Where to start....a lot has been happening lately. I have noticed big changes in Ike's behavior, starting with the MAP trial. At the MAP trial, throughout the weekend, Ike was playing with dogs, and trying to play with dogs. Wow. Talk about dumbfounded (that would be me).
This past Friday I had my second lesson with Erin S. and a couple of things clicked for me. Erin pointed out that every single time I face Ike he stops dead. Now, yeah, Katrin has also pointed this out, but sometimes you have to hear something multiple times from different people before your brain processes it. So, I am trying VERY hard to run laterally and only peek over my shoulder at Ike. To date, this has been difficult because I move faster than Ike and I don't trust him! Obviously I have to start trusting him more. Ike is running more and trotting less. Yay!
Erin also commented that on the Sunday of the trial she saw Ike get totally drawn into something visually outside the ring when he was running a course. Watching him she felt like he is a dog that tunes out the verbal cheering and in fact it might distract him. Ha! I have made myself into such a cheerleader for Ike that zipping my lips now isn't coming that naturally. However, considering how reserved Ike can be it makes sense that he wouldn't necessarily want me hooting and hollering at him.
The biggest surprise of all was when Erin picked up a boring old tennis ball that had been laying in her yard. She tossed it and Ike went tearing after it. O-k-a-y.....wow. We continued to toss the tennis ball and click Ike for speed. He was totally into that darn ball even though it was really humid and a pretty boring toy as far as toys go. In fact he behaved about that ball the way he acts about the g-pigs at home...prancing after me, eyes super-bright.
We started running two obstacles at a time, and I would toss the ball afterward. For example, dog walk + tunnel + me RUNNING + toss the ball. Ike loved it until he literally ran out of steam. My homework, to select some of Ike's favorite toys to bring to our next lesson.
Saturday Ike and I went to the Foxboro YMCA Animal Awareness day. Maplewood had a table and agility demonstration set up. I also brought Carmen (or the Carmelized Onion as she is known at home). It was interesting to have them both there. I think Ike was a bit snotty - whether it was 'cause Carmen was there or just because he was feeling like it, I can't say. He started out doing really well, wanting to play with Callie (Rotti-Lab mix) and then decided he had some sort of vendetta against Ryan, Li's sweet little Vizla puppy. Ike wouldn't leave Ryan alone. It was odd to me because after Ike grumbled at Ryan at his puppy-party, he was fine with Ryan. I guess it just goes to show that what works well one day isn't okay another.
I tried to incorporate some of my new thoughts about running agility with Ike during our demo-runs and everyone said he was moving faster than usual. Hooray. Running Carmen was a blast. I can NOT wait to get her into Katrin's foundation class. Carmen is a dog that truly enjoys running, purely for fun. Now I just have to work on my bond with her.
Since the Shelter is starting a new training program, Denise the woman I train Thursdays with, asked if I would bring Carmen so we can just go through the class - as a dry run. Works for me, Carmen doesn't know anything except sit and shake. This way when we do enroll in Katrin's class Carmen will have recently been in a class/learning situation with me.
Today Ike and I went to Borderland and snuck in an hour hike after work and before the park closed. I am trying to spend more time conditioning Ike. This will work out to my benefit too!!
Ike has been on a raw-raw diet since last Sunday. I think, and I am not kidding, that he is already thinning out a bit. I have noticed a big difference in his bowel movements and water intake.
So, what is next? Lots of hiking for me and Ike. Class for Carmen. Our next lesson with Erin is the 12th and we are entered in the Act-Up trial. It looks like it will be a busy month.
16 hours ago