Thursday, July 3, 2008

Eleven months and counting

I called into the Canine Association last Friday and put in Sonic’s paperwork to get him registered as an Associate dog. After a bit of indecision about whether to just leave it as Sonic or not I went with my original choice of “Supersonic”. As he does everything at 100mph it felt like the right thing to do. When I get his paperwork and registration number back from Canine I will organise to get him measured. I’m really keen to get it done as I have a small paranoia about him going over 54.5cms…I don’t think he will but I will feel much better for getting it done.

We’ve had quite a few training disruptions of late with the wet weather. He loves his training so much that I hate having to miss it. I’ve been doing a little bit at home but it’s not quite the same. Training itself is progressing quite well. Most nights he is very good and handles the distractions easily. Other nights he has trouble focusing and goes over threshold very quickly. Those nights I just concentrate on calming him down and getting him switched back on. I’ve been training him closer and closer to the action and even spend some time sitting him near dogs doing fun stuff (like charging through tunnels) while rewarding him for being calm and looking at me. For a dog as highly visually stimulated as him it is a big ask, but he normally does pretty well.

He still goes through stages where one week he will do beautiful two on two offs on the end of the dog walk with loads of nose touches and stay on until I release him. Other times he is all over the place and throws a couple of nose touches at me before getting off again before being released. However his speed and enthusiasm is picking up so I guess it’s all part of his learning process and confidence in what he’s doing. It will still be quite a while before I feel confident enough to commence the back chaining process!

Recently I set up two uprights at home 6ft apart with both jump bars set at 150mm height. I was curious to see what he’d do considering that he does 5 jump bumps like a seasoned professional. Interestingly he just could not do them. He would do each one on it’s own no problem, but as soon as I asked him to do them one after the other he just ran around them. Goes to show the impact that can occur when you change the picture on them. All I did was just break the jumps down and I think I got one or two where he would do both but he really was like a fish out of water. I am keen to try it again soon to see if he copes any better!

I have been starting to think about his training program once he reaches 12 months (only one more exciting month away!!). The only thing I’m certain about at the moment is that I’m going to hold off on any weaving training until after I get back from the Nationals in September. That will put him at 14 months so I will feel much more confident that he will be physically ready. To watch him free run you would say he is very coordinated, particularly after experiencing the heart pounding fear of seeing him coming directly towards me full pace and then screaming to a halt only two strides in front of me before zooming off the other direction. However doing new tasks is a different thing altogether and I’m happy to wait. Other than that his coordination when it comes to digging 3km deep holes in my back yard appear very, very good…

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