Oh man, where do I start? Carmen was super last night. I didn’t have a chance to practice with her as much as I would have liked this week, but what I did do paid off. She is definitely seeking the weave entry and starting to grasp the concept of weaving. In practice I discovered the biggest issue is where I am and where I stop my movement, etc. It affects her SO much! I need to train myself to stop my forward movement sooner so I can start to get a more consistent performance out of her.
Last night I continued to have trouble remembering to stop my forward motion! Katrin set up two jumps, one set of weaves, and a curved tunnel. In class we are down to only two gates on the weaves and Carmen handled that pretty well. The second run Katrin took all the gates off (or maybe just left one?). Anyway, we both had HUGE trouble with that! I was too close to the poles and pushing Carmie WAY out. Katrin reminded me I shouldn’t be saying “Poles” because it doesn’t mean anything to Carmen right now and I certainly do NOT want it to mean miss the poles. Duh. Anyway, we tried again and I had total brain freeze, didn’t say anything and Carmen nailed the entry!! It was hysterical.
I need to practice striding alongside the weaves versus jogging/jigging/dancing – I think it is stress displacement by the handler!
I also fell into the trap of rewarding Carmen for hesitating. Clever beast #2, dumb handler/mum! This is particularly frustrating to me. After Katrin mentioned my tendency to reward hesitation I noticed I do it with Ike all the time on walks. I have been working super hard at only rewarding him during movement and not rewarding hesitation or balking (and we have been doing great at this all week!). I guess I am so focused on it with Ike that I forgot about it with Carmen. Gah! Lots to work on.
It’s a difficult transition, from Ike to Carmen. Ike is going to be 6 in October – we have spent a long time perfecting our dysfunction. Katrin says it is easier with dog # 3, I hope that’s true!
I am going to take the Five Directions with Carmen next session. Katrin and I discussed it last night and agreed I will probably be making many more mistakes than Carmen so it is important we have a good communication foundation! Ike will stay in Tuesday nights and Bug will take Communications on Sunday. Very exciting!
We debated having Ike take the Five Directions, but it’s hard to tell if he would think it is more or less stressful. Katrin had a really interesting point – she said she has noticed that Ike typically has a good night when there is less equipment out - Which might equal fewer options and therefore less chances for him to make a mistake. I will have to think about the Five Directions though. If it helps us communicate better, it might equal less stress long-term.
I think Bug’s pelvis is still in place (phew!), I notice a distinct difference in the way he takes my stairs. He is doing them with much more ease and confidence since we saw Dr. Anne. Yay!
2 weeks ago