15 October 2008

Progress

Drifter has been outwardly sound since about Friday or Saturday. Monday afternoon I wanted to take him for a walk but it was too warm to walk on the pavement in the afternoon (around 80 but the sun was strong). So I stuck him in the Civic and we drove up to Green Lane Reservoir Park - about a 15 minute drive. It's our closest park. I put the 26' Flexi on him and let him roam a bit. I kept him to a walk but for the first time allowed him some extended trotting sessions. I let him stop and sniff things more than I usually do as well. He needed to get out of the house and get some mental stimulation. Since it was warm I even let him wade in the edge of the reservoir at one point (they allow fishing and boats too so dog feet aren't an issue). He had a ball. We went for maybe half an hour or so, maybe a little more. Probably only about 1.5-2 miles total, but this was with hills and grass and dirt and roots and interesting things, so much more fun than the housing developments he's usually confined to. He looked great. No limping, not once. Trotting up and down hills and such didn't phase him. Yay!

I didn't do anything yesterday aside from the now usual stretching and lasering routine. It was again warm and I didn't want to go to the park 2 days in a row. Today i'll bring him along to class and walk him up and down the driveway a bit between runs.

So I ended up pulling him from Fair Hill and substituting Singe on his team. I have been working with Singe for the last few months. I started sort of "all over again" with her jumping and handling. I really wanted to work on her understanding the mechanics of turning her body before after and during a jump. I also introduced my personal "precue" which is just raising my outside or "new" arm before a front cross and on lead-outs. This takes away the feeling of a sudden change in direction that I think was making her knock some bars. She is pretty reactive when her handler does something, so if she can leave the start line or even just come to me over a jump already knowing which way we're going next and where she needs to stop - well that's just more to both of our advantages. Anyway, we did lots of basic recalls, front crosses, serpentines, wraps and such over 1 and 2 jumps. Then I worked on some basic deceleration with one jump, starting far away and running towards it then slowing down and asking for a wrap with her ahead of me. That's where she gets too excited - when she gets ahead of the handler. She is much better at keeping calm and turning if I can stay ahead of her. Which is a challenge. This dog accelerates like an Indy car. So she isn't really ready to come back out yet. But it's just for one trial, and I think I can at least keep her on the courses, unless they are really megadifficult (let's hope not). It'll be an interesting test to see if she can remember things. She did sort of mediocre at the field yesterday, knocking some bars and forgetting her turn cues once or twice. But she's showing some improvement in the area of controlling herself from accelerating into space. So that's good.

Seri did well again. I'm excited to run her. She's so fun and so powerful. World Team material for sure when her brain settles in completely. Woohoo!

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