Sunday, October 22, 2006
The cold weather and snow we're having is no good for staying heat acclimated for Scottsdale but what can you do. It sure is purty though and the dogs go crazy mad in it. After a crazy busy week where I actually managed to get a lot done it felt great to sleep in and have a leisurely slowtime walk with Cody & Lola around Wonderland Lake yesterday morning. Then it was back to the yard for some mad frantic dashing around and general shenanigans.
I'm hoping Biscuit Eaters will be relatively dry today so I can get some practice in. Monday's drop in at Bldr. County Fairgrounds didn't go all that great. Cody seemed a little wild & unfocused, not terribly so but enough to cause me some concern. I was pushing him a bit, having him stand close to other dogs & the ring while waiting his turn with lots of rewards for focusing on me of course. There are 989 dogs entered in Nationals and there will be 5 or 6 rings going at one time so I need to work on him focusing in the face of chaos and drop in's at a new place are a great place to work on this. It was a difficult Jumpers course and the dirt was not compacted properly so he had a hard time keeping his footing in the weaves and I think we had an off course. Worse of all he went flying off the A-frame set up at the end of the course, a sure sign of stress. I sent him over again and he slid down the backside on his butt to try to control his speed at the last moment for the descent. Ugh, it wasn't pretty and I'm more concerned with him hurting himself than anything. I left after one run. I took him to B.E. during the week and worked on the front cross exercise circle from the Steve Frick seminar and he wasn't as focused as I would have liked. Ho well, not much I can do at this point but hope he pulls his head together.
Lo had a great practice on the same exercise, lots of focus but also lots of barking and sassing back at me. I don't think she likes it much but it's good conditioning and good for building focus. She had beautiful contacts, weaves & table so I didn't push that point. She's getting much better with her creepy dogwalk.
Strummer got another try at the tunnels and some flatwork at B.E. and he was much better this week. Of course, the horses weren't charging up & down the fence line in a big herd so that helped. He ran off when someone started lunging a horse but I quickly got him back and was able to work him a bit. It's great distraction work for him. He was flying through the tire but balking at the tunnels, probably because he's not sure he's supposed to go in. Once in he flies through so fast he sounds like a herd of thundering buffalo. I'm going to need a strong foundation with this dog or he's going to leave me in the dust. His one jump training is going well too. He can jump his full competition height (22") with a nice collected arc. Time to move on to the next step. The highlight of it all was the table. I'm shaping the table, just standing there and rewarding him for interaction with it. Ultimately I want a fast, automatic down. I had to wait him out a bit while he tried all kinds of things but finally he laid down and boom, I gave him a huge jackpot in the form of a pile of treats, lots a happy praise and a release to play with his tennis ball. Second time he laid down much quicker and by the fourth time he went down right away. This was only our 2nd or 3rd session with the table. Wish I'd trained Cody & Lola that way, shaping is so cool and works so well.
My right leg injury (stress fracture? who knows) is finally feeling way better. No point starting to run this week and risking injury right before Nationals so I'll wait until I get back & slowly start up with running again. I'm finally getting some speed back in the pool. I can keep up with the intervals and I'm down to 50 seconds or so for 50 yards. It's starting to be fun again as well. I'm a fair weather biker so probably no biking this weekend with temps. in the 40's and snow on the trails. Maybe I can sneak in a lunchtime ride next week but I doubt it with the way my schedule looks so far. Must start back up with those stupid strength exercises, where will I find the time? Perhaps I should get off the internet and get something done today.