Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Preparing for the Nationals

SUMMARY: Mentally, physically, agilitally, are we ready?

Only a month until the USDAA Nationals. Am I ready? Are the dogs? So much to do, so little time. I'm going to try to make up for 12 years...er, ok, 14 (mumble april 1995 mumble mumble)... of rotten training regimens and bad attitudes in a mere 30 days!

So far:
  • I'm sporting a whole new attitude: I AM capable of making it to the finals! I CAN fix the problems I've been having! I WILL have the dogs in prime shape! And me, too!
  • That weight thang: I'm back down to where I was most of last summer and also the year before my knee injury/surgery. I'd like to go another 5 lbs. I can feel such a difference between (mumble) pounds in February and where I am now, in energy level and ability to move.
  • The dogs' weight thang: I'm working on getting the dogs' weights back to where they were for the longest time. Tika is down a pound from 4 weeks ago; 3 to go (so won't be there by nationals); Boost is up half a pound. I attribute it to 8 days of me being out of town and not enough exercise.

  • Boost's refusal/runout issues: We made such progress by making the extra time to go to the big field to practice. Plus focusing on very specific types of actions. Plus I borrowed the Susan Garrett "Success With One Jump" video and am working through it. Just have to make that time!
  • Bar knocking both dogs: More bar-knocking drills. Maybe go back to some Salo exercises.
  • Speed: Well, Boost is still very drivey through a course, if only I can harness that by being equally drivey myself and giving well-timed commands and body languages. I'm really focusing on watching exactly how some of the better handlers move, and when, and how, on courses that I'll be running. With Tika, not sure how to get that complete total drive back. I think maybe if she got those same things from me, it would help.
  • My running: It's not enough to just do lots of walking and hiking. I've been practicing not running like a floppy rag. I've been concentrating on standing up straight and not leading with my butt. I think I need t videotape myself in the yard and review in real-time to see whether I can identify certain behaviors.


So much to do, and then there's that, oh, job thing, too. Plus at least one agility trial between now and then.

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