Friday, June 11, 2010

The best laid plans...

So much for planning ahead. We should be at a hunt test this weekend, but Page decided to come in season for the first time last week. Really, she's waited this long (she's nearly 16 months old), you think she could have looked at the calendar and seen our trial/test schedule and waited until July. We only had training in July!

Oh well! I'm sure if she really knew she was missing hunt tests and the opportunity to get nice fluffy ducks, she would be disappointed. So finishing that JH will have to wait for a while, and we'll push off her WC until a fall test. If all goes as planned/hoped, she should be out just before her agility debut the end of the month. Let's hope this first cycle sticks to the plan!

The good news is that after initially trying to rub the panties off by writhing across the living room floor, Page gave up and is quite content to look silly. She's better than Devon about wearing panties, because she can even be crated in her panties and not shred them (if you take your eyes off Devon for a minute, she's shredded everything). Once again I'm so very amazed at how different Devon and Page are. Devon, Ms. Perfect, is the shredder and Page, Ms. Bizzy, is the contented one. [On a similar note, Devon, the momma's girl, sleeps on the day beds or off somewhere in the room, and Page, all confidence and can do it on her own, is always as close to my chair as possible or even curled up on my feet.]

Page is even fine running in agility with her panties on, not missing any speed or accuracy in weaves or with her contacts. I've worked to be very consistent on reinforcing startlines and contacts. Her startlines look much better, and she's much quicker to sit and stay steady. Contacts are probably 90%, with her dogwalk contact looking the best. She's starting to creep down the A frame, stopping at the top or halfway down. I'm not making eye contact, but simply waiting her out. I'll probably have to go back to clicking when she hits the board, since I don't want this to become a habit.

Other than those little issues, I'm very pleased with the rest of her agility work. After going through a week of popping out of pole 12, Page seems to have worked through that and does all 12 at great speed. What I'm particularly pleased about in her Tuesday night sequencing class is that she's starting to realize I'm lining up obstacles in her path with my handling and she's starting to take them.

Like any green dog, Page had been curving into me when obstacles were a little farther out in front of her and she had to seek them out. Now she gets to look for what's next. If there's a slight push, she's now responding to it and taking the obstacle. Unlike most fast, green baby dogs, Page isn't overly obstacle focused but does want to play the game with me and look to me for instructions. She's also responding to rear crosses on the flat and forward moving front crosses, too. By far her best handling skill is wrapping a jump. She reads deceleration quite well in those situations.

And the biggest thing I can say about Page's agility training is she is months ahead of where I would expect any dog her age to be. She really is an amazing partner.

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