I would be lying if I said that I had the highest of expectations for Lucy as we approach the Rally Obedience trial. I absolutely intend to keep training and getting her up to par, but knowing that my little rescue dog tends to get stressed out easily, and that she has never experienced a competition-like atmosphere does not make me the truest of believers. That being said I intend on having fun and doing my absolute best with my little floof. This may turn out to be a one time experience, or this may become a lifetime passion. Either way, I am excited to find out as we work toward the competition.
This week my focus with Lucy is mostly to work on her heeling. According to the Cynosport Rally-O rules, “The dog is considered in heel position when the dog is on the handler’s left side, both dog and handler are facing the same direction, and the handler can reach out and touch the dog’s head.” Basically for Rally-O, to heel is to walk loosely on the leash by the handler’s side. At home and in low-distracting environments, Lucy’s heel position is great, but if she is stressed her focus flies right out the window. My goal for this week is to work on keeping her stress levels low and at bay by watching out for her triggers and combating them in the best way I can (usually a game of tug gets her right out of her stressy mood). I also plan to work on her focus and attention while heeling between one exercise and another in places she would typically get a bit stressed at, like outdoors when cars are passing by.