Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Here We Come!

Finally time to update my blog. I seriously don't know where the time goes these days. I can't believe it's Christmas this weekend. Thankfully as of this Friday I'm on two weeks annual leave with absolutely no plans other than to spend some time doing things at home, hang out with the dogs and catching up with friends. And some much needed sleep will be nice too!

Cassie and I are having a ball. I'm really enjoying the Recallers course and I'm already seeing improvements in Cassie's responses. Even something as simple as increasing my rate of rewarding when she hits reinforcement zone has seen her now charging to me when she's out the back no matter what she's doing in her haste to hit "the spot". I had neglected Crate Games a bit with all the other things I've been trying to do with her so I've gone back to keep progressing with it. One of the things I love about Crate Games is that even after only making it to step three she has a solid start line which means I've been able to introduce Cassie to her first jump bumps. Watching her do jump bumps is one of the cutest things ever and she thinks its a hoot. The joy on her face is just priceless. And she's retrieving pretty consistently which is brilliant as it means I can start to progress some other things.

Up until now I hadn't been doing any real body awareness work with Cassie but after watching her first jump bumps back in slow motion I can see that she has little idea what to do with her body and legs. So I've started to do some perch work and rear end awareness exercises. Then I'm going to do the Salo Spider with her to encourage the use of her back end when she's jumping rather than just hurling herself over. She is pretty quick, I struggle to keep in front of her when we're doing restrained recalls so I'm really keen to make sure she develops a good jumping style. It certainly worked for Sonic.

Speaking of Sonic we had a nice end to the ANKC trialling year with Sonic having a couple of really lovely runs and clear rounds. So nice to have some consistency! We missed the very last trial of the year with me making a last minute trip to Adelaide to spend time with my family. Then the weekend just gone I competed at the World Agility Open Australian Team Try-outs in an attempt to get selected for the team to go to Belgium in May next year. We actually started off really well with three out of four clear runs in agility on the first night. So I was quietly optimistic. Unfortunately the second night didn't go as well as I'd hoped and we only had one clear round, DQing in the other two. So I pretty much accepted that I wouldn't be in the team for 2012. However it looks like I may be fortunate enough to get a spot in the 300 height category. Given that I now have a dog who will ultimately compete in 200 I still think it would be an amazing opportunity. So fingers crossed that it all pans out and I can go. But we'll see what transpires over the next week or so.