Sunday, April 5, 2009
Training Hard, Playing Hard
Lizzie continues to get more and more excited, faster and more focused each time she works on agility now. I used to worry about keeping her calm and controlling her excitement but now we are trying to teach her how to handle it and I am getting more comfortable with it. One of the really neat things that Alicia was showing me in our last private was how to take Lizzie, or Breeze and grab their collar and get them reved up and focus the energy on what they are trying to do when they are having trouble. When they are focused on what we are going to do and actually pulling me toward it, and the drive is really high, then I let them go. For instance in the weaves when they come charging at them but are so excited they are half way down the line of poles before they focus on them, and of course by then totally miss the entrance. I have to say....it is really a rush running a dog that is really excited and loving agility.
Cherry got to run at class and boy she was really amazing. I am seeing her FHO affecting her running a bit, when she does any sequences in a circle like say to the left, she can do a nice tight circle of jumps, but when she goes to the right then it really widens and she really has to fight to stay on the line and is way wider. I wonder if that is going to change as she gets more experience and builds up even more? When she gets like that her jumping looks a little worse too, maybe she just isn't used to using her body like that and while other dogs might just start using their bodies like that she is forced to use things she hasn't used before??? It will be really interesting to see how that changes/or doesn't change as time goes on. Cherry was a crack up though in class because she would finish a sequence and just run away right to the weaves and do the whole set out there by herself, I was trying to walk off the course but where is Cherry, she is running the opposite way toward the weaves, LOL, she really loves the weaves!
On Saturday we went to a Pay and Play which was a GREAT opportunity to use a nice field with different equipment. Liz did amazing although she was way more distracted then usual and almost ran off for a zoomie run, but she didn't totally check out so she did great for her. Breeze is looking good and seems to be staying sound, so I think she will be ready for her first AKC trial in May and her NADAC trial in just two weeks. Alicia let me run with Pickle for a small sequence-and OMG, talk about feeling like I was driving a NASCAR race car, geeze louise, Pickle is so fast and so powerful and he just reads things so well, it is such a neat feeling because Pickle just knows his job so well it just feels so much like a dance, it actually felt so much easier then it did with my dogs, and afterwards when I ran with Liz I knew how it was supposed to feel so it really helped. Running with Pickle sure made Liz more focused about running with me, she really remembered how much she liked to run with me after watching me work with Pickle, LOL, a little jealousy can be a good thing. The only really bad part to the day is I planned my one course and just totally missed the boat on how to handle one part of a sequence. You know it just feels like I used to be a lot better with my plans for a run and lately I sometimes miss things that when someone shows me just seem so obvious, it is very frustrating and then I get all worried and get the tunnel vision thing going on where I do not see all the options. That makes me feel really nervous about our first trials coming up.
After the Pay and Play we headed to the beach. This was Lizzie's and Breeze's first beach experience. Pickle showed Lizzie the ropes and how to play in the ocean and I was shocked at how fast she was rushing into the waves and acting like she went playing out there every day. Breeze and Hunda were a little more cautious about the waves, but they loved them too. We did see a hurt sea lion on the beach before some rescuers came to get him-of course Liz felt she could handle the situation by herding him back to the sea herself-she was pretty bummed I made her stay away from the poor guy. After we had worn the dogs out we stopped at a great place for Fish and Chips, then topped out the day by stopping at a road side stand for some super good fresh strawberries to take home. It was really such a beautiful day, such a beautiful place, it was just so relaxing, the company was so good, and watching the dogs all have such a good time, it was pretty close to a perfect day.