Some practice videos from our following along of Silvia Trkman’s online running contacts course. I might be cheating a little bit, but dont tell on me. Regardless, I am following along with her methodologies, starting with observing the dog’s striding. We should finally be ready to raise up the plank to get him off the ground just at the beginning to see what happens.
For the most part however, I have backed up with Phin’s training. I still—again—skipped over some important stuff. Right now we are focusing on recall to heel, pivoting (I am close to getting a swing into heel, so excited about that one!), and general reinforcement zone stuff.
Also we’ve finally been back to getting in a bit of hiking. Phin got his very own awesome backpack to wear on our annual family backpacking trip in a few weeks. I am so excited to bring him–we’ve gone for years and I have always felt like a dog would make the trip more complete somehow. Forest and Diego wont be quite up to this one–Diego as we’ll be traversing a good bit of mileage and Forest as he is just so delicate I couldnt bear to think of him getting even the least bit sore or cold–but Phin aka “the battering ram” is ready to roll.
Forest is also taking a brief agility break. He’s been a bit “off” lately–his eyes and belly seem a bit red to me and he just isnt his usual dynamic self. Not sure how much of that is Phin’s presence and everyone getting older, or possible seasonal allergies… But I worry about him and want him to just be perfectly awesome at all times. He’s been such a champ at the last few trials I dont want to push him too much, which I know sounds counter-intuitive. He’ll have a few weeks off, then we’ll have to gear back up for two more weekend trials in Sept. Looking forward to those and especially a short work week next week and off to the Sierras…
A lot to update on so I’ll probably just gloss over much of it! We had a trial last weekend that went well even if our Q rate was low. We were 2 for 5, one of which was Novice FAST (I usually sign up for FAST one day then end up leaving before they run it so this was only our third time I think running it?) and one Ex A JWW. Overall Forest was really great. He even tugged with me a bit both mornings just as he came out of the Ex pen. Baby steps, but still pretty exciting for me. I never expect him to be at the in-gate tugging like a border collie, but just the fact he was comfortable/amped enough to play at all is a huge step for us. Our mistakes were either obvious handler errors—mostly me not judging where his holes are (you’d think I’d have learned after the last few trials to pay more attention to tunnel discriminations. Duh.)—and then the odd plain mistake, like him falling out of the weaves midway then popping back in. He was pretty fast for most of the runs and overall in a great mood and staying in the game. He is starting to show inklings of maybe even being fast! Yay Bun.
Phin has been doing well though the terrible teens seem to be setting in. I am working on being better about controlling his environment to set him up to make the right choices (and for me not to be too hard on him). I realized that one of the reasons I may be doing so much better with Forest these days is that now I have Phin to focus my own personal drive on–he is less soft than Forest and can take my aggro-ness better… Which is good for Forest, but it doesnt mean I dont need to be more aware of how I am actually treating Phin. I am a competitive spaz case and I need to remember to slow down and enjoy the trip.
I ordered Crate Games and we’ll be working on that quite a bit, both for Phin’s focus and to get over his crate aversion issues. He did do really well with me at the trial on Saturday playing Take a Look at the dogs running–he gets really, really stimulated by movement… Especially with high energy dogs on contact equipment!
In general I think I’ve been pushing too fast with quite a few things, working on running contacts (still on the flat plank stage) and jumping seqences. We are still jumping only 12″ but I have moved too quickly and I need to slow down and get more basics in. He showed his complete misunderstanding of rear crosses last week, and I wanted to kick myself for rushing him. Its been hot this week and that combined with him getting kicked out of daycare for having puppy warts (I wonder where he got them?) is giving him a default week or two off. I will be focusing on Crate Games and recall/heeling and maybe some one jump drills for the next few weeks. Until I get bored and start rushing ahead again…!
Diego just completed a quickie session of Rally classes! He did great and I really should put more time into him as he loves it so much. He is such a happy little guy when he gets his turn to work, he is too cute. I do feel bad for him always getting the short end of the stick, but at the same time what he doesnt know isnt hurting him, right? Funny thing is he still rules the roost. Phin will harass Forest all day long and steal toys from dogs twice his size in daycare, but wont so much as look at Diego sideways. Pretty funny. Good thing Diego is here to keep the household in order or things might really be out of control.
Hope to edit some video from last weekend’s trial this weekend. No trialing or other major obligations so hopefully I’ll catch up a bit. Oh, and lastly, work has been good. I got “approved” to take the CPDT test, which will be happening in late September. Fingers crossed I’ll be certified in just a bit more than a month! That would be very cool. Need to get studying…