Sunday, November 25, 2007

November 25, 2007

Well, all my grand plans of getting back to writing every day are certainly getting off to a slow start. So here is an overview of last week.

No lessons today and so that meant I was able to play catch up around the house, while avoiding the dread office filing task. We managed to get in 2 outside training sessions and 1 inside session. I am even starting to see some success at getting a drop from 15' or more on that most awful of all surfaces. The COLD one. She is starting to realize that when she goes out over the high jump I am going to insist that she come back the same way.

I actually broke down and hired someone to come in and help with all the filing. One very large yard size trash bag of not needed paper got carted out of the office today. The same process is most likely going to have to be repeated at least 5 or 6 more times. Who knows? I might actually be able to find things again. Now wouldn't that be nice.

In spite of being "forced" to do office work for the greater part of the day, we managed to get in 2 training sessions. I am going to have to work harder on the drop from a sit since she wants to launch herself without waiting to hear what the command is going to be. I continue to either return to heel position or require a left finish. Guess only time will tell if it will be enough to stop the anticipated finish. The popping on my return after the down/stay is going to be a major nightmare for me if I don't manage to get a better handle on the problem.

My single lesson of the day was a student preparing her dog for the Open class and that meant Sanity also did the open exercises as a part of her demo work. Every little bit helps.

Two Open class students this morning. By adding a couple of the day care dogs who already have the necessary training we were able to put together a pretty decent group to do the out of sight group stays. Left them sitting up by the front fence and then went in the office and watched them through the window. Sure enough, pedestrian traffic on the front sidewalk was more than Miss Sanity could stand and she just had to break her sit/stay. I have to say "yea" to that, since I always get really worried if things go too well during training. I want all the mistakes to happen while we are learning in a controlled environment and not out in public or worse yet, in the ring.

I'm still not happy with the drop from a sit at a distance. That weak link in the pattern means I still have a problem with the drop on recall in general.

I came up with a totally clever way of setting the high jump up in relationship to the board jump that makes used of the high jump to force the dog to think about making a clean U-turn and returning in a nice tight and just as importantly straight line. Anything to help with improving her thought process where both the high jump and the broad jump are concerned. Will try to remember to take a picture or two of the set-up.

Got my nails done today. As I had decided, I lugged the shoulder bag and had Sanity's special show collar on her. This made it possible for me to work on tight heeling and better sits on the way to the car, from the car to the nail shop and again on the return trip. It certainly isn't the best of training routines where heeling is concerned, but it beats nothing by a mile. One thing that did happen was when she stopped paying attention to me due to a distraction in the parking lot in front of the shop. Call it bad timing or call it good timing, but just at that point my leg did one of it's periodic buckles and I did a "bobble". Since she wasn't paying a bit of attention to what was going on with me I not only bumped into her, but actually stepped on her foot. After that, she was much more attentive. Humph! Guess I really should have been doing this sort of thing all along. It is just so easy to get sloppy.

Spent most of the day either cooking or cleaning up the kitchen. I came up with a great way of cooking a fresh turkey when the smallest size available is 12 lbs. and there are only two people eating. Had the butcher split the turkey in half length wise. I cooked one half and froze the other half for next month. Made a foil "boat" to put the stuffing in and then carefully laid the turkey, skin side up on top of the boat. It was great. All the skin was nicely browned and we had even more stuffing that we would have had with a whole bird.

Even the stuffing was a new idea for me. I love oyster stuffing and this time the way I made it was better than any I have ever made before. YUMMMMMM

As always, I saved all the giblets, the wing tip and some misc. skin that I really didn't need for the dogs. Tossed it all into a pot and did a slow simmer till fully cooked. Once cooled, I clean meat off the neck, cut up the rest of the giblets and whatever skin is in the pot and then toss it all back into the broth. Each and every single dog in the house gets a dipper full of the resulting mix ladled on top of their regular food. Have yet to have a single boarder complain about having to be here for a holiday. Even the pickiest of eaters turns into "eager eater" on these days.

Only managed one rather abbreviated session in the evening, cause I was just too tired to do more and much too tired to do anything fancy. We just hit each exercise once or twice and called it a day.

My Friday student failed to show up this morning. He called and pleaded that he had over indulged yesterday and just couldn't make it. So we actually managed 3 complete sessions again today. I had her do the broad jump first in the first session. No warm-up. No preliminary anything. Just heel up to the start point. Sit/stay/over. It was just a clean as could be and I have her jumping 68" now. Not as far as we used to have to jump them, but still 16" longer than will be required.

For the second practice session we started with the retrieve over the high jump. Again, hit it cold with no warm-up. She is routinely jumping 30" in practice and her ring height will be 26". No problem with the first retrieve or the jumping. Then the next 4 were a problem. I am deliberately doing off angle throws which means after she picks up the dumbbell and looks up, the jump is NOT in front of her. Some of the angles are really steep. She still needs lots of help in the verbal guidance department. Sometimes it would look as if she was going to manage to get back over the jump only to be just a tad bit off. Off enough that if I allowed it, she would be missing the jump all together. Since I have both a built in jump command and a sit at a distance command, I am able to redirect her or stop her and then redirect her. The goal is to make the very idea of coming back to me without taking that jump something she just won't do. It will happen, I just don't know if I have enough time to get it in place before this next weekend.

On the third practice session we started with the drop on recall. She got it right the very first time with no warm-up. I am so pleased. Now if only I can begin to feel as happy about the popping on the down/stay/return problem.

With a consultation and then two lessons I was way too tired to do more than one training session today. At least we did manage to get in a couple of extra broad jumps and one drop on recall set between students. And she didn't pop when I returned on the down. So I guess something is better than nothing.

I cleaned house today. Not my most favorite thing to do and it so totally wipes me out that the best I could do was a short 20 minutes that only covered the broad jump, drop on recall and the blasted stays. Darn if she wasn't popping again. Now I'm off to bed.

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