Wednesday, March 21, 2012

10% is all it takes to be 100% AWESOME

Dear agility friends,

I’m targeting you specifically, because 1) dog people are the best people, and 2) dog show people are also some of the most frivolous spenders.  At least according to society.

Yes, it’s OUR expendable income to play with how ever we want. But have you ever tallied the cost of a MACH or ADCH- or worse yet: MACH 10 or the Platinum LAA? Don’t.  I’m just making sure we all realize and accept our internal crazy person. 

But coming back to point 1.  Dog people are crazy, but they are crazy compassionate too. They never turn away a rescue in need or let a fellow competitor stand alone when the going gets tough.  Agreed? Agreed.

And I don’t want any one of you to change. Keep being frivolous with me every weekend!

What I DO want, is to challenge you though. Just a little. Show society that your crazy hearts are always in the right place. You ARE the best people.

Take the cost of ONE frivolous class entry and put it HERE.

Be the Match. Where we find people to Be the One to kick cancer’s ass.
Not the entry for a trial. Not the entry for a day. Just the cost of one class.

Think of it as that FAST class you didn’t really want to enter, or that Snookers class at the end of the day. The course was gross anyways and the plan was to go home early.

Because think of who you know. Think about the fact that something like 1 in 4 people are affected by cancer in their lifetime.  That’s a lot of our agility friends, not to mention the rest of society.
The thing is, I am SUPER proud to work for my company, the National Marrow Donor Program, better known as Be the Match.  It puts a lot of things in perspective when you are part of a network that SAVES LIVES.  I don’t. I work in Human Resources. But I support people who SAVE LIVES. Like, every day

For once though, I actually wanted to have a hand in something a bit more direct. When we held a rally for the Minneapolis/St Paul Be the One Run, I decided that would do nicely.

So I’m doing two things I never thought I’d do- running in a 5k and attempting fundraising!!

I know, a 5k is nothing. I should probably do something like “If I raise X amount, I will do (insert crazy activity here)!” but seriously, my work out regime involves being able to run fast for maybe a minute.  Not many minutes.  This will be a huge challenge for me in itself. Plus fundraising always made me so uncomfortable. It’s one thing to ask mom and dad for money, but strangers?? Friends?? Ugh.  Awkward. So my promise for raising X amount is commitment.  AND I have to miss a day at a dog show.

Like I said though- I’m REALLY proud of my company and the work we (er, they) do.  I think that, hearing the stories and the statistics, it’s a cause I’m willing to put in a bit of sacrifice and effort for.

I figure, its $100 to register a new donor.  Only half of the 10,000 needing a donor transplant each year receive one, as there is not yet a registered match for each patient. Every new donor registered then increases the odds of a match, and a transplant. And survival.  

My goal is modest. I want to raise enough to register 3 new donors.  You do the math.  If 10% of my agility friends donate 10% of their total entry from the last trial, it’s done.  10% = 100% Awesome.

So I’m running, shaking down colleagues for money, AND I donated an entry for a class (since I’m missing that day at the trial anyways!). Jeff Gordon donates like, a million dollars each year from his frivolous funds, and he is a butthead.  I think my agility friends are much better than Jeff Gordon, so I’m excited to see what they do!

And, if you want to run, here are the details! You can be 200% awesome (which I’m sure is possible) and organize your own team and fundraising efforts.

No matter WHAT you do, please Be the One to get involved. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mad Scientist Caliber Experimentationisms.


It’s a word.

Agility experiments are granted ‘Mad Scientist’ designations when they cost a lot of money and involve travel. Only crazy people go so far.

Our need to experiment with the 26” thing took us to a CSA trial last weekend.  We had many variables to test: Trial environment, Turf effects, Class load, Changing Heights, to name a few.  A big test would be held to determine the impact of actual courses on handling, therefore jumping. So many variables there!

All very scientific, you see.
With any good experiment comes a hypothesis.  My thought was that her jumping would best be represented by an upside down “U” shape on a graph, where the x axis records the amount of runs and the y axis shows the jumping proficiency.  That is to say, in non Mad Scientist words, jumping would start out not so hot, improve to a peak, but would drop off as she got sleepy from all the running.

Scientific AND mathy.
Interestingly, I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  I think I’ve conclusively proven that The Dog is a good girl, and I’m somewhat of a durp (see South Park if that word has no meaning for you).

Her jumping was not affected by turf, being at a show, class load, the unexpected heat, changing the heights on her, or the courses we ran.

Her jumping WAS affected most by…


To be mildly fair to myself, I’m not used to running her on full courses with actual yardage yet. I didn’t have much of a feel as to timing or what I could or couldn’t do yet.   I DID learn as the weekend went on though and redeemed myself a little. 
In order to make actual sense, a recap.  With Video!!

Saturday we ran Gamblers, Standard and Jumpers. Gamblers was the run of the weekend she needed to figure her jumping out and knocked two from poor judgment. Luckily, they were in the opening so we qualified and she even won!  Two amazing things I noticed in this run after the fact: first, she tried to wait on her teeter both times (I’ve been rebuilding her 4 on this entire winter) and second, she FOLLOWED ME!!! I ran somewhat across the ring, bypassing jumps and stuff and she came with me without obstacle shopping. Holy Crap.  Payoff.   (Note: One of the reasons that I’m a durp is that she tried to wait on her teeter a LOT over the weekend yet I ripped her off every time. Ga!!)

In Standard, I (wo)manned up and tried some blinds.  Another theory was that fronts aren’t going to work as well now (more later) so it was time to try. And they worked!! She actually had a really nice run, but the dogwalk and the jump following became a hot mess so 10 faults there. My theory is that her load (after the triple), coupled with the tunnel under the exit of the DW (her new thing that makes her LEAP) just were a perfect storm for what happened.  No worries, homework.

In Jumpers, she jumped BEAUTIFULLY! No bars. Yay.  Enter here one of several REFUSALS for the weekend though.  Totally set a bad line and let her land too long to save it. Oops.  Big “good girl” for though because she followed exactly what I showed her. 
Sunday was a full day.  We started with Jumpers and I did THE SAME THING and once again she responded and came into me instead of taking the tunnel.  After that hiccup she knocked a few bars and I started to see that  crushing her momentum (with stopping and squishy squashy front crosses) kills her ability to jump.  Dog requires consistent flow at 26”. Interesting. This was further expounded in Snookers. Two bars and a TWEET after an opening with lots of squishy squashy and no momentum. 

Pairs was a return to awesome: 1st with the Black Dog, super fast run and clean! (No video unfortunately.)  The Dog was filled with momentum and was super happy.  After getting walked off in Snookers this was a wonderful thing to see.  

Grand Prix, back to 22”, followed. (Er, partial video- camera malfunction!) It doesn’t look super controlled, but I felt in control 100% so that should count for something?  This course annihilated most entrants so I was pleased beyond reason to survive and Q and have a speedy time.  Just a stinky little tenth of a second from that other bye I wanted to get!  But glad to know that I can push her as much as I did on a course like that and get such good results.

Our last run was Standard.  No bars! I tried to carry over and push her on this one to test a new theory and I think it worked! She did really well, detoured to a tunnel but CAME BACK before it was an off course. Then she ran by the aframe- what?? Silly silly. But. I didn’t tell her to and clearly she was in ‘I’m a good girl and I pay attention’ mode. Plus we’ve been working on her following me when I take off so it was the right thing to do.  She did come back to end on a gorgeous DW to a triple so we had a big party. 
I learned a LOT. Totally worth the endeavor.

- Most importantly, I got to see that she is starting to show me some focus- I didn’t have to constantly battle with the obstacles for attention.   Now to remember this.
- Blinds are our friend, squishy fronts are not.  A rear will do as well, but getting ahead to show n’ go is key right now.
- Along with that, I really need to shape her takeoff more. Ugh. I can’t wait until she is jumping or even her takeoff point- she lands SO much further out now.  More information, earlier.
- She can do start line stays! Without getting sad and refusing to leave the line!! And no first bars down.
- She’s competitive, time wise.  A big, good group of 26” dogs and her times were there. So hard to tell with refusals, but best time in Stnd Sat and probably would have won Sunday.  I was worried, but not so much anymore.
- Still so far to go on the DW training. So many circumstances to drill!
On The Pup front, we spent a LOT of down time practicing walking in to the building nicely, not like a crazy animal who’d never been on a leash before.  Tons of attention and focus work while dogs were running. A few tough love moments, but by the last class we were able to sit ringside while she focused on me the whole time.   She was able to do tricks while fast dogs ran and the practice jump in the middle of the hustle and bustle.
 I’m taking the emotionless behavioral tactics of ‘real’ clicker trainers and it works.  Treating her like a ‘reactive dog’ rather than a naughty puppy has helped too- the naughty puppy route just put us both in unhealthy overdrive.  

11 days to go!
Can we go now? Me and Face ball are ready!! 
Then the beast is unleashed. 

Pig-nosed beast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Crunch Time, Team.

So for our friend who told me we needed a countdown to The Pup’s agility debut…

18 days.


It seems so soon when I look at the calendar.  I haven’t had this many ants in the pants since I was going to bring her home.

Most of the ants are crawling with excitement.  I am confident in her education- the girl knows her stuff.  She tries really hard to do the right thing.  There are even runs now that feel effortless and comfortable and I know what to do and, you know, don’t panic, and just do it.

Some of the ants are writhing with anxiety though.  Oh, the imagination on this dog.  What will she come up with? Endless possibilities. Many horrible.

Only one way to find out though!  Show time.

Believe me though, we are working hard during our countdown.  I want to set up the best chance for success so it’s a fair test. I stole an idea from a fellow blogger to make a training log with Google Docs (thank you, blogging event!) and now I can track progress on my iPhone and easily remind myself what to do session to session.  Last night it reminded me to work on show quality distractions and weave pole proofing. Weaves galore, all excellent! Pushing her for speed, racing ahead, crossing her path, icky entries with zero help: All Good.

Then we had a generous (daredevil, thrill seeking?) friend ‘be the judge.’  Big test for focus. The Pup was intrigued. Who was that person walking about in her ring? But she held her stay. And she held her teeter too, though the wiggles started in. (Must…make…friend! NO! Must finish exercise!)  She tore herself away from the urge to go visit and kept working.  We practiced walking into the ring, taking the leash off, and setting up while the ‘ring steward’ moved her leash.  She stared at the ‘steward’ the entire time I did a lead out, but she held that stay and refocused on me when I got to position.  And focused enough to release AND take the jumps on her way to me.

And even though her brain melted a little and she had to go check out what was going on next door once  (to be fair, it was an extremely difficult challenge- next door held a BC working with their own Marvin) , she listened to me and recalled to front instead of breaking into their ring. I don’t expect we will run into that at the show.  I call it progress anyways.
The Dog is giving me her own ants. We have a show this weekend- USDAA.  I’m not feeling too anxious, except that I can’t wait to see how it goes. Practice has been so awesome.  She’s been much more amenable to doing things the *right way* (without orbiting or neglecting to watch me or fussing the redos).  We’ve been doing start line stays and she isn’t melting.  And we are handling 26”. Handling, not just scraping by.  She seems more confident on gauging her jumps. We’re ready for another test before we go live. And it’s a giant 26” class so we will get a lot of feedback.

Funny to think of USDAA as a test run and AKC as the ‘real thing.’
Another exciting thing- mother and I are giving a seminar! Oooo!

Our friend’s friend has a lovely new facility up north.  We are coming to bring in some funky fun foundation and new age ideals to supplement her budding agility and standing obedience/rally programs. Or something like that. It should be fun. And challenging.  But I’m glad for the opportunity!

I do like to be the Foundation Fairy now, spreading click/treats as I go.
That’s it. All the excitement. Whew. Maybe the ants can go back in the ant farm now that it’s all out!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Project Go Chunk!

For our last weekend off in this long break, we had Chunk over!

Hi. Cute.
He is still a big boy, our Nephew is, no telling how big he will really be though. Chunk is in a long 'n lanky stage now and I can see his back legs are gearing up for a sprout. Who knows though? Puppies. Quite the guessing game.

He is also still a FUN boy! Toys toys toys. Toys. Tugging? Yes! Retrieve? Yes! Girly squeal throughout? YES. That's all good.

Mission with him though has been bringing up the food drive. I was able to make a connection with him and free shaping with a toy (somehow we got a great back up out of that!), but I want all the tools in our basket. Must work for food.

Smart smart smart!
After cycling through three kinds of treats, we found a winner? Well, a wiener. Turkey dogs. Num. He decided he could do some shaping for treats after all. Of course, I'm no fool (MOST days) so I used the almighty toy as the mega jackpot communicator. Ding ding ding! So many lightbulbs flickering. The power company was probably getting phone calls about all the electrical surges...

We worked on 'four feet in a box' to start, and he gathered fairly quickly that 4 feet go in boxes. This was a major improvement from the first attempt at a simple paw target where he wasn't able to connect the dots. I think some more work on general tasks (all feet or any feet) will lead the way to the finer and more selective tasks. Experiment!

We also did some table foundations and introduced the auto drop on a tabletop. (Rhymes! Yay!) I'm lucky that he does a down as a default, but it was still a waiting game to start. A little help from the ball and he caught on really fast.
CUTE. And tired from workin'!

Other new games we played were cone shaping and wobble boarding. He thought the cone work was sketchy, but I think he was intentionally moving behind it. I'll see what it looks like next time. Wobble board is merely at the contact/duration stage. He loves bounding off the big ones like they are a spring board, so we had to work on a) having him realize he is controlling the movement an b) remaining on the board while he does this. I think he got it, after awhile he was just wavering back and forth like a buoy. Adorable.


Plan for him going forward includes lots of total body awareness. And teaching a really good GO. Family genes say he will be more inclined to turn in so I want him to understand that me running straight equals him running straight. People are not sheep!!

After play time with me, The Pup got her chance to take him to school. She sure loves her boyfriend, but she sure loves to kick his butt too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crystal Balls and Time Machines

I’ve always said: if I had a chance to know what lay ahead, I wouldn’t. It seems wrong on so many levels. That’s partially too many movies about the inevitability of Fate, partially a disbelief in Fate itself. I just don’t like to think that my life is set- I want to know that my choices mean something and I'm shaping my own outcome.

I live my life based on this belief and it’s what allows me to be so open to opportunities; say ‘yes,' and there is no telling where you will be taken and what you will learn along the way. I’ve no interest in knowing the future now or skipping ahead. Not only is the unknown half the fun, but it’d be like cheating on a test. You’re missing the lessons!

However I DO consider myself one to reflect. If I could hop into a time machine to go back, I might. I would love to finely trace the path I took and spend more time in those impacting yet instantaneous moments. The things I would learn! But I worry about what I would whisper in my own ear. It would be so hard not to help myself, but if we’ve learned one thing from TV and movies, it’s that you don’t mess with the past!

So when the Dog Agility Blog event was determined it got me thinking: Is there anything I wish I knew when I started agility that I know now? Would I cheat on the test if I could??
My perspective may be a bit skewed. I started agility when agility and I were both young, neither having met a decade yet. It was a different world back then- no one really knew anything! Just that it was FUN. Of course I can think of a long list of cards I wish I would have had in my hand to play then:

Running dogwalk- who knew?
Collecting? On purpose? No way!
Rubberized contacts: I’d be rich now!
Minimal shoes and running pants=Comfortable AND practical.
Foundation! (Hey, I said it was a different world…)
Tricks! I could have had dogs bringing me things all this time?
Conditioning. It’s not just for humans.
And on and on and on…

But we had an amazing time and were a great team without ANY of those things. Sure, my first agility dog and I would have been unstoppable with just a bit of knowledge in collection from Future Me. But most of what we learn is learned for a reason and more importantly, leads you down yet another path. I wouldn’t have bothered to find out that there were ways to get tight turns,etc, if I hadn’t needed them. And that search led to jumping skills, shaping, running contacts...So it goes. Er, you know, live and learn.
I know the point is to just share something intelligent that can help an up-and-coming team, but I get stuck in this loop that comes back to having to live life and shape your own path as you go- no crystal balls allowed. Too much luring and you end up not learning anything. And sometimes you just have to learn the hard way. But. It doesn't need to be that way EVERY time...

My intelligent something would have to be: If I did have a time machine, I’d have to tell myself to go be a proactive learner. A lot of what I did and learned between then and now was as a result of…something. Reactive. I always waited for there to be the question to say yes to or the problem to solve before I tried to learn the answer. Which in this age of information and opportunity is just...inexcusable. But I figured out in the last year or two that it was time to get proactive and since then I’ve felt a lot better about everything. Confident, capable, prepared, adventurous. My path is still my own and one of shaped learning, but when I encounter a new issue that I have no solution to, I'm already steps ahead- but without skipping ahead.

So no matter what anyone tells you today, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you learn, just that you learn as much as you can. While you *could* wait for the lesson to present itself in due time, you can chose to get proactive now. Say yes when you can, and learn the lessons life presents. But the rest of the time, don't wait for the question. Go looking for any and all answers!
Since we are on the topic of fantasy impossibilities though - while I'd probably say no to Time Machines and Crystal Balls I'd have to say YES to a teleporter.

I've got a lot places to be- think of the travel possibilities! So much more agility...

Someone should get on that.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tunnel of Love and a Peep Show

Another weekend without a show! I’d say a girl could get used to this but it does get a bit dull by Sunday.  After one plays with the dogs, watches sci-fi and naps, there is little left to do but clean.


Don’t worry though. Successfully avoided for another weekend.
After kicking around some fun looking international-style courses with Smooth Sailin’, the girls and I ventured out to run a few.  We chose courses by Kees Stoel; I like that there are the typical scary elements, but all the courses he designs seem to also have huge lines to open up and run too. Part of my struggle with The Dog has been balancing those transitions so I wanted to see if there was any improvement there. Other goals for the day were watching her jumping and orbiting (a.k.a. China trips) as I attempt to start moving more again.

Course #1: Agility!  
Course #2: Jumping!
With The Dog, it’s survival mode. I try to drill individual obstacles in most practices so when I get the chance to do coursework I can see how far we get. I think this has made the biggest difference in our turnaround in Standard courses (we get through them now!) and boosting her attitude (stopping for every oops bummed her out).  First time through is always the ‘real’ one; we stop only for off courses, then we go back and pick it apart (er, in a fun way).  
Tunnel of Love!

Well.  I’d have to say that if it wasn’t for tunnels and grotesque over-handling we might be on to something! In ‘Agility’ we survived until #15 when I called. So. Hard. and sent her into the other end of #17. Upon visiting it again later, I needed to only run to #15. No call. No stopping. Sigh. The right thing was so effortless!  Aside from that, if you watch the video you can see her veer off to the right after the dogwalk. One might THINK she was headed to the #11 jump but no. She was in fact zooming off to the tunnel bags and tunnel piles. So much tunnel love now!  Part of the zooming was due to me crowding her at the end of the contact. It seems that on the right she just needs her space. It took a few tries to work it out, but the right answer turned out to be layering the jumps.  Then she had a lovely dogwalk and nice lines.  (This ‘space’ thing keeps coming up off the dogwalk… you reckon someday I will actually remember and handle accordingly?? Bets, anyone?)

The Jumping course was fun! Pipe tunnels, wee! I tried three variations of a lead out to start, and the best was the one on video (video is our third time through).  I wanted SO badly to be on the landing side of #13 and call over, but she had NONE of that. Tunnel, tunnel, tunnel… Tunnel love! Once I got my butt down to the takeoff side tunnel vision was gone.
It was good learning. I hadn’t realized how much of a tunnel sucker she was becoming. And now that she uses them as her self-reward...yikes! Even more incentive to keeping upping my own personal ante.   But her jumping was good, and held up well.  Unsurprisingly, the bars she took were on the Jumping course and the cause was her having that darn tunnel vision. Like I said, good learning!
Oh man, then there was The Pup.  This was the first time I’ve run her on such a wide open layout. It definitely presented a new challenge. All the space was very inviting to her and she wanted to expand to fill it.  I can’t say she’s ever run around anything but her first time on her baby version of a Standard course featured a LOT of runarounds.  She was incredibly high after watching a BC run and it took a spin around the block to get the engines firing on all cylinders. Even then she was a bit of a mess at the start and finish (all the dogs and treats and toys and people were at the start and finish area!); she had to inspect things and say hi. We did get through it in a respectable fashion eventually but I can pretty much see what her inaugural run will be like!
Peep show!
Other learning points: Pup cannot be ringside before she runs. Not sure how this will work but other dogs running before her will be harder to overcome that anything the judge lays out. My hope is that small and highly unmotivated dogs run first.  Otherwise I may stand in the bathroom with her until her name is called!

Pup also must be very carefully set up and collected after her run. I can’t manhandle her on her set ups. It makes her insane.  Calm letting her self-control is key. I must be extremely diligent that she comes to me after the last obstacle. No excusing herself.   And for the next month, any ADHD resulting in her exploring ringside dogs/people will be met with a crate trip.  Also I read up on some interesting attention work I think I will start on with her. Sounds like more fun than crate trips.

Also apparently this was the first time she has seen a double with wings. You’d think it would be hard to miss the giant spread with wings but no. Totally invisible.
Oh, we did have much fun. Worry not. It is a blast to run her, even if she is a nut job out of the box.  If I remember to let her settle in before I push her, she does really well. Then she needs to be pushed. As you see in her JWW course, she was mentally ready to go and I wasn’t on the ball.

Many good things for her overall.  Her weaves are great, she is still picking up speed and has figured out her footwork.  Her contacts are AWESOME! Her dogwalk is finally there without Marvin and she is driving ahead! It’s hard to tell in the video, but it’s down to five strides now and all four feet are running through the zone. I checked out slo-mo and her back leg separation is text book. (Ugh, I can’t keep up with her anymore so it’s time to start working on her getting herself on straight.)  Aframe is good, a nice untrained freebie. Teeter I am really happy with. She hasn’t had any issues with maintaining her stop there (view with envy my wicked lead out from the teeter, heheh). So while dialing in to her brain from the get go is our biggest challenge, thank goodness our obstacles are reliable.

Er, except the double. What’ up with that?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Friends and New Habits

We have a new friend!

Well, The Dog hates him, but he’s family so she is stuck with him whether she likes it or not, but at least The Pup loves him! Er, well, sometimes. Just as long as there are no crates, toys, laps, or bully sticks around…
“Him” is The Dog’s bitty baby nephew. For our purposes he will be known as Chunk.  Because he was never really a bitty baby.  Kind of have to feel bad for his mom…
Anyways, he was super fat. Very substantial. You can see the size difference between him and The Pup.  She looks quite a bit twiggier than normal compared to his elephant stumps.
I did put these pictures on Facebook but not with any explanation. He isn’t mine! One Pup is enough and Chunk is enough for two more!
But due to sad circumstances, his planned home fell through and he will most likely stay with our friend, the breeder. She has her own puppy to worry about so I wanted to help out and be his friend. For now we are working on social skillz and turning on the brain. You know, because that’s what friends do? If it works out I will for sure do some obstacle work and possibly run him someday. He may end up really being a Big Boy (though after just a few weeks have already grown into his girth considerably) so that will be a fun challenge. 
He’s very cute. And even clever…for a boy… heheheh. I jest! He is very interesting to me in that he isn’t super food motivated but is into toys and tugging (super loud squealy tugging!).  Not the first dog like this, I know, but I’ve been using clickers so long that it’s fun to work out how to shape behaviors with toys again. Luckily he IS clever and has picked up on a few things very quickly. I’m already looking forward to trying Silvia’s method with him…
So I realize the timing of this is weird. Here I was just losing my grip because I had too much going on and now a new friend? Well, you can never have too many friends…right?

Really, I’m in a good groove now.  I settled on my path for the year and now everything has slotted into place. Suddenly I feel as though I have endless time again. A weekend off (and more to come) really helps too.  Once you realize you can watch 24 hours of sci-fy (and then do it…) you feel a lot of control again.  

We are in a really nice training groove going now too.  The girls each get two agility sessions a week. The Pup’s time is mostly dedicated to focusing throughout a whole course now, making sure that obstacle proficiency remains high. Why course work? BECAUSE SHE IS OFFICIALLY RUNNING IN A SHOW… IN 4 WEEKS!!! WOO! So excited. AKC debut, 3/31/12. Be there or you will miss a guaranteed spectacle. No, really, I entered her because I think she can do it. The last things she needs to learn all come from exposure to that environment so might as well dive in. So whether she will do it remains to be seen, but I don’t feel like I’m setting her up to fail.  She wants to play, she gets to play. Fun!

The Dog will be spending one night on coursework (in a class, a real class!) and one night on all the location cue/jumping homework we received from our private. On other nights we do a bit of collection work at home (and both girls work on tricks and conditioning most other days). 

The Pup proves that we do our tricks homework too!

One week alone has made a HUGE difference in her focus on course. I doubt it looks much different, but truly, I can feel it. There is a level of control and connection that I rarely have that is starting to come in.  I mean, she pulled off a jump last night! And it was totally what I cued! WOW!!! I can’t recall the last time I ran her a whole night and she did everything I cued. The bars were good too. I did run her at 26” and the bars that came down were before the tunnel. I think I’m doing something in those situations like anticipating the bar. Need to remember to drive through.  She will be running 26" starting the next show, which I am feeling pretty good about now!

We are also working on forbidden things like correcting mistakes and startlines. And not letting her circle at those times. She got circles in, but came back quickly (uh, for her) and was happy to go again. I even managed to squelch the circles a few times and she was still more than happy to go. She and I have some new habits to learn and it may take awhile to erase the old but at last I feel that this is the right direction!