Last week I took Rip to Rally run-throughs for practice. We had an interesting (and fun) evening.
Our fun started as we entered the club building. Lately, our trips to the building have been to use the agility equipment - just us in the building, no others around. Rip must love the building, because he started barking and pulling me to the agility room as soon as we entered the door.
While I love the enthusiasm, it is a little embarrassing ("doesn't she train her dog?!?"), so I made him stop barking, sit, and look at me (rewarded with a click and a treat) before we moved forward. It took us about 5 minutes to make it the 20' from the door to the training room.
Upon entering the training room, Rip's excitement (and random barking) continued. I had to gently hold on to his collar to keep him from greeting every human and canine who walked by.
Here's what Rip was like almost the entire hour:
A happy, leaping, wagging, naughty blur!
The good part? He was AWESOME in our run-throughs. After our last run-through, the instructor, who is a friend from the club, asked me why I hadn't taken Rip to a trial yet. Did he miss the first 30 minutes of class, when my dog was barking, leaping, and licking everything he could?
Yes, Rip has the skills to do really well at Rally Novice, but what I learned from Thursday is that my wild black dog needs to get out more.
It's funny, because Ziggy and Maggie needed to get out because they were shy or nervous and needed to build confidence. This is not the case with Rip. He has plenty of confidence. He needs to get out more so he's not a whirling dervish every time we go somewhere.
So that's my near-term goal: take Rip somewhere every week - even if all we do is work long enough for him to calm down and settle in.
I'll let you know when it finally works :)