Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Year Begins

Bodies have been rested, muscled and tuned up and now I think we are pretty much ready to take on 2017.  The plyometric work was an unknown as far as what the result would be so I was pretty excited when Leigh who is Veto's physio told me that three weeks on he now has the muscle density of a three or four year old dog.  The first week he was back in training after the post plyometric rest I didn't think it had made any difference but now seeing him work I can see the change in him.  There is a power there that he didn't have before and the slipping and sliding when he turns after a jump finally disappearing because he's digging into his turns and driving out of them with confidence.  Even when he's running around out the back with the other dogs he is handling his body so much better.  Definitely worth taking the time out to work through it.  At this stage we'll do the program every three to four months.  Something amazing about having a strong dog to work with.  It almost makes his accident worth it as if not for that I never would have meet Leigh and working with her has been a turning point for my dogs in agility.

Veto 2017
So now we are happily getting on with skill training, what I love best.  I'm still working him back through the H360 Blueprint exercises.  It's really nice doing them a second time because now it's just a refresher for him and its like a double check to make sure he actually understands the different verbals and what everything means.  In the last three or four months I've seen such an overall change in him attitude wise.  He's always worked for me but there were plenty of "struggle" days when I had to compete for his attention with other distractions and there were days when I felt like I was coming a fairly distant second in his preferences.  But now he goes out to train with a maturity and purpose and I love how hard he tries for me.  He brings the toy back and shoves it at me if I don't grab it right away.  Finally all the relationship work is paying off and I feel like he wants to be out there with me instead of having to.  Makes the hard yards worth it, even if you wonder if you'll ever get there at the time.  Each week I'm mixing up what he does to try and keep some balance in his training.  So one day we'll work on handling skills then the next day we'll do running dog walk or A-frame.  As of this week I'll put weavers back on the list too.  I held off on those until he'd had the all clear from Leigh and I wanted to make sure his shoulders were in good shape but now it's time to get on with it.

The old gents -  Riot and Sonic  2017

Cassie has been on a break from agility and has just been doing fitness work.  But it's time to start doing some agility with her as well.  I'm doing a bit of work with building up her hindquarters.  I got so caught up working on her shoulders and psoas that I neglected her hamstrings and glutes so they need a bit of work to build them up to give her more power.  Although I'm not sure how much more power she needs, I struggle to keep up with her as it is... This year is all about developing her confidence and attitude in the trial ring.  My goal is having her in the best mental place that I can for the 2018 Nationals and see if we can go that one step better and not only make a Masters final but win one of them.  She finished last year off so strongly that I'm hoping we can just keep continuing to improve from there.

Veto and Cassie - My agility team 2017
Both Veto and Cassie are entered in the Classic and that will be their first trial for the year which gives us a month to get ready.  Veto is already further ahead skill wise than he was when trialling at the end of last year so by the time we get to March he should be spot on.  A much nicer place to be that's for sure!  It is incredibly exciting for me to have two dogs going into the ring this year.  It's the first time in years that I've had two sound prepared dogs that I'm able to compete with properly.  I am so looking forward to what the year brings and watching them both grow as agility dogs.