Friday, April 16, 2010

Big Improvements!

The above photo was taken after a busy night -- First Secret went in to visit the folks at the vet clinic (the boys had an appointment tonight) to show off her tricks and get a weight. The first bit of good news is that she was only 38 lbs! A month ago she was 37.6 lbs, so we are finally tapering off on the growth. :o)

The other good news is that she was super happy to see everyone and went right up to them for petting, loving and, of course, treats. Everyone remarked at the change in her. I'm so happy that she's becoming more confident and friendly. She showed off several of her tricks including -- SHOCKER -- Bang! That trick has never been very successful in public because she doesn't like it much. lol

After all that activity, I wasn't sure how much dog I would have left to train when we got home. I had to give it a try, though, because my a-frame was finally brought out of hibernation Wednesday night and I wanted to see what Secret thought. The teeter also got brought up from the basement, so we had that to play on as well.

We started with bottoms on the dog walk as a warm-up, then moved on to running the length of the dog walk and connecting it with a jump or hoop on each end. Secret LOVES the dog walk and is starting to actually run across it. She nearly lost her footing on one pass, but recovered nicely. Granted, the dog walk is still set as low as it goes, so it's not far to the ground in case she were to have a wobble. She nailed each and every one of her 2-on/2-off positions, but did break a little early once or twice. I'm starting to test her more on her releases, so that is to be expected.

When we moved to the a-frame, I had her do her bottoms from all angles and she nailed it. I have the frame set as low as the chain goes -- about 4' -- so the angle is relatively easy at this stage.

She absolutely shocked me when it came time to go up and over the full frame. I fully expected her to go over and keep running, but she nailed her bottom the very first time and held it. GOOD GIRL!!! She was absolutely 100% with hitting her position and held it while I did a front cross to send her through a hoop. She really floored me with how well she did. I am so excited about the idea of having a dog who nails contacts. :o) Other people are working hard on running contacts because it is undoubtedly a faster performance, but at this stage of my life I'm just thrilled to have a dog that won't get faulted. lol Some time down the road we'll likely work on a quick release or transition to running, but she obviously enjoys doing the 2-on/2-off, so we'll continue with this for now.

The teeter is set as low as it can comfortably go -- the end is probably only 8" - 10" off the ground, so it's more or less a glorified wobble board. Secret was like, "Really, is this it?" I will probably move it up fairly quickly for her, but I have Rascal coming for a lesson tonight and he will need it low for his first introduction.

It's been very windy the last few days, so not a good environment to bring the chute out again. It is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend, so I look forward to getting in some good training time. We are also planning to meet Holly & Ailie at the beach on Sunday!

And whoops, before I forget! Secret is slowly turning into a frisbee dog! She has gotten FABULOUS about chasing after the rolling discs and better yet, she's coming back to me with them! The general routine is that I roll the disc for her and then I run to the other end of the yard for her to chase me. When she brings it back, I tug with her for a bit and then show her the other disc in my hand to get her to release and then run after the new disc. This routine seems to make her happy and she's starting to get excited about the frisbee. We haven't been doing any short toss work until her bite gets better on the rolling discs. We've transitioned entirely to flexible hard discs (I bought a couple recommended by Zak George at ) and she loves them. The fabric frisbees are easier for her to catch, but she was becoming far too fixated on ripping up the grass through them rather than playing with me!

My goal for the weekend is to video Secret's contact work!

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