Spring is awesome. Storms are not. We have a big one passing through here this morning and Secret isn't a happy camper.
She's not a quaking puddle of fear, thankfully, but she stresses. Right now she's sleeping against the wall behind my computer desk -- This appears to be her safe spot to go to any time she hears a loud scary noise.
I finally ordered her a Thundershirt. I've been thinking about it for a while, but I finally caved when I was on the web site last week and saw that they come in PINK!!! Wheeeee! They say it's been shipped, but sadly it wasn't here in time for this storm. Oh well, I'm sure there will be others.
I was a very poor blogger and didn't take any photos -- But the dog walk is out at home! Yay!!! Secret "helped" me mow the lawn Friday after work, and with that out of the way, I managed to drag the dog walk out into the yard by myself on Saturday after my shift at the humane society. The a-frame will have to wait until I have help, as I don't really feel like throwing my back out attempting to move that by myself. Besides that, I discovered that the wheels on my a-frame mover are flatter than flat, so I need to go fill them with air first anyhow.
While we definitely need to get back to work on discriminations (because really, I feel we barely even touched on that last year and now Secret is seeing them in trials...), I thought our first session with the dog walk would be better spent on driving into end position. All three dogs benefited from a brush-up on this skill, really.
Last year Secret's contact work was pretty much all done for food, but I decided to use her beloved Jolly Ball to really encourage drive & speed. We started by doing a couple of "bottoms" (not the whole contact) and then sending to the next obstacles (hoops on one end of the dog walk, jumps set to 22" on the other side). I figured this was a good place to start since she apparently forgot her 2-on/2-off at the last trial! We only had one four-on stop this time, so that's good.
Once we moved on to doing the whole dog walk, I alternated between having her hold her stop and doing a quick release. I think we may start doing a few more quick releases in practice because it seems to keep her energy up higher and results in a faster overall dog walk performance. I realize that it's a slippery slope to a self-releasing contact, so I'll have to watch her and see what she does. Overall, though, I'm very impressed with how her contact performance has held up with so little training over the winter.
Next time, discrimination work!