It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve updated. No excuses, I just haven’t gotten to it. 😦
It’s been a relatively uneventful couple of weeks, in any case.
We’ve continued to chip away at Brody’s control issues in C Phase, and have made some steps forward, as well as back.
His heeling in Secondary now mostly matches his OB heeling, which has been a big goal for me for the last several months. It’s finally come together, as I knew it would, though it was a slow build that required many sessions of rewarding just the *attempt* at a focused heel. Baby steps, always.
Our final big obstacle to trialing is going to be the side transport.
Our back transports are fine – could use some polishing – but fine.
Our side transport basically doesn’t exist yet.
Brody finds the proximity to the sleeve during the side transport to be incredibly frustrating. Too frustrating.
Some errors in judgement on my part have certainly compounded that fact.
As is my usual way, I pushed too far, too fast, and basically set him up to fail. Now I’m having to go back and put the pieces that I broke back together.
Story of my life, really.
I’m fortunate that my dog is extremely forgiving in this way. It will take some time to rebuild the pieces that we need for a successful (and not frustrating) side transport, but I have no doubt that we will eventually get it together.
I may not have been so lucky with another, less forgiving dog, so I thank my lucky stars each day for Brody and his phenomenal temperament.
Besides Secondary work, we’ve also been doing a little tracking and a little OB.
I’ve started rewarding articles with a ball, so now Brody downs on articles like his life depends on it. This wouldn’t have been possible a few months ago, as the ball would have put Brody over-the-top in terms of drive, and he didn’t yet have the skills to switch back to a lower drive to continue tracking.
I’m finally. Finally. Finally feeling confident in his tracking.
In OB, we’ve been polishing up our send out. I’ve added in the e-collar to remind him to stay down while I walk back to him, and that seems to have done the trick. I’d say our send out is about 97% of the way there.
So. We’re getting closer and closer to being trial ready.
Still aiming for a Sept/Oct/Nov trial. There are several in our region to choose from, fortunately. Now it’s just a matter of considering the pros and cons of each field and how each trial helper will suit my dog.
Eventually, any (safe, capable) helper will do. But, with him being so green still, and with his general attitude in protection, I’m being extra cautious for his first real trial season.
My home club is planning a trial in late November, but I’m hoping to hit one more trial before that. I’ve been thinking of my home trial as a “safety trial” – the trial that I’m 99% we’ll get a pass at.
But I’d like to use it as a backup.
After last year’s experience with trying for our BH, I’m being a little more realistic with our IPO1 attempt and planning for two trials. Best case, we get our IPO1 and maybe get a crack at our IPO2. Worst case, two attempts for our IPO1 and something to build on.
Now if only I can find the time to blog between all of the training and hiking we still have to do!