Yesterday Scoop celebrated his first birthday with special meals, and a great run in the field and through the pond. We took time to do some fun training as well, something that has been sadly lacking in this last month. I have been on the road for some planned seminars and an unplanned weeklong visit to my family home. There hasn’t been much time left for Scoop. Jim gets him exercised when I am gone, that is the one attention he does get on a daily basis even when I am gone. Scoop’s appetite has improved this past month, so we are back to training for treats and me thinking I can hold off on the scissoring of his privates for a couple more months.
I am both happy and sad he is a year old. I am excited because it is around this age I start training fun things like contacts and weaves and feel like I can spend more time on handling exercises that actually include jumping. I am sad because he grew up so fast, and there is so much more I would have liked to have done with him had I been able to spend more time home and less time working. I don’t think he will be any the worse for the “lack of wear” though. He is a bidable young boy with a stable and friendly demeanor.
I began jump training this last month, even though there was dearly little of it. We made time for a jumping lesson with Susan Salo and a couple of Scoop’s littermates. I thought he was awfully good considering how little jump work we have done. Scoop was introduced to bounce jumping grids and the set jump, and some other fun drills. Scoop is regularly jumping 18 inches as of the last few days. He started at 12 inches, then moved to 16 over the last 6 weeks with an occasional higher one thrown in here are there.
I usually take my jumps up slowly making sure my dogs are comfortable on turning tightly over the bars at the lower height before moving them up. Scoop is tall, and the 16-18 inch jumps seem like a walk in the park. When you are as tall as Scoop and can step over the jumps while walking, jumping is overrated.
My focus this month though really has been on NOT moving with him while he jumps. His first introduction to jumping a short time ago was on him being sent to a jump from all different angles and short distances, and having him return to me to tug. He is learning how to take a jump and turn back to me immediately if I don’t ask him to take another jump. He digs in and runs back to me to tug or for a toy toss. The second most important jump skill we have been training is the leadout pivot. The first step for me is teaching lateral distance on one jump and then we have slowly put in the turn to me after the jump. So there has not been much moving on my part other than doing a few straight lines where I really do run and he gets to drive to his toy.
When we do tunnels I always reward Scoop for turning tight. I have only done one set of drills with him getting to do an obstacle after a tunnel. I hope this training does not come back to haunt me, but for now he turns tight out of every tunnel to seek me and his reward.
I will put up some of the drills we are working on in upcoming posts. I really do want to get back to writing more often about his progress as it is fun to share his adventures.
For now, I hope you enjoy the photos that Marcy took of him yesterday, yes he is big and yes I will be running to catch up. I hope you have had lots of time to train your pup this past month and that you are happy with the progress you’ve made.