Getting back in the ring is so close I can almost taste it! I did enter Cassie in a trial last weekend, but I don't want to ruin things by jumping the gun so we are sitting tight for now. We are coming to the end of the "I'm Just Little" course and Cassie has been a total superstar. I am literally throwing the kitchen sink at her and she is blitzing it. Probably because now I'm finally listening to her and giving her what she needs. Feedback from Denise has been great and understanding when to push and when to give invaluable. I thought I was an OK dog trainer before but now I feel like someone has turned the light on. That was the biggest issue when the ring stress first appeared. I had no idea what to do to give her the confidence she needed. Instead I treated her like a border collie. Big mistake...
Phase C of Cassie's ring rehab will hopefully begin in December. After showing Denise some video of Cassie working at home with ring ropes up Denise is convinced she can help me fix it because Cassie becomes a different dog very quickly when the ropes are present. So I'm going to try very, very hard to get a Gold Level spot in Denise's Ring Confidence course that starts on 1st December. Registration is 3.30am WST. Won't that be fun... This course is great timing and gives us something structured to work on over Christmas and into the New Year. So the plan is that Cassie might be ready to be back in the ring at the first trial of 2015! How awesome that would be.
Back in October we did the Shape Up Dogs seminar with Justine Davenport and Jessica Patterson. To be honest I was really worried leading up to it. I thought that it would be way too much for Cassie and that Sonic (aka Mr Lame) would have to stand in, somehow. Not to mention the forecast of warm weather. As it happened the weather was OK. Warmish on one day but not too bad. Cassie went above and beyond my expectations. Lots to work on but it gave me more direction on putting my handling into practice, something that has been sorely neglected since I have had to put all my focus on Cassie's confidence. Cassie was the only non-working breed in the Advanced session and she was amazing. Worked her butt off every time I got her out no matter what I asked of her. When I go to training now I just combine the confidence and proofing work with handling skills. It's been a long time since I have really felt happy with a handling system but this one is great.
So poor Sonic is lame again. No more trialling for him this year. I think he my have slipped in the house and then after running around outside was quite obviously really sore. He is due an acupuncture treatment next week and then I've got him a specialist appointment the week after for a thorough going over to see what I can do to help him. Hard to know what the future holds in store for him agility wise. I hope he can do something, just not sure what yet. I don't think he's quite ready to do nothing.
For this summer I decided to purchase a treadmill for the dogs. I almost got one last year but at the last minute went with the pool because I thought it would be better conditioning for Sonic. Although the pool was great exercise I really struggled with the upkeep of maintaining the water quality, filtering etc. So this time year the treadmill came out on top. Not much to choose from by way of dog treadmills in Australia. Only two that I could find anyway. One fancy but very expensive. The other much cheaper but still had all the things that I wanted and reviews were all good so that is what I went with. The dogs responses to using the treadmill have been very predictable. Cassie no problem as long as there is food involved. Riot is quite happy to use it but really doesn't seem to see the point and when he has decided he wants to stop, he does, whether it's going or not. Sonic total maniac. Jumps on, flails around for a minute or so then launches off it like it's about to self destruct underneath him. You can't push him or give him a hard time about it, he just gets worse. Problem solved by putting the Manners Minder on a stool in front and letting him work it out for himself. You get on it, the MM gives you a treat. Even very silly boys can figure that out...Fizzy was slowly and quietly but she's got the idea.