Saturday, May 31, 2008

Water, brooms, rakes and cuddles

So intense...

Is there any wonder my back is buggered!

He is about to hit double figures, a whole 10 months of age! I thought I'd write down some of the quirky things he does that makes up who he is at this stage of his little life.
Sonic loves water. If there is a puddle or pool of water anywhere in the vicinity he has to jump in it. If he gets hot the paws go in the water bucket and he submerges his head under while drinking. Not a day goes by that I don't have to change his water bucket and I'm sure I don't need to mention that chasing water from the hose is very high on the list of fun.
He is still totally obsessed with me sweeping or raking. Should I attempt to do either I have to deal with much puppy screaming and herding of said rake or broom. We have come to a compromise these days in that as long as he lets me sweep or rake as soon as I've finished he is allowed to kill the broom to his hearts desire. The compromise seems to be working fairly successfully at this point. I like to think of it as control training...I don't know if anyone watching would agree.
He is pretty cuddly really which is a bit unexpected. If my partner and I are sitting on the lounge together he is very likely to curl up between us for a cuddle. I remember Kriszty telling me that Sally was a bit like that and loved to curl up on the lounge with you. He has this thing too where he loves to sniff your face. It's quite bizarre to watch but he is totally fascinated by it. Strangely enough I think that Kriszty and Gillian mentioned that Secret and Billy do it too.
Training is good. He's in love with the collapsible tunnel, doesn't fall off the puppy dog walk nearly as much as what he did to begin with and has the bend grid down pat. His two on two off on the dog walk is sometimes good but then he'll drop his bundle and get all flustered about it. I think I just need to do more of it with him and up the reinforcement.
I think he's about Riot's height now but I haven't gotten around to measuring him again. Because he's so slight he doesn't look that big but when he's walking alongside Riot he realise just how tall he is. Just as long as he doesn't go over 54.6cm all will be well!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Nine months

It’s hard to believe that 12 months have passed since the National Agility Trial last year in Adelaide. Winning the Novice Jumping final with Lexi feels like it could have been a million years ago! It was just before the Nationals that Kriszty and I drove out to Narembeen to collect Mick before delivering him to Sam to take down to the farm. That was when the wait began in earnest for Sally to come in season and the mating to take place. Even harder to believe is that young Sonic is now nine months old.

He still hasn’t grown much more in height although I think he has filled out a bit. I’m still confident that he will be a nice 52cm – 53cm at the shoulder come measuring time. Leggy would be a great description for him although he is surprisingly coordinated considering. There is an interesting game that he plays by himself which involves him lying on his back playing with a toy, but unlike my other dogs who would use only front feet to control the toy, he uses his back “thumper” feet as well. I guess if it works, why not. I get the impression that anything that he does will be unique….

Training still involves copious amounts of stay work with the proofing exercises getting harder and harder. He shows great control to be able to sit there like a statue when I throw a toy right next to him, as he loves his toys with a passion! The only time I can get him to break is by doing a “ready, steady” and then running forward without a release cue. Even then he normally only takes one stride before stopping and looking at me with a “oh crap” expression on his face. I can never get him a second time though.

Circle work is improving and he is far less inclined to blast off. It is always safer to build up speed wise though as flat out straight off is normally more than he can handle and he’ll charge off like a banshee. I’ve started incorporating bend work with his straight-line jump bumps. There was a recent article in Clean Run by Susan Salo that recommended doing bend work with pups early, which makes sense. So I dutifully started him on it a couple of weeks ago. First night was crap and he had no idea what to do. All the other exercises I do with him he is getting so good at now and he is so full of confidence that it was funny watching him trying to figure it out. Anyway, last week we tried again and he was great so I think this week I will put the full bend grid out and see how he handles it.

I was looking at him the other day and wondering if I’m not doing enough with him. I have quite a bit of puppy equipment at home so it would be easy for me to set things up in the backyard. But then I look at some of the people that I train with and I see 14 to 18 month old dogs doing masters sequences already. I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with that but I know that I’m not interested in pushing Sonic that fast. I would rather watch him be the total larrikin that he is and enjoy being a puppy for as long as possible. He has got plenty of time to be a serious agility dog and many years of competition in front of him. The two evenings I do train him now is plenty and the rest of the time he can enjoy trips to the beach, out to the bush, terrorising the cat or just running amuck with his buddies.