Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bounce Brody Bounce!

I write a LOT about playing working Sally and the trials and tribulations in loving the Whole Lotta Dog. Don't think for one second that means Brody is "finished" in any sense of the word.

Brody is a pleasure in his own right, even a treasure! That doesn't mean Brody and I do no play work. One of his favourite games is bouncing side to side trying to predict which way I'm going to take off. I take off and he zooms after me to get his treat. If he doesn't fly at me he gets a pat, a "good dog", but no chow. Being a food hound that annoys him and he zooms faster the next time. We might play this game 3-4 times then move onto something else. I've been working hard to put a standing start line back on Brody. I use it very very rarely but would like to make sure it stays in our tool box. He's been charging to me when we work it so I hope it carries over into the ring at a trial when I use it.

Brody learned the aframe and the dog walk by running to a loaded touch plate at the bottom of each  - I didn't understand the mechanics of 2 on 2 off (had never seen it) so as long as he paused for the treat at the bottom I was pleased. Luckily he's got short enough legs that his behaviour evolved into a natural running frame and dog walk. On the teeter I did exactly the same thing until one day Bman came half off the teeter and it lifted up tossing him off it. So I changed criteria to expecting him to stand on the end and ride it down.  Once it hits the ground he is free to move off it. He has had a couple of dramatic flyoffs over the years but they don't worry him much and it's a rare thing (thank heavens). We probably lose a second or two at the teeter but Brody's safety (he weighs 11 pounds) has to be the most important thing. Saving a second and never running again with him would be awful.

The hardest thing without doubt for ME to master ith Brody was weaving. It was only once I started working Sally that I really understood what the dog needs to do in the poles. That means Brody and I weaved for YEARS without me understanding why independent and on and off side weaves mattered. In turn that means I've got me a one sided, needs support in the weaves, dog. I've tried, as my comprehension improved to retrain the weaves. Brody's confidence has improved but he still wants me on his right side and more or less beside him as we work along them. That can make the following obstacle just a little tricky at times. Luckily Brody usually is balanced enough I can front cross to get into position going into the weaves.

He is a delight to work. He is a pleasure to run. He is a never ending work in progress.

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