Sunday, November 18, 2012

Onward and Upward

A couple of weeks ago Vegas saw Dr. Salewski again. It'd been four weeks or so and given us a bit more time for him to see if the adjustments were holding. They did, beautifully. That last visit he only made minor adjustments, upkeep kind of stuff. He didn't feel like there was any reason from all he could feel and determine that she wouldn't be doing tunnels. Which left us with the conclusion I'd been considering...particularly after the trial we went to that weekend (October 27-28) that I'll try to debrief in a couple days. She was hung up mentally. In a nutshell, after running through pain in June at the CPE Nationals, Vegas now associates agility with pain - particularly the tunnels.

In the last couple of weeks we've been working on the tunnel sporadically at the barn but also at home. A friend loaned us her tunnel and it now lives in my living room. Ironically, Vegas runs through it with an abundance of energy and joy at home. At the barn she's been back and forth, her behavior somewhat baffling. Sometimes she'll run right through it - like last weekend at the barn. Others she runs around it and even jumps over it again, showing in no uncertain terms that she's not interested in tunneling.

So that's just going to take time, I guess. We'll start packing the tunnel with us places and continue the high reward rate with doing the tunnel. Right now her favorite tunnel treat is NW Naturals. Hopefully with doing it a half dozen plus times at home several times a week she'll also build up the muscle it takes to do tunnels again, too.

In other news we've been going to our obedience club to practice lately. Her heeling has come a long way and I'm so pleased. Our biggest issue is going to be distractions but somehow she seems to be less distracted in a super busy area like a competition than in the quiet ring with singular distractions. But, it's still something to work on. The main areas she needs some work at this time are:

  • Finishes - I just recently started training the finish. I was too caught up for a long time in a close front that I didn't pursue the finish. I need to get that rock solid.
  • Figure 8 - Mostly here I just want her to recognize where she has to pick up the pace (when she's on the outside) to keep up with me and not end up lagging. 
  • Down/Sit Stays - Well, same as always. She just doesn't want to be away from me. But, that said, she is getting there. The problem with downs is the comfort level. I'm going to try to figure out how to teach her to down and rock onto a hip or side so it's not so uncomfortable. Sits she's getting closer. 
  • Left turns - She's doing well enough not lagging that sometimes it means she's anticipating me going forward and doesn't read my turn. It basically means I'm running into her. 
The areas I'm really pleased with are: 
  • Pace transitions on the flat - She's really reading my transition to and from normal to slow and normal to fast. She's more engaged and watching me during that time. 
  • Halts - Her halts are awesome! Almost always close, prompt, and including eye contact with me. 
  • Recalls - Her recalls are prompt and enthusiastic. With that her stay for purposes of a recall are great. She's also working good at coming in close to me, too. 
  • Enthusiasm - As long as I remain patient and am able to correct her in a way that doesn't make her feel like I'm upset, she keeps a positive and engaged attitude. She's enjoying the work more than she used to. I do feel it works best to give her 3-5 minute sessions at a time even when we're at the club facility and then break, come out of the ring, and work on dumbbell stuff or just hang out, though, before going back to another couple of minute session. 

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