Monday, March 28, 2016

Fifteen Months

This month has been as much about the return to my own conditioning program as it has been about the dogs.  Its been a while since I've been inspired enough to go running, not helped by my work running buddy thoughtlessly off on maternity leave having a child.  But she is back at work and with Nationals inching ever closer it was time to get off my butt and get active again.  Our favourite running haunt Jacob's Ladder is currently closed "for maintenance".  While I'm sure it does require some work, it's a pretty old and dodgy looking structure.  It is hard not to be suspicious that this will be the excuse that the City of Perth need to close it for good with long standing unhappy multi-million dollar apartment owning resident's nearby.  So our new destination at least for now is Kokoda Track a 150 step 62m vertical rise torture track near the Mounts Bay Road Brewery that works its way up to the top of Kings Park.  It's a 2km run from the office (which is almost twice the distance of Jacob's) and has a wonderful mismatch of stairs and steep inclines to enjoy.  My goal is to be able to run and speak for a whole masters agility course... bit of work to do just yet but I'm getting there.

Veto has reached fifteen months of age and is doing some really cool stuff, but first and foremost this month feels more like it should be a celebration of Cassie.  Last month was pretty sobering with our start to the trialing year being not the greatest.  Thankfully the following weekend I was thrilled to have her happily run in events over two nights at the Western Classic and then to continue the next weekend with a super happy run in Masters Agility on a tough course which she followed up with a brilliant clear run in Masters Jumping on the same night.  Right now I'm just happy with a happy pappy on course so to get a Q is such a bonus.  I still have no idea what the future brings but we are the closest we've ever been to where I hoped we'd be leading up to a Nationals.  Having a happy miss pappy pants has always been my number one goal so now that we seem to be there I'm going to keep working away and try to build some better handling skills in to help get us round the masters courses.  Fortunately it is easier to get a fast small dog around a course than it is getting a fast border collie around and you can definitely get away with more but the masters courses can be so hard that you have to have at least some reasonable skills to get clear rounds.

In a mere month I will be able to get Veto measured and in another three months he will be old enough to trial.  All pretty exciting.  He's progressing really well on his agility path and some things I've been surprised with how well he's getting it.  The A-Frame has been pretty straight forward, I'm assuming thanks to his running dog walk training.  Buy one get one free?  He's happily weaving through 12 poles but I wasn't overly thrilled with his striding.  I am determined to not end up with another bouncer.  Rather than than cross my fingers and hope for the best I have opened them up again.  Obviously I closed them way too quickly so now that he is back to single striding on the open weavers I will very slowly this time, close them again  Plenty of time before he's in the ring so I figure I might as well try and make it the best I can. 

The only thing that I'm finding is a bit perplexing is his still lack of control when it comes to being around other dogs.  He sees another dog and just looses it.  Clearly I haven't spent nearly enough time working on that so I guess I'd better.  Otherwise I'll have a dog with a great skill level that I can't trial with because he wants to share himself with everyone.  There are plenty of games I can play it's just too easy to do other more interesting stuff and just quietly I had hoped he might grow out of it.  More fool me... in saying that, if that is the biggest issue that we have then it's probably not that bad.   

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