First the Bug….
After the Baxter-Bug snafu a few months ago I brought a crate to class and worked on sending Bug to his crate and having him chill in his crate between runs. Then Bug got put on the DL (disabled list) and upon his return to the normal rotation, having a solid stretch and massage routine trumped everything. Since Bug’s injury I have been bringing a mat into class to kneel on while I stretch him and massage him. This mat turns out to have a dual purpose.
We can stretch and massage on something other than sand and then work on chilling on the mat while other dogs work; an unstructured Control Unleashed “Go to Place.” Cool. I am incorporating a lot of Katrin’s Communications into it, i.e. Bug has to seek out my eyes. Just staring at me doesn’t cut it. Knock on wood, it is working REALLY well.
For a while Bug was very over stimulated in class. He was barking at poor Neil (classmate); barking at Baxter if he barked; being a nudge in general. The main thing that came to mind as a probable cause was/is that my landlord is having work done on her portion of the house – so there is construction noise during the day.
Prior to the Bug-Baxter snafu I did not crate the dogs during the day. However, Katrin and I hypothesized that Bug’s cortisol levels were elevated due to the stress and noise of the construction workers – combined with the fact that he had free range to run around and get himself even more wired.
I bought a DAP diffuser and started locking the dogs in the bedroom –which is on the opposite side of the house from the construction. Once the weather changed I left the door open, but gated the room. I truly believe the DAP diffuser combined with having a smaller space and the work I have been doing to engage Bug and keep him connected to me have been key. Phew! What a relief!
Back to last night – Bug was excellent on his mat and he continues to get better about tolerating the stretching and massage.
During his run he was very responsive to being “sent” to the distance challenges; mini, though they were. He also had absolutely no hesitation about the A-frame! Talking about it with Katrin….if the A-frame length is 9’ then the apex height in CPE would be 5’ 3” – higher than what he sees in class. Could it be the height difference? The other factor remains the rubber. Hitting a slatted metal or wood A-frame doesn’t “feel” the same as hitting rubber. The rubber absorbs much more of the shock. Either way, we are planning on seeking out different contact equipment to practice on.
The other thing Katrin noticed is that he wasn’t collecting when he jumping. Not sure why. It could be that when he finally starting enjoying jumping he was recovering from an injury and so wasn’t fully utilizing his rear. It could be the mild HD in his right hip. Either way, Katrin recommended working some jump grids with him (á la the Clothier method) to ensure he knows how to use his hind end correctly and prevent future injuries due to poor jumping form. I asked her about scheduling some half-hour privates as I think that would be a better (more constructive) way for us to work toward sound jumping form.
All in all I was super pleased with the Bug last night.
On to Carmie....
Carmie was in great form last night! She was in high gear and SUPER happy. She was MUCH better about the discrimination issues than usual (or perhaps [and more likely] I am becoming more consistent with how I handle them). We still had a few moments where I was doing everything right and she definitely made her own decision about which obstacle to take, but not many. I was also able to add a fair amount of distance which is exciting and long term goal of mine.
The biggest issue regarding the discrimination issues is that I NEED to remember to halt my forward motion if I feel like she isn’t committed to the obstacle of my choice. Also, she has a SUPER “here” command and I need to remember to use it. I also need to remember to use my “out” command. I really need to practice “out” - I am not nearly as confident about it as I am “here” and Carmie can feel/hear it.
I don’t feel like I was as consistent as I could have been about when I cued Carmie to jump. I am aiming for a length and a half before the jump. Hopefully consistency will come with practice.
It was GREAT class for Carmie.
In other Carmie news, multiple people have suggested Doggles for her. I e-mailed CPE and NADAC about whether there was any possibility of her running Doggles on. I strongly suspected the answer would be no. CPE said, no – safety issue. NADAC said if I could take video proving she can run safely with them on, than yes – she could run with them.
I immediately went to the Doggles web site to order a pair and discovered they have something called K9 Optix sunglasses which do not appear to impede the peripheral vision as much. While the protection of the eye isn’t as complete as it is with the Doggles, I suspect the lack of peripheral vision would impede her desire to play agility with them on.
I did not order pink! Although if they had NADAC purple I might have considered them!
They arrived yesterday. It is suggested that you put them on outside on a sunny day so the dog immediately notices the difference. With shipping it was a $20 investment. If it is a possibility and effective then it is a priceless investment. We will see.