Sunday, December 12, 2010

Road to recovery and chinese whispers

My boy is finally getting back to normal. It took a good couple of weeks where although he was bright and happy, he was still sleeping a lot and a little on the quiet side. But then last weekend he just seemed to come back alive one afternoon and has been his old self ever since. Words can't describe how relieved I am that this horrible experience has turned out OK.

This last week has seen the commencement of our new training plan courtesy of Susan Garrett. Beginning with "Its Your Choice" games and also some shaping and hand targeting. One thing I realised quite embarrassingly is that Sonic has two shaped behaviours, one being sit and the other being down... Really quite pathetic when you think about it. Clearly I was just too "agility blinded" to do any more with him when he was a puppy. The IYC game is how I'm working through his frustration issues as he'll sit and then drop and if he doesn't get rewarded he'll start barking at me. What I'm trying to achieve is a more thoughtful dog who will continue to try other things if what he offers initially isn't earning the reward. So far we've managed a stand and a back up. Not much but it's only the beginning and I'm excited to see how it all goes.

The hardest thing with all of this is having the courage to stop doing all the stuff that you have been doing in the past. We are all very, very good at going to seminars and saying that's the way I'm going to do it now and then two weeks later it all seems too hard so you go right back to what you were doing before the seminar. I was chatting to Tracey last night who was part of the WA contingent at the SG seminar and she was telling me about what she's been working on with her young dog Taz since she returned. Tracey was saying that she's done hardly any equipment since and has been focusing on a few particular issues that Taz has and specifically tailoring her training for that. After seeing Taz run last night all I can say is WOW. Taz looked confident and probably the most full on I've ever seen her on course. That for me is incredibly inspirational to see someone make a decision with their dog training and then work so hard to achieve what they want. I know that Tracey will be the first to admit that she still has a long way to go but if that is what she's getting already then it will all be well worth it.

Grass in October

Grass now - ok not much but we're getting there!

I'm also please to announce that lovely little Hotnote Electric Dreams aka "Sage" finished her Agility Champion title fittingly at the last trial of the year last night. Sage is now the first official Agility Champion bred by Hotnote kennels. Sage is very closely related to my beautiful Soda and is the spitting image on the agility course. For me watching Sage is like watching Soda all over again. I run Sage's sister Lexi for Leanne Irvine who has the Hotnote prefix and if the pup I get from Lexi is anything like Sage and Soda I will very happy indeed.

Speaking of puppies there appears to have been an interesting Chinese whisper travelling around which has unfortunately caused some upset. Along the lines of I hate working border collies and would never have a working border collie puppy. Interesting considering I have a working bc who I love more than life itself. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have strong feelings and opinions on the importance of genetic testing and hip/elbow scoring of border collies when breeding. This bears absolutely no relation to whether I like a dog who is being bred from. At this point on my dog training path I would choose not to take on a pup who's parents have not had genetic testing and hip scoring done. This is a blanket statement which applies to show lined and working lined border collies however currently this testing is predominately done by show border collie breeders. When I am ready for my next working bc pup (another 2 - 3 years away yet!) because I absolutely want another one, it will definitely be something that influences my choice of where I get it from. The End.

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