So the dogwalk has been set up and we had our first session last night. One end was an obvious curved-tunnel exit, and the other was a straight bar. Her striding to the curved tunnel exit sucked and she certainly wasn’t giving it her all, but the exit to the bar was beautiful. Then I pulled out the hose and started jackpotting with hose chases so HOPEFULLY she puts 2 and 2 together and figures that running the dogwalk fast + going through the tunnel = hose game. It should also mean that her arousal level will be higher as she loves the hose game so much, so should imitate a competition a little closer, too. I’m hoping that the crappy striding is also just a side effect of her ‘getting back into the swing’, running in a new location, etc.
I’ve also been playing around with different techniques for keeping her focused and enthusiastic. Last night I wanted her to do a start from on the top of the dogwalk but it gave her a good view into the paddock next door and all she could do was stare and look for rabbits. So I calmly walked her off the dogwalk, attached her to the lead, and had a play with Loki. She cried and barked, and then got another go. A bit more focused, but I didn’t try her on the top plank again. I was also doing some one-jump stuff where I would wait for her focus, when she gave it to me, I’d verbally tell her how good she was, say, “ready, ready!?” and then do ONE JUMP, and then reward her, and then release her do go sniff. By the end she was like; I DON’T NEED TO SNIFF LET’S GO AGAIN! And although she wasn’t giving 110% (and maybe she won’t ever in a training situation), she was heaps improved on how distracted she was earlier in that session.
We have a pretty big competition coming up at the Royal Melbourne Show. I entered before I found out about her injury and didn’t try cancelling the entries because the time-frame meant it would be 8-9 weeks after she started rehab. From what the rehab vet said, she should be back to full height and bending and weaving 3 weeks from the monday just gone…. which is exactly when the show is. So I think I’ll scratch her from one event that has weaves, giving us 3 runs on the day – 2 with weaves, and just make sure she gets a good stretch before and after. It’ll just mean that she’s had NO weave training for the last 2 or so months, so it’ll probably be a bit hit or miss I guess.
Loki’s plank running is going well. We’ve done 3 sessions on the flat now though yesterday was a bit ‘meh’ as I think he was slipping off the plank or something. It’s giving us a fantastic opportunity to practise cik/cap and hitting the foot target to take off really close to the bar, and I always try and mark that with a verbal to let him know he did good.
Anyway. That’s where we’re at. Good but not good. Time, but no time. Training but not.