Tonight was week four of utility class. We missed last week due to a conflict I had with a meeting. Maybe it was having that extra week to practice that made the difference. Jackson was much improved this week. This is a tough class for him because of all the distractions and working in close proximity with other dogs and handlers in the ring - but, it's what he needs to learn to focus and work through his stress. (And, I think I was a little more relaxed this week, which helps : )
We did signals first, and he did miss the first 'down' signal, but after a restart he did the signals fine and even trotted in to me on the 'come.' Then came the dreaded articles. He's been pretty stressed about these, but tonight - even though he was worried about what was going on around him, he worked through it and got both articles correct in reasonably good time. Now, that's the progress I'm looking for!
The directed retrieve exercise went pretty well except he didn't come all the way around on the pivot to the #2 glove so ended up facing the #1 glove. A problem we've been working on for awhile. With some help though he corrected it and ended up getting the right glove.
The last exercise - the directed jumping - went pretty well. The go-outs were straight with good distance, but sits are still real slow. The directed jumping part of it was good though.
Overall, he is improving although we still have some work to do before I'm confident enough to think about entering a trial. We're half way through the utility session and I'm hoping by the end of this eight-week session we'll have improved enough to have me thinking about a trial. We'll see : )