Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"What I did this summer..."

If you've been beggin' for a new blog post, here it is! I feel like I'm sitting down to write one of those back-to-school essays on What I Did This Summer. Did you know that having 4 dogs and training 2 each in different sports keeps you pretty busy? So busy that it can be hard to find the time to sit down and write a blog entry?

Summer - time to relax
Although summer has been "slow" in the sense that I haven't entered any events, I sure have been keeping busy. I'm gearing up for a busy fall season starting this coming Monday when Hokey makes her return to the agility ring for the first time since her debut in May. I expect we'll have some "stuff" to work through. Namely, her distractability when it comes to ring crew. I mostly train on my own and one of the downsides to that is that Hokey only rarely gets exposure to working in an environment where there are other people and dogs. She is a social butterfly with people and, because of her deafness, if she locks onto someone and wants to visit, I can't call her off if she's not looking at me. I dropped into group class with her last week to see where we are with her visiting issue so I can be prepared when we do some
trialing this fall. I asked people to sit in the ring while she ran in order to simulate a trial environment with ring crew. She did do some visiting, but it was very brief and she came right back and worked. In fact, she was pretty much on fire and focused *most* of the time. So, we have a little something to work through, but the only way to do that is to get out there among the people and try to run our hearts out.

These are a couple of months old - we're doing a full height frame now and generally not using "crutches" on the contact equipment - but here we are doing some training back in June. The first video shows Hokey doing a frame-flip-tunnel for the first time and then running some sequences:

And here we are working on her running dogwalk into the weaves:

Ollie and Poppy have been busy gearing up for their first nose work trials. Yes, that's plural; trial with an "s". Since at a nosework trial, the hides remain in the same location for all the dogs entered, a handler can only work one dog per trial. I've been waiting around for a trial to come along since they both passed their ORT in early March. Nothing cropped up around here until recently - two nose work trials, one at the end of September and one at the end of October. It was the luck of the draw, literally, that I was fortunate enough to get both dogs into those 2 trials. The entry for both trials was random draw. Ollie was selected for the one in September and I know the
waitlist (those who were picked in the random draw AFTER the ~35 spots available were filled) was at least 27 dogs long since that's where a friend of mine ended up. I'm not sure how long the waitlist was for the trial that Poppy got into in October other than a vague email statement saying "there is a long waitlist". So luck was definitely with me. I still have no explanation as to why my numbers didn't come up in the big PowerBall lottery at that time. I mean, I was on a roll!

I've been working on a TON of foundation training with Sprout. He's like working with Hokey x10. Months of the kind of foundation training I did with her have been compressed into weeks. Not because I'm trying to rush him, but because he learns crazy quick!
Playing the Mountain Climbing Game on the Frame
An example - I've brought him along to the building where I train Hokey twice now. By the 2nd time, he'd already mastered an automatic down on the table through pure shaping. I don't even have that with Hokey yet! (To be fair, being that she is deep-chested, has no fur, and not an ounce of fat on her body, so can be a somewhat reluctant about going into the down position on a hard surface because it is a bit uncomfortable for her). I'm thinking of starting his weave training soon just to give him something new and exciting to learn while we continue to work on building his foundation. I won't be doing a lot of separate posts on foundation training topics as Sprout progresses because I feel like I've just recently "been there, done that" with Hokey. Here are a few videos taken at different points during the last few weeks though. I can't believe this dog has been with me for less than two months!

Learning "back"/rear end awareness:

Playing with the tunnel:

Some Basic 2 jump/tunnel Handling:

Front-cross box work:

Pinwheel foundation training:

More pinwheels - only the 2nd time working them, 2 weeks after the pinwheel foundation session:

We'll be checking in with reports from our agility and nose work road adventures, as well as Sprout's training progress. Hoping I won't feel pulled in too many different directions!

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