I'm pretty sure learning to "drive" a dog is like learning to drive a manual car. You start out having no idea what you are doing, a little awkward with the controls (push the path). You have to listen and learn how to transition, when to give, when to take, maybe stall a few times somewhere in there. But after a while things start to move together and you and the car/dog are moving smoothly as a unit!
I am still at the awkward stage LOL! But it's starting to make sense.
We learned more about "pushing the path" today, which is pretty much like learning a new language or manual car haha but the more our instructors talk about it, the more it starts to click in my head...slowly. Pushing the path means you are directing to the dog what path to take using personal space, you step in they move away, you step away they move toward you.
.....I'm pretty sure me trying to explain "push the path" made no sense at all, oh well..... I'm still learning.
Riley is just absorbing everything like a sponge! He did very well in class today. His stays were just about perfect, but he did break a couple of the contact holds. We are being taught the 2 on 2 off contacts and today we had to remind Riley to keep those back feet on! Other then that he did splendid! Flew through all the obstacles, even the chute and weave poles (those are his most challenging I'd say). But any mistakes he did make were because of me and my awkwardness. The instructors are all very very patient and eager to help and explain. Riley worked very hard today and once again he did so much better then I expected! His is now one tired, happy pup.
"Tired? Who's tired?!"
"I does not have a tired, I has a toy."
"You can't be talking about me."
"It's not what you think, I'm just stretching my legs."
"Class was fun today huh mom? We had lots of fun."
"I'm just resting my eyes, k? Just real quick."
"I'm just resting them...... over here..... on my nice, comfy.....ZzZzZz......"
Well in return I have a lot of updates! Lets see...Well as y'all know Riley and I graduated from beginners agility and are now in the intermediate class! All the work is off leash, which is a challenge for Riley. He is such an outgoing, friendly dog that being told he can't play with a dog or new person is a huge challenge. So with class being off leash while running obstacles it takes a lot of focus from Riley not to give in to his impulses. Although he did give in twice, once right in the beginning, he ran to another dog, but came right when I called (which I was so ecstatic about!) the other time was at the A-frame (his favorite), he went before I said to, we stopped him and tried again.
I am overflowing with pride! He did well beyond my expectations! I think I've found what his calling is life is, he just has so much enthusiasm and we both have so much FUN!
We have been practicing the weave poles at home, but with it being so hot out (100+) I've moved the poles inside. Hopefully, soon this heat will back off and the cooler temps will be welcomed with open arms.
For the weave poles we use the channel method in class, so I've attempted to build my own, using our clubs dimensions. Riley picked up on it pretty quick, but I have to remind myself constantly not to rush! I get excited when he does so well haha :)
I got my first Blogger award! I'm a versatile blogger :) I didn't even know you could get something like that, so I was pretty happy. Apparently there are rules to these thing, so here we go:
- I've been married for almost 4 months!
- I've never broken any bones
- I've never had stitches
- I love breakfast food! Any kind of breakfast food! The best is when you have breakfast for dinner!
- I still call my mom about everyday
- I like to watch classic Disney movies and Pixar movies. I'm still a kid at heart :)
- I was a pre-school drop out, because I would bite the other kids LOL
3) Pass this award to 10-15 other bloggers you have recently discovered and think are fantastic!
Dogs choose to sleep on the funniest things. Now Riley has two perfectly good dog beds, but if there is a piece of paper, a bag, towel, etc. on the floor, he will lay on those instead. Today sleeping place of choice was my cloth bag. Conveniently right next to it was his travel food dish (which was in the bag at one point) and for good measure Riley brought one of his toys over.
Periodically throughout the day I would see him laying there and I'd try to go sneak the camera, but every time he'd get up and follow me! Gah! I eventually got the camera and got some pictures of him resting on my bag haha.
As I am writing this, I look over, and what is Riley sleeping on? A towel that got left on the floor :) Now his dog bed is literally 10 ft away, but maybe the towel has some kind of appealing nature, I don't know. Silly dog!
For number 2 on the list, toys, Riley has that covered.
I've posted about Riley drooling before, but I wanted to get a better picture. So here's a more visible drool shot LOL.
He doesn't get excited at all.... He doesn't come running when he hears you open the laundry room door, hoping you will open the food bin.... When you scoop his food, he doesn't sprint over to sit by his food dish....He won't sit there, wagging his tail so fast you'd think he could become air born..... And most defiantly he will not drool excessively in anticipation for the release word that will allow him to eat.
Who am I kidding?
Last but most definitely the best, Love.
We got it.
So, maybe we need to take a lesson from our dogs and remember to take a step back to enjoy the simple things in life. I know I forget to sometimes.
As per Sprollies 'n' Border Collies suggestion I took out my old graduation cap and took some pictures with Riley, to commemorate our graduation from beginners agility :) (Cheesy? Yes, I know lol) I'm not sure Riley saw it as celebrating, but more like forced to look funny for mom. This also gave me a chance to play with my new lens! It's hard getting use to manual focusing but I'm sure I will eventually get the hang of it.
Riley was not thrilled, but he let me pose him in a funny hat and for that, he got treats at the end.
He almost looked terrified at times...
Too afraid to move...
Soon he started to relax
And had some fun!
"I WILL NOM THIS SQUARE HAT"
No, Riley there will be no nomming of the square hat, only nomming of treats.
We had our last beginners class on Thursday, and at the end of class we ran a mini course just for fun. I don't know why I was so nervous we wouldn't move to the next class. Riley exceeded my expectations. I was worried with all the people and dogs around he would lose focus on me and want to go play, but he didn't! He was so focused and eager! I am such a proud doggy mom right now!
As I watch the video I laughed-out-loud about the Table portion. I can't help but imagine what was going through his head.
Riley: OK MOM! Table means... I sit....no, lay down. Focusing on mom, wonder what's next? Must focus......
...Oooo what's that smell?...
....Smells kinda good over here too....
Oh Hi mom! Ready?! Oops, ok back down.
Me: OK! Jump!
The intermediate class starts immediately and I can't wait! What can I say? I'm addicted and I'm sure Riley is too!
I don't have any new pictures tonight (late day at work) but here are some videos from last weeks agility practice. I just figured out how to edit video and these (and my previous video I posted) are my first attempts at it. I think it'll be nice to have video's from the beginning to see how we progress through our classes and hopefully to competition. (I am thankful that my husband comes to class and take these videos, Thanks hun!)
Tomorrow is "graduation"......... I really really hope the instructors feel we are ready to move on! The next class is off leash, and while I think Riley can mostly focus (especially with treats involved) I hope our instructors see that too. I am officially addicted to agility and I think Riley is too!!!
I got a new lens! Now I just have to learn how to use it, because I have a Nikon D40 I have to manually focus with my new lens, a 50mm f/1.8D. But that's OK! I took some practice pictures just to test it out, obviously I need to read up and play with it some more. I am really excited to see what it can do!
"Do we have to do pictures?"
Close-up of my flowers and even got a little ant in there.
As promised, here is a video collage of the Dog Walk from Thursdays class (my first attempt at video editing, forgive me).
Riley did amazing! Before this, we had only done the "little dog walk". He was a little bit cautious the first time, but only by a hair.
"Whoa! This is kinda high"
The second run he was more confident.
"I can do this!"
On the third run I was instructed to take his leash off (for safety) if I felt I couldn't keep up with him. Which I did. He was just awesome! Even our instructors were a little surprised. I am so proud of my little guy!
Next week is our "graduation" class, where they evaluate each dog as they go over each obstacle and determine if they feel we are ready for the next class. Our instructors keep saying Riley has a lot of potential if we keep at it, which makes me feel really good about myself and proud of Riley!
Tonight we attend Riley's 2nd to last beginners agility class, and they are increasing the height of the A-frame Dog Walk to regulation height! Yay! Personally, I think Riley's favorite obstacle is the A-frame tho, followed by the dog walk. He is such a natural! Me on the other hand.... not so much. I am slowly learning and building my own agility vocabulary, but it's hard to remember what to say, when to say it! Riley moves SO FAST!
Spot! oops I mean...
Dog wa......I mean, Walk it!
Ok, I know it will all come with time and practice, but still! So frustrating!
The best thing about dipping our toes in this new world is meeting new friends and having fun! Riley and I have made friends with another girl and her Golden Retriever, William. Both Riley and William find waiting in line to be the most boring thing ever and bounce on the end of the lead when they see the dog in front go over/though the obstacle (mainly the A-frame though!) It's awesome that they are so enthusiastic!
I just really hope we "graduate" this class and move on to the intermediate class! I really want to continue agility and I think Riley does as well :) It's so fun! Hopefully I will be posting pictures and videos of class, all thanks to my wonderful husband, who comes to class with us! :)