Sunday, October 19, 2008

Living for the weekend

I spent saturday at the Driven Dog trial in Fillmore. It was the perfect day for a trial, the temperature was just right, it was really nice sitting under the trees, just felt like the perfect place to sit and enjoy the day. I ran into some people I know who were set up next to some people I really enjoy talking to, so there was a lot of really great conversation and visiting. There were some courses with a lot of places that were difficult so I could sit and watch how people handled them - what worked and what didnt. The really interesting thing was there were a lot of places on the courses that the Linda M handling system I am trying to learn would have worked well so I was really trying to watch those places to see how others handled those. I brought Cherry and I brought Breeze because Breeze doesnt get out as much as Lizzie lately, it always just seems more important to get Liz out. The day ended with a great Mexican restaurant in Fillmore and some more good company, so it was a very nice day, and I was ready for that!!
Sunday was a day of training. I am going to work on some more obedience training with all my dogs. I think that it will be really good especially for Liz to help learn to handle her excitement and stress levels working around other dogs. I am going to take her to a class and I am also working on the Training Levels. Training levels is a yahoo group that is really fantastic.
They offer support and instructions for doing just some all around positive training. There is a little bit of tracking, obedience, agility, etc.... The behaviors are split into levels to break down training them so you start out with very easy parts of the behavior you want to teach and then each level builds on the complexity. They say that if you get to level 3 or 4 you have all the behaviors your dog will need to be a very nice pet, be easy to live with and you will know how to work with your dog. IF you get to level 7 your dog will have enough behaviors that with 3-4 weeks work in your specialized area you will be able to do what ever type of activity you want to do with your dog. I believe they are also adding on some new levels very soon.
This is Susan Ailsby's site that has a lot of the descriptions and basically a free book that explains how to teach the behaviors. Anyway, it is really great and I like how they explain how to teach the behaviors and how they are broken down, and it is FREE for goodness sake. So I am going to take Lizzie for a class so she can work around other dogs but I am also working on the levels at home.
We had a great training session today and I had a great training partner today, so we got some good work done for agility and for obedience with Liz, Cherry, and Breeze. The biggest thing I learned today was Liz who was doing wonderful recalls between myself and my friend, just lightening fast recalls with tons of confidence and done very happily-when we added a dog just sitting where Liz would have to pass him to do the recall-all of a sudden Liz lost a lot of her confidence and was a bit worried with her recall. We have done a recall class and we did a lot of recalls where the dogs would recall past the other dogs sitting at the side, but today that was a stressful thing for Liz. Anyway, as soon as we finished, which we kept that short because she did lose some confidence, Liz took off on a zoomie run, which it has been a long time since she did that, so it was just interesting to see how the increased stress affected her, I learned a lot about my girl today.
It was a very nice weekend and I was once again hit with the realization that a lot of time friendship and support comes from places I dont normally expect to find it. I also feel very grateful for the people that really do support me and have been so willing to help me and to build me up when I need it.

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