We're back in utility class. We had taken a break for awhile but thought it time to get back in class. It's really a good opportunity for Jackson to work under some stress. There are several other dogs in the class so there are distractions for him to work through. This is what he needs now. He knows the exercises - he just needs to be able to perform them whenever and where ever asked. So, we're going to try some 'tough love' for awhile and see how it goes.
He missed the first signal because he wasn't paying attention and he was worried about the instructor standing behind him, so I went in and gave him a correction (mild collar pop) and restarted the exercise. He paid attention and did the signals fine on the next attempt. Since I know that he knows the signals, he needs to understand that ignoring me because he is worried or distracted is not an option.
The glove exercise went well. His pivots to the gloves and his retrieves were good. We're trying something a little different for the articles. His problem in the trial was the amount of time he was taking to work the pile. I don't think it was because he didn't scent the article - he just didn't want to pick it up. So, for awhile we are only going to put out four articles instead of eight and if he doesn't get to work soon, or if he indicates the right article but doesn't pick it up, I'm going to go in and take him to the article. It's not going to be a correction, it's just going to be a direction to the correct article, so he understands that his job is to go to the pile and get the article quickly.
The other exercise we worked on was the directed jumping. His go-outs were good and he had sits with them tonight. He has always had straight go-outs, although sometimes he doesn't go as far as I would like. He didn't pick up enough speed to make the bar jump the first attempt, but did the next two jumps fine. I'm not too worried about the directed jumping exercise. If he doesn't show lameness again, I think we can correct the jumping problems.
So, we'll try this approach for awhile and see how it goes.