Need I say this has been a crazy-busy week?
Sunday I broke out the Manners Minder (remote training device that looks sort of like a helmet) hoping to get the boys acclimated to it and start working on driving into the liner this week. Well, I went completely by the book, putting treats in the bowl prior to actually turning it on and using the dispenser mechanism, tone, etc.
Everyone was cool with eating treats out of it, but once I attempted to use the dispenser….ruh-roh.
Ike is TERRIFIED of it once you use the dispenser. I have rarely seen him so freaked out.
Bug ADORES it. In fact I think he thinks it might be the best thing ever – he sees me put it down on the floor and immediately offers a down.
I’ll have to see what Carmen thinks of it. Perhaps she can convince Ike it is not so terrible. That and continuing to build up to it – Treats happen here. See how great it is?!
Two things I realized:
1. Ike is MUCH more noise sensitive than I ever realized. I know he is afraid of thunder, gunshots, and fireworks. I didn’t realize noise in general freaks him out so much. Then Katrin commented on how he used to be a bit freaked out by the indoor, which is loud. Oh yeah.
2. Bug is getting BRAVER!! Usually he is wary of novel stimuli – not this time! Awesome!!
Monday Ike and I had a semi-private lesson with Katrin on heeling. Our classmates were Julie (human) and Glory (a lovely FCR).
I am so pleased to say that we appear to be making progress!! We are moving beyond a half step – and Ike is staying in line. We are up to two-and-a-half steps. Yes, we are slow (we’re dorks). First step is small until Ike gets up to speed – then we move into a more natural gait.
Ike has a major tendency to kick his tush out. As a result Katrin suggested I give up on having my hand in the classic “heel” position (at the waist). You are allowed to let your hand hang freely as long as it moves naturally. This works MUCH better for Ike.
I am very excited by the progress we made – I feel like the pieces are starting to come together. Next week I think we will be working on more heeling, stays, and front. I think our biggest issue for the upcoming trial (in March) will be our stays. At the moment they need a lot of work.
Tuesday Carmie and I had agility class, and given I had no sleep the night before (Ike – more later) we held it together fairly well. At one point I could not locate my treat bag (which was on my waist!). D’oh.
The theme of the class course was more or less 5 directions (Get out, Here, Go, Switch, Tight). Carmie ran really well for me and is starting to “get” weaves. Hooray! Although I know you do not want your dog offering to back-weave the fact that she is offering to weave….sigh. Just what I want - a dog that loves weaving!
I tried to be a bit quieter running Carmie last night (my inspiration - Katrin ran Niche and barely said a word). Katrin pointed out that due to her eyes I probably want to be giving her as much info as possible. That NOW is the time to be cementing our directionals, etc. That makes more than a lot of sense. So back to yelling! :-P
I am getting better about allowing her to move away from me and run her own course. I need to remember, even if she is moving well away from me that I need to keep my eye on her! She loves jumping 8” which is great.
This class has a couple of the people who started with agility at the same time as Carmie. It is amazing to see how far everyone has come.
Wednesday all three dogs had chiro appointments. Everyone’s adjustments held although Bug had lost his sacrum due to a slip on the ice. Cheryl said that losing one’s sacrum is the typical result of a slip like that for both people and dogs. Bug’s back continues to be tight, so I am thinking of talking to Mel Henkel about setting up an appointment for him. We are attending the Debbie Gross Saunders seminar this weekend hosted by Act-Up - maybe we will pick up some tips there, too. Cheryl said the tightness could be a result of the sacrum, but she felt it was tight two weeks ago, too. It could also be the way he bunny-hops through the deep snow! Regardless, I am so impressed that Bug’s adjustments are holding so well. This speaks to the fact that his core strength is improving.
The fact that Ike’s pelvis held after being sick again is also great news. That and the fact that his recovery from the really scary bout was incredibly quick and then this bout never escalated past soft stool is somewhat amazing. I know I am going the homeopathic route because I hope it will be effective but it is still pretty mind-blowing when it works.
Tonight Bug has his first Equipment Foundations class. We took this class a few sessions ago, but I want to repeat it to give Bug a firm foundation (and build his confidence!). Last week was supposed to be class # 1, but due to the extreme cold (Boston Mayor Menino issued a cold weather alert!) it was cancelled.