Three weeks into our ring confidence course and a week out from Christmas...where on earth did the last couple of months go?? In fact where has 2014 gone...
So I did manage to get a gold spot in the Ring Confidence course. It really is a serious adrenaline rush waiting for the clock to hit the course opening time and then banging away on the refresh button! Just unfortunately that it's always some ridiculous hour of the morning. The course has been a lot of fun so far and everything is broken into itty bitty pieces that are really easy to manage. In three weeks Cassie has gone from seeing ring ropes and shutting down/trying to avoid, to seeing ring ropes and dragging me into the ring. It's hard to believe that she's the same dog. I'm very fortunate that Cassie is so high drive and will do a lot of things for food and toys. It has made it much less challenging. But being given the right exercises broken down into the right pieces and then putting together is making all the difference. With how well she is going, getting her back into the ring actually feels like it might happen.
What I find even more exciting is that after working through the I'm Just Little and now the Confidence Building course Cassie is just different in general. It's a bit hard to describe, but it's like she's lost the suspicion about what is about to happen. Because the pressure is off she obviously feels less concerned and is far keener to engage. She still takes her toy into the tunnel from time to time but as she learns that it doesn't matter and I'm not going to make her do anything she wants to come back and she wants to engage me. She is now more often than not the one who is initiating the work. I've had nights after work when I hadn't planned on doing any training with her and she has hassled me constantly until I've caved in and taken her out to do something. I feel like I finally "get" my dog.
I can't imagine not doing more courses after this. The whole thing becomes a bit addictive. Having someone there at any time who you can ask questions of is just brilliant. I'm learning so much I don't really want to stop. I might not always do gold level but I think I'd like to find something at bronze that might be interesting. I can't rave enough about Denise Fenzi. She is like a miracle worker! If she lived in Australia I'd find her and give her a bit kiss.
I took Sonic to Murdoch last week for x-rays and a full going over. Fortunately nothing we didn't already know about was found and it is still his hips that are causing all the problems. The specialist basically told me that all I can do is modify my expectations and accept that he is going to get sore. Doing the odd trial isn't out of the question but some level of discomfort is unavoidable so medication will become a way of life. I guess it's about deciding for him how much he is allowed to do. I want to give him the opportunity to do agility when he is feeling good but it will be a trial to trial proposition. At least I can give him meds to make his day to day life more comfortable. I'm glad I took him in to be fully checked out. I feel a lot happier now that I know more about what I'm dealing with and how to look after him the right way. With a lounge room that has become a fitness centre I'm certainly well prepared to keep him in the best possible physical condition.