I went up to Stacy's place today for a 1/2 day workshop on timing. This is a weak point for me so I'm always happy to get help from someone with a good eye when I can. I had a great time, I always love going up there. It's a beautiful facility as you can see from the video. The floor is so nice and springy, great for my gimpy knee, great for the dogs. I thought Strummer was struggling a bit with the footing, more so than Cody did last year but I think the small loss of traction is well worth the cushioning.
Strummer was such a good boy, I was so pleased with him. He was mostly quiet in his crate, a few bits of barking here and there but no hysterical out of his head screaming/lunging/etc. at the dog in the ring. He had a few lunges when I was trying to get him outside and a dog was running but only 2-3 and no screaming and I got him back quickly enough. He had no problems with any of the other dogs and the only time he ran off or broke focus was during one of the first runs where Stacy said loudly 'Oh what a good boy' just as he was running past her and he had to run over to flirt with her. He held all his stays and had great focus and enthusiasm.
Holy smokes people, it is hard to handle a dog like this, so little margin for error and at times my brain was a blur. It was like 13 degrees or something outside first thing in the morning and only minimal heating inside with a few space heaters so Strum was super speedy. I'm so glad I had someone tape me, just like the swimming I can't believe what a spaz I look like at times out there. Front crosses have never been a strong point for me so it was good to be able to practice so many. I did only one rear cross the whole workshop and that was only because I was out of position and behind with Strum blasting out of a straight tunnel and I was working purely on damage control. Stacy made a good point that if that happens the best thing to do is to stop and reward the dog and try again rather than try to salvage something gone wrong. It's a hard thing to remember in the heat of the moment but it makes good sense so I'll have to try to drill that into my brain.
I'm forever forgetting to use a quiet little 'Strum' to get his attention. It works great and once I finally remembered to do it I was able to keep him out of multiple tunnel traps. I use very few verbals when I run so it doesn't take much to get his attention.
I felt totally hopeless when we ran the first course the first time and by the end after we'd beaten it to death it felt so easy. Now if only Stacy could follow me around the course at trials and tell me what to do and I could have multiple do-overs I'd have no problem. I'm getting better at working it out myself but somehow it feels like I should know what I'm doing by now. I wished I could have stayed for the afternoon workshop but the one workshop was already a huge splurge. I suppose I have enough stuff running around in my head for one day anyway.
There were no course maps so it's hard to discuss the video but I thought I'd show off my baby dog anyway. It's a nice documentation of where we're at in our training right now.