Ok guys here is an update about our adventures in Rally-O. We went to our first trial this weekend and did 3 Novice A runs. So early to get up! Haha. I'm not sure who was more tired, me or Archer. Anyway he was nervous at first, because he doesn't like dogs barking and there were several barkers there. He got a bit spooked by a garbage can, and some shiny tarps... but after that he settled in and felt comfy in his little carrier inside.
Our first run, I was fairly nervous and he was pretty distracted still, with the noises. I think we WOULD have qualified if I had known that I needed to make tighter 360's and about turns- in my training class to date what I had been doing had been deemed as decent enough. So we NQ'd for our 360 that was too wide, and also for our side step, which again, I didn't know what the judge wanted on that one- his butt needs to move WITH me, not get up and reposition at my side. So we will do some remedial work on that. Also, I kind of forgot that if I'm not sure I did something well enough, to just accept the -3 point deduction and re-try. It is better to do that than to NQ with a badly executed manoeuvre.
The second run felt amazing, and we did great on all the exercises but we re-did one 360 that I thought the judge wouldn't like, and we NQ'd for the side step. Luckily the third run was by a different judge who says she doesn't like judging side steps as she feels it is a bit unnatural for the dogs... so that course didn't have that in it. So, we did qualify for 1 run! Yay! I was only able to get a partial video of our 2nd run (I ran our of memory on my phone, duh):
I notice I am holding the leash too high up, which I think is because it is a bit long, so I am considering trying a 4 foot leash for rally-o, not the 5 foot one. That way I should be able to keep my hand by my belly-button. Also I am going to be doing more heel work with Archer so he sticks to me better. I am just using the cue "Let's go" in these courses but I think I will switch to heel, because I use "Let's go" outside when we walk, which pretty much means go wherever, just don't pull. So I am going to train heel more and also do some rear control work to try to nail that side step, or else we are gonna NQ anywhere they have that! Ack. I think I will try doing some stationary pivot work to teach a cue for getting his butt in beside me.
We are starting in our advanced rally-O class this Thursday- should be great fun! And considering doing another trial at the end of the month to aim for the Novice A title. My friend who is also in the class with her boxer has asked if we can try a team entry, so I think we will if we make it to that trial! How cool of a team would that be, a boxer and a Havanese.