I felt the need to crawl under a rock for a few days, which I did and now I feel better.
This morning was a very good time for training. For Gel I set up a pattern with a jump in the middle and a set of six weaves on either side of the jump. I sent him over the jump and then left, weave, back over the jump and right, weave, in a figure-eight pattern. He seemed to enjoy it (well, he enjoyed his reward [his Kong being thrown]) and he did well with his entries. I made it easy for him at first, setting the jump close to where the entry should be. I left the pattern set up and will work him on it tomorrow morning and will progressively move the jump closer to the middle so he’ll have to kick out to find the weave entrance.
I dragged several jumps and the weave poles over beside my house for training purposes. I hope to have a flood light installed on my house soon to illuminate my training field, but until then, I’ll train close to the house where there is light.
After I worked Gel and put him up, I brought out Midge and worked on her “go on” command, a bit of retrieving (she’s slowing getting that, but it’s much more fun for her to flip the Kong around so she takes her time coming back, the two toy game might help nip that issue in the bud) and then worked her on the pin-wheel pattern (commonly seen in agility courses). A dog running agility needs to be familiar with the common patterns seen in agility, namely, pin-wheels, boxes and treadles or serpentines. She’s still watching me much too much and not paying attention to where she’s going.
After I put Midge up, I brought out Fern and played with her for about ten minutes. We both had a good time. This wasn’t the first time I had Fern out that morning, she got two additional training sessions earlier. She worked for her breakfast during one session.
I’m in the process of “rocking Fern’s world.” She’s learning that everything that is good comes from me, not Gel, Midge or the cats. I made the mistake of taking the three of them out for their early morning potty. While I had Fern on a lead, she kept lunging out after Gel, Midge, and when she saw them, the cats. She’ll have to go out on potty walks alone for now.
In Ruff Love, Susan Garrett recommends keeping puppies in Stage One of Ruff Love until they are seven months old. That seems like a long time, but Susan believes (and now I do too) that people give puppies too much freedom. I am very guilty of that.
On my way to work, I had the most wonderful sense of accomplishment. I wish I could keep all of my days as structured as far as the dogs are concerned.
Tonight I have agility class. Just got my new agility shoes, a pair of Merrell Chameleon Wrap Gore-Tex XCR. I have them on now (at work) and they feel great. I was running in a pair of Merrell Chameleon II Stretch shoes, but they were a half size too small (which I got around by wearing a thin pair of socks) and given that they have stretch laces, they loosen after you wear them a while. I liked the grip they offered and I expect I’m going to like the new shoes, which are a half size larger, as much. I am concerned about injury and want to be sure I give myself plenty of support while running. I am no spring chicken!