Secret continues to be as fickle as the Wisconsin weather. Honestly this is not news to me and I should know better by now, but I still have a tendency to ask for too much at times. Secret's definition of "too much" is nowhere near the boys' opinion on this subject, which is why I feel I continue to struggle with accepting this....
On Friday I rifled through a few of my latest issues of Clean Run to pick out a Backyard Dogs exercise. I was so busy with "Champs training" in the later part of summer that I completely let these fall by the wayside. Which is a shame, considering that soon I'll be back to being forced to just look at them each month and go, "Oh, that's nice, maybe we can set that up in the spring when all the stupid SNOW is gone."
I enjoy many of the Backyard Dog drills because they push me out of my comfort zone (ie: NADAC) and make me actually work on handling exercises that I don't set on my own. And since I haven't attended classes in a coon's age, it's nice to have someone else create my "lesson plan."
I always start with the first exercises and build up from there, as they always tend to increase in difficulty. The first exercise or two tend to be good warm-ups.
On Friday I set the course and then memorized the first three drills. My brain is not capable of retaining any more than that -- And to be honest, that was freaking hard!
Secret did very well with exercises 1 & 2. The 270 from 2-3 was very demotivating for her in the third exercise, so it looks like we could use work on that sort of thing. We also have pretty much no collection cue to speak of because she would shoot exceptionally wide after 7 each time. But she was a happy girl and enjoyed our session -- all working for the Wooly Tug.
After working all three dogs through the first three exercises, I somehow managed to memorize the next three.
Was my mistake using the same toy for the second session? Or was my mistake trying to do a second session at all with Secret? Whatever the case, she was just BLAH on take two. After the first lackluster attempt at 16", I conceded and put all the jumps down to 8", figuring it was more about working the handling anyhow. This helped, in that she was at least willing to lope through the motions with me, but it was still pretty sad.
It very much reminded me of what happened at the last trial, where she came out all gang-busters for the first run and then just plopped after that. I know that she is not a fan of drilling or excessively long training sessions, but the girl has to get used to the fact that sometimes we need to keep our working caps on for longer than one run.
I'm fairly certain the only reason I'm letting this get to me is because we have five runs at the trial this Saturday. After that happened on Friday I was kind of like, "Oh crap," but whatever -- We'll see what happens. Girl needs some work ethic. That doesn't involve a frisbee.
I pulled the above Chances course off the Going the Distance blog the other day. I thought it looked like fun and it didn't have an a-frame, so bonus for me (my "repaired" a-frame is in my garage waiting to be painted, which more than likely isn't going to happen until spring now!).
I figured last night was my only opportunity to actually do any training this week. I'm at the shelter tonight and since it is now dark at 5 p.m. (SOB) we can't do anything when I get home. Wednesday I am schlepping Secret & Luke to the chiropractor (so maybe that will help Secret feel more like playing) and then taking Kaiser to some run throughs at FDC to hopefully get the little turd to make the connection that he needs to run that dog walk like he does the one at home. In an attempt to have Secret as loony as possible on Saturday, I figure I'll impose a limited activity rule on her between the VSM appointment and the trial, which means Thursday & Friday should be loads of fun....
This was a nice course to play with. As always, I was lacking a tunnel so I did my best to approximate the final challenge by placing two hoops next to the finish tunnel. I know most dogs are going to choose a tunnel over hoops, so I made it as challenging as possible by having the hoops touching the tunnel bags. It still was likely easier than the original test, though, because nobody ever even looked at the hoops last night.
It was a good exercise for Secret since she had to be somewhat independent in her weaves. I stayed back further than required to test her on this. The first time she came out of the weaves and turned back at me without going to the jump -- Kind of like, "Hey, I did it, give me my reward."
After that she was pretty much a rock star. She ran the course clean several times, only once going from 8 to 10 and skipping jump 9 because I didn't support her line at all. She handled the Elite distance line with ease, so her comfort level with working away from me continues to increase at an alarming rate! In an effort to push both of us, I expanded on the original line and attempted to handle everything in the second half from to the left of jump 7. She had no problem with this, so I called it good and let her "nom-nom" on a Kong Squeaker ball while I changed the jump heights for Kaiser.
It is worth mentioning that Secret creamed the boys on this course. Both Kaiser and Luke (???) had issues with the flip out to the tunnel from 10 to 11. Say what?? That's like one of the easiest switches ever. Turns out I was late with my timing, but since when do they need to know that information two obstacles in advance? lol
Nobody got pushed for a second session last night because of the aforementioned darkness that crept upon us by 5:00. Lexie was over for a few hours and I figured since she turned a year old in September, it was time to actually start to get a bit more serious with her training. I moved her "up" to 4" jumps (from hoops), which I find amusing since this will likely be her competition jump height. She has such wee little legs, but they run so fast! She can be a spoiled pain in the rear at times (my parents have like no boundaries for her) but she is a fast & driven little stinker who seems to enjoy working. I like that attitude!
We knew the day was coming, but I was hoping it wouldn't be for a few more weeks. There is $n*w in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Anywhere from 1"-6" -- I love ambiguous weather forecasts. I don't anticipate it will stick and thus I haven't bothered to take in my dog walk yet, but I'm still grumbling. I would just like it to be done by the time I have to do all my driving tomorrow -- I'm crazy enough to be driving all the way to Viroqua for the chiro appointment and then all the way to La Crosse for Kaiser's run-through --- I most certainly don't care to put on that many miles driving in the first snowfall of the year....