Friday, 16 January 2009

...All thawed out

So now we have to deal with wet muddy dogs every day, washing down, drying and the “Smalls” groomed every day - roll on the summer.

What have we been up to?

Well we managed to pick up some flooring for the kitchen at the famous Trago’s store, they have 3 days of sales each week in January, it wasn’t what I really wanted, but it will do until we manage to get around to doing the kitchen up, which I expect won’t be until the roof is re-done (flat one), which won’t be until the sun room and utility are done – some time this year – Maybe!

Out side, Ian is still trying to water tight the sheds – doors are on two of them now and he has started to move into his workshop, so I get the garden shed back.
We have planted half the plants we had bought with our Christmas money, and have just bought, 3-4 foot high Scotspine, Red oaks and wild cherries and then for the fruit side we have bought a couple of apple trees, a pear tree and plum – I like this buying game!
Hopefully we will be going to get a trailer full of horse manure in the next few weeks – when the trailer is empty of ballast (stuff you mix with sand and cement to make concrete)

Agility Training wise, what have I been up too…..

The “Reds” have had a two month rest from training, each year they get a month off from agility, although I do carry on walking them, but what with the weather, me having been poorly and Ian needing a hand with his projects, one month led into two, anyway they all had the all clear from Emma the chiropractor, they needed tweaking and have had 2 days on lead exercise(they still managed to get muddy!) so now they will have a couple of days free running, then I will be able to start them back on small/medium height and see how we go, Buzz may go to club on Wednesday with Harry, as Harry can’t make the whole 1 hour 45 mins training, he gets bored, Mindy had been coming too, to socialise, she had been really good, she is able to play with her tuggy do a few sit stays and retrieve her toys, whilst the other dogs are working around her, until last night when there where a lot of “High drive dogs” and she felt they should shut up! I can understand that, it was hard to hear your self think let alone shout commands to your dog, Buzz will no doubt add to the noise over the next following weeks.

Harry ended up having two weeks off from agility. I wasn’t going to give him any this year, as he started back at training two weeks before he competed last April, I felt a winter indoor training would help with his confidence and my ground has been so wet that I could only use the dog walk on low height and the weaves, I had been able to move them around the garden to dry areas to train on – both these pieces of equipment are his poorest, so that was the plan, train his contacts (speed) and weaves speed also.

Mindy is coming along, she works harder than Harry; she wants those rewards and works hard to find out what I want from her.
We are doing lots of straight lines between wings- rewards being: Ian at the end with her tuggy or me leaving her in a wait going two jumps down the line, releasing her and throwing her toy towards the end of the line of jumps, I have also left her “Pringles” lid or tile or mouse mat at the end of the jumps for her to target and get a treat when I’ve caught up!
We have been running in circles with her on the outside and inside, sending her around wings/bollards, backs (lefts) and right, she now runs the lowered dog walk to her target, I have slightly changed what I was asking her to do which was to run the plank go into the down half on plank at end and nose touch the target, but found as the plank was raised that she looked more uncomfortable, I think because of the angle between the plank and the floor and that she is a lot smaller than Harry, whether I will go back to this, as now I’m expecting her just to do 2o 2o and touch the target, she get very impatient and try’s to get away with foot touch’s, so I have to watch her.
Weaves, I am teaching her three uprights and treat/toy method, which we have used on Buzz, Harry and now Mindy, Red was taught channel (once a week at club method) and she really can’t weave that well, Buzz as long as he know that’s what I’ve asked will get 99%, Harry, it didn’t work so well with him, but we where living in our two berth caravan at the time, so the basics weren’t as good, as with Buzz, as he isn’t as confidant as Buzz or Red and doesn’t have the speed, Lisa suggested “V” weaves and wow that certainly helped him, so far! we have them slightly angled and he whizzes through them. what I’m getting at, is you have to choose a method that suits you and your dog, I don’t know enough about the 2 x 2 method although I’m hearing a lot of good reports, as long as you put in the correct amount of work and reward correctly, so maybe I will give this ago with the next dog!
I will carry on with uprights and “v” for the time being, and look forward to watching others and their new dogs coming out, having been taught 2 x 2.

The trick they are all learning this week is “are you shy” the “smalls” have learnt it very quickly, Red has to do it, with a hand touch (so basically she is just crossing her front legs) but hey she is learning something new, although she would rather we where outside jumping! Buzz, I’ve been really bad and not taught him, he gets so frustrated and barks at me too much, but now I’m feeling mean having written it down, so I promise I have a go!!

I have tried to video it, but kept getting me in the shot, so you will just have to wait and in the mean time here is Mindy doing her “walking the plank bit” (she was about 6-7 moths here) and “V” weaves, this week 8.5 months, I won’t be moving them anymore than that, until she is older.

Mindy has been introduced to most of the agility equipment, tyres, tunnels - I wanted her to have new experiences in a safe enviroment, before we venture out into different places. The only one she won't have seen is the A frame as mine won't lower enough for young dogs, so she will have fun using the lowered ADW.
I think doing the full height one too early is wrong and I have learnt from experience with Harry's injury, you can do more harm than good.

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