Today Czar and I went to our third Class 1 lesson at Obedience. As always for the end of the month, today was test day, even though the Melbourne Cup long weekend had stolen one lesson. I was resigned to Czar and I staying in Class 1 a little longer - his heelwork has been good, his sits are ok and not as wonky as they used to be, and his stand for exam has been rock solid as long as I'm holding a big fat treat for him to nibble on. But his stands and drops have been highly variable, and his ability to wait or stay in any position is almost non-existent. I'm learning to watch him more carefully and anticipate him moving, try and stop him, or reset him. This is particularly difficult when an instructor is working with a multi ability group - if we're told to prepare for an exercise, and one of the dogs is mucking around and takes some time to get ready, there is quite a bit of time for the other dogs to get distracted and out of position. And sometimes Czar is one of the first group of dogs, and a lot of the time he's one of the second group. So, fingers crossed. Lots of cheese.
The test was a much more serious business than the Beginners test. Although the heelwork pattern was simpler, the drop while walking and stand commands were more demanding. AND we had not one but three instructors watching carefully for loose leads and good communication with our dogs, including hand signals, verbal commands and general "keep the dog interested" chit chat. I was dismayed by the wet grass, which made the drops harder, but Czar had had a good run and some socialisation before we started. The test for our group was first up, straight off, no time to get in the groove. The observation was very keen. And, I had an added complication. For the first time, J was there for the whole class. With Ishka.
Czar could NOT keep his eyes off them. Every time I gave him a treat, he would break his position and run around my legs to look for them. He howled and whooed at them. He lunged and yanked on the lead. I spent ages resetting our position over and over. I burned through treats very quickly. Eventually I waved at J and Ishka, D and Bree to go away. D of course wanted to come closer, but J took him and they left. Poor J, he just wanted to watch! Fortunately, each time I pulled Czar's attention back, he worked well. I fumbled my treats for my return around the dog once, but otherwise we were pretty good. Good enough for a pass at least!
To celebrate passing, I've commissioned a new lead from DB Scooters, in Czar's collar colour and with a padded handgrip! Can't wait! (J, honey, walking belt is totally on my Christmas list, hint hint!!)
Meantime, J brought Ishka and her paperwork in and had her added to the obedience club's paperwork. Then they did an assessment of Ishka's temperament and some basic obedience. We consider Ishka to be quite dog aggressive. She doesn't go to the off lead parks and I prefer to walk her on an orange "no dogs" lead. J had heard her growl at every other dog she passed, but she didn't actually growl in the temperament test, so the club trainers decided that she didn't need a yellow bandanna. We'll see how she goes, but I think we would both prefer that she was given a bandanna. In the obedience test, Ishka remembered most of her early training, and J was told to skip beginners. Humph. Oh well. Any head-start I had was always going to be brief!
This means that as of Tuesday evening, we will both be attending class. I'm hoping that Czar will get over J and Ishka being there pretty quickly, especially as we'll probably be in the same lesson on Tuesday night. New challenges, new standards, new instructor. Oh, yeah, and, as of next Sunday, a new starting time - Czar and I will be in the early class!! D'oh!