Thursday, 28 February 2013

Risky Training

Recently I've been really pleased with Risk's progress in training, he has matured just a little bit more, and though he is still cautious and thinks very much about everything he does in agility terms, he absolutely adores his tuggy toy now (made by "tug-eeze" fantastic!) with rubber ring on the end - and will work hard and power to get to it.

I originally taught Kiah to do her weaves using a combination of V weaves and channels, it took a little while to close them up, but she is pretty good at her weaves now and is her favourite obstacle - she will pick them over a tunnel!!  Anyway, through trial and error when we first started Risk's training he didn't understand channels once they started to be closed in and was getting them wrong a lot, so we changed to V weaves.  Once his understanding had improved, we were then introducing and using a combination of both methods which he is progressing well with, and loves to get it right for his toy reward.

I chose to do a running A Frame with Risk, as initially stopping on the contacts used to stress him out a lot, especially this one, and he's pretty good at getting the correct footwork - most of the time!  I have got a video but I can't get it to load, so this is a picture of his transition from funny looking 'guinea pig thing' (!) at 4 weeks old, to my handsome boy at just under 16 months when it was taken.  He probably gets about 8 out of 10 right, which we are practising at as many places as we can.  With his increase in confidence, I have since decided to do a stopping dog walk and see saw, with a slightly different technique - again using his toy though - to remind him how much of a fun place the touch point is, he's doing well.

We've also managed to do a little bit of training in the garden when its been dry enough, which helps with his confidence, as its a location he is used to, so seems to understand things more quickly - then when we take it to training he has a bit of "pre-knowledge" already.  He is just over 17 months now, and we won't be quite ready when he is 18 months (Easter - scary) but it feels like we are getting there!!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Weekly Swim

Over the winter I always worry about the dogs stamina starting to drop - we do less agility training, and hardly any competitions as I like to make sure they all have a decent break, the evenings get dark so much earlier, plus the depressing weather stops us doing so many walks during the week - though we try to make up for it at the weekends, and before anyone thinks it - the dogs hate the rain too!!

So, Kiah has been doing her group agility once a week, I like to limit her a bit due to her being extra crazy indoors, plus she is a little bit older now so I don't want to push her more than she naturally gives, so why make her overdo it.  We have had some really good sessions and though she is still completely manic-crazy, we've had a bit more control - hopefully it won't quite all go to pot when we get back in the ring...

Anyway to help keep her stamina up we've been taking her swimming once a week, I think she has done about four or five sessions now and rather than 'cope' with it, she jumps in and actually enjoys swimming on her own now, rather than because she has to.  Kiah can be quite lazy once she realises she can just float with minimal effort (!) so we play a game of see how fast she can swim from end to end. She seems to enjoy it, is extremely fit - generally and because of swimming - and especially enjoys her biscuit at the end.

The boys have still been doing their agility training more often - Risk twice a week with me and Davy twice a week with Alex, they are both really coming along so well now, our little rescue boys!!  Risk is really quite enjoying it and realising that he can chill out and not over analyse about every single thing... most of the time!! We've just gone onto full height jumps which he is coping with well after a week of 'getting used' to them, hes very nearly doing closed weaves, and is enjoying his contacts too, as if he gets them right he gets to play with his toy.  Davy has come on so well too and has so many more skills now, he is doing his weaves now really well, learning how to bounce some jumps, and powering on over his contacts too. I think Alex is really looking forward to entering a few competitions this year... In fact, our first competitions are coming up in the next few weeks!!

Snow - Ages Ago

It seems like ages ago now that we had the snow, but it wasnt really, no more than about a month, and for once the country actually coped reasonably... well as only England can.  Alex had a great time playing in the landrover - doing what it does best... and seeing how well it copes, if Alex has his way!!  Its lovely to see how especially for the first few days, everyone turns into kids again playing with sledges and snowballs.  The dogs adored it too as usual, playing and messing about, on walks they get to wade in and out of the drifts and face planting in the powder.  Davy enjoys hunting out snowballs that we throw for him or eating them, but Kiah and Risk were happy frolicking for hours out on our walks, or just in the garden as that was completely covered too!!