Saturday, May 23, 2015

Getting High

The youngster is five months old today. He is starting to look more and more like a grown up. I measured him last week because it was obvious he had shot up a bit and he was about 48cm so still keeping up with what Sonic was at the same age. Surprisingly he hasn't really gone gangly at all. He's pretty much stayed in proportion the whole time. His registration papers arrived from the Queensland Working Cattle Dog Trial Association last week so now he is officially "Waddy's Velocity".

Training him is as usual, an up and down affair. Some days I find myself saying "wow, what a great session" and then the very next session I'm quite likely to be saying "wow...that was terrible". The success of any given training session is often contingent on my ability to keep him sub-threshold. Once the boy is over aroused I may as well find something else to do because training him is a waste of all of our time. So if I want to do some training outside with him it's best to control his activity leading up to it. Then I have separate sessions where we work on him being able to function with there are distractions going on around us. It's a slow process but he's getting better at bringing himself under control and re-focusing. It's not going to be a quick process though. Overall he is a really nice puppy. His main issue is controlling himself with his boisterousness a bit like a lethal weapon. I was worried that he wasn't getting enough of our time so now we have "Veto" time each day when all the other dogs are put outside and he gets to hang with us by himself. He's a very sweet boy but you often don't get a chance to see it because he's so busy leaping all over the place. At some point he needs to learn to co-exist with everyone minus the jumping on them, so he is also spending time on lead chilling out on a dog bed while we are watching TV.  But being only five months old, he has a fairly limited window for sitting quietly just yet... 

We aren't doing anything super exciting training wise. I'm working on teaching him directionals and to understand verbal cues. Directionals take ages (plus he's a boy) so I figure the earlier we start that the better. His retrieve is pretty good now but I am trying to improve the speed with which he brings it back. I want an out to get and straight back to me and that's not always what I get, so by incorporating SG's "Cookie in a corner" game it's starting to look how I want it. His body awareness is not bad and he is probably the best at doing some of the exercises out of all of my dogs. He finally gets how to wrap. I was really surprised how long he took to understand that. I tried lots of different things to help him to understand what I wanted and for a while I was wondering if he was every going to get it. But now that he has I can even get multi-wraps from him so that's fun. I very rarely see the shut down signals from him anymore which is a relief. I can't remember the last time he left work or started scratching during a session so that has also been great to see. There is hope for us yet! 

The Cassie pants is still giving me some interesting challenges. She is so amazing at training now and couldn't be more up and keen if she was a rocket. But still the lack of confidence in the trial situation. In between things not going hugely well she has managed a couple of Q's including finishing off her Excellent Agility title. Feels like it's been a long time coming but when you consider that she was out for six months of last year and when she was trialling I missed a lot of runs with her, it probably only took 6 months in all. Some runs she is good and seems confident and happy, then other runs she wants to be anywhere but in the ring. I actually feel like I'm at a point where I need to be able to reward her in the ring in order to move forward. I've entered an ADAA trial next weekend so I can just do a few jumps and then reward her. So will see if that helps. If she doesn't want to run we just leave and I don't make a big deal about it. There is no pressure at all on her to run if she is feeling overwhelmed. It's definitely frustrating but it is what it is so all I can do is manage it and try and keep her as happy as I can.