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.

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