Thursday, September 6, 2012

Week 6, Day 5

Took the dogs to the park in the morning again. Weather was extremely humid, not too hot, high 60s probably, but STEAMY. Worked on getting water into them between sets again. Gata is very good about it and Tor is getting better, though he wastes a lot.

Start time: 5:50 am; 65-degrees F and HUMID

Program: Walk to park, 1x6, Obedience, 1x4 Recovery water at the end of the set, and after obedience, before the break.
Total time: 42 minutes (Guesstimate, forgot to take my phone)
Status: Both dogs tired; Tor seemed a bit more tired than Gata, perhaps because he doesn't drink as well as she does at the end of each set; Took 500 ml of recovery water - came back with less than 100 ml, Gata drank probably 2/3 of it; Both dogs handled the work well, recovered well. Walk home uneventful. No signs of drunken sailor walking or any other early signs of collapse.

I should mention that Tor had the runs over night and early in the morning. I started giving him a roller ball containing 1/2 cup of Royal Canin 4800 in the morning when I leave for work, too. I probably started too fast with him. I know that his stomach is a little more sensitive than Gata's. So will back off on that a little. I suspect that it impacted his performance this morning - he clearly had some stomach cramping going on.

As long as I'm documenting adjustment to food issues, I should also mention that Gata has had no problem transitioning onto the Royal Canin. Though she would still be happy to eat Tor's food. Her stool is fine, bigger than on raw but not bad. Interestingly, she seems to have made the transition to Royal Canin much easier than the more trendy grain free kibbles that I had tried previously. Corn certainly doesn't seem to bother her.

Our evening work was just in the back yard. Again, STEAMY HOT and the temp was quite a bit higher than in the morning. Played around with several different SchH exercises with the dogs.

1. Couple of quick sets of barking for each dog. Building duration, calm position, and distance awareness with Tor and continuing to build duration with Gata. I really like the whole platform concept and using the deck works great for this. If either dog gets drawn off the deck by my movements we simply stop and they get back up. It is incredibly clear. Have to start practicing off the platform with Tor to see if the concept of space is clear to him.

2. Blinds - Set up 2 mini blinds in the yard and have them do the figure-8 pattern between them. We practice the whole pattern of heeling between the blinds to starting position, salute, pivot right or left to start. The pattern training is really important. Gata, in particular, gets extremely jazzed and will start to vocalize if I don't keep an eye on this. She has responded well to the negative reinforcement/punishment routine and is quiet again these days. But I know her well enough to know that it could creep back in at any point if I become sloppy. Only did 1 send in each direction with each dog due to the heat. They do about 7 or 8 full circuits in each send. Emphasis is on speed (both VERY fast), giving me eye contact as soon as they exit a blind and until I send them on to the next blind. Both dogs were excellent.

3. Launching - Over a 26" jump with an 18" jump set up about 3' in front of it creating a nice layout position. 1 set of 4 (2 presentations of the wedge on each side of my body) with Gata. She's got this and comes with great speed and power. She missed a little on the first launch but it didn't seem to affect her confidence on the next 3. Did 2 sets of 4 (2 presentations of the wedge on each side of my body) with Tor. He showed more confidence with presentations to my left last night in the first set. So I did a second set. He's a funny dog - even using this method he figures out ways to slam your body as well as getting the wedge. He doesn't do it every time and I don't know why he does it. Hopefully it goes away over time. No question that helpers won't like it. It makes it harder to catch him and increases the likelihood of the helper going down. I guess I'll just start doing more of this and see if it goes away. He is a dog that really benefits from repetition on some things more than others. Some things he gets instantly and others not so much ...

I think they both had a good time :-)