Saturday, January 16, 2016

Puppy Back in Action

Vixen and I had a fabulous puppy agility class today! We have been out of it since Christmas, so we were both glad to be back at it.

While away, we have been playing our crate games to very little applause. In class we were finally forced out of our comfort-zone (you know the one where neither you nor your dog can do no wrong) by our coach. It is good to get a kick-in-the-pants sometimes. We were encouraged (I say that like we had a choice) to move on to the Two Crate Game that is designed to encourage speed, driving the line, focus forward, and independent performance. Basically you race from one crate to another. All the rules of crate games apply – as in your dog must sit before being released from the crate. This also helps build a great start-line-stay for when working in the ring. Criteria…it all about the criteria. And being consistent! Over the next week we will add in distractions and maybe even a jump bump! Woot-woot!

Vixen was FAB! and we quickly built up to about a 20 foot distance between the two crates. She is a smokin’ fast little dog!

Our next task was to advance our cone work. She has great tight turns on a single cone, so we were pushed to start two cone handling with front crosses, post turns, and get this….a threadle!! She nailed it! Who’d have thought a little munchkin puppy could be threadling at such a tender age. I credit the brilliance of H360!

Our next cone exercise was the dreaded – but incredible necessary – “send-n-go”! What we are looking for is for the handler to cue the obstacle (or send…and in this case to a traffic cone) and then “go” (or leave in the opposite direction). A dog should understand that once their handler cues an obstacle, they should commit to it no matter what the handler does afterwards. We challenge little herding dogs with this because they often will “pull off” (a refusal fault) an obstacle before taking it once they see the handler leaving and running off in the other direction. We had about a 50% success rate on this one – a hard one for little puppy brains.

Our last exercise was teeter work. Vixen had already had one session of restrained recalls across the teeter plank when it was on two 24” tables. We started with more of the same as a refresher. Once she was comfortable was started to add in a tip – just 1” at a time. The tip didn’t phase her at all, so we will pick up here during our next session working up to a few inches of tip. We will go slow, but not too slow as to hinder progress.

She will also be 6 months old this coming Thursday. Where did the time go? I was hoping it would hold out until then, but her puppy collar was just a little too snug so I caved an bought her a new one.

I did this without forethought though. I purchased another pink one, without consulting my husband. As he does most of the dog walking on leash, I thought perhaps he would like a colour other than pink. I did ask him when I got home, and he said he didn’t care. Excellent news. I see more pink…and maybe rhinestones…in our future.  :-P

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