Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pokey Ike Plays in Public!!

Last night’s agility class went well. The course was very similar to last Tuesday’s except for a couple of important pieces. Instead of weaves we had the teeter, instead of a serpentine we had two 180s, and the final off course option was the tunnel versus the table.

Ike didn’t like the 180s nearly as much as the serpentine last week. Well, I am sure Ike didn’t really care but my handling of the 180s slowed down an already very pokey Ike. He was in rare SLOW form last night.

Katrin sat on the bench instead of the steps last night and noticed that he wasn’t using his hind end as much as usual and that he has lost muscle tone in his rear. No telling how long that has been going on, or if it is related to him being ill (the muscle tone aspect). Fortunately we have an appointment scheduled with Dr. Anne (our doggie-chiropractor) for this evening and we can at least make sure his pelvis is holding (aligned correctly). Other than that? I plan on working on backing up with him, making him dance like a circus dog, and adding some steep hills into our walking and hiking.

The issue with the 180s is that I kept wanting to treat them like a serpentine and handle them all from one side. In general I didn’t need to do that and since Ike was being so incredibly pokey I should have been thinking outside the box about how to motivate him. Thinking outside the box is something I MUST do more of with Ike. It is hard for me because I am still learning and don’t have a ton of experience with a “typical” agility dog as a reference point. I only have Ike! So, Katrin reminded me that we need to be willing to try new ways of handling problems when it comes to Sir Ike.

The highlight of class was that Ike was excited and happy to tug on his raccoon tail RIGHT NEXT TO KATRIN!! And while Callie was running. This is awesome! I was sure to stop play as soon as I thought his interest might be waning or his comfort level in danger of plummeting.

He even tugged while Matt (Callie’s dad) was within 5 feet of him.

I never thought I would get be able to get Ike to tug at home let-alone in a public venue.

I have gotten a lot out of the last couple of classes. I feel like Ike and I had reached a bit of a learning plateau prior to his stomach bug and I feel like we are moving again. Yay! I thought very hard about my transitions last night and I think I was a bit smoother for it; although I am sure you could see the wheels turning in my brain! Ike was having odd table issues – he didn’t want to do ANYTHING on the table. I will have to finish my table this weekend so we can work on this. The table performance suddenly has more implications for me since Cat “convinced” me to enter an AKC trial (GASP!). Ike and I are entering the All Breed Agility LRCGB/CSSC trial in May at the Wrentham Development Center. No FAST for Sir Ike, that’s for sure!!

Callie and her humans had an excellent class last night. I am excited for them – I think it was the kind of class where things start to make sense for canine and humans! It’s a pleasure to see that kind of development! Callie is one of the sweetest dogs – I think Ike would be happy to have a puppy in the house if it was a clone of Callie.


Katrin said...

You did a very good job last night! And yes I saw the tugging it was very AWESOME!!!

Callie is such a great dog and her 'parents' are so terrific as well.

I am still giggling about John's comment to you and my 'gift' LOL!!!!!

JULES & IKE said...

John is very serious! And I agree!

I still can not believe that Ike tugged in public like that. AMAZING!!

Callie's parents rock, and I think they have such a nice working relationship (in terms of the dog training). Very cool dynamic.

manymuddypaws said...

To build up strength in his rear you can do some stool work as well- front feet on stool (or phonebooks) and teach him to move around the stool using back end. Also the fitness balls are GREAT for this sort of thing. Have him hop up there and balance. Trying to balance on the ball helps to create muscle as well.

That's awesome that he is tugging in public- I know with Vito it was pretty amazing the first time he did that!!! I will never take a toy motivated dog for granted again!

JULES & IKE said...

Thanks, I will def. try the stool. I have one handy!

I will have to think about the ball....