Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Balancing Act

Ever been to the Renaissance Festival?

If so, I am sure you've seen the juggler.  Not the boring, "three bowling pins" juggler. No, I mean the one who juggles knives.  While walking on a tightrope. And the tightrope? It's on fire.

Now image that you are the juggler. That is how it feels to train agility if you are me and you are working with The Dog.

I know, The Dog seems sweet. Soft. Malleable.  Clay to an artist's hands. You may be thinking I am a tiny bit crazy right now.

HA. She really has you fooled.
Dog says They say there is a sucker born every minute.  Happy B-day!
If you are me, and training agility is the task before you, then you are walking a fine line indeed. You are juggling all the obstacles, trying to keep them in the air no longer than necessary, and taking great care not to let the performance of one drop.  You are trying to balance training and showing throughout this act.  Doing so will allow you to move forward along the rope. But then there is also the fire.  Ambition. One heck of a motivator.  You can so easily get burned though, if you aren't careful.

(Yes, I like metaphors, why do you ask??)

So. What am I driving at? We live in MN and it is winter. We have limited access to equipment in the winter. I must work my dog, lest she go insane. Also I still would like to show this winter and can't afford the consequences of no training time (akin to falling from your flaming tightrope into a shark tank). Therefore, I must use what I have. However. I have a dog that, when comprehension arrives and couples with appreciation, offers behaviors. Again and again and again. Hey, I liked it that one time she did it perfectly. She got a treat or the BALL.  So why not do it again? (And again. And. Again.)  Once she begins to kind of get something, we immediately HAVE to get another 'pin' in the air or obsession (A.K.A. imbalance) takes over.

Example: For one week, we've been working the table. Table fits in the basement.  Table is easy to do when you have limited time. But now, the table is Mecca.  Must do table. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200- head directly to table. She kind of gets the table.

I mean, this is good. I guess. Until we run Standard this weekend and she bypasses everything in her reasonably assumed path to do the table. 


If you only have one pin, you can't become much of a juggler!

The lesson? Balance. 
But how to do this in the winter?
I'll let you know if I ever figure it out.

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