I feel like I've woefully neglected The Pup lately. At least in writing.
Contrary to what it may appear recently, The Pup has not dropped off into training oblivion.
I will admit though, I stopped going to class with her. Yes, it was supposed to be a goal. But I think I can breach the written contract with myself on account of how annoyed I was getting. It turned out to be completely unproductive. For starters, she either screamed when it wasn't her turn (annnnooooooying!) or sat and resource-guarded the daylights out of her treats and Marvin. That's annoying AND a really bad behavior. Also there happened to be a dog the she Had It In For. He went for her the first night they were in class together and targeted her as a Dog Of Interest. She doesn't take kindly to that sort of stalking and turn southie on him really quickly, constantly on the offense surveying for him. Again, I really don't want to give her opportunities for bad behaviors- plus the last thing she needs is another reason to check out what's running in other rings.
Which has been our biggest issue to date. Hola, Senor Prey Drive. I don't think it's pure herding instinct. You can see her licking her chops and feel the urge to kill rising. Well...not really. She just goes to say hi...And maybe chest bump a little... And steal a toy if they have one. But that is it!
That's plenty to be a problem though. When we train alone, she is a magical swirl of lovely brainpower. The process of introducing other dogs has been a slow one. Issue one is that she is a determined little sucker. If she wants to get through a barrier, she will. Issue two is that she has super OOO SHINY right now. Channeling the magic swirls is much harder with distraction.
But coming full circle, we HAVE been working on it. It being Focus. FOCUS. She gets two training nights basically dedicated to her now. And in just four weeks she went from being able to do only attention work next to a class being run (ON LEASH!) to actually running at the same time!!! Off leash! Sequences! AND (I'm super proud of this) I can leave her in an off-leash down while I WALK A COURSE and SET BARS! As the other dogs RUN!! Hallelujah.
When we do get to run in these situations, it's a blast. Since we went to the Sklenar seminar, I've really put a lot into teaching her extension and not worrying over collection. She can collect on a dime. (Funny- while she almost never responds to her name in life, in agility she actually attends to me when I call her! Excellent power of call-off. Yet powerless to redirect her from eating my plants or raiding the socks.) The extension has required some coaxing though- but now she loves to RUN! She is even starting to get confidence to run ahead. I was so pleased when she went off course on a straight line for the first time.nWe have something to try and handle now! Woo!
Her obstacle work is pretty solid. We need more work on the dogwalk and getting more extension from her without Marvin. She still hasn't thought of leaping yet, but I know she can run it in five strides consistently. She wavers between five and six on a given day. Other than that, more confidence building on the weaves. They are 100% faster than a month ago, but she still has to think- not yet able to rely on muscle memory.
She loves tunnels now. Mission accomplished. And then some. Yay?
In life, she continues to mature.
Just because spent last night playing Monster Under the Bed, batting at me and The Dog when we go by (yes, like a cat would play) doesn't mean she isn't maturing. She just has a lot of fun in her. I doubt that will ever go away. I sure would miss it if she grew out of inventing the cute little games she plays to pass the time.
Plus, she is pretty fun to mess with. She has this... Thing... For wind up toys. They make her insane. And I enjoy watching this for my own amusement. (Reason #1,637,737 I don't have kids- this would get reported to Social Services but dog people understand that BS offspring are already mentally unstable- not my fault!)
I do love the little weirdo. Can't imagine life without the tiny ball that somehow hogs the entire bed every night, and puts her feet gently on my face when she stretches in the morning. Just making sure I know she is there.