Monday, March 17, 2008

Update-a-rama ...

I haven't been blogging a lot because I'm obsessed with houses: a) selling one, which involves lots of constant vacuuming up dog hair and snippets of chewed toys, wiping muddy paws and paw prints and picking up dogs toys and beds (only to put them back out later when the coast in clear; and b) buying one, which is anxiety-inducing because I can't afford anything decent, so my mind is engrossed in mulling over all the compromises I will have to make.

Anywho, the dogs ...

First Lucy: She's no longer lame. I have no idea what it was. We're going to the doggie chiropractor this week--if Lucy jammed a toe or something she might find it.

Also, I could have entered a local NADAC trial last weekend, but I've been so busy and exhausted I decided to skip it. I'm glad I didn't enter, because I would have been worried about Lucy's lameness returning in the middle of the trial, and then I would have felt awful. So instead she got to go to the park many times (every time I have to vacate the house for a showing, the dogs and I go to a park for a while) and we both took it easy.

Pinky: Still appears to be under 16 inches tall, but she now weighs slightly more than Lucy. She's a little rock--skinny as a rail but very muscular. After a couple of months of very sporadic training due to my life circumstances, I'm getting myself back into the mode of teaching her some foundation skills. A few friends and I all have young dogs, and we've started getting together once a week to help each other with foundation training. Well, we've only actually met once, but we plan for it to be a weekly thing. I really like training with others, because it gives me some direction. Left to myself, I have a hard time deciding what to teach or try next. I've never trained an agility dog from puppyhood before (Lucy and Mr. Gomez were both 6 years old when I started them), and there are endless possibilities. It's fun and intimidating.

I've decided to teach running contacts, because the two-on-two-off thing just never worked out so well for me, and I hate it. Lucky for me several of my friends went to a local Sylvia Trkman seminar and are going to teach their dogs using her methods. So I'll just let them help me train Pinky ;-) I missed Sylvia's seminar because 1) busy getting the house ready to sell; 2) poor; and 3) I want people I know to try out the person first, and if they report back favorably then I'll spend my money on them. So far I've heard mostly good things about Sylvia, so If I get another chance I'll take one of her seminars. Until then I'll just siphon her knowledge second-hand from my friends.

Anyway, what appeals to me about Sylvia's method is that aside from taking a lot of time, repetitions and patience, it's fairly simple. I don't mind spending a lot of time on something (I spent what seemed like ages running Lucy and Mr. G. through weave channels before starting to close them), but I hate really complicated methods. The way Sylvia trains, it's really doing the same thing over and over--she runs her dogs full speed across a board, and then gradually increasing the angle as the dog progresses.

I'm hoping that very soon I will have lots more time to train my dogs and write blog entries about it.

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