We’ve been busy, mostly in a good way for the last few weeks. We haven’t been practicing a ton, but the little practicing I have been doing with Forest has been going really well. After the last trial we evaluated what some of the potential issues were/are, and honestly a lot of it has to do with the fact that he needs to rest. He isn’t quite the maniac he used to be, and with all the hectic-ness of going to work with me, new obnoxious puppy siblings and just the fact that he is getting more mature and more mellow, he needs time to recharge. And no doubt the teeth thing the day before the last trial was probably the biggest contributor to his slow-mo check-out symptoms. So I apologize to my best guy for being so whiny.
However, I do stand by my inklings towards instead of training to death, spending time letting them do things they really do want to do, which is why we went coursing last weekend (and I may forego a trial date I had been planning on to do it again next month). Forest loves coursing more than anything else on earth, and I love getting the opportunity to do it with him. We actually missed the close date of the first Coursing Ability Test in San Diego by a day (dammit!!!), but I am hoping another shows up soon so he can run his little wheels off and get recognized for his speedtastic awesomeness. Phinny even took a crack at it too, puppy-style, and he seems to be a natural too. Crazy plastic-bag-chasing action video here.
Forest and I were actually supposed to trial this weekend at one of my favorite venues up in North LA, but I got an email late Friday afternoon saying the trial site was strewn with rat poison. Wowzers. So, they cancelled it. Bummer, not because I wanted to run on toxic critter pellets, but I really do like that site and I have the feeling we wont have the option to go back there again. So, next shot is another USDAA trail (yay), down in SD in a few weeks.
Puppy training is going well. I have tried to back off of focusing on obstacle work and made an attempt to do more flat work-type stuff with him. He is still so young, but its hard not to be tempted to do the “fun” stuff instead of start line stays and handling stuff. But, I am going to stick to my plan and remind myself repeatedly that we have all the time in the world. Phinny simultaneously drives me nuts—with his non-stop “Wanna play? Wanna play? Whats going on? Can I be in the middle of it? Where are we going? Can I lick your face? Forest can I jam this toy on top of your head until you finally give in and submit to my obnoxiousness???”—and then shocks me with his quick learning and ability to read my body language. I took him to the school across the street to play ball this morning and we played impromptu playground agility. There was a little line of benches bracketed by poles that made perfect little jumps. I thought he’d pop up on and climb over them so I approached them slowly to see what he’d do. On the first go he leaped over two in a row like he’d been doing it all his life so we practiced some simple lines and turns—he did amazing. He also had a busy weekend, meeting some horses (terrifying at first, but quickly gotten over with some dinner and Look at That games), playing well-behaved house guest, and plenty of alone time as the rest of the crew was off doing man-things down South. He is starting to show inklings of bratty adolescence, so I know it will get worse before it gets better, but I am very, very thrilled and content with my cast off pup. He is a good one, and I am so glad I made the tough decision to snatch him up.