a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Operating in an Entirely Different Frame of Reference

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Operating in an Entirely Different Frame of Reference

SUMMARY: Just try to get Boost doing agility.

This was one of those weekends where it felt like I was back at square two, and mostly it was OK to be there if only my back/leg didn't hurt so much.

Here's how it went:
  • Masters Standard (22" Championship): Knocked a bar early on. Ran past a jump midcourse. Wouldn't do the weaves. Just couldn't get her into them until after we'd been VERY eliminated on refusals. Then she did only a few and popped out, so we just left the ring. I tried very hard to be hearty and cheerful. But it hurt when I walked.
  • Masters Gamblers (16" Performance): Got lucky with the opening-- a big straight curve with nuthin' but contacts and tunnels, so we went out and back. And luckily the tunnels were at the outer corners, because I could barely hobble my way through part of the course, and I was able to send her to the tunnels, which gave her momentum to do the contacts in just a lovely way.  Didn't expect to get the gamble and didn't, although our timing was good and we were right where I wanted to be when the buzzer went to start the gamble.
  • Masters Snooker (22" Ch): Enlisted a friend with whom we do quite a bit of hiking (Carson's & Hiker's Human Mom) to try running Boost. She ran her in class a few weeks back and Boost looked pretty good then. Today, The Booster was having none of it. Sort of trotted alongside, staring up at her. No actual running from the dog. Trotted past the first jump, then took it. Trotted past the Aframe, then took it. Took the next jump, trotted past the Aframe, then took it. Repeat a 3rd time. So in 50 seconds she did 3 jumps and 3 Aframes. But at least she didn't try to leave the ring. (I hid beforehand so she didn't know where I was.)
  • Masters Jumpers (22" Ch): Enlisted another friend with whom we've done a lot and who even dogsat Boost (Human Mom of Bump, Dig, and Styx). Last time she tried, Boost did a few jumps and then raced out to find me. Today the friend worked hard at getting Boost riled up and irritated with generous treats (because Boost wouldn't play with either friend at all), and Boost actually ran half the course--not full-speed, but running rather than trotting. Ran past one jump in there, but continued. Still, as soon as the course turned back towards the starting gate, she ran off and came looking for me.
  • Steeplechase (16" Pf): 2nd friend also tried running Boost here, with about the same results as in Jumpers. It's progress, but still she won't do a whole course with someone else outside of class.
  • Masters Pairs (16" Perf): I scoped out the easy half of the course and decided that I could get Boost through it even if I were hobbling, and my Pairs partner (who was also limping from a gimpy knee) was game to let me try. We ran second and other than turning the wrong way a couple of times, Boost did great, even did the weaves perfectly. Our partner Eed on refusals on the harder half of the course, but no worries--allowed me to relax on my second half, and it's not like we need Pairs Qs really. But at least we had one decent run. 
But I hurt.

I did take Chip out a couple of times for maybe 15-20 minutes each time and worked on having him look at me when I said his name, trying a little bit of circle work with limited success, worked on getting him to play tug with me and stay on the toy, with fairly decent success.  His nose touch to a target is improving fairly rapidly now that I've been working on it almost daily at least a little.  We worked on his revamped Down (going front-first down rather than sit first), and he's pretty good but I do have to signal it clearly, so we need to wean off that. Practiced the down-stay and the sit-stay with fairly decent results (still not taking my eyes off of him, not getting farther away than I can catch him if he starts to get up). Let him hang out under the score table with me for a while (getting treats for paying attention and also scritches and affection) and he behaved very well.

I even risked putting him in the low x-pen with Boost for the last hour or so of the day (since he was starting to make a mess of Tika's soft crate, and it's the only good one that I have left plus the only teal/purple one left in the world) and he actually stayed in, even when Boost and Tika were away! (I hadn't really thought that he would.)

Tika got to come out with me a couple of times, too. Did some tricks, some exercises to strengthen her back legs, back, and core muscles, and then just hung around the score table getting treats and scritchies. Her cough wasn't too bad today but did show up from time to time. She did sort of perk up and trotted briefly after a frisbee a couple of times, but no actual running. Sigh. Old dogs.

If I hadn't been in pain most of the time, it wouldn't have seemed like too bad a day. Weather was sunnyish, downright balmy with a cooling breeze. Grass surface was lovely. Friends were sympathetic and helpful. Score table work went well. 

I took no photos, perhaps needless to say, as I just didn't want to move around that much.

Will try again tomorrow. Playing it by ear--or by back, I guess.

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