In my week 13 post I wrote about the trainer merging two classes (ours and the one before ours) and her saying “Come anytime after 6 and we’ll run until it gets dark.” Not knowing the people in the other class, this meant we’d be dealing with strangers this week.
We got to class last night around 6:45. There were 8 people, 7 dogs, and us. The trainer offered to let us in the back gate but I declined saying we’d try heeling passed the other teams. Liezel was awesome! We walked past strangers, people and dogs, and we kept a loose leash and a focused heel. Since everyone had already run a course, we were up right away so we walked out on the field and Liezel spotted the Newfoundland in the kennel. She went off.
This is so odd to me. She heeled passed all the teams without issue, but saw that Newfoundland and started barking and lunging (and choking herself out). It was behind two sets of fences and not coming toward us, but Liezel was having no part of it. I was able to get her focused and took her leash off. I figured as soon as I snapped it off she would start lunging at the fence again, but surprisingly she sniffed all around and came when called.
Liezel was a big goofball! As always the first run was messy with her excitement outweighing precision. The following runs were a little better precision- wise but she started running into me and mouthing my hands. She could have be described as bouncy and high-energy. This is very different behavior than she normally displays. I think she is having so much fun that she looses her mind a tad. This is OK by me because I want her to have as much fun as possible when we’re in what she might consider “scary situations.”
The trainer raised the jumps for Liezel from 12 to 16; 1) stating she’d be at 16 for competition, and 2) the higher jumps will make her concentrate more and burn more energy. Liezel didn’t even seem to notice the increase.
When we were off course I put Liezel in one of the soft sided kennels. This let’s her feel like she’s in a safe spot and allows me to watch the other students run instead of focusing all my attention on Liezel. While she was kenneled I heard the woman next to me say, “Shelby, what’s wrong with you tonight?” She explained that her dog is also reactive and is normally the one barking and lunging. She seemed to think that Liezel was scaring her dog into behaving. Who knows how the mind of a dog works…
One of the last times we were on the course, Shelby reacted and lunged at Liezel. I was SO proud that Liezel walked away without making a peep. She looked for me and when I called her she ran right to me.
Finally, the course last night was: jump, jump, tire (heading north), jump (heading south), broad jump (heading north), tunnel (under A-frame), A-frame, tunnel, dog walk, jump, tunnel, table. A lot of sharp, immediate turns – probably why she kept running into me!