Backchaining

We had another very busy weekend. Saturday morning was spent at Lowe’s buying materials for my A-frame, table and teeter and then constructing the A-frame and table. Left home at around noon, heading to Statesville to pick up 60 pounds of frozen rabbit and then off to Salisbury for a double agility lesson. The first one was geared towards puppies/beginner dogs (which I took with Midge) and then my regular class with Gel. While the class with Midge went well, she was bored so I won’t do the class again with her, but will with Fern. As soon as the instructor saw me working with Midge, she told me that I couldn’t run with her through obstacles. Instead, I had to “backchain” everything.

That threw me, “backchaining?” Geez, I wonder how I ever managed to train Gel to the level he’s at. “Backchaining” means to perform obstacles or sequences backwards. That’s a hard thing for this type-A type human to do, but that’s what Midge needs. Midge will happily run along side me now, either going over jumps, if she happens to tear her eyes away from me in time to see the jump, or if she doesn’t see the jump plowing through it. Gel has a very reliable “go on” command. If I point him at a series of jumps or obstacles and say “go on” he’ll go, taking every obstacle in his path until I tell him otherwise. Gel is very obstacle focused, which was frustrating at first, but now I can, in most instances, switch him from obstacle to handler focus. It took me a while to learn how to run this type of dog, I drive him from behind, but now that I’m doing it, I like it.

Maybe I should re-consider doing agility with Midge, but whatever I learn from her is only going to make me a better dog trainer, so I’ll keep going for now and hope that she learns to “go on.”

On Sunday I got up early and went to the laundry mat to wash my clothes. Because of the drought, I’ve been going to the laundry mat to wash my clothes rather than doing them at home. Then I went over to Wally’s house and off-loaded the 900 pound bale of hay he picked up for me on Saturday. After that, I went home and started painting. I hate painting. I do not have the patience for it. I painted the A-frame fully put together; it is up on two cinder blocks so I can paint most of the underside. Putting the coat of primer on all but crippled me so I headed back to Lowe’s and bought a paint spray gun, which made the job much easier. I have the blue coats, including the grip coat, pretty much set, just need to do the contact areas, which is going to have to wait for next weekend.

Don’t you know, now that I’ve started painting, there’s rain in the forecast for the next four days. I’m not going to complain, we need the rain. If beginning a painting project was actually a rain dance, guess I had better do more painting.

The dogs are all doing well; I just wish I had more time to spend with them. I’ll be glad when the agility equipment building project is done. The dogs will be happy as will my body!