Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Seven Months

Wow, another month gone...if nothing else he continues to grow! Not sure that he's gotten a lot taller but he's muscled up and is really developing in the body. He's certainly one powerful boy. There is a lot to like about him. He's very sweet and loves his cuddles. He is fantastic with other dogs and loves everyone.  I just hope that once the testosterone starts kicking in fully his lovely temperament with other dogs remains.  He has really slotted into the routine at home and is so much easier to manage now. He still has a lot of restrictions on him and not sure when he'll settle down enough to be allowed loose in the house with the other dogs but one step at a time. One day I'm sure he'll graduate off the lead!   Although I'm not sure the other dogs are in a rush for that to happen.

Training is going OK. Inside sessions are normally spot on. Outside can go either way and he can be distracted by the environment.  Sometimes we have good sessions out there and other times not so good. He is learning some really cool stuff and tricks I've never tried with my other dogs before. His rear end awareness is fantastic.  I've been doing a lot of Recallers with him as well and I'm really happy with how hard he drives after me. He's not super fast driving into a tunnel at the moment but at seven months, who cares. The Recallers game push back and jam is definitely helping so I'll keep playing with that. I don't have any specific plans time wise with all of this. We've been doing some wraps to tunnels which have been fun. His understanding of wraps is going really well. I've started some very basic running contact work and I'll just see how it develops. I've been teaching him two on two off as well so I'll decide later on which one I'll go with. Really depends if he picks up the running contact skills relatively easily or if it all goes to crap once I start to put it on a dog walk. And of course depends on my ability to train it! Nothing will be on actual equipment for a while so I shouldn't be able to mess it up too badly for now...then everything else at the moment is tricks and games. 
Veto - 7 months
Things with Cassie aren't going nearly so well.  The "not getting any reinforcement in the competition ring" is hitting us hard.  Everything works for a couple of trials and then she figures out that she's not getting any rewards in the ring for that either so it all goes to crap.  The only way I figure I will ever be able to work through this is to either be able to do NFC runs so I can reward her in the ring for a significant period of time and then randomly reward from then on.  Or I go back and expand her understanding of never getting rewarded in the ring.  As part of the Denise Fenzi "Bridging the Gap" course, we worked on doing a whole series of exercises and then being released to her reward.  So at the moment my plan is to grow that at training so that she literally never gets rewarded on the agility field.  If she does something great, she'll get a cue and we'll run to her treat bag for a reward.  I've only tried it once at training and it worked really well because she already knows the game.  And she understands the concept of working with open food around and her getting it being contingent on her earning it.  So I'm happy that the foundation of the game is well ingrained in her.  It will really be how I can transfer it to the ring.  I think it will take quite a few NFC classes where I can do a few obstacles and then leave the ring for a reward.  Then if the judge allows me to, go back into the ring and do some more so I can develop the skill in that ring environment.  I would work on it over a period of time to build duration from doing a few obstacles to doing a whole course.  Then potentially randomly releasing her from the ring to her reward at trials so she never knows when she may get her reward.  Other than that I'm totally stuck and have no idea what to do!  It's been good to have a break from it all anyway.  Sometimes you really just get sick of thinking about it!!