Felix goes dog training clubbing

On Thursday we had our second Rally II class at the Charlotte Dog Training Club. Due to rain canceling our weekend plans, Brad was able to come with me and take a bunch of pictures!

It was a good class. Before class started, the trainer took her Papillon out to walk around the room. She was training him, and he was providing a good distraction for us to train around! He was spinning in circles, jumping, and doing all kinds of interesting things. Felix did such a good job of just lying on his mat and watching without getting overly excited.

I can’t remember everything we worked on in class, but we did do a bit of heeling. We each took turns walking around the classroom with our dogs on the outside (so our dogs were close to the dogs sitting around the edge of the circle). Felix was lagging the first time I did it, so I was going slow to accommodate him. But the trainer told me I needed to get excited and get him going! So I did that the second time around. He did great! Here is a video of it:

Felix also did a great job of lying or sitting on his mat while the other dogs walked around. There is a giant Leonberger puppy in our class, and that pup was so excited to be heeling that she was jumping her front paws off the ground. Brad got a great picture of the pup in the background with Felix doing a down stay in the foreground.

We also worked on stays, and Felix did a wonderful job with those! I am still not able to walk around him in his stays, but we’re working on that.

The last thing that we really focused on was platform and pivot work. These are tools that help a dog develop awareness of their body position and movement. When we actually start working with these tools in coming weeks, I’ll talk more about how they’re used. Right now, we’re just trying to get our dogs used to stepping on these things.

I brought a medium sized platform to class, and I also used the trainer’s small platform, but Felix wouldn’t step on them for the life of him! He also wouldn’t step on the pivot (upside down bowl). He was just fine stepping on these things in his puppy class, but I think he was the worst in this class at stepping on these things, so that is what I’ll be focusing on at home a lot this week.

Since class, I’ve gotten him to reliably put all four feet on a large platform, and to reliably put his front feet on a medium sized platform. I’ve got to work more on the medium one, then I can work on the small one. We’ll work on the pivot after he has getting on the platforms down!

Brad got some really incredible pictures of dogs and people doing distracting things while Felix payed attention to me and stayed lying down on his mat! In them, I’m wearing a flowery dress with bold colors, and am sitting in my wheelchair with fairy wings on the back. Felix is a sable and white Japanese Chin wearing a purple harness. I also got some pictures of Brad at the end and he is wearing disco-ball teal pants and a postage-themed blazer. Brad used a mirror in a few shots to have some fun. The lights in the building flicker between colors in ways that aren’t great for pictures, so the color grading comes out different in many of them. It’s not worth worrying about, though!

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