No videos for a little while, sorry! Been slack, just been mucking around, not necessarily ‘needing’ to film anything of late.
I’ve been really enjoying getting Mr. Mal out for a bit of a play lately to give Lu a break in the crate. I’ve been starting his weaves again for better entries and independence, and running contacts too. When I tried doing some RC yesterday he did a few OK ones on the new height and then jumped off the last two, but, I suspect he was quite sore from the 5 hour hike in the bush the day before so I didn’t fuss about it too much. I’ll try again on that height tonight or tomorrow and if he still jumps, go back down.
I’ve also been doing cik/tok with him, and amazingly I’m seeing an improvement in his understanding and his commitment. He’ll still pull of the jump WAY easier than Lu, but she’s actually had heaps more practise at this than him. But, he’s starting to get it. Today I did some figure-8s through a straight tunnel and I was showing and going, and he really surprised me. Go Mal! Lu was getting all crazy in her crate (FOR ONCE!!!) I think she was a bit jealous that she could hear me going: “CIK CIK CIK CIK!!!!” and she wasn’t able to play the game.
I took her out of the crate after this and she worked really, really nicely.
With Lu, I’ve begun doing ‘pushes’ over the back side of the bar. I’m calling it “Push” because although I wanted to use the command “back back back” this already means ‘backup” and “out” will be for distance, so push it is. Amazingly, she kind of just… gets it.. I think because she’s so new to jumping, if I throw something like this at her she’s like: Oh… you want me to go around and then jump? Sure thing, makes sense! Your body-language is saying it, so why not?
Where as, Mr. Experienced Mal is all like OMG FREAK OUT MUST DO THE NORMAL SIDE OF BAR….!!!!
Today I had Lu come out of a tunnel, stepped in, pushed her over the bar (umm, she was coming at it from its side, so not straight on yet) with my body-language and drew her over, all in motion, and she did it! Twice! The 2nd time she thought about running past the bar but decided she wouldn’t. Clever girl. I’m just so surprised at how effortlessly she seems to have gotten this idea. Feels like I’m doing it wrong, but hopefully not…?
We also did some weirdly-set-up-Serpentines, after reminding her about them in a straight line, I then made some on weird angles, and apart from a knocked bar or two she actually handled it ok. I’m not too worried about knocked bars at the moment as I think she’s working out so many things- her strides, where to take off, where to land, how to twist her body, where to point her feet, where we’re going next…
I had her do 3 serpentine bars and she’d been having trouble with the third… when she went over it I looked at her to reward her and I saw her eyes and face looking forward to where the next obstacle was. OBSTACLE FOCUS!!! Good girl!!!! It was super cute, and super awesome.
Meanwhile, I have Lu now running on the flat plank, sans carpet. I had to do a heap of free-shaping on it first so she would realise that she wouldn’t plummet to her death if she stepped off it, and then I gradually removed the wider piece of carpet. She’s running beautifully now, but I’m quite worried about when we start getting any height. She’s not so confident on high things. Tree trunks are ok (they’re solid), park benches not so much, bridges are crossed with concern, being on rocks is terrifying… so now every time I see rocks or tree-trunks or park-benches, I get her on there and do some tricks or walk back and forth or whatever. Just getting her confidence up to be ON things.
In the meantime, since it’s holidays, I’m planning to do some kind of long walk or hike every day for the next 2 weeks if I can. Today we went for just under 2 hours, 7km. Bit slower than normal but some of the track had a lot of tree branches and tree trunks, and so it was hard going, plus I had to stop and take lots of photos. That’s my excuse, anyway.