Scoop and I both are working on finding ours. I need the mental momentum to keep up his training, even when I get frustrated, and Scoop needs a bit more momentum on his weaves and contacts. I missed so much training time this year, and I know I need to be patient and train my dog at his level of ability. I drift into the perception that my 18 month old dog should be be farther along than he is, and then I remember the days and months of training we skipped this year when I was gone. It is like winning the lottery. I always wish I would win the multi millions, then I remember that I don’t ever buy lottery tickets!
I love my dog. I will be patient and realistic about his training. I will train the dog I have at the moment.
My almost 10 year old border collie Panic is helping with Scoop’s momentum by going to the field with us when we train. Other than classes where I do a bit of practice with Scoop, we train totally on our own which can get a bit humdrum for both of us. I train for a few minutes, then take a break, sit in the shade and think about my next training steps. When I have Panic with us, while Scoop is taking a shade break, Panic and I get crazy playing tug, or running through tunnels. Scoop has some down time, but comes roaring back to play after watching all Panic’s excitement with me. Don’t get me wrong, my puppy has plenty of drive, but given that I want to do so much technical training right now, I want each step to be taken while he is right at the top of his energy level and gives me all the speed and enthusiasm I can possibly get. Short latency, quick & sharp response to my cues as well as speed are all a part of his job description in agility, and the faster he does his nose touch, or weave entry the better I know he understands his job.
I am trying to balance sit-stays and/or running starts that Scoop does at the start of an exercise. When setting up to practice backchaining contacts or a specific weave entry I often use a sit stay. But instead of starting with a sit each and every time, instead I hold onto his collar till he is silly excited, then send him to a jump or tunnel to start the exercise and head him in the direction of the weaves or contact. Too many “sit-stay starts” and two things happen; Scoop’s stays get a bit sloppy, since he is always being released forward to do something exciting, OR, I feel like I don’t have as much momentum or speed as I want when he approaches the obstacle. So I am trying to keep changing things up by balancing the high drive and the control. I am greedy. I want both!
This morning I had a great two minute weave session with Scoop, and I will go out in a few minutes to do another one. I am using 6 poles and restraining him from entering while I give him his verbal weave cue. He is pulling away from me and trying his hardest to get in those poles and get the toy which will be tossed to him at the end.
At the end of a couple minutes of weaves, Scoop wasn’t trying to pull out of my hand as hard as when we started. So I stopped with a short tug game, and put him up till I finished writing this morning.I have time for two more weave sets before I teach todays “obsession session” to a great group of agility handlers who are obsessed on training the right way and meeting all their personal goals:)
Don’t forget to be patient with you own puppy, and yourself of course!