A day of training and success

Yesterday morning didn’t turn out to be a banner one, but the day ended well.  If I did not have eggs sold, I may not have gone to agility, but I’m glad I did.  I wasn’t going to take Kessie, but she had other ideas and loaded herself up so she went as well.  Gel and I didn’t run all that well, but it was a very difficult sequence patterned after the final round of the AKC National Agility Championships.  While it is fresh in my mind, I need to set it up and practice it.

I talked to my instructor about my difficulties in commiting to getting training done around my varied work schedule.  She suggested as soon as I get my WalMart schedule, that I should write down a training schedule, train all of the dogs for 15 minutes and most importantly, stick to the schedule.  That’s what I’m going to do.  I do not have to work today and since it is supposed to rain for just the morning hours, I am going to train at 2:00.

While at agility, I took Kessie out and tugged with her for a few minutes and then worked on getting her to go over a single jump.  It seems like she only lasts for a minute or so before she gets distracted so I need to build on that.  I talked to Wally at length about her last night and I think we have a game plan for getting the most out of Kessie.

Fern did well on the exercises I did with her.  I asked my instructor to give us “homework” which she did:  an exercise she calls the Circle of Death.  You take six or seven jumps and put them in a circle a couple of feet apart.  You send the dog over a jump and immediately call it back in to the circle and then send it over the next jump.  Seems easy, right?  Wrong.  Gel has a hard time wrapping tight around a jump and either wraps too wide and jumps the adjoining jump or goes off jumping the jumps he wants to jump.  Fern has just the opposite problem: she tries to wrap before she goes over the jump and ends up crashing into the jumps.  With Kessie I am to work on just getting her reliably going over jumps and improve her tugging performance.

I did a few errands on my way home and when I got home I went down back with the dogs and cut the paths to reset the fence.  While I was cutting, I had the dogs tied to the ATV.  When that was through with the cutting I used Gel to separate out Luna and Penny and their babies who had been with the sheep all day.  Once we got them separated, I had him drive them through the field and the gate that leads to the pasture that is in back of the house.  Once they were through that gate, they headed home which is what I intended.  That was good practice for him as it was a pretty lengthy drive and he had to lean into them to keep them moving until they got close to the gate.  After the goats were removed, I sent him for the sheep and then had him push them through an opening in the fence into the adjoining pasture.  Again, he had to lean into them because they did not want to go through that opening.  All of this work was done with whistles.  It was a successful workout.

Once the sheep were in the adjoining pasture, I let the dogs loose and took them into that pasture and parked by a large puddle that is in the middle of that field.  The plan was to use the puddle to cool off the dogs after I worked them.  First I worked Fern.  She did okay, but she’s been a bit funky lately on stock.  I’m glad I didn’t start with a dog like her.  She has a lot of eye and is hard to keep moving freely.  She pulls into the sheep, yet if you apply too much pressure to her, she bounces out too far.

Kessie worked quite nicely.  I am very happy with her progress.

Last I worked Sarah and she did okay.  Right now, stops are an optional command in Sarah’s mind, but I feel sure she’ll come around.  I know the more I work her, the better she’ll become.  I spoke to her former caregiver yesterday and he gave me the go-ahead to advertise her as available and to try to find her a farm home.  She can be a useful dog right now and the more time I spend with her, the better she’ll be.  I am offering her without papers at a rescue price.  Hopefully I can get her into a good place.

While at agility we were talking about bringing in rescue or older dogs and training them.  The general consensus was that it’s so much easier to bring in a puppy and bring it up the way you want it.  It’s a lot of work trying to rehab rescues or even older dogs who have lived elsewhere.  There’s no sense in my keeping Sarah given her age and the fact that I likely couldn’t get her to do agility.  I’d like to keep the dog population down to dogs that I can do both agility and stock work with.  I like to do both activities and I think it’s good for the dog to have breaks from stock work to do agility and vice-versa.

After dinner I showed Wally my homework.  First I worked Gel and he was a but dumpy so I brought out Fern.  She enjoys the exercise, but gets a bit too ramped up about it if the tug toy is in view.  I have to tuck it away and as soon as she comes back in over the jump, give it to her.  Kessie barked while I was working Gel and Fern, but when I took her out, she was not at all into tugging.  She’s quite like a spoiled child right now in that she wants what the other dogs have, but when she gets it, then she wants something else.  Rotten beast …  Getting her to do agility may be a lot of work, but I’m pleased to see her improvement on stock.

Off to milk goats in the rain.

Until later …