Friday, September 27, 2013

Fun drill - good skills

I wanted to work on our tunnel skills this week.  I have noticed that we are getting courses where it requires us to go to the non-obvious side of the tunnel at times.  Also, Tangle and I just needed to "play".  No tight course, just something where we can both run, but still improving skills.

I ran the whole circle of this course each time.  Varying which end of the tunnel that I would cue, or even if we took the tunnel. 

Things to watch:
  • How soon the dog commits to the tunnel vs a jump
  • What is the difference in your cue for the far end of the tunnel vs the far jump (so running past the tunnel)
  • Does the dog have drive all the way to the close end of the tunnel, far end, and jump.  If not, you are either unclear or not timely.

A life long pursuit - being a better listener!

I ran across this blog the other day, Training Border Collies, one post in particular really hit home for me, Psych 101.  What she had to say was very insightful and very true.  Each dog is different and you have to be able to read them to connect with them.

I suppose I am this way because I am the youngest of six, or maybe it is because of who I am.  I approach all interactions whether it is people or animals by trying to read them.  I try to interpret their reactions to me and the world.  I try to "listen" with every sense that I have.  I do a lot of observing.

I am not trying to be a dog whisperer.  As a matter of fact, I don't really even like that term. I just have figured out that I get way more information by reading every form of communication then I do by listening to just words.  I guess I am an information junky.

What I would like to achieve is that my soul is so quiet and listening so intently to my dog that I can hear my dog's soul as well.  I know, sounds kind of hippie like.  That is OK.  Hippies brought about a revolution is America :)

Tip taught me that my attitude influenced our runs.  She is a very drivey dog who reacts to my nerves by getting even more wound.  I eventually learned that I needed to always be calm with her.  From the moment I get her out of the kennel to run, through the end of our run.  If I am nervous it only compounds our problems.

Tangle reminded me that I need to be calm, but happy.  He reacts to the energy in his environment and begins to display all calming signals he has at his disposal.  I learned that I had to play with him in these environments, teach him to relax and enjoy the moment.  It taught me more deeply to enjoy the moment.  Dogs are wonderful teachers, if you are willing to be the student.

Split is right in the middle of these two.  Sometimes he gets more wound, but once he reaches his tipping point, he shuts down. 
This statement from that very same blog also hit home, this describes Tip and Tangle perfectly.  Tip being the one who needs a truancy officer :)

"For now – both are a lot of fun to work … different dogs – different issues – different year and yet “all so familiar”. I seem to spend 1/2 my life as a cheerleader and the other 1/2 as a truancy officer :@) "

I want to spend more time observing and listening than training!