I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve been feeling so ‘on edge’ about our training this morning.
It’s not the normal feeling like: “oh, we’re never going to get this, everything is terrible, I might as well quit”, it’s more like… being unsettled.
We did a couple of little sequences, and they weren’t great but it was actually really nice to just see some holes and work on fixing them. Like, kept knocking a particular bar? Reward when she didn’t. Wouldn’t come to hand at a particular part? Work on call to hand. Can’t start a serpentine from the inside? That’s ok, too. We’ll work on it. You can see in the video. It wasn’t awesome, she wasn’t that fast even, but it was all ok.
Even our RC was ok this morning. We did lots of ‘trundling’ back and forth. Not full speed, not chasing anything, just me, running along side her going at whatever speed and rewarding when she runs all the way down the plank without jumping off. Backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards. Treat rewards mostly. Then some runs after the ball from about 3/4 up the down-ramp. A few nice hits, though nothing particularly awesome yet.
And then… the horse. A new horse has been put in the paddock directly next to where I train- there’s only wooden railing fences separating them. She did most of the first part of training without worrying about the horse but then decided she needed to run over and bark at it. And then she did it again, and one more time. She’s not trying to hurt the horse, she wants to make it move, and part of it I think is fear- she’s constantly having to see where the horse is and what it’s doing. I took her over to the fence and rewarded her for calm behaviour around the horse, I got her to do tricks near the horse, but she still ran over to bark at the horse. So, this is doing my head a bit. And she’s unpredictable- it’s not like the horse is running around when she goes over there, it’s just standing there. And I also know that it’s VERY self rewarding, especially when she makes the horse move.
So what do I do? I can’t have her on lead whenever we’re there or I might as well give up on training. I can keep desensitising her to the horse but that doesn’t help if she wants to run off and yell at it. I could put her on lead and in her crate after she chases the horse, but won’t that just teach her that coming back to me = going in the crate? Do I crate her for even just getting distracted by/looking at the horse, and bring Mal out to play instead? Maybe I do that Maybe looking at the horse = no more fun. Or maybe she’ll just get over the horse – she’s just being weird because it’s the first time we’ve trained with it there.
So… I think the horse + the last couple of days of HEAT have addled my brain and are making me feel very ‘blah’, in an unsettling, nonspecific kind of way.