Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GREAT Weekend!

This weekend my club put on its annual outdoor NADAC trial. I brought both boys both days. Saturday I was there all day volunteering and putting Ike through the practice equipment.

He was awesome. He was very happy to do the practice equipment, although he was having a bit of trouble with the 22” weave poles because he has been worked solely on 24” poles for the past year, and showed some real speed going through the hoop. I was surprised by the speed through the hoop as he has only seen hoops twice.

I was even more excited about how good he was about the people and other dogs. Usually the pressure of the dogs and people really stresses him out. I stood ringside with him and spoke to various people and while he was very alert and watchful, he was non-reactive. No terrier barks at scary people!

I did of course have a few people suggest I enter him that day because he was so happy and working so eagerly at the practice equipment. I cannot be any clearer and I feel like I have said it innumerable times at this point; Ike does not want to trial. We ONLY have the wonderful relationship that has blossomed in the past few years because I chose to LISTEN to my dog. Yes, trialing is a blast. Yes, I love the people and the socializing, but my dog HATES it (trialing not agility). I am only sad that it took me roughly 2 years to “hear” my dog.

I took the boys for a final walk around 4 o’clock and it quickly became obvious I had pushed Ike to his threshold. We ran into a nurse’s aide with a resident in a wheelchair who was intent on talking to us (the trial site is in a developmental center). Ike was intent on barking at them.

Sunday I arrived around 2pm in order to volunteer for the last few classes and help pack up. Ike was much more reactive to people Sunday, barking at just about anyone who tried to talk to me when I had him out. He even barked at Kathleen and he is very fond of her. So the stress appears to be cumulative, which makes perfect sense when you think about cortisol levels and the fact that it takes roughly seven days for them to go down after being elevated.

Sunday Ike had no issues with the 22” poles. He was bouncing to be released, which always makes me VERY happy, and I remembered to bring my cheese container so I could toss it and reward him from it.

After cleaning up Kathleen showed me a local trail and we took our dogs for a hike. It was lovely. Ike was off adventuring, running far ahead of me. This is unusual. Usually he is my shadow. It made my heart very happy to lose sight of him and have to holler for him to “come” and oh boy does he love-love-love recalls.

The only downside is we were all COVERED with ticks. I found 19 ticks on Ike, 4 on me and 4 on Bug – EWWWWW!! I think I will be switching the spray I use.

It was a great weekend. I can’t believe how far Ike has come. We would not be where we are if I hadn’t started listening to him. It’s not easy to give up what you think you want to do with your dog, but truthfully there are other things I enjoy just as much as trialing (training and hiking being the tops).


manymuddypaws said...

the ticks creep me out big time, but yay for a happy Ike. :)

Katrin said...

YAY!!!!! So glad you started to listen to your dog!!! :-)

Brenda said...


It is sometimes so hard to "hear" our dogs, especially if we are wanting to do something we are enjoying, but what a special gift to them when we do listen. Good for you for listening and hearing what was best for Ike.

Blue said...

Yay for happy Ike! You know your dog better than anyone else - that's why he's happy! It was fun seeing you guys at the trial.