Despite being nervous about taking Guinness to Rally class and worrying that we wouldn’t be up to snuff, we had a great time! There are a lot of little cues that Guinness doesn’t know but his initial trainer installed a lot of good habits in us. For example when we stop walking, we halt.
There were three other dogs in class and Guinness was definitely the biggest, no surprise! There was a lab named Jack (who was VERY vocal), a Portuguese water dog named Maddie (she was only 8 months and adorable! she almost made me want one of my own) and the last dog was Emmy, some sort of fluffy dog with a curled tail, maybe a collie mix. Jack was the most advanced of the group and had the most adorable little back up cue that we’re going to steal: beep beep. Maddie needed the most work.
For those of you who have never seen a rally class, it consists of a course with directions printed on little cards. Things like “Halt. Stand. Down” (Have your dog sit, make him stand up, ask him to lay down) or weave cones and turn in circles. You have to complete the course as accurately as you can, mistakes lose points. I was super nervous when we walked the course to begin with (just like a jumper round). We had things that say stuff like “Front. Finish right.” Front? Finish right? Whut? As we quickly learned, front is where your dog comes to sit in front of you, facing you. Finish right is where they return to heel position by going around and behind you. It’s a bit complicated to explain. Especially since Guinness doesn’t know either of those cues!
Still we went through the course anyway. Eric was the handler for today and they did great. Luckily in practice we can lead around with treats so Eric was twisting his body to get Guinness to go around him. Guinness did pick up on the front pretty quickly.
That was the second time through the rally course. Guinness wasn’t paying attention quite as well as the first time but he did pretty good. His back up was much better the second time. We’ve got a few cues to teach at home this week but I’m pretty impressed.
After all the teams had gone through twice we did almost what I would consider “flat” work. All four pairs walked around the edge of the room while the instructor called out different cues. Guinness of course did great. The hardest ones for him were definitely the finishes, both to the right and to the left.
I am super excited for our next class which technically is not for two Sundays but since we are getting a new puppy that weekend (!) I’m going to email them and see if I can go to a makeup class that week.