Monday, August 27, 2007

The private that wasn't, more raw, etc.

I guess Ike and I are having our summer break at the moment! No trials scheduled until September, no classes except Agility-For-Fun, minimal rehab/nursing home visits....Jeez, the world must be ending. In reality though, it's not a bad thing.... # 1 Ike does deserve some down time occasionally and # 2 it allows me to over-research the BARF diet and the decision to feed raw. Anyone that knows me well, or has any intention of knowing me well, quickly learns that I research things to death. It's just the way I am. I figure if you have a problem/question research and more research is the answer!

Of course, all this research about raw is making my head spin. There is just too much info out there. I have joined a raw New England e-list and I am hoping that will be helpful, I am reading The BARF Diet by Billinghurst, and searching the web at a ridiculous rate for more info, more info!

Ike was very good at Agility-for-Fun Saturday. It was really hot even at 9am, so anything I got out of Ike was a bonus. That dog hates the heat! We still have a ridiculously slow chute performance and I am not sure how to speed that up....The impression I get from the way Ike does the chute is, he enters the tunnel, sees the closed fabric, takes a deep breath and STEELS himself before CRAWLING through. I *think* he is still afraid, even though he braves his way through. I know there *MUST* be a way to get a confident quick performance out of him....I wonder if I use canned evo when he starts to emerge form the chute if that might excite him a bit more.

I arranged to have a private lesson on Saturday at 3pm. I was looking into taking an agility class while Katrin is taking her summer break, and wanted to have a private with the instructor prior to enrolling in one of her classes. The trainer called about an hour before the lesson was scheduled and suggested rescheduling due to the heat. I returned her call, left her a message saying that made sense and please call me to reschedule. No call to reschedule yet. It was ridiculously hard to get a hold of this individual and set up the appointment, so I have decided the performance gods are trying to tell me to just sit tight and work on what I can until October rolls around. She referred to Ike as having a motivational issues. Interesting, because to me Ike is motivated he just isn't fast. He's methodical as all heck, and willing to work for me, but SLOW! Maybe I don't understand what a motivational issue is, perhaps the fact that I can't motivate Ike to move quickly is a motivational issue? Thoughts?

I am in the midst of doing lots of doggie reading during this downtime. I just finished For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend by Patricia B. McConnell. I particularly like the chapter on fear, having dealt with quite a bit of it with Mister Ike. However, overall I enjoyed her previous book, The Other End of the Leash MUCH more. Part of the reason I am only lukewarm about this book is because I am not quite clear who the audience for it is. There wasn't quite enough training info to keep me completely hooked and yet there was too much behavior info for the average pet owner. So overall, I liked it but I am not sure who I would recommend it to.

I am about a third of the way into Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote. I can not put this book down - Mr. Kerasote is a nature writer and that would be writer with a capital W. The writing is gorgeous. It is the story of his coming across Merle, a 10-month old stray in Utah and deciding to keep him. It's interesting because this book is written by someone who isn't a dog person/dog trainer, but has obviously done a LOT of research. So far, I really like this book - I'll let you know if that changes as I continue to read it.

I am bringing Ike to the ARFF trial on Sunday. I did not enter him in any classes; I am bringing him for the trial exposure and to build up his stamina. The dual benefit is that I can check out the USDAA atmosphere and think about whether I want to enter Ike in any upcoming USDAA trials or stick with CPE, NADAC, and ASCA (I am entering another ASCA trial in February).


Cat and Tessie said...

Hey, this private instructor wasn't Terri Arnold or anyone from Steppin' Up Dog Training, was it? Just curious because I had a BITCH of a time getting ahold of them in the first place. When I had to cancel my appointment because my mother's car died, I never heard from them again despite several efforts to reschedule. Just a thought.

Gah, you didn't ENTER the Labor Day weekend trial? Pooh, I was looking forward to talking you through the classes.

Jules and Ike said...

Nope, I didn't enter but I am bringing Ike, a chair and a crate on Sunday (we have Shelter agility on Saturday) to build his stamina. He was SO pooped at Canine Mastery. It will also help me get my head around all these game classes - so you can still walk me through lots! Not to worry - I am such a work in progress....