Well, sorry blog. Its been a while. We moved and havent had a chance to catch our collective breath since. I actually am in Mammoth right now and took a few days off this week; a forced vacay is feeling really good.
Our new place is just awesome. I love, love love it. As in I’d buy it if we ever could. The dogs love it even more than I do I think. There is carpet to rip around on, a laundry room and garage with a dog door, and a massive yard. I have dubbed the yard “Wild Kingdom”–every time I turn around some critter is being stalked, pursued or flung about. Even Diego has got in on the spree, its pretty violent out there. There have been coyotes about in the early mornings but everyone is locked safe and snug and our fence is pretty good. If a fence can hold in Phin and Forest, chances are pretty good it will keep coyotes out. They are all of more or less a similar wildness factor I think.
Trialing has been okay. I have hit a bit of a wall with Forest. I havent done the best job of getting outside to practice with him like I said I would, and our continued streak of near-misses (usually contact or tunnel-based) at trials is starting to wear me down. Its no one’s fault but my own, and I do think/know that he tries really, really hard for me.
I dont know how much I have talked about this before (of course I could look it up with my own two eyes), but training with Phin has decreased my motivation to work with Forest. Phin will work until he drops for me, Forest will give me the middle finger the second he feels that the reward is not enough for what I am asking for. I feel very guilty about it, but I am also sure there is a solution out there. We are taking a Denise Fenzi seminar in June which I cannot wait for–I hope she has some direction for me with Forest specifically. The seminar is about building drive, so there we have it. This dog surely has no lack of drive–all you have to do is watch him wait his turn to lure course or just run our fence line in pursuit of a squirrel–but how I can get that out of him and transfer it to agility is still elusive to me. Maybe there is a fairly easy answer and I am just stuck in a rut. I hope that’s the case.
We actually were qualified for regionals, and even had team options, but in light of our recent performances I decided to skip it. I didnt want to miss work, miss my family ski trip and spend a bunch of money to go get frustrated. Next year I hope.
Or maybe Forest will just run Jumpers and Steeplechase forever–if that’s all he ever had to do for the rest of his agility career I think he would be thrilled. Maybe the occasional Snooker course. Those make us both happy and that should be all either of us need.
Phin is doing great. He is so much fun to work, and work he does. We are pretty much familiar with all the obstacles at this point, though we have just started scratching the surface of the Aframe. I have been doing Rachel’s box work with him and put it on the Aframe for the first time last week. I actually did figure out that I can use the Robot to slow him down. When I throw the toy–hell, if I even place the toy–he goes all kamikaze on me. He has run the lowered Aframe in TWO hits before to get to a static toy on the ground… But if I get out the Robot he is much more thoughtful. His DW is looking good too–he has a pretty solid 2o2o–we havent really done a ton of training with it and its good, so I just need to keep working it and I think/hope it will be quite solid.
I have to admit I am waiting for the Susan Garrett Running Contacts shoe to drop. I am dying to know how much it is going to cost… because… if I am able to afford it, I will be doing it. I dont feel good about my contacts with either dog, and I need help defining my criteria. I dont know what it is exactly that I am looking for–I guess its the mysterious “aha” moment that I am searching for in relation to contacts. And I personally dont think training more is the answer. Training smarter, yes, harder, no.
There is a USDAA trial down our way in early June that I may sneak Phin into. He will be just barely legal at that point, and while part of me really wants to hold off, I figure doing a Gamblers class on Saturday and a Jumpers on Sunday wont kill him–I hope rather it will give me a better feel for where he is at in the trial environment and help me get some more solid direction as well. We also have a seminar with Stacy Peardot Goudy on Wednesday. We actually are having a “tweeners” day for young dogs that have yet to compete, so I am really looking forward to that as well.
Enough brain dump, should have more to report soon and more time to do it.