Sunday, December 20, 2009

a Fun Match and some socializing

It was a gorgeous day here in Southern California, it had to be in the 70's for our fun match-so the weather was a little hot at times, but pretty much perfect-and so weird when I see everyone else's pictures of snow.

The high point of the day was late in the day when I decided to let Liz do some agility. This match was TOTALLY UNFENCED. It was not right on the street and it was not a really busy street, but a busy street was very close. Liz is a runner, and this was a totally new place, very unorganized, lots going on, but I thought I will take her out on leash and just take her over one jump at a time and really reward and just see how it goes. I took Liz out and she did one jump, I gave her a reward, she did another jump, and she turned right back to me and I did feel her connected with me so I took her over the triple, again she was connecting even though we were at the end of the ring where she could see the wide open field behind the ring. I was feeling good so I tucked her leash in her harness and we did a jump to the teeter-WHOOPS, totally did not go to the teeter but made a big turn to the Aframe, but up and over the Aframe and landed in a perfect contact-turned and looked at me still connected. YIPPIE. So we totally blew off the marked course and did the tunnel to a 180 and then back over the aframe. By this time her leash is on but tucked up and she is still staying connected and I have not seen her think about leaving and of course I am very aware by this time that the leash tucked in the harness is going to do nothing to help me if she bolts, it is just giving me a false sense of security, but it keeps my nerves doing ok, so.... Then came the big moment, a 180 to the weaves, but the weaves were heading into wide open space, YIKES, did I dare??? I took off the leash and Liz quickly glanced out of the ring, the first time she had done that, so I quickly said something to her-but really did not feel nervous and we were off. She did the 180 to the weaves and did a GORGEOUS set of weaves-her first 24 in spacing weaves and it totally did not throw her. Liz does best on the obstacles she has to think about a lot. Anyway, after that we connected, I did a rear cross over a jump to the dog walk-perfect contacts and two more jumps and we were done. Whoooo hoooo Lizzie. This would not have been possible even a few months ago. It was probably a good thing I had waited until later in the day to do that with Liz because then I was not tempted to do it again and push the boundaries which always gets me in trouble, we were able to end on an excellent note.

Cricket is 13 weeks old and still in that open, impressionable stage where it is important to give puppies lots of good experiences, so Ian Dunbar would be proud of Cricket yesterday. I took her to the playground right by the agility rings, lots of great different surfaces to climb and play on, and she apparently really loves kids-big ones, small ones, what ever, she seems to like kids. I know Cricket got to play with Brittney's (Crickets breeder) son, and when she sees little boys that age she really lights up and gets so excited. From the videos I have seen Brittney's son is an excellent puppy socializer, and I think that is going to really be a great thing for Cricket. Breeze is really afraid of kids, and it is easy to manage and I need to work on it, but it is so nice when a dog is ok with kids. We were able to find a lot of nice dogs for Cricket to say Hello to and play with. And of course being a puppy at a fun match...she got to meet a lot of people. She even met Santa and put up with the kids doing the picture putting little red velvet cuffs with bells on her feet and around her neck, and then the reindeer ears....and the big guy holding her with a beard and a funny hat, she took it all like a trooper. All in all a terrific day of socializing for a little pup. The playground had some great equipment for Cricket to get on some wobbly things, some high things, and some different surfaces.

After the match I took her to the Bass Pro Shop in our area. They have a two story fish tank with huge fish, an elevator that is glass that goes up right by the fish tank, there are stuffed dead animals, ;-( (I really hate that, but it is weird stuff for the pup to see), there is a waterfall in the store, and lots of weird hanging things, and the people in there are always really nice to dogs, and they allow dogs in the store. I had not counted on the place being PACKED. If I had really thought about it being right before Christmas I might not have brought her, but it is a bit of a drive to get there and it was on my way home from the fun match. It was so crowded and in front of the store there were tons of people. When we got there Cricket was nervous about the shopping carts, and strollers. We worked on playing the look at that game, then made a game of her going up and touching the shopping carts, and by the end of the visit she was totally fine with both things. She got to see three people in wheel chairs, lots of friendly strangers, a poodle that wanted to play and a lot more kids. She was a little nervous for a few minutes when she saw big crowds but we had went with another border collie puppy friend who is a little older then her, so when she saw he was ok, she decided it was all ok. She really is a very confident little puppy, I keep feeling I really lucked out with this little girl.

I have to say that it was a very hard, frustrating "fun" match for us. First off the last few weeks Breeze and I just feel so off. Nothing feels like it is flowing, I am not feeling the connection with my dog while I run and I messed up so badly...I was on her path to the weaves, which pushed her off, I was late cuing things, and I did some things I NEVER do. I was watching how a lot of other people were running the course and I just totally switched my plan and did it the way everyone else was. Totally wrong for us, not the way I walked it and actually a way I pretty much knew Breeze would not like, I usually make a plan and just go with it and it usually always works but for some reason yesterday I just did not have the confidence to just go out there and play with Breeze, and it showed. I wanted to sit and hit myself in the head with a rolled up newspaper or something. Of course our contacts on the dog walk were terrible, and Breeze was having no part of the table today, LOL, yep table troubles today-and we NEVER have those. The only thing that was pretty good was the start line, she broke once but the work we have put into those did show. The good thing is that Breeze was very happy and confident, no sign of the stress at the start lines that we had been starting to get after the last trial, there were some good parts for sure!

Right now, it is just not fun at all to be running and feeling so out of sorts-and I just do not know how to get it all to gel again. Maybe it is being so focused on the puppy and we are sort of taking a break, we have had to change training places so I do not really feel a part of that yet, I have plans to start working with another really terrific friend after the holidays-and I always work better when I am working with someone else, so maybe I should just not take it so seriously and know that this is just another phase and trust things will come together when we are ready to get a little more serious again??? I really do not care about the mistakes it is just feeling so disconnected with my dog when I am running that makes me sad.


Diana said...

Well it sounds like everything went really well. I have that disconnection with Miley sometimes too. Im not sure what causes it but then we get back together. I wont worry about it to much. Im sure it will come back again. Diana

Sara said...

Whoohoo to you and Liz! What a day.

I'm sure you will get your connection with Breeze back. Change is tough, we are creatures of habit...and so are dogs.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Sounds like Liz had a good fun match and Cricket did great with her socializing! I guess everybody feels that disconnection with their dogs from time to time (mom and I sure do) and it will come back.

Sam said...

It sounds like you just need to get yourself organized again. You've got a new pup, it's the holidays.. there's a lot going on! I'm sure you'll be back to your old self in no time.

Congrats to you and Liz - I bet it felt good to have her be so connected to you. I totally know the feeling of that false sense of security... I wished and wished NADAC would suddenly change their rules and MArge could wear a collar, just because it would make me feel better at our trial in November.. of course, no dice on that one!

Epicurus said...

So Cute!!

Tammy Moody said...

Yeah, the disconnect can be frustrating. I often go through this with Nova. I usually will take a break from running her. I very rarely ever train her because it is stressful for her and she just goes to her own la-la land.

There is nothing wrong with taking breaks and doing non-agility related things with her. No law states that you have to do agility with her, but you should be able to enjoy her;)

Lori Vicari said...

Your doing a awsome job with Cricket, I don't think you will ever have to worry about her with kids of any age as her Mommy Rumor LOVES kids, she will go out of her way to see them :-) Cricket's brother Moe loves kid too!