Saturday, October 3, 2015

Nine Months

Veto has grown up a lot in the last month.  It's surprised me how much he's changed actually and how much he's matured.  When we have our little training sessions I feel like we are becoming a team as opposed to me rudely interrupting his fun time with his buddies.  There is a new sense of us working together which is really quite nice!  It's not always perfect and he's still just a baby but it's nice to start feeling like a team.   He's become much easier to manage around the house and slightly less likely to throw himself on the other dogs.  He still can't resist socks and slippers and of course toilet rolls if the toilet door is left open.  Mostly he's thinks he's clever and retrieves them to you but sometimes it's more of a stealth maneuver and he disappears with his prize to a quiet spot.  Fortunately just the one sock casualty so far.

The warmer weather and snakes on the move means that we aren't using the property for exercise anymore this year.  So his morning workout is now training time which is what it was before he needed the extra exercise, just that it's more likely to be running contact training or handling training rather than body awareness which we now do in the evenings.  I'm really pleased with how he is picking up handling and having the H360 exercises to do is brilliant.  We just use wings with a jump bump instead of an upright and a traffic cone either side.  He struggled a bit initially as he didn't really get the wrap thing and was quickly bored with it but now he is wrapping beautifully.  I'm also really happy with his turns and at this stage he's nice and tight and really light on his feet.  So we'll keep fingers crossed that we can maintain that once he starts jumping.  Right now it's all about him learning extension and collection.  He has also decided that balls are his thing.  He is quite happy to tug and will tug on pretty much anything but he really loves chasing balls.  I get way better drive out of his turns when I use one so happy to stick with that if that is what he likes!

I'm looking forward to the next few months and how he comes along.  He won't start jump training until he's 12 months old which isn't all that far away is exciting to have a young dog and see their potential developing. And he's become such a nice dog to train that the whole process becomes so enjoyable.  What agility is all about.

We had the Royal Show last weekend and had a fun couple of days.  My decision to retire Sonic from agility was confirmed as a good one after running him in the teams.  He had a couple of lovely clear runs in jumping but slipped a couple of time on lines that were very gentle turns and no reason for him to slip.  In general the amount of warm up/cool down and stress involved worrying about soreness not really worth it.  Sonic will still have a great life as one of the gang filled with running around, swimming and being a nut bag.  It just won't involve any agility anymore.

Donut girl...
 Cassie's training is still ticking along nicely.  I'm pleased to see that by not rewarding her in the ring at training I'm now getting a much more similar responses to what I get at a trial.  She seems comfortable with the game and it will be interesting to see the progression over the next few months.  My plan is to finish the year off with short NFC runs and then as soon as we kick off in 2016 I'll try a few proper runs and see what we have.  There is just no way of predicting what may unfold when dealing with the mysterious mind of the papillon.  But we are probably closer to success than what we have been so far.  I feel like everything else has been a band-aid and although has helped to work through ring stress never really dealt with the lack of reinforcement in the ring that seems to be the biggest issue plaguing us.  So Nationals for her next year is a 50 -50 proposition at this stage.  I guess I'll know more once we get through the early trials.

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