Sunday, June 15, 2008

Winter holidays

Sonic modelling his new winter rain jacket.

Sonic's big blue bunny - pre bashing

Big blue bunny - post bashing...
It is a hideous, horrible wet day today so seemed like a good day to blog. Not that I don’t like the rain, it’s just that it hasn’t let up since it started at 7am this morning and it means a boring day stuck inside the house.
Mind you the dogs seem more than happy curled up on their beds in the house. My partner and I just returned from six glorious days down at Margaret River, which focused on drinking, eating and sight seeing (in that order…). That meant that the dogs had to go to the kennels for the week. From what Judith told me when I collected them yesterday, they all conducted themselves extremely well (even Sonic!) and other than Riot having a ripped toenail (with much sooky facial expressions and sighing when I cleaned and bandaged it up yesterday) they seem none the worse for wear. I dare say that the quietness in the house today would be due to kennel recovery time!
I took Riot and Sonic to Simon Leanings last Saturday to have some fun. Sonic only had a very brief go on the sheep. He was much more animated this time and spent a bit of time charging around and barking at the sheep. In between the silly stuff he showed some nice work. I did quite a bit with Riot and although he started off a bit rough he was really working well at the end of the morning. When one of the younger more inexperienced dogs lost the sheep out the back paddock Riot and I were able to go and get them and bring them back quickly and quietly which was really fun.
I’ve been working hard on Sonic’s 2o2o on the end of the dog walk bringing my rate of reinforcement up very high. He seems to be getting more confident but I will hold off any back chaining until I’m really happy with his understanding of the position. I’m even getting some nice nose touches without the target on the ground. We’ve also been mucking around with the flexi tunnel. It was initially a bit crazy but I’ve incorporated start lines in front of the tunnel as well so some semblance of control is introduced! With all the groundwork I’ve been doing with him I have to say I’m very happy with his understanding of my body position. Even working on the tunnel you can see that depending on where I’m standing when he comes out of the tunnel he knows exactly where he needs to be.
I love doing recalls with him and his start lines are great. If I add a front cross into his recall mix he gives me an excited growl when he turns. I’ve started doing post turns as well. I’m glad I did as initially he kept trying to turn in behind me so I think it’s important that he understands those too before doing any formal jumping grids.
I did another quick measure of Sonic this morning and I got him at just under 53.5cm. I’ve found in the past that when formal measuring is done they tend to be about 1cm taller than what I get so even taking that into account he should comfortabley come in to the 500 height class. I’m happy for him to be on the higher side, as hopefully it will help to make him more competitive.

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