Sunday, November 16, 2008

Walking dogs

Riot & Sonic (otherwise know as high & low maintenance!)

It's been a busy couple of weeks with owning my big fluffy border collie Riot feeling a bit like having a pre-drivers licence adolescent, as I drive him to in store appearances at Better Pets and Gardens and to dates with a very pretty border collie girl who has come all the way from Tasmania to hopefully have his pups.

In between running around for Riot's social life I have been focusing on some good old agility fun with the Sonic. I am very pleased to announce that I no longer "hate" Sonic's dog walk! Yes, we appear to have managed to conquer the trotting down on the descent ramp issue. Last week at training after about four reps on each side with the jump bar in place I took it away and he ran the whole thing. It was a very gratifying experience. I knew he was feeling confident as he had gone from cautiously taking the jump on the way down to leaping it from a distance (obviously a good sign), but to actually have him run down minus the jump was great. I will still keep the jump bar in for a few more weeks before totally phasing out just to make sure the behaviour is well and truly established. Interestingly enough this training method never worked on Riot.

The A-Frame is still on its way up. I will probably hold off raising full height for another month or so. He can do 12 weavers but I hate his style, if you could call it that. So after some consultation with others who have been teaching weavers recently I will break them back down and see if I can get a better action through them. I'm not sure how long it will take but I don't see the point in continuing and hoping that they get better as they are.

The jumping grids are going well and I'm contemplating running him in Novice Jumping at the Agility Club's members comp this week. I'll check out the course first and if I think it's nice and simple I will give him a run. It's going to be quite a while before we attempt Novice Agility so we might as well do some jumping in the meantime. Sonic loves stretching out over his jumps so hopefully it will be a nice open (easy) course.

I am pleased to say though that my puppy is still a total nutcase. At 15 months I thought there was a possibility that he may have started to grow up and be a little more "settled" or slightly boring even. Oh no, not Sonic. I still can't sweep in the house without closing the blinds because Sonic wants to kill the broom, he still destuffs all his cuddly toys for evening entertainment, loves to jump on our bed in the morning to play "kill the hand", belches loudly at any given opportunity, digs holes to China in my poor grass, turns going in and out of the dog door into a life threatening experience for every other dog in the house who is silly enough to try and use it at the same time and finally, turns a pleasant walk around the local streets into a crazy throw yourself at the passing car thrill ride... And I wouldn't want him any other way :-)

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