Puppy + USDAA + Diego Goes on Vacay, etc etc

This is what happens when I dont post for so long. I end up with having to catch up on too much with too little space and will end up aggravating the few who do care to read this silliness. But anyway, onward.

The puppy is lovely. He is really, really quite good. But he is only in the 5-or-so month old range, I may not think the same in just a few more months. But, until then I will gloat. Other than his continuing hatred for being contained/confined while Other Exciting Thing are Happening, he is doing great. He listens, is still even-keel, and loves to work. My biggest challenge with him right now is figuring out how to direct him while working in ways to avoid bad habits down the road—ie. teaching him how to drive through the tunnel and rewarding him with his toy, without letting him revel in his own self-anointed brilliance and continuing to endlessly run the tunnel on his own.  He absolutely has the potential to be one of those dogs you see blasting around the field, happily making up their own course as the handler haplessly looks on. He is also a lot braver—aka a lot less “careful” than Forest—so I have a very good feeling I will be introduced sooner or later to the world of knocked bars which has always been foreign territory for me. My near-term goals at this point are to work on some rear end awareness, lots of flat work, and… I dunno. Maybe some startline stay building? As usual, I am a bit overwhelmed. I need help with my puppy plan and timeline.

Forest and I did a USDAA test a few weekends ago. He did great—his contacts I think were almost perfect (from what I remember anyway) and the few flubs we had were based almost entirely on my bad handling decisions. All I can say with him these days is that I am so happy he goes out there and is just “in” the game with me. He is so good in general at trials now; no fussing in the crate, no reacting to other dogs, no wandering off to sniff. Now that he is there mentally with me 99% of the time, we can focus on being faster and more accurate. He really astounds me. The dog that still to this day would rather be off chasing squirrels than do anything else will actually consistently play agility with me. I guess 2 years of not giving up and a thousand sticks of string cheese and assorted meats will do that. I still cant imagine how it will be with a dog like Phin that actually wants to work all the time from square one… Already it feels foreign, but no matter how good he is, Forest will always be my best boy. It sounds sickening I am sure, but I do feel privileged that he wants to work with me.

And dear Diego. Did I ever even formally mention he passed his CGC??? He did, and I am very proud of him. He has been a bit neglected with all this puppy ridiculousness, so he got to go on vacation, solo, with Pete and I and my family over the weekend. We went on a quickie ski trip and he came along for the ride since he is the easiest traveling companion. No worries about him bolting off in foreign lands, no eating of the host’s pillows or rugs, no barking of boredom, biting of non-doggy-types, etc etc. My family loves him the bast as he is the mellowest and first, so along he came. And he gloried in the attention. So I hope I made up some ground lost by all of the puppy and agility dog training that has been going on. Diego is a simple guy, he just wants a bed, to be fed regularly and to be able to hang out in the sun. Its easy to overlook him because he is so easy. So I need to remember to give him some extra love sometimes.

Only one confirmed trial coming up–I need to get on it and dial in some more before it becomes summer and Forest officially melts until September. Lots of options, and now that I actually have some real agility friends to coordinate with I should be able to pack a few more in over the next few months.

I need to go kick the puppy off the bed…

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