Weekly Recap – Setbacks and Forward Progress

Once again it’s been awhile, but I actually have an excuse this time, as I’ve been extremely sick for the last couple of weeks. And before anyone jumps into the comments with help – no, it isn’t contagious. Yes, I’m under the care of a physician. No, I’m not pregnant. Yes, it is semi-serious. No, I’m not dying. Not currently, anyway.

Being as sick as I have been, I haven’t been able to train much and I hadn’t been able to get back to club training until just yesterday.

I was hoping to have Brody ready to trial for our IPO1 at Regionals in just two weeks, but with so much time off, I knew it was a long shot.

I decided to test it out anyway, yesterday, just to see if it was even a remote possibility.

Tracking went really well, all things considered. Conditions were tough – really tough. So corners were a little searchy, but all in all, a good track. Certainly good enough to pass.

Then, in obedience, we ran through the whole routine under as close to trial conditions as we could muster. It went relatively well, as well. Heeling was a little forgey. Send out took two commands to down. But everything else was good, so, again, passing.

Protection is where our struggle lies, and where I knew the biggest question mark remained. I’ve been doing what I can to clean up our side-transport without having access to helper while I’ve been sick, but that will only carry over so far.

And, as I suspected, everything but the side-transport is there.

After discussing it with my TD/Helper, we determined that Regionals just isn’t in the cards this year. We maybe could jam it together, but it would mean putting Brody under a lot of pressure, which just isn’t fair to him at this point.

So. Our club trial is in late November, which gives us a couple of months to clean up what needs cleaning up. This trial will obviously be extremely favorable in conditions, with our training helper doing the helper work and it being on our home turf.

It sucks to have pushed this hard, only to have to forgo yet another goal trial, but that’s just life, I guess. Brody can only be ready when he’s ready and it’s my responsibility as his handler to be patient for him.

I was very proud of the progress he showed yesterday in the side-transport. We went from not even being able to sit in the transport position without him being triggered, to being able to take 10 steps in the transport, halt, and heel away cleanly. So it’s definitely coming along.

My TD reminded me to consider how far we’ve come, and to be proud of my dog. Brody has been a real challenge in a lot of ways, especially in protection. He isn’t a dog that can be forced to make the right choices through compulsion. Rather, he needs to be negotiated with and made to see my point of view. Not an easy thing, considering he doesn’t speak english.

He’s forced both myself and my TD/Helper to get creative in finding new ways to train and proof behaviors, and I’m sure has made me a better handler than I otherwise might be.

It’s still a work in progress, as always, but I’m happy to be moving forward once again.

Fingers crossed for November and best of luck to everyone that got their shit together in time for Regionals!


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