August is Here

I didnt realize it had been so long since I posted. Lots of them all at once, then dropping off the radar. That sounds about right for me in life in general.

We’ve been training lots, well Phin specifically and a bit for Forest here and there. Phin’s first AKC trial is next weekend and he’s entered in all the big boy events—FAST (which I wish was T2B instead), JWW and Standard. I’ve been putting a LOT of effort into his 2o2o dogwalk and I am pretty darn happy with where it is right now. I havent exactly been following the Susan Garrett course to a T—I have been riffing off what she is teaching in our own way and it seems to be working well. He’s got a driving DW into position and I am really happy! Our biggest fault at this point is sending him ahead of me to drive into position, but I know we can work that out. His teeter now seems to be what is most lacking, so I need to turn my attention to that. Weaves look great as long as they are 24″—throw some 22s at us and the wheels kinda come off. His footwork isnt great, he really seems like he’s working too hard while weaving… I may need some expert help with that if I want him to speed up.

I’ve been watching a lot of online videos lately of people with truly FAST and well-trained dogs, which is motivational but also seems to continue my Never Good Enough attitude… I am very happy with where Phin is though and I guess I watch these things to keep pushing myself to be a better trainer.

We’ve started taking another class, with the instructor I originally started taking agility with back in the beginning. She doesnt give much, if any, instruction, but she has a nice outdoor facility and sets up full courses with ALL the obstacles—tire, broadjump, chute, all the contacts, etc. Phin really needs that exposure and so far has done well. He did have an issue on night one—it had gotten very dark by the end of class and it was his first time ever running in an environment like that. On our last run he saw her standing in the middle of the course and flipped out—alarm barking and getting all the other dogs to follow suit. He actually even growled at her later on course when we popped the weaves and had to do another drive by. So that was bothersome, but she’s been cool about it and is working with me on it—throwing his ball for him as a reward after runs. I also had someone he’d never met before following us around on course at Mary’s yesterday and he didnt blink an eye at him, so I’m hoping it was the dark more than the person that set him off.

Forest has surprised me in multiple ways over the last month. Took him and Phin to a Fun Run right near home held in a dirt horse arena. It was hot, but not oppressively so, and Forest decided he wanted NOTHING to do with it. He was as big a quitter as I’ve seen him in a long time, just slow and miserable despite my efforts to hold his hand. My sister who came with us said, “Well that was awful.” She was right. It was pretty disheartening and I was worried he’d continue his apathy through next weekend’s trial. I dragged him along to Flying Rat Ranch however yesterday and he was just fine, back to normal. Other than some inconsistent dogwalks and some weird darting behind me he was happy and quick—and his weaves were gorgeous! So… he is an enigma, that little rat. We’ll see how he holds up next weekend. If we could just get that mother-trucking last Excellent A Q I will… I dont know what. Something good. For him.

I’m still struggling with wondering whether he likes agility. Sometimes he does, sometimes he does not. It all seems so variable with him and he does not have the drive to power through situations that he finds even remotely uncomfortable. Its almost always the environment that shuts him down—whether heat or footing or a dog looking at him… I do what I can to control that, but I can only control his environment to a certain degree. Depending how his mood turns when it cools off in a few months we’ll see what the plan for him is going forward.

But this morning, we are going to check out a new indoor facility down here in Carlsbad. I have heard mixed reviews, but it is rentable for a modest amount… We’ll see how it goes. Until AKC next weekend!!!

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