Friday, January 4, 2008

Parading In The Rain

Actually 'Parading in the Rain' is a song by Chalee Tessison, and it's one of my current favorites. 2008 is NOT getting off to a good start. I'm hoping that I'm just getting all (or at least some) of the nastiness out of the way early in the year.

I went back to the doctor today. I had taken my last antibiotic on Tuesday and felt really pretty good on Wednesday and then woke up with a wee little headache on Thursday morning, which progressed to a crushing sinus headache and very stuffy sinuses by the end of the day. So I am now re-armed with a stronger antibiotic and a prescription decongestant. And I'm determined to take my Enbrel injection sometime this weekend, as I had to skip my injection last weekend (since it suppresses your immune system, it can be dangerous to take it if you're sick) and slowly over the last few days I've started to have more joint pain.

And I just sent an e-mail to the trial secretary letting her know that Holly and I will be no-shows tomorrow. I've known her for several years and she helped me out when I realized that my snail mail entry might not make it to her address by the closing date, so I felt like a owed her a heads up.


Anyway, to get back to the general topic of the New Year, and things I would like to do with the new year.

For Mikey, of course, I really, really, REALLY want to finish him this year. Neither Mikey nor I enjoy getting all dudded up, although we do generally enjoy being in the ring. It's just all the unpleasantness of getting ready that has become a real frustration, for both of us. Mikey seemed to have tremendous momentum his first year of showing, and then for the past year the judges just hardly ever seemed to look at him. He's not perfect, but Hello! he went Best of Winners at the Bluebonnet Specialty the year before last, and Winners Dog for a 5 point major at the supported entry his first weekend out at six months and two weeks old, so he's got at least some merit. Honestly, showing him in the breed ring was originally something to do with him while he trained up for agility/obedience. Plus, I promised his breeder. But, I'm not going to give up when he only needs one more bloody point.

On the agility front, I'm just going to see how it plays out this year. Mikey is entered in his first agility trial next weekend (standard, preferred and jumpers with weaves, preferred) and I feel pretty confident about everything but his weaves. He's still popping out pretty regularly. Go here to see a video of a great little Cardigan doing great weaves; that's my mental image for my goal with Mikey's weaves.

Obedience with Mikey? Ummmm. We're working on it. Maybe we'll be ready for Novice Rally-O in time for the Reliant cluster.

Now for Holly I have some more concrete goals. I've got to get her out of the house for obedience training. She's is doing great here in the living room, but she really, really needs to work more often with distraction. We'll continue to work toward her Rally Advanced title, and I would really like to have her ready for Novice Obedience in time for the Reliant cluster in July. The hard part about having her ready for regular obedience, as opposed to rally-o, is that I can't verbally reinforce her in obedience. That's going to take some work.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.


Katrin said...

Verbally reinforce you can't but you sure can with facial expressions!

I teach the dogs I do comp obed with (mainly Niche right now) that my smiling is a really good thing and means a cookie WILL come at some point. It works because I don't really smile all that much, even at the dogs, in general life, and when I do smile for this exercise I over exaggerate. He gets all happy and wiggly and excited. But I did train this. Main place I use it in the ring is on halts during heeling exercises and fronts during recalls and retrieves and jumps.

The other thing is there is no rule that you can't praise and pet and get them all wired between individual exercises. You just can't touch the collar or 'lead' by touching them. Niche LOVES to hand touch, and he LOVES to bounce. So one of his fun reward/games while we're moving to the next exercise is to do high hand touches so he bounces a few times. Gets him jazzed and he has a great time.

Niche thinks obedience ROCKS! But most of that is because I make it a point to enjoy it! If he flunks an exercise accidentally in the ring, I try very hard not to show that it was a bad thing. I want him to be up-up-up in the ring. Since he is such a sensitive dog it takes very little by way of correction and he never forgets a correction. So it is very important for me to keep him happy in there if I want a energetic performance.

Good luck!

Cardimom said...

Facial expression is an excellent idea! I can start adding this in to our training. I've been worrying about this because Holly is some what of a worrier. She trys her heart out if you tell she's wonderful, but seems to worry that she's doing something wrong if she doesn't get any feed back. I have been thinking that we just need to work on delayed gratification; slowly teaching her that longer and longer periods between praise is ok. But I think I can also teach her that a big happy grin on me is the same thing as telling her 'Excellent!'