I know I skipped a week, but to be honest, it was because it was going to look like every other recap in recent weeks, with the exception of maybe this:
The lesson here, kids, is never leave training early because you will miss out on the hilarity.
Also last week, we were joined by members of two neighboring clubs. This is always one of my favorite things, because it means seeing people I don’t always get to see, and it always adds more fun to the day. I like training dogs, but I like talking about training dogs almost as much.
This week, we are five weeks away from our club trial, so I decided to test some things out to see where we’re at.
At tracking, I picked a spot in the field that had a number of terrain changes, as well as a small “road” crossing, to see how Brody would handle some challenges. He did really well, which was great to see. He was, however, SUPER excited about tracking for some reason, so he was a little drivier than I’d like to see, but, what can you do?
In OB, we ran through the IPO1 routine, which Brody has down pretty well. He has totally lost his reactivity to gun fire – something I was genuinely concerned might be the end of us a few months ago. Our send out still needs some proofing, but he’s going fast, downing, and staying down, so I’m happy with it.
Protection has been our “hard” phase. If you’ve been following along for the last year or so, you’ll know that we have struggled quite a bit to get some control on Brody in this phase.
Yesterday, we ran through the routine. It wasn’t perfect. I still need to fix our first blind (he’s running wide), we still need some reps on pick-ups after a drive (he can get dirty if I’m impatient in the pick-up), and we still need some reps on the side-transport after the long bite. We’ve got a side-transport, which is awesome, but we had to have a little chat about how the side-transport is still a side-transport, even when you’re in drive. It’s coming along.
Also worth noting – the noise-level on the sleeve has dropped quite a bit.
Brody has always been incredibly (and obnoxiously) vocal on the sleeve. It’s 100% born of frustration. Lately, however, the noise has completely gone away in our tug play, and has been significantly reduced in our protection work. My hope is that, as Brody gets more confident in understanding the rules of the game, that the noise will disappear altogether. Fingers crossed, anyway.
All in all, it was a good day of training. I’m actually feeling somewhat confident five weeks out, which is a crazy good feeling. Only time will tell, but I’m feeling good about our chances of passing.
The next few weeks will be proofing the things that are still in need of it, tracking, and then hopefully starting to taper down the intensity of our training about a week in advance. My first instinct is to hammer down on the training right up to the trial, but history has shown me that this is the wrong approach to take. The only thing that will be accomplished by that is to flatten out my dog and ensure that he gets bored of me halfway through trial day.
So. We will train and then I will do my best to sit on my hands and not ruin everyone’s hard work. Fingers crossed.