Friday, January 29, 2016

Thirteen Months

At this point in time I've decided it really isn't a good idea to watch what other people are doing with their young dogs.  The other day Justine Davenport posted a video to celebrate her young dog Never's first birthday where she proudly showed him doing entire courses (jumps on low height of course) pretty darn well.  Veto is up to three jumps in a row...clearly we have some work to do!  lol  Around the house he is definitely growing up.  He still has moments when he is the biggest pest ever and his lack of self control drives my other boys nuts.  But he's getting better and can now at least spend time around the house with the other dogs and manage to settle.  I thought he had grown out of his shoe stealing fetish but apparently not so the pet gate remains across the door of our walk in robe.  The fetish appeared to transfer itself to the bath mat briefly but the novelty of dragging that around the house thankfully had a short lifespan.  Fortunately for the most part he steals stuff but then brings it to you so I have still had just the one sock casualty and our shoes/thongs have surprisingly survived thus far.

Ve has just gone thirteen months.  We've been happily forging ahead with the running dog walk and I think it's going OK.  I videoed a session the other other day and was a bit unhappy that I was rewarding a few that were higher than they should have been so I've put tape three quarters of the way down the contact zone so I can use it as a guide.  While I like to think that I'm getting better at being able to pick the good hits from the bad the tape makes such a difference to being able to clearly see that he has hit on or below it.  I've also started putting fluro bands on his back legs so I can see where they are.  The dog walk is now probably one height away from full height.  If he goes high and isn't rewarded he normally gives me a better one on the next try.  I guess the main thing I'm looking for is his understanding of what I want and his ability to adjust his stride over the walk to make sure he hits.  His 2o2o work is progressing in the right direction.  Still taking it slow and it's paying off as he is definitely getting more drive into position.  I'm trying to keep it really fun and using the toy more and more as his drive is way better for a toy than food.

I'm still jumping him on 300 or 400 for the most part.  I find myself feeling paranoid about doing too much jumping with the inevitable amount of drills you do as they learn the handling.  He is such a powerful boy, he really takes my breath away.  On the very first session I did with him with jumps at 500, on his second run through he bounce jumped 4.5 meters (15') without even batting an eyelid.  I can't say I'm thrilled with his turns just yet and he is not what I would call a natural turner.  Not surprising as structurally his back end is by far his weakest area.  Even when I make sure I give him plenty of notice I don't think he turns well.  So we are taking some time to work on his understanding of how to use his body when he turns.  Hopefully that will help and of course better to do it now than let the problem grow and try and fix it later when he has a history of doing it badly behind him.

While I am doing a lot of agility training with him I'm trying to keep it balanced and interesting.  We've been trying to get out to new locations regularly as well as weekly swims and free runs when we can.  It's not the same as winter when they get to free run every night on the property but it's better than nothing.  We had some nice cool weather but since then its been hot again. Veto will work quite happily when its warm and overcast but he does not like working when the sun is on him even when it's early morning.  Which is fair enough, I hate wearing black t-shirts in the sun.  I managed to find an Australian supplier of the Chillybuddy Cool Coats so I bought one of those for him.  Unlike the standard cool coat they are much more fitted with a cut that leaves the shoulders free which means he can wear it while he's working.  Hopefully it will help to make him more comfortable once he gets used to wearing it.  Any thoughts of more sheep work have gone on hold as I don't think we've had a Saturday under 30 degrees since Christmas.

Training with Cassie is going slowly but surely.  She seems happy which is the main thing.  Her sessions are always short and sweet.  I'm still focusing on skill building and team work.  We have our first trial of the year this weekend and she'll be back in Masters so will be interesting to see how she goes.  A lot will depend on the course design.  I would imagine we'll struggle at this point with anything too technical but we'll keep it fun and no pressure.  I really just want to see her happy out there.  I'm probably feeling the most confident I have been with her for quite some time.