a better 'handler.'  She needs a lot of work, though.  I'm trying to be patient with her.

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