a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Training Me and the Dogs

Monday, October 01, 2007

Training Me and the Dogs

SUMMARY: First day of boot camp for me. Working on Tika's drive, bars, future contact work.

So much to do, so little time. We've got a USDAA trial this weekend, a week off, another USDAA trial, another weekend off, then that following Monday or Tuesday heading for Scottsdale.

Boost's not competing at Scottsdale, so it's just the usual stuff. She's doing some fabulous weave entries in the yard now. So she WAS learning all that stuff, she just now got around to deciding to apply it!

With Tika, I need to focus on:
* Tika's drive to the end of the contacts, particularly the dogwalk and teeter
* Bar-knocking drills

Tika tends to blast fast through most of the dogwalk and then saunter to the end--or, as she's just started doing, leaping off before the contact. So I just keep rolling around to contact-drive work, revving her up, slapping the contact, driving her with my body, too, and not rewarding crappy slow sauntering ones. We never got our second Steeplechase qualifier--sigh--so it's just Grand Prix and Team.

I've been working on the ground in getting her and Boost to run through my PVC frame that's the size of the dogwalk contact and going to a target further ahead, so they get clicked for getting front feet into the box and the reward goes at the target. Tika's still mostly jogging through it, although I think she's picking up speed; Boost blasts into the box but in her short life we've done so much targeting work and stopping on the contacts that she wants to stop in the box. But, when she does get out again, she drives to the target.

That's in prep for working on Tika's up contact, which I just really don't think I want to deal with before Nationals. And I have a fantasy about retraining contacts to be running contacts, which I REALLY REALLY don't want to even think about before Nationals.

But I'm reserving the rest of November, all of December, and part of January to muck with contacts. Only one CPE trial over Thanksgiving weekend, and I had the guts to NOT sign Tika up for Standard so I could avoid putting her on the dogwalk while I'm (in theory) retraining.

For me--today was the first day of boot camp. As expected, my arms are my real weak link. They are SO tired, I don't even want to be at the computer. But here I am. With lots of Real Work to do, too. Jogged most of the laps we did; walked the rest as soon as I started to feel it in my knee. Knee held up pretty good, actually. Next session--Wednesday morning.


  1. hows the instructor for your bootcamp? what are the other attendees like? was it really hard? how do you feel now?


  2. Instructor is active and cheerful and works at keeping us moving constantly. I took a notebook to make quick notes about what we did and never had a chance to use it.

    There are only 7 of us in this class. One or two have done this before. A couple did all the laps jogging but I think the rest of us did at least some walking. I was next-to-last around the course each time, but wasn't drooping by any means; I can walk a pretty brisk mile and these laps were much shorter. No one gets a breather, though; he has a neat thing where, after you finish your lap, you turn and go back until you meet up with the last person and come in with them, and everyone keeps cycling around that turning point until basically we're all coming in at the same time. So, if you jog and get there first, you jog or walk back til you get to the last person and come in at your own pace. No one rests. :-) As a result, though, not much interaction yet, either. We did one ball-tossing exercise to try to learn each others' names and I only remember one of the other 6 so far.

    He circulated among us giving tips and pointers on how to hold our bodies and what we should be feeling as we worked. We'll see whether he remains cheery or turns into the Boot Camp Sarge From Heck as time goes on.

    It wasn't *really* hard; he kept saying "work at your own pace but to the point of discomfort; not to the point of pain." I sure felt everything we did! I barely got through my second set of pushups at an angle to the top of a picnic table; that was the hardest for me, even though I've been doing a few angled pushups here and there for a couple of months. I tried to do a couple more later and just couldn't. Some things I modified a bit because of my knee.

    I feel OK now but a bit drowsy as I've not had a chance to take my (fairly) typical early afternoon nap because have to get work done. Just waiting for something to come back via email to keep going on that. Arms are still tired, though. We'll see whether they're sore tomorrow.