Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up!

I now have a new guilty pleasure of sorts. My guilty pleasure is being home and not competing on weekends! It's a little lame, but I can't help it. The past few weekends we've gone to matches, but have otherwise been home. I've just really enjoyed puttering around the house and working on random things with the dogs. I enjoy competing with the dogs, but I think I was just pushing myself and the dogs a little too much and trying to fit so much in that our down time lately has been positively delicious! I have a feeling that come April I'll be hankering to get back out there, but for the moment I'm relishing these lazy weekends.:0)

Now on to the real weekend wrap up. Yesterday I entered both dogs in an agility match. It was a good experience and I gained a fair amount with both dogs from it. Heffner is slowly getting back into the agility thing, but he's more than happy to be back out there. I'm still jumping him at a lower height, but he's having a great time all the same. On the first run I kind of babied him a little. I treated him a little like a fragile glass figurine that might break if I wasn't careful enough. While I do need to be mindful with him, at the same time, it does him no good to have me out there worrying about every little foot placement. He was a little hesitant in some areas, but overall I was pleased with his performance. His second run was much better. Probably because I decided to stop worrying so much and see what we could do. I still broke the course down into segments, but he definitely had a lot more fun the second time around! He gets adjusted next week, so I'll get a better idea of how his body is handling going back to agility and the reconditioning that we've been doing.
Bess and I have some serious work ahead of us. I had already decided that at least through the month of March, Bess was not going to get even a little taste of being off leash in an agility setting. Saturday reaffirmed my decision. I had one of the club members there watching her to see if they could give me any pointers on what to do to combat the crazy zoomies that we are now constantly dealing with. She's not stressed going into the ring or waiting outside the ring. She's quite calm and collected in her stay while I've got her set up. It's somewhere after the release that she goes bananas. I did some proofing of her start line stays and that went well. I decided that for her first run, we would do one obstacle, then tug, another obstacle, then tug, and so on. It seemed to work well, though she was obviously strung really tight and really wanted to take off running. She was staying with me and seemed to catch on to the pattern. She was REALLY into tugging and I had the paw prints all over me to prove it. For her second run, we did two obstacles, then tug, two obstacles, then tug, and so on. Doing two obstacles really pushed her over threshold. Even though she was on leash the entire time, she was still trying to dig in and take off. She actually was able to drag me a distance a couple of times. So yeah, we're still working on the zooming thing. The only thing that I can really come up with is that this is a phase that I'm just going to have to wait out and try to plan for how to prevent it happening in the future. Only time will tell I guess. On the up side, she remains very enthusiastic throughout!

After the match we went home and chilled at the house for a bit, then I headed out to Wilsonville for drill team practice. We were down one member and a choreographer, but I think that we made it through quite well and started figuring out how we're going to rework some of the open spots in the choreography that we have to fill. It was a pretty productive practice!

Today I got to sleep in!! I played with the dogs in the morning and then we went out on a little hike with some friends in the afternoon. I forgot my camera at home, so no pictures, but it was a lovely day. The weather was fairly warm and the trail conditions were good. It was a great way to sort of end the weekend. Now I'm off to torment, I mean play with the dogs some more.;0) I hope everyone had a great weekend!


Kathie R said...

It sounds like Bess has the drive and energy to do really well at agility and should be a lot of fun to run once you figure out how to direct that energy :) I don't do agility - and heaven knows I've never had a 'zooming' problem with Jackson (sometimes wish I did :)- so take my comments with a grain of salt. Having said that - it appears to me that it could be a recall issue. When you're out in the woods, etc., can you recall her off wildlife and other things that she like to chase? Maybe you are already working on solid recalls in and out of the agility ring. Dogs that zoom are obviously finding that activity more rewarding than staying with the handler, so building that recall may be a real challenge. Good luck and keep us posted!

Lindsay said...

I think that you may very well be on to something! When she's zooming she has zero recall. And when we're out hiking, calling her off of any game is pretty impossible.