challenges #2 & 3

 

lu jump

A mixed training session today. Lu’s attitude was really good, I warmed her up and cooled her down with plenty of walking, she did some great contact hits and showed me some holes in our training. On the other hand I was disappointed in how we wrapped the session up. She did a leap off the DW and people were milling around wanting a turn so I had to move on , which meant we couldn’t end that on a fun note, so I tried to practice that front cross setup but that wasn’t so good either cos she had had enough by then so we just sort of … stopped… Went back to the car and gave her a yummy meal but it was a pretty ‘meh’ way to end the session. I just couldn’t do something else to make it more fun so we got stuck.

 

So, things I learnt from today:

If I am behind Lu when she’s doing the dogwalk, and don’t beat her/keep up with her to the end, she will jump off. I think in order to work on this I need to either throw a toy forward (which has in the past encouraged jumping as she looks for a toy) or use a static toy after the next obstacle for a few sessions. I think maybe I thought she was driving well for the next obstacle when in fact she was using my motion to help her.

I also need to be MUCH better about verbally marking her good dogwalk hits. I did some ‘speed circles’ today, going over the DW, cik/capping the bar, and back over the dogwalk. I forgot to mark a few of them and then I felt awful because she probably thought she hadn’t done the right thing. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me because I forgot to mark them in training the other day too. I think I’m getting too wrapped up in doing the next obstacle or something, or I’m aware that if I celebrate the hit, she usually doesn’t DO the next obstacle, but I need to remember to mark it.

There was a tunnel under the dogwalk today. For the first goes I had it so the entrance was off to the side – no tempt at all. Later, I moved it a bit closer and got her to do the tunnel, did a little loop and then wanted her to choose the dogwalk over the tunnel. Interestingly, she chose tunnel!! I thought for sure she’d choose dogwalk, it’s her favourite thing, but no! So there’s definitely some work to be done there with discriminations.

I’m also learning how much I need to call her. In the scenario above, after she’d done the tunnel, we did the loop again and this time I called her to hand and nearly pulled her right off the DW – and it wasn’t even that strong of a call. She’s such a funny girl – so much learning going on.

 

Snow-hunting tomorrow! I sourced Loki a little fleece coat and spent the afternoon sewing extra velcro on because it’s a bit big for him. He doesn’t have his proper coat yet, just the course stuff along his spine and otherwise he’s pretty sleek. Definitely needs a snow coat.

I’d put Lu in a coat too because so much of her fur has dropped out, but.. y’know, then she’d be stuck at the car and miss out on all the fun since wearing a coat is basically like being in prison and all.

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goals: June update

A few days late of a month this time, but let’s check in on my goals from May

 

The other day I went through my goals from a month ago and realised I’d done some of them! So here’s our new goals:

Self:

  • Allow calf to heal- give yourself a week off from running. If at all possible. Seriously. 2 weeks would be even better. Update: Well, this was going ok but then I had competitions to get to. It feels pretty good today so I’m going to try and be careful and if I do some RC on Thursday I’ll try and not overdo it. 
  • Continue to watch your eating. Update: Umm…. Yes and no. Nic was away for a couple of weeks so while I didn’t overeat, I didn’t necessarily get lots of nutrition, either.
  • Look into an exercise bike on Gumtree Update: Nah. Let’s face it, I don’t like bikes, I don’t have time to bike without taking the dogs, and the idea of being on a bike when Lumen sees a kangaroo or something is quite terrifying (assuming she’s attached to it). 

 

Lu:

  • Continue proofing weave entries but more especially independence once IN the obstacle. Been injured, haven’t really had time. 
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques. Whoops, forgot about this one.
  • Dogwalk exits. Find a good starting spot for consistent hits and then try different pulls/pushes etc. Try it into weaves, an almost-90-degree exit onto a table, etc. I was doing this and as a result shook her confidence a bit. I know now that it’s ok to run out straight THEN turn. 
  • Get that A-frame behaviour solid. She hit 3/3 beautifully at the trial the other day so I’m not worried about it now.
  • Backside bars and threadle arm – especially into tunnels.Been working on these.
  • Check out that Justine Davenport stuff and get working through the lessons. As above.
  • Do hill-running/sprints. Nah but letting Lu and Loki off-lead instantly results in lots of sprinting. 
  • Make time to do strength tricks often. Not as much as I’ve wanted but I just haven’t got time at the moment so we’ve been doing lots of playing and being excited for food instead.
  • Continue play class. 🙂 This was happening but the last lesson was on putting longer sequences together using different methods so I’ll just have to wait until we move for this part.  

 

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing. Yes! He’s starting to get really good at bringing me toys back so we’re starting to just play more and hang out and cuddle.
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around wildlife. I haven’t been doing so much on a long-line but I did call him off a roo the other day in the dark which was impressive (I’d stolen his lead to use as a head-halter for Lu who was being insufferable… possibly because there were roos around). 
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general. The first bit is still coming along. Response seems cautious but curious… Dog park yes, but he spends all the time obsessing over Lumen.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy.  My little mate is very good at this. The toy can be dead dead dead and he’ll still run to it. And like he could care less what I’m doing when he’s running to food. I could be doing cartwheels on the back of a wooly mammoth and I don’t think he’d mind. 
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general) Yep. Continuing. 
  • Shape him to pick up, mouth and carry a rubber ball to help with his jaw development. Gosh we’ve done a lot of this. He can put his ball in a little ramekin bowl now, and put shredded bits of paper in a little bin. 
  • Teach a “leave it” (or continue using “uh uh”) for food on the ground. Uhhh… Working on this one. He’ll leave it alone if I tell him to quickly enough (eg before he eats whatever he’s found) and is actually spitting food out now, but this might be a long road. 😉

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉
  • Feed him more! The vet said he was too skinny because if he gets sick then he won’t have any reserves to give him energy to fight off the infection or whatever. I found this surprising – I wouldn’t say Mal is underweight… he’s lean at the moment, yes, but I’m actually very careful to make sure my guys don’t carry excess weight, especially Mal as he’s getting older… He’s currently 18.? kg which is maybe a kilo less than he should be – they want him to be 20kg… I’m not convinced. (and for reference, at Mal’s skinniest, need to fatten him up, still doing agility stage he was 17.4kg, and at his heaviest, should loose weight, feeling pudgy stage, he was 21kg…. Lu is 18.3kg at the moment)…  but anyway, he won’t complain about more food!!! Oh, look, Mal doesn’t seem to want to put on weight. He’s not that skinny, he’s fine. 

 

Home:

  • Look into getting better camera.Well… I’ve looked. I can’t bring myself to buy anything yet.
  • Get a haircut. Seriously, I think it’s been about 4 months. (oh, I added these now for the next goals. whoops)
  • Start packing up the garage and the house.

dogwalk action plan

because who doesn’t love an action plan!?

After a fairly shitty dogwalk session at training yesterday I’ve thought about it and talked it through with Penny and I think I’ve come up with a good plan to help Lu with her turns. I can see she’s starting to worry more and more about what she’s meant to do and as a result her striding’s gone out the window, she’s doing all sorts of weird things on the down-ramp even when it’s a straight exit, and it all really sucks. I know, I know, it takes her a few sessions to ‘get it’, but I need to help her along here. I think too much has changed, and I need to wind it back a little.

 

Step 1: Straight tunnel exit with little white PVC poles either side of the plank to build up confidence in running again. Throw ball after tunnel.

Step 2: Straight tunnel exit, but move the tunnel to the side a little. Progressively move the tunnel to either side to work the exits. Throw ball after tunnel.

Step 3: Make PCV poles into little sticks. Continue with straight tunnel at different angles on the exit. Throw ball after tunnel.

Step 4: Fade little sticks. Continue with straight tunnel at different angles on the exit. Throw ball after tunnel.

Step 5: Exit to a jump with no other discriminations. Put sticks back in if necessary. Change exit angle with each successful try.

Step 6: Introduce more obvious discriminations.

 

Meanwhile, I remember from Silvia’s Running Contacts DVD that when she switched to a static toy, Le went through a period of shortening her stride, but she worked through it until she was focusing forward on the next obstacle and she could go back to using a thrown toy then. So, a) it’s ok if Lu shortens her stride a bit while she works this new puzzle out, and b) maybe she needs more forward focus on the next obstacle, too. Often if I say “YAY!” because she hit the contact, she’ll turn back to me rather than driving forward for the tunnel. Possibly I need to consider whether I can get her to run forward for her food pouch after a jump during these sessions as well, to really get her seeking out that obstacle rather than worrying about what I’m doing.

But it should be all ok. As Penny so wisely said to me yesterday after I’d been in tears about the stupid dogwalk: “There was a time when Lu couldn’t even wrap around the 2nd pole of the weaves (when the channel was open to 20cm) and yet now she can nail awesome entries”. So…. we can work things out, we can solve problems, even when things seem so difficult and impossible, and like everything we’ve been training for has gone out the window.

It’s just hard to remember than when I’m busy stressing about those problems.

goals: may update

The other day I went through my goals from a month ago and realised I’d done some of them! So here’s our new goals:

Self:

  • Allow calf to heal- give yourself a week off from running. If at all possible. Seriously. 2 weeks would be even better.
  • Continue to watch your eating.
  • Look into an exercise bike on Gumtree – especially if you can get one for cheap and Nic’s going to be away for 2.5 weeks and that’s the amount of time the physio suggested doing rehab on a bike for.

 

Lu:

  • Continue proofing weave entries but more especially independence once IN the obstacle.
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques.
  • Dogwalk exits. Find a good starting spot for consistent hits and then try different pulls/pushes etc. Try it into weaves, an almost-90-degree exit onto a table, etc.
  • Get that A-frame behaviour solid.
  • Backside bars and threadle arm – especially into tunnels.
  • Check out that Justine Davenport stuff and get working through the lessons.
  • Do hill-running/sprints.
  • Make time to do strength tricks often.
  • Continue play class. 🙂

 

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing.
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around wildlife.
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy.
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general)
  • Shape him to pick up, mouth and carry a rubber ball to help with his jaw development.
  • Teach a “leave it” (or continue using “uh uh”) for food on the ground.

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉
  • Feed him more! The vet said he was too skinny because if he gets sick then he won’t have any reserves to give him energy to fight off the infection or whatever. I found this surprising – I wouldn’t say Mal is underweight… he’s lean at the moment, yes, but I’m actually very careful to make sure my guys don’t carry excess weight, especially Mal as he’s getting older… He’s currently 18.? kg which is maybe a kilo less than he should be – they want him to be 20kg… I’m not convinced. (and for reference, at Mal’s skinniest, need to fatten him up, still doing agility stage he was 17.4kg, and at his heaviest, should loose weight, feeling pudgy stage, he was 21kg…. Lu is 18.3kg at the moment)…  but anyway, he won’t complain about more food!!!

 

Home:

  • Look into getting better camera.

 

 

goals: 1 month later

I thought I’d do a check in on my goals… I didn’t realise but it’s been exactly a month (less one day) since I wrote them. So here’s how we’re going:

 

Self:

  • Increase fitness by doing sprints every second day with the dogs in tow. Go back to doing tree wraps with Lu (tie Loki up if needed) because this will be beneficial for both of us. Do lunges and other easy ‘on the go’ exercises when out with the dogs. Walk up hills. Update: Not so great here. Doing more agility sprints with Lu on the hill where we’ve been training seems to have caused a small tear in my calf muscle which makes sprinting very very bad. I ignored my physio after I went to her yesterday and did more agility and was in agony last night. So, sprints are going to be on hold. Tried doing some lunges but I’m very bad at doing things ‘out and about’. Might have to give up on this idea.
  • Watch your eating. Stop buying lollies and chips (who are you? You used to be so proud of never going down those aisles!). Eat smaller portions. Update: Good! No chips consumed recently, and Nic has started the 12 Week Body Transformation which means I am watching my portions and we’re eating healthier meals. 

Lu:

  • Close the weaves and proof independence and entries. Move them to Anne’s place for additional setups with entries etcUpdate: Weaves are closed and she can do them in different locations! Last night I did a rear cross from a hard angle and she DID IT! I was so impressed. Also did a fairly extreme right entry (which she did – amazing since I haven’t been teaching right hand entries), 90 degree entries and fast straight entries. Also proofed independence with me hanging back and her going on. This was HARD – resorted to throwing her food bag ahead, but she slowed down a lot. It will come.
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques. Don’t worry so much about handling just yet, but do focus on how you can make her jumping more confident, proof her jumping, and teach her to jump regardless of my actions. Update: Done this once. Have had to pack up jumps because of selling the house but now that the house is sold, I’ll get back onto this. 
  • Get back to full-speed confident running dogwalk by backchaining from the down-plank. Go backwards every successful session or as she appears confident. Don’t rush. Update: Seems to be achieved! We’ll see what she does at a mock trial on Saturday but she ran Penny’s in a new location beautifully, and at Frankston, too. I haven’t been watching what she does where we normally train so it could be weird there, but it doesn’t seem to translate to other places. 
  • New goal: Train exits! Including pulling across into wrong tunnels, blind and front crosses, rear crosses, etc.
  • Try some compression jumping grids in the backyard- start at a comfortable bounce distance and decrease space between jumps as she appears comfortable. Aim to help her feel confident in compressing and adding a stride. Change between extension and compression jumping within a week. Update: Nope. Haven’t done this once. I hate jumping grids.
  • Keep visiting those kangaroos and make attention on me the default response to spotting a roo. Update: Nope, haven’t had time. 
  • Do hill-running/sprints. Update: Done plenty of sprints, chasing balls, 200 ball game, etc.
  • Make time to do strength tricks every 2nd day. Update: Maybe not every 2nd day but more regularly than we were.
  • Continue play class. 🙂 Update: Going well. Definitely seen a change in food-related behaviours, but not toys so much.

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing. Follow play class for fun with him. Update: Yep. I feel like we’re finding our ‘groove’ in terms of how to play together for fun. 
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around roos. Update: Haven’t done it with roos, but have with rabbits, moorhens and magpies. 
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general. Update: Mixed. Met one horse, been to the dog park a couple of times, and he’s come to school for lots of human interaction a few times.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy. Update: Yes, a bit. Not a huge priority. 
  • Do some puppy ‘on the flat’ stuff, just for fun. (eg. lap turns, etc) Update: As above.
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general) Update: Yep. Working on lots of these things but not over working any of them. 
  • When running together, drop a toy on the ground on his line to discourage just chasing me all the time. Update: Tried this once and he was oblivious to the toy. Will wait until he has a bit more toy focus for this!

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉 Update: Actually, lately Mal has been coming up on the couch between Nic and I, so he’s been getting heaps more pats and cuddles. Until Lu lays on my lap.

Home:

  • Bit clean up, de-clutter, prepare house for sale. Get rid of unneeded things, take the piles of clothes to the op-shop bins. Just generally get all the shit sorted so it will sell quickly. Update: HOUSE SOLD BIATCH. 
  • Fix the hole in the roof that currently has gaffa tape over it. Update: Done.

 

Tonight, I’ll think of some updated goals and post them up on Monday. But, considering I haven’t actually been consciously following my goals, I’m actually really pleased with how we’ve gone… given most of them were “matter of course” goals, it’s still good to see that we’re getting through stuff.

 

weighty issue (goals/plans/action)

Nic and I went for a hike today- we took a photo of the two of us and I cringed to see how much weight I’ve put on. Not that it was surprising – my jeans aren’t fitting well, and while I don’t ever get myself on the scales, I figure this is a fairly accurate representation of the state of things. I suppose it’s been a tough few months in terms of exercise- in January Lu got sick and all I wanted to do (and DID) was sit with her at home and eat comfort food. She couldn’t walk, Mal didn’t really need to walk, to we didn’t walk. At the same time, we obviously stopped doing agility (and I subsequently lost my training space) so an hour’s worth of activity every couple of days stopped too. Then school started and I was coming home exhausted, falling asleep on the couch, and still not able to do agility. And then we got Loki who has spurred me into activity again but of course he’s little, so our walks are under an hour long, he can’t come jogging, and I’m feeling too unfit to do much in terms of hills. And we still can’t train agility regularly so all that sprinting I was doing with Lu? Not happening.

So as we were walking today I was thinking about some goals I’d like to set for the next short-mid term.

Self:

  • Increase fitness by doing sprints every second day with the dogs in tow. Go back to doing tree wraps with Lu (tie Loki up if needed) because this will be beneficial for both of us. Do lunges and other easy ‘on the go’ exercises when out with the dogs. Walk up hills.
  • Watch your eating. Stop buying lollies and chips (who are you? You used to be so proud of never going down those aisles!). Eat smaller portions.

 

Lu:

  • Close the weaves and proof independence and entries. Move them to Anne’s place for additional setups with entries etc.
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques. Don’t worry so much about handling just yet, but do focus on how you can make her jumping more confident, proof her jumping, and teach her to jump regardless of my actions.
  • Get back to full-speed confident running dogwalk by backchaining from the down-plank. Go backwards every successful session or as she appears confident. Don’t rush.
  • Try some compression jumping grids in the backyard- start at a comfortable bounce distance and decrease space between jumps as she appears comfortable. Aim to help her feel confident in compressing and adding a stride. Change between extension and compression jumping within a week.
  • Keep visiting those kangaroos and make attention on me the default response to spotting a roo.
  • Do hill-running/sprints.
  • Make time to do strength tricks every 2nd day.
  • Continue play class. 🙂

 

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing. Follow play class for fun with him.
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around roos.
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy.
  • Do some puppy ‘on the flat’ stuff, just for fun. (eg. lap turns, etc)
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general)
  • When running together, drop a toy on the ground on his line to discourage just chasing me all the time.

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉

 

Home:

  • Bit clean up, de-clutter, prepare house for sale. Get rid of unneeded things, take the piles of clothes to the op-shop bins. Just generally get all the shit sorted so it will sell quickly.
  • Fix the hole in the roof that currently has gaffa tape over it.

 

So hey, not too much, right? Just a matter of finding time for all of it… especially now as daylight hours in the afternoon are getting shorter and shorter, I might have to take the dogs into the sneaky no-dogs park near home… otherwise we’ll never get any walking done.

 

overdone

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 12.10.12 pm

Time to give Lu a break. Doing RC yesterday, she just seems to have lost a bit of her ‘spark’ that I was so loving. So we’re doing RC at the park today, and then I’d like to try and give her at least 4 days off agility. Ok, it doesn’t seem much, but it’s more than the 1 or 2 days rest she’s been getting lately. I suppose with the possibility of losing the field in a month, I’ve been trying to cram in as much as I can, but I think I have somewhere else to go, so I need to just relax, and let her recover. She’s looking a bit stiff, she’s not excited about training (though, she rarely is), and she’s not as fast as usual. She’s trying really hard, but only because that’s the job, and she’s made for work. 

So I have a bit of a training plan of things to work on, including:

-increasing the angle of weave entry (yesterday we got way beyond 90 degrees, which was awesome) and doing some right hand entries

-increasing love of tunnels by rewarding her for doing tunnels with speed, and going back to doing some tunnel games

-continuing to do work on jump grids – I think these might be helping.

-begin to do some  one-jump speed stuff starting with low height, much in the manner of jump grids.

-possibly put carpet on the UP ramp of the DW for the opposite direction to what we’d been training this whole time as she seems to try and measure her stride and collects a lot to get on it, rather than just running on. Also go back to a straight tunnel exit for running the opposite way to normal and don’t start from a tunnel just yet (given her issues with a jump after a tunnel, maybe she’s having trouble with a DW after a tunnel, too).

-do some restrained recalls over jumps and through tunnels, etc.

-start sequences with ‘back, back, back GO!’. Since she loves backing up, and this can instigate a chase game.

-hill running, to help condition her rear end to help her with jumps

But first, a bit of a break for my tired girl. Tonight for New Years Eve? Camping on the beach with all the dogs. What could be better? See you in 2014.