Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vacation Begins!

This morning I had my last final, so I'm officially done!  Enjoyment ensues.

Last night, though, was our last class at Four Paws.  We were one of only two dogs again, so we got lots of attention.  It was fun.  We did a bunch of longer sequences with pinwheels, front and rear crosses, tough weave entries and other fun things.  Here are some things that stood out:
1.  He's getting a lot better about letting me send him out to jumps, but I can't take it for granted.  There were a few times when I thought he was committed and realized only just in time that I needed to correct his line.  We always got the job done, but sometimes it wasn't as pretty as it could have been.
2.  His rear crosses lack confidence.  I'm not sure how to work on this when the weather is so frigid (with the windchill it was subzero today).  Again, he always did the obstacles but he wasn't driving as well as I'd like.
3.  He's still a little teeter shy.  More to come on that shortly...
4.  Jonah's weave entries were excellent, and getting more and more independent.  At home, I can be close to 10 feet away.  One time in class yesterday he popped out of the weaves at the end when I faded away to the next jump, which was a 90 degree turn from the poles.  We practiced this a few times and he got solid. 
5.  He's started to blow some 2o2o if we're really running and I don't stop short at the bottom of the obstacle.  He always touches the contact zone, so it wouldn't be a fault, but I still need to support him for now to get the 2o2o consistently.

As I said, Jonah always did the sequences without real fault.  He would have qualified if any of the sequences had been in a trial.  Still, there's a lot we can clean up to have nicer, flowing rounds. 

At the end of class we talked some about competing and general strategy.  The other dog's handler had been to watch a CPE trial last weekend and said she'd been unimpressed.  The teams seemed undisciplined and they didn't take things very seriously.  I guess the games had looked like total chaos at times.

I came away encouraged that I'm not out of my mind to have entered a trial, and that we might even do alright.  However, I'm not sure if I'll love the CPE culture long-term.  I'll have to choose another venue at some point, but that will be excited.  In the meantime, hopefully we'll rock CPE :).  At least it will be a low stress entry into the world of trialing. 

We just got our CPE membership number today-exciting!

As a little goodbye gift, our teacher let Jonah pick out a new toy.  He picked out a nice stuffed, squeaking duck and he pretty much hasn't put it down since.  Big hit. 

-  -  -

So, now that I'm done with school, it's time to get to work on fun things.

Today I swept out the basement, which I don't think anyone had done in many, many years.  It was a real mess, with nails and glass, insulation, plaster and other general trash that you would not want your dog to get into.  I'm encouraged, though.  The big area is about 20'x20' and I think it will be a good space to do some winter drills. 

I did get some slightly disappointing news:  I didn't win the jumps or the weave poles from the Four Paws auction.  We did get the pause table, so that's a good new addition to our collection.  I'm a little bummed, especially about the weave poles.  They would have fit in the basement, but now it looks like we won't have inside poles.

The big reason for cleaning the basement, though, is for the teeter.  Tomorrow I'll go get a board and at least get started on the painting.  I'm really excited about having a teeter, since it's by far his weakest obstacle right now.  There's no teeter in CPE level 1, but soon enough we'll be in a situation where there will be one.  We'll get to play lots of teeter games and build up lots of confidence as we raise the height, too.  If that's the only real goal we achieve this winter, I'd be pretty ok with that.

A big question for me right now is what to do on the basement floor.  It's cement, so I'd like to have some padding.  If we just have the teeter, we don't need much, but if we try to get other equipment to work with, we'll need more.  Four Paws was auctioning their stall mats, so I might ask if they're still available, but we'd need 15 to cover the area and it would be quite a project as I'd have to cut some of the edges for some pipes and things around the edges.  I'm not sure if it's worth it--hopefully we won't be down there for that long, but it would definitely make the winter more fun.  I'm going to take another look at it tomorrow and maybe I'll ask Four Paws if they'd take an offer.  Whatever we do, it's going to be fun.

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