Milo and I spent the last week heeling through figure eights, and weaves, and spirals. I am happy to report that we can do all the Novice Rally exercises and I can read all the signs.
The biggest challenges for me will be keeping track of our left and right turns (I’m not joking) and remembering to speed up when Milo starts to lag. This feels backwards. When Milo starts to slow down my tendency is to slow down as well and tell him to hustle up. But, he catches up more quickly if I ignore him and walk faster.
I’ve heard people give different reasons for why this works. Some say
- that it adds more forward energy to the exercise,
- that the dog doesn’t want to be left behind,
- that it makes the exercise more interesting for the dog, or
- that the dog imitates the handler.
All that I know is that if I slow down, he slows down even more, and that if I surge ahead, he’ll break into a trot to keep up. It’s a case of do as I do, not as I say.
I wish I had video of me and Milo. In my imagination we look like this team when we go through a serpentine weave: