As our first class starts I thought I would share a bit about Dicey and where we are at in training. In December 2012 I was alerted by some by some Aussie friends that a nice puppy had become available in Florida. After some debating I decided to pack up Disco and head down to meet this pup. It was important to me that Disco be willing to accept any new pup coming into our family. After the long drive down I met BC (yes she was named that because she looks like a Border collie) late in the evening. She instantly came to me and rolled upside down into my arms. We spend a few minutes bonding and playing before bringing in Disco for the pups to meet. They hit it off well and the decision was made. Dicey as I would call her, Sunfire’s 3D Dicey Situation, would be leaving with us. We spent a couple days in Florida hanging out at a hotel, the beach, the dog park, and working on getting over car sickness before heading home. It did not take long to learn that this pup had a lot of fear issues. Just about everything new scared her and it took a while for her to really start to settle down. It was also a long time in the car with a puppy that kept getting sick and always plowed her way out her crate. But she settled nice at night and loved to cuddle
The really rough part of getting a dog this time of year is that the weather really sucks here at home so there was not much chance of training at home and added to that a busy judging schedule and I knew our beginning work would suffer. Her fears continued to get the best of her for many weeks. The first time I took her to K9 Jym she was afraid of the stuff hanging on the walls running from one side of the building to the other trying to get away from stuff. After several weeks she started bouncing back from things gaining a little confidence to alert to something that scared her and then slowly go investigate it. She also started liking the car and stopped getting sick.
Finally some basic training could start. Since then we have made a lot of progress and she has really come out of her shell, exposing some new issues. In early training she was very slow and cautious about things. Tunnels were very scary and the jumps boring. She learned weave poles quickly once she learned they did not bite. I also taught her the Peek set up which she really likes. In fact she often shows up between my legs when I am just walking or standing at the house. We slowly worked through her issues with most of the equipment, with the exception of the teeter which she would not even go near. I ended up putting a teeter in our basement, a place she loved to go play, and as a result she avoided the basement for weeks. I did finally get her to start coming down and interacting with the board a little and then very slowly she learned the teeter meant cheese and she started racing me to the basement to work her board. About this time my other dog, Disco, started having issues in the ring. He has some health problems that often make agility not so much fun for him and he started shutting down in the ring. He had already stopped training in classes almost a year ago as a way to reduce the stress on him. At this point I decided to start trialing Dicey and basically use those trials as training time while trying to earn qs toward nest years CPE nationals which are way out in Minnesota, too far to travel for one dog that may not be able to play. Dicey has done pretty well considering how much training or lack of training she has had. She has also become a very driven, fast, pushy pup in the ring. She shows moments of brilliance on some difficult things and then follows that with total confusion at very basic stuff.
Here are our current strengths and weaknesses in agility:
1: A very good bond between us. Dicey loves to be with me at all times.
2: A pretty good recall even when she is focused on other things.
3: A very good Peek set up.
4. She is fairly quite in the crate while I am teaching others.
5: She is very fast
6: She is willing to re-work sequences
7: She has a pretty good Dig and Zip as long as it is the easy direction, nice and tight.
8: She will work for food, toys or just to play with me.
9: She is doing weaves nicely in class.
10: She seems to be very willing to learn.
1: Lack of respect for my space while running. She likes to charge into me and tries to control my motion.
2: Does not understand anything I try to do with my hands in training. This makes it hard to keep her on the correct side.
3: Lack of self-control on course, she really likes to go fast…..
4: Loses focus when I try to remove her collar at the start line. No real start line stay. See #3
5: Needs better contact foundation
6: Showing lack of self-control with weaves at trials, she just cannot contain herself and do them. See #3
7: Has not learned crosses at all. See #3 and #2
8: Lack of focus on the equipment that is in front of her. See #1
9: Lack of any distance, see #8
10: She needs more free shaping behaviors.
So next is to figure out how to turn these weaknesses into strengths while dealing with anything new that shows up.
Until next time