Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oh baby dog

Spencer is so very much the baby dog. I find it cute. He'll get there eventually, but right now I have no expectations of him.

It's odd, I'd think I would? I did with Baxter. Maybe it's that Baxter had been training for a lot longer and I after hearing/deciding that we were ready I expected for us to do really good? Maybe it's just the difference in the boys and the fact I would have never thought that Spencer could do this? Or the fact I did it with Baxter and I'm not worried about it anymore. Who knows. It's a neat place to be though.

Spencer did well for how long we've been practicing. Most of our difficulties are a combination of him being a baby dog and not having the obstacle commitment that I think he should have. I just need to support Spencer a little bit more than I do. He's also learning to "read" what my hands are doing vs what my body is doing, so I need to be aware that lateral distance will likely pull him off of a obstacle regardless of what I am indicating with my hand. This is what makes jumpers challenging for us.

The rest is coming along.

The interesting part though, is the people at the CAA trial. Spencer was so scared I had people give him treats when he first started coming to trials with Baxter and I. What I neglected was to first tell him to go visit to get those treats, so he was the one initiating the visiting. I have said on a few occasions I would rather a dog that wants to go visit people rather than one who is scared of them, and apparently Spencer heard that!

He went visiting ring crew and judges in pretty much every run, or thought about it. In fact, in one of his gamblers once I got his attention over the second jump in the gamble, you can see him notice the timer/scribe right on the other side of the jump and go see them, not even looking at me for any further handling commands.


The other thing I need to keep in mind is that this is Spencer, not Baxter and I need to work on tugging in/around the arenas as a reward. He loves it, but since I dropped the ball a little on his early training I get a lot of don't wanna, don't hafta moments. If I want the toy to be rewarding in agility, I need to keep using the toy in agility and not just go with food because it's easier.

In the Nov Whee Wed trial yesterday Spencer ran in his first advanced Gamble and then in Steeplechase for fun.

We've made some headway with running off to visit. He had a really good line to go visit a couple of times but was a good little dog and stuck with me.

I do very much need to work on his distance skills and my distance handling skills. Advanced gambles are a whole lot less easy than the starter ones! Round obstacles are also a focus for the next little bit. He keeps dekeing off of the chute at the last second, but will go through once I send him again, which not quite the chute performance I want to be rehersing. Rear crosses into tunnels and tunnels in general are also going to be a big thing. Most small dogs love tunnels, so we'll work on tunnel love and speed through them.

So many things to do! But he's a fun little dog, it'll be a blast when he really gets it and it's the journey that's fun!

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