Wednesday, February 03, 2010

In the shadow of the rodent.

So that furry Pennsylvania rodent saw his shadow (and apparently the calendar), thereby forecasting another six weeks of winter. Living in Vermont, it's a pretty good bet that we've got another eight weeks of winter left - but...there are encouraging signs that spring may in fact come again this year - little by little. More than lighter a little later in the evening (though I love that it's light-ish when I drive home from work now), the summer agility season is laid out in front of us...Entries for April shows went out last week, May shows in a few more weeks - we'll have to plan our season pretty soon. It's also the time of year where it feels like every cent that comes in goes out immediately for income tax, property tax or agility entry fees...Of course the first two budget items are fixed - so the increases in the first two necessitate a reduction in column C.

Above: Teller suns himself in the mid-winter rays. When it's minus 2 degrees outside, we savor all the sunshine we can get!

In training land, Teller and I had a couple of just disconnected weeks. I don't know what happened but suddenly we just stopped reading each other - I'd zig and he'd zag, we had another collision (this time in practice) and I think we both thought about it a lot. At the same time his teeter performance slowed down. Out of the blue he started creeping to the pivot point. So I decided to step back and regroup and re-examine what we're working on.

Teller hasn't done any obedience work since the BOTC trial in October - it hasn't been my priority and I think we were suffering from the lack of balance in our work. For the last four months it's been all go forward, go fast, go away and not so much watch me, watch my shoulders, stay connected, control, focus etc. So for the last week we've upped the ante a bit w/ heelwork on my left and heelwork on my right. Pivots, go-outs, directed retrieves and obedience games. Teller doesn't have to focus on agility to the same degree that he has to focus on obedience. Just as a dressage horse must have collection to have extension, Teller needed some control to have his speed and obstacle independence.

Below: Agility dogs do it on the coffee table. Teller blames the evil pheasant for this one.

We're going to up the ante with stay work this week too - he hasn't seriously schooled his out-of-sights in months (those same four) and he reminded me this weekend when I left him at in the big room at Waggles - only for a moment to blow my nose - and came back to find him wandering around tracking where the in-season girls had been hanging out earlier in the morning. OK, there's some nature involved here - he is after all a boy left alone in a room that smells like receptive girls...but he's worked through that in the past - and he can do it again. We just have to re-balance our training goals.

And the same applies to planning our 2010 agility season - find the balance in our training, enjoy the season - summer is so short in New England and try very hard to stay out of each others' way...

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