Updating on the rest of the gang this time...
O.k., I think Bi won't mind too much if I write some more about her friends this time. Or, well, let's say roommates, La will be offended if I call that eary gangster her friend... Of course, I have to start with Lo, the hairy creature with the biggest smile ever. She really cracks me up with that crazy face of her!
For everybody asking if Lo is still competing: of course Lo is still competing, she is only 12+ years afterall! And even more, she is currently third in our National Championship (after La, multi WC winner and Gala, multi IMCA winner - so in a very good company:)! This winter, I was already thinking to move her to veterans class as she didn't look as light over the jumps anymore, but obviously, she was just trying to lobby to move to Florida, she never liked cold and wet. She is back with the sun and is good old Lo again, lots of fun to run, lots of fun to have around, just as loud and enthusiastic as ever. She is still climbing mountains with us and after 10km run, when everybody crashes on their beds, she is the first one to come and ask for some more action. - Or at least food!:) - Afterall, she is a PyrShep!
La is doing very well too. Unlike Lo, she isn't too happy about whole jogging thing, she was never much of a long distance dog and has always found just running somewhat boring. But she doesn't complain too much, because she then gets to roll on a couch - yeah, she is a real couch potato! - When not on agility field, of course, then her wider side comes out. Because her stomach was reduced so much, I still feed her four times a day instead of two (and will keep it that way), but other than that, she can live a normal life, no more sicknesses anymore.
And now that I have three little monsters like Lo, La and Bi (or, to start with the worst: Bi, La and Lo:), I'm really grateful for Bu, my only dog with some manners. Don't ask where she has got the manners... - I have no clue. But she is a really cool doggy afterall, she is actually getting somewhat enthusiastic about life lately! She is getting more and more confident in competitions too and is doing really well this year. And the best thing is that she still has lots of potential: when she is in the right mood, it's really crazy how fast she can be! Yeap, there is a reason for her "Greyhound" nickname.
And Bi, well, she is still bugging Bu all the time. She is not all that brave around other dogs, though, look how sad she is, having to pose for a photo with her half-brother Tip (thanks to Andraz for the photo!):
More on Bi next month!
Yeap, spring is definitely here! Actually, it's almost more like a summer, with temperatures over 20 degrees and all. Of course, we can't help but spend lots of time outside - I even started to run again, one just can't sit inside with such a weather! So we run for 50 minutes every other morning now, me and all four dogs of course. Too much for 10 months old puppy? Bi sure doesn't think so, she is the one that chooses to do twice as much as the rest of us.
I think I got now what those huge ears are all about - it's her cooling system! When she gets hot, she just puts them up - considering their size, it provides some extra cooling. Very smart!:)
As far as agility is concerned, we're still having lots of fun with that dog-walk and we're also starting to run some more "normal" sequences, not just cik&cap. For everybody asking how I teach threadles, serpentines etc... - I don't.
I teach cik&cap first and do cik&cap only sequences for quite some time. The next directional I introduce is "la-la-la"/"bi-bi-bi" (yeap, that's why I like short names!) that means to NOT take any obstacle but come right to the hand for a reward. I start with running by jumps, then also by a tunnel, then I start calling off one entry and sending to another etc. I simply include it in our normal trainings, I never set something specific to then only work on one skill, I prefer to train them all at once.
The next step is to start adding jumps that are not cik/cap, but go-go or left/right. At this point, I start running some more normal sequences that include serpentines, pinwheels, straight lines etc. - That's where we are now. But again, no specific set, I just use whatever is set and practice all the skills within the same sequence. It's just more fun for me, we all find drilling of one skill over few jumps incredibly boring. - After I got some stick-in-the-ground jumps I planned to do some of it, but only took them out twice, it was just no fun at all.
9 months (and something)
Ever since I put up the Heeling Video, I'm getting many questions on how I teach the trot. And well, there are different methods for teaching the trot, I've heard freestyle people teach it as a nose targeting to a stick that first goes forward fast enough to get the extended trot (as for the show ring) and then start to hold a stick higher to direct extension vertically instead of horizontally.
Me, I just shaped it. To get something to shape, you first need good understanding of the position and high head. Then, when walking, if you slow down and a dog understands the position well enough to immediately adjust, the easiest for them to slow down is to go up (instead of forward as that would take them out of position) with front legs for a step or two. I simply clicked that and then shaped even higher legs and eventually added more steps (that's the easy part).
And in case you need some tricks ideas: right now, we're learning to limp on front and rear leg (not at the same time:), to open the mouth (say "aaa") and to play drums... - Well, not real drums, it's more like making a sound with a dog toy on a dog food container. But hey, it's an idea that is important, not the fancy equipment! - As always and as with everything!
And to explain you why I like to do that dog-walk so much, that's how our contacts (normally) look like: