The wee laddie is now 5 months old. At last measurement he was 47cms at the top of his shoulders so looks like the crazy growth spurt he was experiencing has slowed down. Most of his puppy teeth have finally fallen out. Some fell out of their own accord, others fell out during games of tug...I have actually been trying to be gentle with the tug games as I'm sure his gums must be quite tender. His coat is starting to get a little length although compared to my other dogs it is still short! Needless to say I'm extemely happy to have a short coated border collie after having four show border collies that have much longer coats and have to get brushed weekly to avoid the dreaded tangles.
The temperature in Perth has been fairly crap of late so outside training has been off the agenda most days. Instead I've been working on some things in the house but obviously space wise it's much more limiting. In saying that it's a great opportunity to work on proofing stays and working on some basic handling manouvres. I must admit I'm really looking forward to the training grounds being reopened so I can start doing some shadow handling in a nice big space. Sonic's attitude to training is pretty great for a five month old. He has the odd adolescent moment but he certainly doesn't lack for enthusiasm. He'd play with you for hours if you let him. I was playing with him the other day and I wound him up so much that he started his shrieking noise that is generally saved for special occasions such as the beach and running with my other dogs. I was kind of excited that I could get him that excited but at the same time trying to train him when he is that high wouldn't be an option. At that point he is way over threshold and you'd have no chance of him learning anything while he's in that state. It certainly may be something I'll have to learn to work around when he starts his formal agility training.
I guess that's the beauty of having the amazing training books that are around now. Control Unleashed is all about getting you dogs mental state in the right place. I have no doubt what I teach him now about being relaxed and focused will be invaluable. There is also a Yahoo Goup for Control Unleashed so if I come across any big problems there is plenty of help and advise available. One thing I have come across recently was his high arousal state when I took him to the beach. He has learnt to love the beach so now when we go down he literally starts shrieking as I walk him down from the car park onto the sand. I thought initially that it was my other dogs running around that was winding him up but even when I called them over and put them in a down, Sonic just sat on the sand oblivious to the other dogs and stared out at the ocean whining. Food is usless when he's at that point, as I found out. Even little peices of rump steak were ignored. So I sat on the beach with him and worked on our relaxation techniques while he calmed down. When he was calm and his body posture had relaxed I released him and the others off to play.
Is he going to love agility that much? I have to say I can't wait to find out.