Phin turned three last week. I planned to have something written then, more timely, but between the mayhem in my mind and in real life right now, I’ll just have to be okay with it being belated.
He really is who he IS now. And while he’s still perfect in every way (*wink*), we’ve been butting heads a bit lately. In small ways, never in agility ways, just more in living life in general. I have discovered that around the house I do more often than not have to ask him to do things more than once. “Down. Lie down. LIE DOWN.” And I don’t like that. But that’s not him, that’s me, and something I need to be more creative about. I am struggling a bit with going back and rewarding every little thing, he’s beyond that, but unless my negative punishment track works quickly, that will be what I will have to do. Random food rewards for compliance probably will solve that pretty quickly. I also have allowed the bad habit of “sometimes” playing toys in the house, and asking, half-assedly, for behaviors while not really paying attention. That’s eroded a lot of skills right there. But, now I’m aware and we’ll clean that up. Again, my fault and bad management skills, not his.
As he ages I have zero doubt he will be the alpha in the house, and it will be in the truest sense of the word–he won’t have to “work” for it. It just will happen. It already has mostly. In general he is VERY patient with the puppies we have had stay with us over the last few months, but he is not afraid to tell them in no uncertain terms to buzz off. I trust him to the nth degree around other dogs–he’s at the point now where I can leave him off leash in a stay while other dogs are flying around, no issues, no concerns. I always dreamed of having a dog that could do that.
As far as agility goes, he’s already met and exceeded pretty much all of my expectations. Early this year he was still flying around like a maniac at times, and surely my handling wasn’t helping, but as of now it feels like we’ve just really started to find the groove. His only real issue at this point is just being so high at trials–many times our first day is a throwaway, only because he is SO GODDAMN EXCITED to be in the ring. But that’s okay, it’ll pass, and it’s not the worst problem to have. This dog LOVES to be watched. Loves it. Why and how a dog with stranger danger issues can be such an attention whore I dont know, but I swear he knows people are watching him, and the more there are the better. He feeds on it. So far, he handles pressure like a champ, and its pretty spectacular.
Our travels went very well, planes and automobiles. He handled it all in stride and be-bopped out of whatever box he’d been sequestered in, guns-a-blazing and ready to do agility. We got many, many wonderful days working with Daisy this year, and we are SO fortunate to have had her guidance. It has helped us immeasurably. Also had a blast working with Lisa Frick and especially Tereza Kralova, and proved we could do some pretty tricky stuff.
I feel like we’ve found our partnership. It’s always been there but its now solid. No questions from either of us. Now we just run. Happy birthday Phineas, my greatest gift.