Okay, confession time. I am a really bad dog mom. I let Secret do something that is probably kind of naughty. I let her -- Nay, I encourage her -- to chase trains.
She started this little habit a few months ago. You may recall that Secret is actually afraid of trains that are standing still (because this means they might start to move and make scary clanging & banging noises). But trains that are moving at full speed? Oh yes, these are quite fun. Amtrak trains are the best ever.
Like I said, I know this is wrong and judging by the fact that she now chases them a good quarter mile instead of a few hundred yards, I may have let it get out of hand. But something about her determined look that tells me she thinks she can beat a train going 50 mph just brings a smile to my face. And she tries, oh yes she tries very hard. Who knew she could go so fast?
The pictures illustrate the scenario. Trains come up alongside us on the trail and she races them down the trail, separated by a good 70 yards or so of ditch. So you see, it's not as though she is in any peril or whatnot, but it's still an obsessive behavior -- Granted, her only one, which is pretty good for a border collie. :o)
Oddly enough, we are only interested in trains traveling the same direction as us. If they are going the opposite way we just stand and stare at them with transfixed wonderment.
Yes, she's an odd one. Thankfully she always comes running back with a giant smile on her face ("Did you see how fast I ran? I almost beat that one!") and I figure that extra half mile on top of the usual walk does her good. lol She was just a squirrely girl today! I think someone is enjoying the cooler fall weather.
Regardless of the lovely temperatures that would be completely perfect for all types of training, I find myself falling into the usual rut that comes with dwindling daylight each year. With limited time, I tend to look for what can be set the fastest and I completely lose all creativity and enthusiasm in coming up with training exercises or courses.
This is not the worst thing in the world coming off a huge event like Champs. I'm quite sure we all need a bit of a break and we put in quite a bit of effort leading up to everything. But living where I do and having such limited training opportunities in the winter months, I can't help but feel like the clock is ticking and that I should be cramming as much training as possible into these few remaining weeks.
Late last week I did some work with driving ahead independently through the weaves using the Chuck-it. Secret was not really into this. I'm fairly certain she would benefit greatly from a trip to the chiro, so I have to get that done soon. Maybe we'd just played with the Chuck-it too many days in a row, though, because she was a much happier camper when I traded it out for the Jolly Ball. Granted, by that point I was just focusing on speed through the weaves and had completely abandoned the distance/send component, so who knows which was more of a contributing factor.
Last night I was working Kaiser's dog walk and decided to go ahead and set something up for the other two using that. The lack of sunlight has sapped my brain dry and I ended up setting an exercise that was more or less identical to the one I posted last week, only without a tunnel and using the dog walk as the forward send.
While remarkably similar to the previous exercise, it actually offered us new challenges that were good for us. Secret can always use more work on driving to the end of the dog walk, especially while I am working from a distance.
She may have been driving a little too much, as a few times she didn't really feel the need to stop. Several times she did stop nicely, though, and still was able to send out to the far hoops after. Secret is becoming a layering queen and responded very well to the "back" cue -- and with no tunnel this time, I think she did great.
Fearing that I was falling onto using the balls and whatnot as a crutch in distance work, I decided to pull out the Woolie Dog tug for everything last night. This has the added benefit (?) of being able to be stuffed down the back of my pants (lol), allowing me to have my hands and cue without the distraction of waving a toy in her face. I'm always happy when I get awesome speed & enthusiasm without a visible toy, too, so overall I think she did grand.
So now that we are fast & happy again, I need to decide how many classes to enter Secret in at the next NADAC trial next weekend. We are only doing one day, so I am tempted to go for five this time. I think six is still pushing it for her at this point. The fifth class is calling my name because we still don't have a single Elite Touch-n-Go Q -- and it's not Secret's fault at all, since every time we've ran the class I manage to run the wrong course. lol
We still need to finish our Elite Weavers title as well, but I'm not going to get too hot & bothered about that until she shows me our first Elite Chances Q wasn't a total fluke. Secret has ran Elite Weavers twice now, both times competing in the 20+ Proficient class. She made time the first time but was what, like two seconds over on the next attempt? Now that she's running in Skilled under 16" time I don't anticipate an issue, but with her the weave speed really depends on the day. Hence why I just haven't bothered to enter that class until we get that figured out.
I may be a lazy sod lately about our agility training, but we are on a roll with the frisbee. I really wish I had the time to pursue more disc dog stuff. Secret really enjoys it and I think she'd find those competitions a lot of fun. Granted, we still don't play with more than one disc at a time... We should really work on that.