Friday, March 30, 2012

Mini adventure with Sonic

Sonic and I are spending the night at the Comfort Inn in Plainwell, MI. I judged rally today For the Kalamazoo KC and will judge it again tomorrow morning, so here we are.

I'm happy to report that today's teams were far better prepared than the last time I judged in this area. I only saw one perfect score - and it was a lovely performance - but several other very nice displays of teamwork.

Sonic spent her morning and until I finished judging at 3:00 in her crate in the , with a few brief potty breaks. She hasn't been on too many trips without at least one of the older dogs along too often, so it seemed like a good opportunity. After I finished judging, I got her out to potty, then took her into the nearly empty building for some training. I had her on my rolled leather choke collar, which doesn't provide as much control as the pinch collar, but more than her buckle collar. We worked some attention - it was not particularly stellar, some maneuvers, and some brief stays. Phew, we have lots of work ahead of us.

After settling into our hotel room, we did articles. It is the first time I randomized the placement of the articles vs. having them in the regimented rows that is Around the Clock. She has been searching from a pile of 10 unscented plus my scented one. I took out one pair, since the pile looked different. It went smoothly, and included sends from about 15 feet away - the length of the hotel room. Except for not staying a couple of times while I placed my scented article, she did a spot-on job.

While waiting for my dinner order at Applebee's to be ready, we did another 10 minutes of work near the parking lot. I decided to see how she would do with my '20 treat exercise'**. It took her between 4 and 5 minutes to voluntarily look at me 20 times. Hmmm, there is something we need some more work on. The weather is back to being normal spring weather, i.e., COLD. 10 minutes was all my bare hands could manage.

After I finished eating dinner, we headed out behind the hotel to give her a run. We discovered a lovely flat grassy field, fenced on two sides, with small hills/mounds on the other two sides, with no one around. She had a lovely romp chasing bumpers and working on various field related skills, including delivering to hand to each side, which is much improved, I'm happy to say, staying while I throw a bumper, and doing simple double retrieves (I throw two bumpers about 90* apart, she retrieves one, then retrieves the other). This was all mixed in with fun retrieves without a stay.

That saying "A tired puppy is a good puppy"? Very true. She is sacked out on the bed nearby.

I hope to take her in the building again tomorrow for some more attention work after I finish judging.

** The 20-treat exercise is explained in The Art of Proofing.

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