Sep 4, 2011


Since we're on a bit of a hiatus for the next few weeks, I figured it would be a good time for reflection and planning.  I have a few things I plan to work on over the next 2-3 weeks while our activity level is still pretty limited, but I also have some things I'd like to do once we're back at it. :)

Over the next few weeks I want to fine-tune her understanding of finding obedience positions from anywhere, and improve our sit/stand/down discriminations.  I also want to introduce hand signals to down and stand. Additionally I plan to work on heeling with distractions more, as that tends to be a weak spot for us.

I'd like to start on scent articles, and the directed retrieve - but not as high priority as the ones I've listed above.  Later (possibly this winter when agility is pretty limited) I'll focus on teaching her the remaining exercises and proofing understanding.  Lots and lots of mileage to go still, but feeling pretty pleased with the home-schooled puppy since we really haven't done much with obedience.

When we start up more activity again, my main goals are to clear up holes in our foundation work.  Two of the "biggies" for me are working systematically through DJS, and narrowing down our a-frame criteria and truly training it. Up to this point I have "managed" her a-frame performance because I'm hesitant to do the amount of repetitions required to get a consistent, independent performance with a young dog.  Currently she does literally a couple repetitions a month at most.

Also I want to further proof her understanding of weave poles, which have had a similar story to the a-frame -- we do minimal repetitions and I've not proofed her understanding in depth because of that.  In hindsight, I should have probably done slightly more proofing to get them more functional in a sequence, because we've done more weaving repetitions from pop-outs than I would've liked her to do at this stage.  We spent some time proofing understanding on a short set right before the hiatus and I think it really helped clarify expectations for her, so I plan to continue that some and ramp up the distractions.

Another obstacle that could use some fine-tuning of understanding is the teeter.  I noticed right before the hiatus that in certain scenarios she didn't understand to drive to the end regardless of me and would instead turn around at or near the pivot point and come back to me.  Happy she's so comfortable with the teeter, but need to clarify that is NOT what I expect when I rear cross or send to the teeter from behind it. :)

And last on this list of projects (which is in no particular order), is to work through Control Unleashed.  It's one of those books I've always meant to read, but never found the time/motivation to do so.  Potion stresses up in exciting settings (and IMO it's getting a little worse instead of better), so I'm hopeful that CU will help us maintain a functional arousal level.  While Dewy stresses up at things in daily life, he wasn't one to stress up in trials, and Merlin and Rio are both the type to stress down so learning to read Potion's stress level has been a real learning curve for me. 

As a long term project, I would reconsider a running dog walk if we can ever get our arousal level issue sorted out and get everything else fine-tuned.  I still find it interesting and would like to work through it with her, but I think right now 2o2o is a more realistic criteria for us (i.e. I think the wheels would fall off if we added even more excitement to agility ;)).

So... yes, those are most(?) of my performance training goals for the reasonably near future... we still train random things but I don't really see a reason to ramble about those, since they mostly interest me and entertain the baby BC. :)