Friday, May 28, 2010

Maybe I *can* be taught?

If I have one failing as a trainer, it's that I always tend to push just a *little* too far. I am addicted to success and always want a little more. And what always happens? The dog shuts down.

I am guilty of doing this not only with Secret, but also with Kaiser. Luke doesn't seem to have a fail point, other than physical exhaustion (which I must be careful of, lest injuries come into play).

I am trying desperately to get a grasp on this habit of mine, and the first positive step is that I'm aware of the problem. :o)

Last night I made a deliberate choice to stop before Secret quit on me. I had a CPE Jackpot course set up for the boys, which gave me several schooling opportunities to play with Secret. I made sure to not drill any particular obstacle more than a few times and I tried to space everything well out, interspersing things I knew she goes nuts for (ie: contacts).

The surprise of the night was that she immediately took to the chute. I haven't had it out for some time due to all the wind we seem to always have, and we haven't done much training on it at all. Secret decided it was super fun, though, and offered it several times on her own -- including a time when I wasn't prepared and she ended up twisting a bit in the end.... It didn't scare her, though, as she immediately went all the way through again when asked. Silly girl...

We have not done much up & over work on the a-frame at all, but still I was surprised that Secret repeatedly went around it when I asked her to go up. After a couple of times luring her over with chicken, this passed and she ran right up and over -- nailing her two-on/two-off at the bottom, of course. I'm not a fan of the force that position puts on them with the a-frame and am still considering switching Secret to a running contact on the a-frame. I'll worry about it in a couple of months when she starts doing more of them, I suppose.

Her teeter & dog walk work were spot on, as usual. I will likely raise both of them a bit in the coming weeks.

The rear cross continues to be our nemesis. Secret responds beautifully to front cross cues and honestly just isn't running fast enough at the moment to get a proper rear cross. Maybe I need to put off focusing on them until she finds her gears a bit more. Secret's speed is directly related to my own speed, so she's definitely making me work! :o)

Tonight Rascal is coming over for an agility lesson -- we haven't seen him in weeks for various reasons. Tomorrow we plan to lay low and then Sunday it's off to an agility trial in Zumbro Falls, MN!

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