Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hard Runnings

Another month has passed, Fizzy's legs have tripled in length and Cassie's training continues in earnest.  Most of the work I'm doing on equipment with Cassie is at home.  When we go to Dog's West it's all about distraction training.  She is really good probably 90% of the time but my faith in my decision not to let her off lead at training for a while was totally justified the other day as she sped around me in crazy circles trying to get to the border collies that were charging past us over the agility courses.  Not surprising really given that chasing border collies at home is one of her favourite things to do.

Running contacts are hard work and a huge learning experience being the first time I've trained it with any of my dogs.  Although we have definitely turned a corner over the last week.  I had been using a toy for all the rewarding but I couldn't get any more than a 50% success rate with Cassie.  She would literally hit one then miss one over and over again.  It was totally doing my head in.  Then I remembered that I had a perfectly good Manners Minder that I'd purchased over twelve months ago sitting in the house that had yet to make it out of it's box.  Cassie took a little while to warm to it.  Given that it's about the same size as her and made a loud beeping noise I guess that wasn't unreasonable that she was a bit intimidated by it.  However once she realised that food came out of it she quickly changed her mind.  She started running down to the MM and after she got her first treat sat in front of it offering it behaviours in the vain hope it would give her some more.  The good new is that since I started using it our success rate has increased to about 90%.  The MM has just made it so much clearer to her in what I want.  Finally we are progressing and have just  started adding in turns.  I have to say though that if I was training a border collie rather than a papillon I probably would have thrown my hands up in the air and gone back to 2o2o contacts quite some time ago.  So much easier to train!

We've also started doing some very simple single box jump grids.  I'm mainly focused on building her understanding of 270's, 180's etc and of course her drive around me.  Cassie loves her tunnels so that has been an easy piece of equipment to introduce.  At some point I'll have to teach her the broad jump and tyre but I figure that can wait for now.  If her running contact training continues to improve over the next month I will hopefully get her weaver training started in September.  I'm still hoping her first trial will be the Western Classic in March next year.  It's nice to have an event that I can aim for although I won't run her unless I'm absolutely happy with how she's going and bunking off after border collies has been completely eliminated!

Fizz's education is pretty basic right now.  I feel certain that she will be a very late maturer like her father and going slowly won't do her any harm at all.  What I am doing with her she is enjoying very much.  She is very clever and almost logical the way she seems to think things through.  I had some initial concerns about getting her to retrieve but then all of a sudden she just got it when I was playing with her.  Pretty happy about that as it took me ages to convince Cassie to bring toys back especially if it had a squeaky in it.  Other than that it's all about reinforcement zone and recalls.  She has officially reached the age were she thinks coming back is optional so plenty of work to do there!
Fizz vs sprinklers
Sonic's trialling has been on the quiet side.  I am only scheduling in a couple of trials a month and that will probably stay the same until next year.  He's running very nicely and recently at our Cloverdale trial came second in both Masters Agility and Masters Jumping with steady but not particularly fast runs on courses that were pretty challenging.  I do really enjoy running him these days.  It's so nice when they know their job and he loves doing it but these days I just need to spread my time more wisely and I really can't spend every weekend doing agility trials.  I've entered the Royal Show again this year.  It will be pretty quiet with so many WAers heading to Tamworth for the ADAA Grand Prix.  But too good an opportunity to take Cassie along and give her some time in an environment of that nature.  Hopefully next year I'll be heading to Tamworth myself!
Fizz and Sonic

1 comment:

Kriszty said...

Looking good little rat! ;)
Love Aunty Kriszty