Yesterday, Rugby went to college for a legitimate reason. He went to do a demonstration for my Animal Behavior class. Rugby was great and aside from me lacking in some speaking skills it went pretty smoothly. It did confirm yet again that he does like to perform. He was having trouble with scent articles the past week, and being up in front of class raised his confidence tremendously! It didn’t hurt that they applauded his efforts either. That type of reward can be hard to find, and it was perfect encouragement for him before the National Obedience Invitational next week.
I had to go back today to drop off some homework, and took Rugby along for the ride. He was a different dog. He KNEW he belonged there. He wasn’t just excited to be someplace new, he had caught on to the fact that people were looking at him. He also thought I was getting in his way. To fix this problem, he modified heel position and moved slightly ahead, and went a little wide too. That way people could admire him from all sides. We worked on it while we were there, but his general attitude did not change. His heeling was magically fixed as soon as he realized no one was looking at him (i.e. when we left school).
I think this means we have found the perfect place to train. Hopefully I can convince him that precision and accuracy are things people really love to see!