Lu is going stir crazy. The next few days are going to be the hardest of her recovery. Emotionally, the post-surgery time was worst, but this is going to be bad for a whole different reason!
The first agility trial of the year was held today not far from my place so I decided I’d harness her up and take her down so she could watch and look and listen and get some mental stimulation in a controlled kind of way. Well, she was pretty awesome. She got very excited to see everyone and launched around on her lead (so I held her directly at the harness!) and wanted to play with EVERY dog – even dogs she usually doesn’t spare a minute for…. but! When I asked her for focus, even with only boring kibble or a boring ball, she’d switch on, and be with me completely. God it was awesome. I think – THINK – I’ll be able to trust her not to run off on me when we start competing – it’ll just be the very end of a run that’ll be risky, so I have to make sure that my anxiety at the end of the run for that happening doesn’t make it happen.
But she was great. She loved watching the dogs run but didn’t go mad for them (so she’s not going to obsess about dogs in the next ring when she’s in a sit-stay at the start-line), she was keen to do tricks with me while we sat around in a sort of ‘waiting’ area, even though I couldn’t be active and making movement, she was still keen and focused. So, with movement added, it should be really easy to get her focus before a run.
My plan at this stage is to start her mid-April. I will have come back from the One Mind dogs seminar, she won’t have had training for a week, so should be pretty keen, the weather should be mild (or it could be warm, it’s Melbourne after all)… I need to get her in a cloth tunnel first (though I’m not sure if they have them in novice), over an A-frame a few times, get her weaves closed, and have some kind of see-saw behaviour (again, are there seesaws in novice? I’ll have to check). Actual sequencing should be easy, apart from the run home, so my goal when she’s allowed to run and jump again is to do some 2-jump straight lines, from a stay, from a wrap, from a tunnel, at a nice easy distance, then move that 2nd bar in or out, then add a third bar, and do it again. I think once she can do straight lines like that, a big open flowy course should (maybe?) be ok.
Anyway, I’m very excited to get started with her. I really think the competition environment will get her moving, and maybe her love for the game will grow more, too. To me, she seemed bright, alert and ready to rumble. And that sounds perfect.
Oh! And this was my 200th post here!! Yay! Happy 200th post day, and ALMOST a year to the day that I started the blog! I was going to line them all up but that meant no posts until Wednesday 😉