New class with "normal" dogs

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 27th, 2010, 4:14 pm

So my instructor, Ginger, encouraged me to sign Inara up for a C-Wags class ( http://www.c-wags.org/ ) because she really wants us to compete. I was nervous about being in a class w/"normal" dogs but she said there was only one other dog signed up.

I got an email from her last night: "don't freak out but there are 5 other dogs now." Holy crap. She said she still wanted us to take it if I was comfortable doing so. So I said what the hell and off we went today.

Had a slight panic attack as I pulled in because there were dogs EVERYWHERE. A class had recently let out and mine was about to begin. So Inara of course started barking non-stop in the car. I parked at the WAAAAAAY far end and just walked Inara around until the dogs all went in or left. Then Ginger poked her head out and said she'd come get me in a second once she had the other dogs/owners settled in.

So we walked in and of course Inara started barking like an ass. Ginger wanted to try a new tactic with her though - if she barks and acts up, give her a non-reward marker (mine for this is "sucks to be you!" said very cheerfully) and take her into the bathroom where she can't see the other dogs. Because she is so hypermotivated to see them and interact with them, this ended up being an AWESOME "punishment." If she barked more than once, off we went to the bathroom. Ginger had stuck me right by it so it was very convenient. But it worked SO WELL. Inara caught on really quickly and after I dragged her into the bathroom she'd quiet down in just a few seconds. So it was great because we actually got to really participate in class!

Inara seems to be a bit more advanced than some of the other dogs. We worked on sit/walk around your dog and down/walk around your dog. Inara is great at that but a lot of dogs were having problems. Then we did sit/down/sit all in heel position. Again, Inara rocked the house at that, popping up and down immediately, while others were struggling. We worked a bit on some heeling games to teach the dogs that it's a good position to be in. And we worked on the dogs relaxing a bit in that environment. Then we worked on the dogs staying in a sit for a polite greeting. Major FAIL, lol . So we're taking major baby steps with that with Ginger starting about 5' away and only taking a step forward if Inara stays sitting. She was only able to take one step. :oops: Ginger said we'll work on that one a WHOLE lot because she knew that would be the hardest one for Inara.

All in all it was a FANTASTIC class and both Ginger and I were shocked at how well Inara did. I'm really excited about her progress and maybe we'll get to the point where we can actually compete at some point!
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby airwalk » March 27th, 2010, 7:29 pm

Don't you just love it when you find someone that cares enough to help you find the way? Yay for you guys.
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 28th, 2010, 7:43 pm

This is HUGE!!!! :clap:

:confetti:

CONGRATS! Keep us updated! 8)
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Postby Ino » March 28th, 2010, 8:22 pm

That is awesome- way to go for both of you!!! Congrats!!! :D
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Postby PetieMarie22 » March 29th, 2010, 9:10 am

Glad to hear Inara is doing well. I love your non reward marker! :ROFL2:
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 29th, 2010, 9:12 am

Thanks guys!

Ginger laughed at it too. I had been using "too bad" because that's my standard one, but she wanted something that would indicate a more serious "punishment" than just not receiving a treat. So "sucks to be you" comes naturally to me and it keeps me cheerful as I say it. :giggle:
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby TheRedQueen » March 29th, 2010, 9:14 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Thanks guys!

Ginger laughed at it too. I had been using "too bad" because that's my standard one, but she wanted something that would indicate a more serious "punishment" than just not receiving a treat. So "sucks to be you" comes naturally to me and it keeps me cheerful as I say it. :giggle:


Yeah, that's been known to come out of my mouth for the dogs too...;)

And one of our drunk flyball teammates to the Judge this past tournament...:giggle:
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Patch O' Pits » March 29th, 2010, 9:17 am

I'm glad she is making progress. Remember she senses your stress right down the leash so you need to be confident in her.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 29th, 2010, 9:21 am

I know, Therese. Actually I adore Ginger because she doesn't get stressed out if Inara acts like an ass, so that keeps me from getting embarrassed and stressed out. I'm getting excellent at staying totally relaxed and happy during classes, especially as she's really begun making progress.
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby madremissy » March 29th, 2010, 3:58 pm

Way to go Inara and Liz. Great job :clap:
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Postby airwalk » March 29th, 2010, 6:12 pm

I'm going to have to try that with Magic....hmmm...he and Inara could be bookends in class.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 3rd, 2010, 8:03 pm

Class number 2 today, and Inara did even better than last time! We had to go into the bathroom straight upon arriving in class. That didn't surprise me or bother me, though - I think Inara will just always be one of those dogs who announces her presence upon entering a room with other dogs. We then had to go into the bathroom maybe 5 more times the rest of the hour. That's a huge improvement! The last 3 times we only were in there for about 10 seconds, which was great.

I figured out that it's the Corgi in class that's setting Inara off when she does go off. It stares at her and is barely under control. It was also very vocal this week which didn't help. Ginger put a barrier up in between Inara and the Corgi and that made a big difference.

I really wish I had video of Inara pre-Relax class and Inara now. Ginger was commenting that even her FEET looked more relaxed, and she was right. Her toes weren't splayed out, digging into the mat like they used to do. Her breathing was more normal. And her tail was wagging, but at a nice mid-line level, not flagged over her back. She really seemed to enjoy herself today, and a couple of the times she barked it was at me in play. I was totally okay with that (and Ginger was as well) because it was nice seeing her be able to relax a bit and engage with me.

Ginger hopes we'll be able to compete by the end of May. There's a competition then and it's apparently outside, so she thinks Inara would be even better outside than in a building. I'm just totally loving this dog that Inara is turning into! :heartbeat:
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby tiva » April 4th, 2010, 12:36 pm

I wish we had a relax class here! Vanya doesn't seem any worse than Inara when you guys started the relax class, and now she seems a zillion times less reactive. Wonderful work!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 4th, 2010, 4:48 pm

Thanks, Nancy! I'm fortunate to have found Ginger.
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 15th, 2010, 6:10 pm

Forgot to update this after last weekend's class. :)

I once again had an "almost normal" dog! I've accepted the fact that she will always bark and carry on when we first enter the training center. I just pick her front feet up off the ground by her harness and smile and laugh with the other owners as I drag her by. Then she gets the "sucks to be you" and immediately into the bathroom we go. This week our first bathroom trip was probably 2 minutes - not too bad! After that, I think we only went back in the bathroom maybe 4 or 5 times for less than a minute each time! We had a substitute instructor and she kept coming over to say how well Inara was doing. :D

We are down to one barrier instead of the original 3. The one barrier now is just to keep Inara (and me?) from wanting to kill the Corgi and its owners. They're just totally oblivious to their dog staring at Inara and setting her off. They also can't control the Corgi and often end up moving far enough away from their starting point that our barrier needs to be adjusted.

Inara did much better this week on her "sit politely for the judge." Anne, the instructor, said whenever she is judging she makes a point of ignoring the dog and swooping in from the side, instead of bearing down head-on, staring directly at the dog. Unfortunately she said several of the judges do the head-on approach. That will be our breaking point moreso than anything else I think.

Inara is looking quite skilled at the exercises and Anne complimented us several times on our performance. I'm really enjoying this!
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby Pit♥bull » April 15th, 2010, 7:55 pm

Good for you Liz, way to go Inara :dance:
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Postby PetieMarie22 » April 16th, 2010, 9:34 am

That's really good news Liz! I know that feeling when you look at your dog and think "I cannot beleive how far you have come!" Being proud of your dog and seeing your hard work pay off is such a good feeling! :dance:
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 17th, 2010, 4:19 pm

Guess who did class today with NO BARRIERS IN PLACE!!!!!!!!!
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

http://www.pitbullzen.com
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Postby Hundilein » April 17th, 2010, 4:22 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Guess who did class today with NO BARRIERS IN PLACE!!!!!!!!!


And no eating of an obnoxious Corgi? You go girls!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 17th, 2010, 4:41 pm

She started to stare at him a couple times today but they must have heard me say that she doesn't like him because they did much better today at keeping him under (somewhat) control.

At one point all the dogs (5 total) were up doing heeling work at a brisk pace and Inara just did it like it was nothing! Firstly, for her to heel is a miracle in and of itself, but then for her to ignore moving dogs? Unheard of! lol

Next week we are going to do a bit of jumping. I anticipate that will push her over the edge a bit, but you know what? If it does, so be it. If it doesn't, awesome.

There just isn't a happy enough happy dance in the world right now for how excited I was today. :bananaDance:
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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