So 2014 has started and I spent the first two weekends on courses. I really like going on courses, so 2014 could not have started better! I hope it's just the beginning of many good, exciting and inspiring courses for 2014. The first weekend in 2014 DCH had arranged a course for the rally coaches. It was about all the new rally signs that have been added. It was a great course with good variation between theory and practice. We started with hearing about the new signs for the Novice and Intermediate classes. There are now four new signs in the Novice class and eight new signs in the Intermediate class; in addition some signs have moved down to these classes from the higher classes. It was good to learn about these new signs, we learnt how to do the exercises as well as how a judge would judge them.
We were then divided into four groups and we got to go out with our own dogs and work with the new exercises. I had brought both my dogs and in the morning it was Coby who got to come out and train with the new exercises. Coby has not actually trained in a rally class before, but we have done most of the exercises at home so it was a little interesting to see how it would go.
Coby was super clever, and quick to grasp the exercises we had not previously worked with. The exercises I had thought would be most difficult for us (side step to the left and circle around the handler) Coby actually found quite easy. It was nice to try out the new exercises with my own dog and see that they might not be so impossible after all. The exercise Coby had the most trouble with was the STAND exercise, I've actually never taught Coby stand and you could see that, so maybe it's an exercise we should look at in 2014! In addition, the surroundings were a little challenging for Coby. He has some difficulty with new surroundings particularly new people and dogs, but I think he did incredibly well. If I provided him with a little space to the others then he worked super fine with me. As one teacher remarked it was only when he was not sure what I wanted from him that he focused more on the environment than on me. So a good day for Coby and I was super proud of him!
After a break with a delicious lunch it was time for theory in the Expert and Champion exercises. We got a good look at all the new exercises (eight in Expert and five in Champion). Of the new signs in Expert and Champion the double jump was the exercise I thought was the most difficult. Mostly because Miki does not like to run away from me, so it was an exercise I was excited to get out and practice.
In the afternoon it was Miki's turn to come out and train and we were divided into the same teams. Miki was full of power and ready to train, so it was also super good training with him my little star dog. He went super well on the mini courses and was focused and eager. He did well with the new exercises as well especially the new exercise “STOP - go lie down” which he did perfect even though we had not practiced it before. We have trained the field exercise in LP2 (obedience class 2) and I think he linked the two exercises together. In the double jump exercise, where I knew he would have a hard time, I helped him by going behind the second jump and put a ball so he managed this exercise fine so it's probably the way forward for us.
After another good training session we finished the course in the clubhouse with cake and closing remarks. So all in all a super course that has provided greater insight into all the new exercises, which makes it a little easier teaching my rally team the exercises.
Next time I will tell about the course I attended at the second weekend of 2014!