Veto has hit month eight and in the meantime Cassie has turned four and Sonic has turned eight. My "little" boy has shot up big time and is now resembling a Shetland pony. It will be touch and go if he ends up in 500 or 600. It would be weird being in 600 but it's getting pretty competitive these days so it doesn't bother me which ever height he ends up in. I just expected that he would be in 500 and am still a bit surprised just how quickly he's grown. There is more and more to like about him. I absolutely love his temperament, he is such a friendly, happy boy who loves everyone. Possibly sometimes a little too much... He's not a screaming, crazy idiot. He tends to get more serious than anything when he's over aroused. Although he still does the odd really stupid thing as youngsters are want to do. I make sure we get time together with just the two of us every day, ideally taking him for a run by himself. It's taken a bit of time but I'm starting to see a good relationship developing between us where he really wants to do stuff with me, rather than doing it because I'm asking. The biggest challenge with him is just how much exercise he needs. You expect a working border collie to need a lot of exercise but he is above and beyond what I've experienced before. And if he doesn't get enough he turns into an out of control wild animal who destroys everything in his path. I'm very relieved that I waited until we had five acres before I got him. Goodness knows how I would have managed him in suburbia. I shudder at the thought...
Nothing startling happening on the training front and more of the same really. His body awareness is great and he loves his tricks. He is just starting to be able to hold himself up when doing sit pretties after a few months of working on it. I'm happy with the progression of his running contact work so I don't think it will be too long before I move on from the carpet and set up some planks on the ground. I've started doing a very small amount of grid work using jump bumps to see how he goes. I don't want to get caught up with speed only and getting him to charge around uprights without giving any thought to what he's doing with this legs. So far he seems to be a fairly natural jumper and confident with his body. He still has a time limit on his sessions and if I try and push him beyond that he will lose focus and switch off. It's actually not a bad thing as it certainly stops you from over doing it with them. Every now and again I'll see if he can handle more but for now he's not really ready. Overall he's doing a pretty good job when I have him out in the agility area. There are a lot of distractions with the bush just on the other side filled with bandicoots, rabbits just begging to be chased! Which is pretty much every puppies idea of an awesome time. Cassie was about 18 months old before I could have her off lead out there so all in all he's doing pretty well.
Poor Sonic's body is pretty much stuffed so I've decided that the Royal Show will likely be his last ever agility event. He looks amazing at the moment and since I moved him from a "premium" biscuit that was full of brewers rice, corn gluten meal and beet pulp and onto a biscuit that actually has some nutritional value he has blossomed. However keeping him sound is another matter all together and it's all a bit too hard. It will be nice to finish at the Royal with the teams event, he's always loved it there. But whether he'll be sound enough is another thing as he's been showing some soreness in his shoulder at the moment. We have a few weeks to go so I'll give him as good of a chance as I can. Such a shame :(
I've started Cassie's ring rehab with my new and redesigned strategy. Only one trial so far but I was happy with the result. The first run I literally did one jump yelled "jackpot" and then we sprinted to her lead and treats. The next run she was a lot more reluctant to come off the start line but thankfully did, ran past the second jump but then I managed to get her to do a jump tunnel combination before yelling "jackpot" and off to her lead and treats again. My goal is to remain at one or two jumps to the reward until I can see a change in her demeanor at the start line. When I see her keen to start and leaning forward in anticipation like she does at training then I'll know it's time to add in more. I think a lot of people think I'm crazy letting her run out of the ring to a reward but I'm not worried at all. Her getting her treats is contingent on her doing what I ask in the ring first. If she took off out of the ring to get her rewards without working for them first she wouldn't get them. And of course she already had a strong understanding of that food isn't hers because she's decided it is. She has to earn it and can work with open food all around without any issues. She can get distracted by it but she'll still work. Given that the alternative is never being able to trial her again so I figure it's worth the risk!