As of the Western Classic weekend it was officially twelve months since I started trialling with Sonic! It has been a very interesting first year of our competition journey and although we've come such a long way, we have a loooong way still yet to go. I'm loving the fact that he is getting confident and powerful around the course but it is like we are two individuals when we are out there. It always feels like I'm on a knifes edge every run that we do and the run could go either way. I need to work really hard on us being a team and getting a much better feel for him. I'm still really happy with all three of his contact performances but his weavers have slowed down again. At the Classic and on the weekend at the teams event he wasn't pushing forward like he has been. So for the next month I'm going to focus very much on handling, handling, handling with a small splash of weaving thrown in to see if I can bring back the drive. At the seminar Lynda talked about working on your weaknesses and not over doing the things that you are stronger at so that is what I shall dutifully do!
It's been an incredibly busy couple of weeks since I returned from Melbourne. Last weekend I did my first ever dog training workshops for Better Pets & Gardens which was really fun. I actually feel really lucky to have the opportunity to try and get across positive dog training methods to the Average Joe. Most people just don't know anything about the philosophy of reinforcement builds behaviour and after both sessions I got fantastic feedback from the attendees. Hopefully they will go away and try some of the things that I told them about and their dogs will certainly be better off for it. A few people mentioned some of the other methods they'd been told to try on their dogs and it seriously made me cringe. I have two more workshops to do this weekend. Sonic and Riot were my very capable and well behaved assistants who managed to provide some very enthusiastic demo's showing how much enthusiasm and joy you get from positively trained dogs.
And how can I not mention, it was Soda's THIRTENTH birthday last Friday! I cannot believe another twelve months have past again in my old girls life. Soda is still as gorgeous as ever and celebrated in style hosting her own birthday party for one in my walk in robe while I was at work where I had inadvertently left my dog training backpack on the floor. By the time I got home she had thoughfully removed every dog single training halter and harness from the backpack in her treasure hunt to find her special birthday present (treat bag FULL of liver treats) that she no doubt thought I had left specially for her. Firstly I stumbled across empty butter menthol wrappers, followed by the training gear, then the clicker that was attached to the treat bag which was nestled amongst Colin's shoes, and some dog treat wrappers. But where was magical treat bag? It took a bit of searching but I eventually found it, very empty, tucked up in the back of Riot's crate. What a lovely birthday surprise!
Soda - thirteen years young