Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Attention At Heel

Last night was our first Attention at Heel class at Fortunate Fido with our teacher Ginger and 5 other dog/handler teams (a mixed bag: an Australian Shepherd mix, a Sheltie, a pit bull rescue, a Dalmation, a GSD, and Gilda). The class description reads:

6 weeks- 1 hour each week(dogs come every week) You and your dog must complete Beginner or puppy class before taking this class. We work on attention and proper heel position.
  • Heel position
  • Find heel games
  • Back up in heel position
  • Attention games
  • Canine freestyle moves
My main goal in taking the class is to help Gilda become more comfortable and confident working in facilities other than Agility Underground. I'm hoping that this class will help Gilda in both Agility and with hospital visits.

Gilda was very nervous as we entered the building and she put herself into a 'down' and pretty much stuck there at my feet as we waited for class to start. I rewarded her for attention and she was able to take treats for the most part. She was visibly nervous about noises and I was a little concerned to learn that metal folding chairs would be used as she cringed at the sight of them and each time one was moved even an iota.

Gilda in the 'down' watching dogs and people enter the room is not a picture I am used to seeing! She faked some folks out looking like the dutiful and calm dog but clearly this was a stress response.

We started class with some heel exercises and Gilda quickly reverted to her old self trying hard to do what was asked of her (and getting ahead of herself at times by offering non-related behaviors). She was willing and able to work even as the metal chairs were moved around and props were added and taken away. 

I think it was a great start and I look forward to the next 5 weeks of class!

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