03 June 2011

Well Strafe isn't really quite 9 months yet, but I decided that today was such a gorgeous day that I'd go ahead and take some nice "9 month old" photos. Strafe has, so far, been possibly the easiest puppy I've trained. He was easy to housebreak, he is easy to train and learns new things very quickly, and he has a lot of natural drive without being "over the top". I don't have to work hard to get him to play with me OR to control him, and that is a very nice sort of dog to have! With Drifter, it was all about control, with Kiba I had to build drive, and Seri started out needing some tug drive built, and then wham-o she hit a certain age and now it is ALL about control with her as well. Strafe, so far, has been a nice balance of drive and self-control. He stays easily, he can work around other dogs, and he remembers what he's learned so I don't really need to do drills all the time (something I can't stand doing!). He seems so mature sometimes I have to remind myself how young he is. I've even got next year planned out for him already, at least in a basic sense - I am planning a trip to FL and will try to get his basic AKC titles at 16/17 months old jumping 20", and then will take a month or so to bring him up to 26" in training and then jump right into USDAA and AKC Nationals qualifying. I have high  hopes and expectations for this little boy!

In the older dogs department, I am extremely pleased with the way Seri's shoulder is coming along. She is not running at the trial on Sunday (just Drifter and Kiba in very limited classes), so I have been working her very hard this week in regards to strengthening exercises. We've done a lot of walking/trotting, work on the Bosu ball, work with weighted wrist wraps (like lifting weights for dogs), walking up/down stairs with and without the weights, lots of sitting up, standing up; basically all kinds of muscular strengthening exercises that dont' involve high-impact activities. We've only done agility with jumps once, and she didnt' knock too many bars at 26", so perhaps there is hope in our future for world team tryouts or EO.  It's a very good sign that even with the extra work on her muscles, her shoulder is still stretching out nicely and there's no heat, swelling, or pain. Once in a while her wrists get a bit sore, but it seems to only be after a good agility workout, and it seems to ease relatively quickly. To that end, I have begun using wrist supports when we do a lot of jumping, contacts, or weaves. Seri is accumulating a lot of accessories, and gets a good massage/stretching session of 20minutes or so at least 2 or 3 times a week.

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