Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Whoops, where does time go?

Whoops, I didn't intend to go nearly a week between posting -- but life has been fairly quiet lately.

That said, we actually had plenty of opportunity for training time this past weekend. It was fairly hot, but the rain held off and we got in several short sessions.

The "theme" of our training over the weekend was serpentines. I figure it's time to start throwing more handling moves at Secret now that she's developing more confidence & speed on the jumps.

I kept things very simple by using a staggered serpentine vs. a straight line of jumps. We progressed through various exercises and throughout the weekend Secret did incredibly well -- Lead out with a front cross, rear crosses, same-side handling, pushes, pulls, etc. Good girl! Her comfort with distance continues to increase as well, as I am easily able to send her through a pinwheel to meet her with a front cross on the landing side.

We are still having great success in using toys and only toys during jump training, but any time I decide to throw contacts in the mix Secret insists on a food reward. This was quite obvious on Sunday when I went to work Secret through portions of the course I had created for the boys. She started out gung-ho over the jumps for her fuzzy tug, but the very moment she set foot on the teeter she wanted nothing to do with the tuggy. Conditioned response, I know. Oh well, we'll keep at it and try to implement some toy work in with contact training in the future.

Yesterday I learned that Secret is terrified of bubble wrap. We have a giant box of it here at work from a package that recently arrived and who can resist popping a few bubbles as you pass? Secret was following me around at the end of the day yesterday and thus, was there when I popped a few bubbles. Imagine my surprise when she immediately tucked her tail and ran out of the room!

I called her back in and proceeded to try to give the bubble wrap positive association by giving her a treat every time I popped one, but it quickly became obvious that the kibble I carry in my treat pouch during the day was not going to cut it for that particular job. I might have to take some bubble wrap home and work on desensitizing her to this. Ever since the 4th of July, Secret has become very sound sensitive and this is something we need to work through.

It actually freaked her out so badly that her fear carried through to when we got home. The neighbor brats (sorry, kids) were outside playing baseball and any time the bat hit the ball and made a "chink" or "pop" noise, Secret would run and hide under the deck. Now really, she has been outside SEVERAL times while they have been playing and has never had any reaction whatsoever. The bubble wrap incident just seriously put her over the edge.

We hung out in the house the majority of the evening and then went outside around 8:00 p.m. to do some one-jump work with cheese (since I had tried to do a quick toy session earlier and failed miserably). There was nothing going on outside at this time and she was fantastic & focused. Our one-jump work morphed into two, then three jumps of various heights. I had bumped Secret back down to 12" after the incident with her hind end, but last night I started to raise them again and she did a few reps at 26".

We have not had any further issues connected to the incident two weeks ago with Secret's hind end, but in an effort to cover all of my bases, Secret has her first appointment with the chiropractor on Thursday. Dr. Schilling is doing her monthly day of appointments at the dog center in La Crosse, so I decided to make an appointment for Secret & Luke that day. It will be much easier on the dogs than trying to cram into Dr. Schilling's porch, plus Secret is familiar with the environment. I'm curious to see how she reacts to the whole experience.

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