breathe

Hey readers. Long time no post.

These summer holidays were W.I.L.D. I mean, I was sleeping in till 10am, lying in the hammock, napping on the couch, eating icypoles and not having lunch until 4pm. Outta control.

Between all that, I’ve set up a new blog to document my travels with Loki given that I plan to move us to Europe for at least 1-2 years at the end of 2017 and thought it could be a nice way for other dog-lovers to follow our journey and learn a bit about travelling with their dogs. It’s funny because living in one of the least dog-friendly places ever, I’m inclined to find National Parks in Europe and then google “National Park Name – dogs?” and of course every time the results come back something like “well yeah, duh, of course dogs are allowed” and sometimes “Yeah, duh, but on lead.” It’s taking a bit of adjusting to realise that dogs are pretty much allowed anywhere. Weird.

If you want to follow along, you can find it here:

breathofwildair.com

In the meantime I’ll probably only document training goals and stuff here as a way to have it recorded. Way less interesting than pretty pictures of Europe with Loki.

Loki goals for the beginning of this year:

  • Add speed when approaching weaves, start to add more obstacles before the weaves to increase inertia and continue to work on his hardest entries in this kind of scenario.
  • Dogwalk. Consider pausing running him in agility trials while working on dogwalk behaviours. Look into a class because seriously we don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Otherwise try and consistently go out and do 5 minutes a night. That’s all. Just something, consistently.
  • Collection. Begin with collection recalls, add distance (me and him), then motion. End goal: some kind of collection with landing-side front crosses (relative or true collection depending on situation)
  • Jumping. Work through LM’s advanced jumping drills class.
  • Verbals/relationship/handler focus stuff. Martina’s Special Games class.
  • Jumping/self control. Continue playing with Mark buckets in between jumps (especially in small sequences of 3-4 jumps), to see if this helps with jump mechanics and with ‘keeping a cool head’.

 

Lumen’s goals:

  • Well, really, the goal with this dog is to just run hard, run fast and run clean…
  • Collection: I probably should do some kind of work to teach her to collect, it’s just so tedious.
  • Turns off the dogwalk. Same sentiments as above.
  • Obstacle discriminations, especially weaves vs. anything and dogwalk vs. anything.
  • Japanese turn timing. Actually not bad with Lu but can still improve and I think this turn is a really good way to handle a lot of stuff with her.

thoughts on Lu (again)

I took Lu and Loki out for a little walk around a suburban lake today. While we were there, 2 trains went past. Loki didn’t blink but Lu wanted to bolt for the first one, and was anxious about the 2nd one. We walked on further and I had to keep her on lead at a little grassy bit cos I thought there might have been rabbits around. We walked on and came to a bridge/boardwalk which she was worried about walking on. On the boardwalk was a gazebo which had a person fishing wearing a beanie. She was curious and worried about that person and also startled at a guy going past nearby on a skateboard. To get back to the car we had to walk near a busy road, and she was very stressed out by the traffic and especially a truck. She got in the car ok but usually that’s an argument too. We were on our way to see a vet who does canine rehab stuff who comes highly recommended, just to see if there’s anything ‘wrong’ with her, or if she just walks and jumps funny because that’s her structure. I wonder if it’s both. They had to cancel on us so we went to the dog-park instead where she had a go at a staffy x ridgeback type dog because it was eyeing off her treat pouch and she didn’t like the look of it.

 

Lu still isn’t in season, which is making the question of desexing her more and more pressing. If I were to get it done on Monday, say, I wouldn’t have to worry about going through another season. All these things happened today and I don’t consider myself to be a dumb person, right… Nic and I socialised the crap out of this dog- we went everywhere with her. I knew from pretty early on that she was very frightened of cars approaching and did a lot of work to help her with this. The fact that she can now walk down a street without wanting to flee is pretty great, but obviously things like trains and trucks still concern her. Which is to say: can you imagine the ‘raw’ version of Lumen? The Lumen in the hands of a pet-dog family? The Lumen in the hands of someone who didn’t socialise her because she wasn’t vaccinated until 16 weeks, or who wouldn’t know how to help her get through the fear of cars stuff? Or who just didn’t spend the time with her, to train her? She already blows me off and does things her own way, and I think we have a fairly good relationship for the most part…What if she was just a backyard dog who came inside sometimes and had to walk on lead everywhere?

Ok, you could say, her dam is an imported ‘working’ Aussie, so maybe her puppies could be just sold to ‘performance’ homes?
Except that she’s not a highly driven dog. I have one of those now and there is a huge distinction. Yes, I can see Lu’s potential now, yes, I can see that she does work for food now and somewhat for toys, but on the other hand I have a puppy with obvious drive- who will work for the sheer sake of working, whose idea of a good time is when I throw handfuls of sand for him to chase, or bits of grass, or a cardboard toilet-roll.. THAT is drive. So, to say you could sell Lu’s puppies for ‘performance homes’ when they could be low in drive too would be misleading and unfair. Similarly, given her structure and jumping style, and even the body sensitivity issues, I don’t think she’s your ideal candidate for agility puppies. Maybe she’s potentially a star herding dog, but do I want to bank on that, given her mum will (apparently) only herd when her owner isn’t in the paddock with her?! Not really.

She is the most beautiful dog I think I have ever seen, but I’ve always said, ALWAYS, that people shouldn’t just get a dog and breed it because it’s cute and they want cute puppies, and basically, that’s the only reason I’d be breeding her.

And I don’t think it’s worth the headache of having to go through seasons, hormones, etc, and eventually taking her out of training/walking/competing for 3-4 months while she’s pregnant/raises puppies… or the heartache if something goes wrong when she’s having them.

So… I guess I’ll call the vet tomorrow. It’s a fairly ideal time to get a surgery done- there’s no competitions for a month and a bit, I don’t have anywhere to train easily, and it’s too wet and slippery to train anyway… So assuming it’s not too close to her coming IN to season, then… maybe it’ll all get done next week.

I still can’t help but feel sad. I guess it’s that letting go of my plans, of it being such a final decision that I can’t go back on once it’s done… but I think it’s the right thing.

 

Completely unrelated but not worth its own post: Mal’s spine is like, jutting out of his back at the moment. Is this weird? Or normal? Or weirdly normal? Is it an old dog thing? Is he seriously broken? Is he a stegosaurus?

Not sure about this...

Not sure about this…