I took Tess with me to a freestyle session, and later to agility training yesterday.
The freestyle is done in a 30x40 ft room. I had the woman who owns it put her dog away and while she was doing that brought Tess in. She was in full panic mode, dragging me around, startling to everthing, frantically sniffing. Within 2 minutes she was in working mode, staring at me, doing everything I asked, heel, sit, down, stay, come, and some freestyle moves. When Wendy came in, she startled and barked once, but immediately refocused on me, and even when Wendy walked through the room and sat down, she wouldn't take her eyes off me.
She worked a little for Wendy, but kept returning to me. Wendy is not very confident and is not good at keeping the commands coming, so Tess didn't seem to feel drawn to work for her. Tess NEEDS to work when she is stressed. She clings to work like a lifeline. She can ignore a LOT of stimuli if she is working. After about 15 minutes she relaxed, and could sniff around without being frantic. She came over and smelled Wendy, then came and sat next to me for a while. She heeled all over with a relaxed gate and face, tail wagging and ears up. We felt that was a great session, so sat a while chatting with Tess off leash, then left.
Then I took her to agility. We let her run around off leash, but she wanted to work after about 15 seconds. So we got out the hoop, which she had never seen. She went through the wrong way twice, which I ignored. Then she went through right and I c/t. She very methodically went back and forth, sometimes right, sometimes through the side. If she did not get the click, she stopped half way through the frame and thought, then went through correctly. After about 2 minutes she had it. I walked about 15 feet away to get more treats, and she followed me. As I turned around, she walked 15 feet back to the hoop and did it correctly! God she is brilliant.
I then let Kathy Riley play with her on channel weaves, which I do not use. Tess tried to go around the poles, like on my weaves, and Kathy worked her until she started tracking the channel (the metal pieces) at her feet. She would very methodically walk through the channel each time. Then as we were standing about 10 feet away taking a break, she went over and did the channel by herself!
So then we took her outside and started to teach her jumps. She has never done jumps, only weaves, tunnels, hoop and table. She picked up the jumps in no time, and we were doing jump, jump, curved tunnel, jump, jump, in a big U shape, stopping at random points to Jackpot. She was LOOKING for the jumps and going forward into the tunnel! She is not a velcro dog, but she watches my every move, and when she gets confused she slows down and thinks! My other two get more frantic and start jumping all over if they do not get enough information.
I was just thrilled to pieces. Kathy, being a dog trainer and more confident, was able to work with Tess as long as she wanted, and was given undivided attention. Oh, and when Kathy first started working with her, she told Tess to circle, and Tess went around behind her and landed between her legs in the cutest sit, looking up to get her treat! No fear at all!
I am telling you, this dog is brilliant! We had a wonderful day