Yikes! It's the start of a whole 'nother month! I have to admit that I did not train as much or as diligently as I had originally planned to last month. I'm shooting for being more specific in my goals for the month and I'm going to break them down by sport. Usually the more specific I am, the better I am at sticking to it and the easier it is for me to see when I'm improving on something. We also had our obedience lesson today, which has helped to give me a better idea of what to work on.
*Right finishes. I'm stealing this from another blog, but my goal is going to be to practice right finishes 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening. Doing that twice a day for a month should get me to the point where I can actually start nit picking positioning on the finishes, phase out the verbal cue all together (I am so almost there with Bess and she's responding REALLY well to this kind of repetition), and get Heffner to actually do them the first time that I ask for them. He's been a little less than stellar at picking up on it and I'm half tempted to increase his repetitions to 15 twice a day. We'll see.
*Dumb bell. I am going to work with Bess with the dumb bell. I started to and then slacked off. I'm shooting for a few minutes each night of having her just holding it. That's all for now. Just hold it until I tell her to release it.
*I'm also going to try and fit in some practice matches that the club hosts at the training facility. Our instructor is there quite often and it would be REALLY great to get additional feed back from her as we're going through the exercises because she knows EXACTLY what we're working on. Pretty much I'd be rather dull witted NOT to go to these sessions.
*Work on the moving down. While we're not at the excellent level yet, I'm pretty sure that this is going to be an exercise that I will struggle with. I'm going to again use repetition on this one. I'm shooting for practicing it three to four times a week in the evenings. It's been working well for the moving stand, so we'll see.
*Fine tune the moving stand. Both dogs are doing really well in the backyard, but I need to take it else where to proof it where they aren't sort of expecting it.
*180 left pivots. It's coming along, but it's still not where I want it with either dog. I'm going to use the same formula as above. However, I'm going to "warm up" the dogs by doing 90 left pivots. Just to get them mentally where I want them.
*I have real jumps on order. When those jumps come in, I will begin working the Susan Salo jumping exercises. Until then, it's too frustrating without being able to vary the height of the jumps.
*Yes, you read correctly. Though nothing major. I want to work with the dogs and the leather glove to get them to start indicating. This is something that is simple enough to work on inside the house and can even be incorporated into a find it game. The one thing that I need to figure out is HOW I want the dogs to indicate the article. I definitely do not want them laying down when they come to the glove. That's something that could carry over very badly into obedience and I don't want to have to spend time retraining and confusing my dogs. I'm going to consult with our obedience instructor on this one. Either way, we're going to start working indications.
*Finish up the kisses trick and proof for distance and having Adam give the command as well.
*Start working on the back scratching trick. This should be interesting!
I feel pretty good about these goals. They feel attainable and they will work on things that I need to work on with the dogs. I also feel like I have a grasp on how to go about obtaining them.
During our lesson today, it became very clear that I need to work on my footwork. I actually spent a portion of the lesson practicing heeling without a dog. I've kind of known that I needed to work on my footwork, but haven't really done a whole lot about it. However, now I definitely will be working on it. I'm going to shoot for taking some little breaks at work and finding an out of the way area to practice heeling, turning, and keeping the right pace. I'm going to try and see if there's a way for me to download some sort of metronome app. onto my phone. I don't have an iphone or one of the other smart phones, so I'm not entirely sure my phone is capable of that. We'll see. But practice heeling with an imaginary dog I will!
We worked the figure 8. We're setting the cones further apart so that I can work on speed transitions better with the dogs. Hopefully we'll get to a point where they will automatically know when to adjust their speeds. We worked the whole session again with toys as rewards. It's definitely a fair bit different and I'm still getting used to it.
We also worked on recalls with Bess. She has a tendency to move in an arc when I call her in. She does the same exact thing when I send her out to a target plate. I have no idea why. To try and correct that, we're using planks to create a chute of sorts to bring her in straight. The planks aren't very long, so she actually has the option of arcing if she wants to, but she stays straight. It's interesting. A very small part of me wonders if her arcing has anything to do with injury. The direction she arcs is to the side where the cut is. Prior to the accident we didn't have this issue. Hmmmmmm......just another one of those little things that I have a feeling are going to continue to pop up as that area finishes fully healing and Bess gets back to 100% normal.