Holly, my dad, Meg, and I went to our first Rally-O class yesterday. Rally Obedience is really essentially the low calorie version of AKC obedience. In rally you follow a series of signs, or stations, that tell you what exercise to perform, and then go on to the next station and perform that exercise, and so on. An example of an exercise is halt (with the dog sitting in heel position), pivot right (with the dog maintaining heel position), and halt again (with the dog sitting in heel position).
One really nice thing about Rally is that you are allowed to speak constantly to the dog, repeating commands and encouraging the dog all you want, unlike obedience where you may only give a command once and cannot speak to the dog in between commands. This makes Rally in some ways very similar to a training session, with the exception that you cannot correct the dog or touch the dog, so lots of people use Rally as early ring training for obedience.
The class we are taking is one two hour session once a month for three months. A nice schedule, especially considering that the class is held a little over an hour from here, so going every week would be a bit much. And there is plenty of time in between classes to practice.
The class is actually a bit more advanced than I had been expecting. The first course we did was advanced level, which is done off leash, with a jump, and obviously, advanced level exercises. And I had not done a single second of obedience training with Holly in about a year. She really did great though. In fact she did so well that I was reminded that if I just put a little bit of effort in, both she and Mikey are capable of a lot more than I realize.
My dad's dog Meg was really the star of the class. It's really amazing that such a wild child turns into a totally different dog when she works in obedience. She has the most amazing heel, with perfect focus on my dad and pretty prancing with the front legs which is so desired in obedience work. It's almost like a split personality, because no one watching her do obedience would realize what a huge handful of a dog she is, and know one meeting her outside of the obedience ring would believe that she could even do obedience work at all.
I missed the deadline for the last local conformation show between now and the big Reliant Center show in July. So I am stuck showing conformation with Mikey, even though I had planned on only showing both dogs in Rally. Will make for a very busy, very long weekend, hope that I am up to it by then. I'm really, really hoping that the rheumatologist will be willing to try some more aggressive treatment at my next appointment in May and that by July I will feel a little bit more like my old self.
Oh, and good news on the dental front. The tooth that recently been sensitive to cold doesn't have anything wrong with it! Weird I know, but x-rays and exam of that tooth didn't show anything but slightly recessed gums. I have an appointment for May 11 for the three teeth that probably will all be having root canals. Cha ching! I can't wait (ha, HA, ha).
Enjoy the pictures from the bayou this morning. Yes, one picture is Mikey getting totally bowled over by Holly, they like to play rough! And a couple of pictures I just managed to catch a minute ago through the open window of the birds at my feeder (purple finch and sparrows).
Currently re-reading 'The Secret Diary of Ann Boleyn' by Robin Maxwell
Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.