Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Boiling Point

No Channing Tatum, I'm not actually talking about you (though everyone else on the planet is. Enjoy your moment.)

I knew we would pay for that mild winter. KNEW IT. Karma is a record lack of snowfall followed promptly by record heat. As in, there was a moment that MN was the hottest place to be in the country. Barf. So wrong.

The thing is, ugh, I just don't do heat. And humidity. Not together. So this heat wave led to another impromptu break from any and all outdoor training. Annoyance at this status increased with the realization that I actually trained more in the WINTER than this SUMMER so far.
As of Friday last, the boiling point was reached. Tempers as high as the heat. Snapping doggies. Button pushing doggies. Every which one getting all fat. This would be 'crazy-making' for those of you already familiar with sad-making.

And then, for five minutes, it rained.  Not a moment too late. The world is no longer an oven. Now we can train.
Saturday morning we hit the field at 6:30 am.  Taking NO CHANCES with the heat.

Our BIG challenge for that morning was finally trying to work out some agreement with The Dog on exits off the dog walk. After hemming and hawing for ages I finally decided what I want: run over then off. Straight.

Uh, not earth shattering I know, but the alternatives are teaching turn cues or teaching her to interact with the board further down or adjust her stride depending on what I'm doing. So there was a choice to make and what I truly want it for her is to just go straight off. Running. Still not okay to leap. Not okay to cut out early off the side. I'm trying to finally incorporate a "go" too, that will mean it's ok to power off as far as you want, and take what's in your path as the case may be. Mostly for helping her into nothingness.

I really want that she doesn't check in until after the DW. I would like her independence to increase a bit since her responsiveness overall has increased too. This has made her exits more manageable but definitely don't want her trying to respond while ON the obstacle.

So. How to train this?

The issue so far has been that she gets clever fast and predicts what is coming. I don't think I ever want her to get predictive. Go off straight, look for your cue. In my mind. So at the last seminar, when the predictor starting showing up, I received a great suggestion for proofing I had to try.

Hence- Crazy set up with every possible exit! No way Dog knows what's coming next!
That's not a bug, it's the dogwalk!

It actually worked quite well. Reward finishing the board before she moved on commitment-wise. And it gave me great information on when she is taking cues and what she is taking as a cue. General rule seemed to be NO abruptness on my part. The old adage holds true- treat the last board like a jump. If I cue something big during that section, explosions! But I CAN subtly decel and accel. And I CAN get good response when waiting until after she is off to do something big. That felt good.

Our two tricky exits were the abrupt turn away to the tunnel (with that jump there luring with its siren call) and the weave entry. We had to break down the tunnel turn (NO BAILING OFF THE SIDE!) but eventually worked it out. The weave entry wasn't as hard, that was all about well-timed decel coupled with a strong, supportive weave cue. Otherwise, she did really well with sends and pulls. And awesome discrimination!
Then there was The Pup.





Seriously. She gets it. She gets it all. Thou shalt not leap. Thou shalt not ever leave the board early. She will zoom off straight if I ask. She will pull tightly. She will turn away tightly. Or less tightly. Whatevs. Without ever being really taught to, she will adjust her stride to interact with the bottom most section of the board JUST to make sure she never departs prematurely. Like there was a tiny pole at the end for her to wrap around. One time we had to work the abrupt turn away twice, but it was because she turned in instead. Such a good girl.

I must get video. You must see this. It is a tiny miracle  coming from the ADHD baby who gets all this but doesn’t get that there is not a lingering kibble bit under the stove.

You ate it already Pup. IT’S GONE.
Anyways, good training day.  At least there was one.  The Dog went to class last night but she was being full of herself.  I think she is REALLY tired of the downtime lately. One or two training days in three weeks are ok for me and The Pup, but The Dog needs more or she acts like an @$$; at least, as much as any good doggie can.

Solemn promise to The Dog: Fear not. The time-sucking trial is this weekend. After this we will have doggie smart time again.  We will go swimming  instead of answer emails. We will go for walks and not sort scribe sheets. PROMISE.

Just in time. Regionals, just around the bend. Only a few short weeks to garner her favor again and bring Queen Uppity Fluffy Pants back to earth.

And after that maybe, MAYBE, The Pup will re-debut.

I mean, you GOTTA see this dogwalk!

Sorrow is not getting to chew on the NEW bone. 


  1. That is so awesome!!! I want to see them!!!!

  2. I WANNA SEE the PUP!!! I WANNA see the DW!!!
    Hell Riot needs to see the DW, maybe she could learn a thing or two .... or three or four ....