Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Full day!

This morning I took the boys over to Gilmore's with me to pick up some bedding and hay for the piggies. I decided to buy a bale of hay and put it in the huge Oxbow box that I haven't broken down yet. Heh-heh. Very tricky and I saved myself $50!!

Gilmore's is an agriculture store on Rt 27 in Walpole. They carry minimal doggie stuff, but lots of wild bird stuff, hay, bedding, etc. On the way home I decided to stop at a trail head I always see going the "back-way" to Walpole in Sharon but have never stopped at. It has two signs, one says Town of Sharon, the other says .4 mi to Warrior Trail. Nothing else. I have NO idea what the trail belongs to, but the boys and I decided to check it out.

It is a double-set of wooden stairs up to the actual trail and the stairs are the type that are open in the back. I was worried the dogs would think that was scary, but they did not. Hooray. We hiked out about 15 -20 minutes before I decided I wasn't wearing the proper footwear and since there were no signs, just trails branching off of trails, I would be better off visiting another day and being better prepared (water, anyone?).

Later in the afternoon Ike, Carmen, and I had an hour and a half lesson with Erin. As always, it was educational. Erin typically has me walk the course she has set-up a couple of times, and then walk it with her and tell her what I am thinking about doing and why. At times it is frustrating in a positive way - I don't always know my own intentions or I think I am looking at it from the dog's perspective until Erin says something that makes me question everything! To be honest I don't plot my handling as much as I should (in the sense that it would benefit me), I feel it more. In addition I find the AKC style courses much more complicated because I am not used to them.

We then break the course into chunks and eventually run the complete course. Today ended up being pretty hot so we alternated between dogs and made sure to keep Ike's runs happy, happy. Keeping Ike's runs happy didn't require much - he wasn't trotting AT ALL, he even broke into a canter on the dog walk (unheard of)! I brought the monkey out and he happily played with it with Erin right there. In short, he continued his current "agility-rocks" mood. I know I must sound loony but I SWEAR it is because I told him he doesn't have to trial anymore.

Carmen was also really good. Erin could definitely see the progress we have made since we saw her a month ago. I so think there is something to Katrin saying Carmen thinks some obstacles are boring. She hasn't seen that many contacts and dang if she doesn't think contacts are the coolest thing ever. I kept having to call her off them. Of course, if I did a better job about my body positioning she wouldn't be thinking random contact obstacles are asking to be done!

Every dog has important lessons to teach you and I think Carmen's job is to make me a better handler. I can not get away with half of the stuff I can get away with-with Ike for a combination of reasons. She commits so much more fully to running the course with you and she is much more responsive to my body language because she assumes if my body is saying it, I must mean it! Ike says, well, your body says one thing but your words say another, let me wait until you clarify further.

I was really happy with how much fun Ike had and how good Carmen is. She tries so hard to figure out what I want. I love it. She also makes me appreciate so much the relationship I have with Ike. And lest you think Bug has been neglected, we worked on down and shaping some movement to and around a toy. Right now he thinks I am a bit loony. AND (most important!) he and Ike were tearing around together this morning, on our hike, and this evening. It's official - Ike likes Honor!


Katrin said...

"To be honest I don't plot my handling as much as I should (in the sense that it would benefit me), I feel it more."

Uh, yeah, that would be my fault. Guess I should add that to 'the list' to work more with you folks on.

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

"he even broke into a canter on the dog walk"