09 January 2008

Did you ever know a dog that was afraid of the dark?

I'm not being all goth girly or wicca here, why would I want to highlight those eye bags and creases, warm glow of candle light my ass. It's just damn winter and the power is out again.

So I was able to get some dog practice in yesterday morning, even though it meant I didn't get a couple of horses done before it got too wet and rainy in the afternoon. Sorry horses! I did work all day on my last day off. With horses and no covered arena, work schedule kind of goes away and I work as much as I can when there is dry and work less when there is wet.

Since their dog run at the ranch turned into a horrible murky swamp, the dogs are currently living in one big dog crate all day under a tarp. They have the door open and a little xpen around it so there is a little more room, but they all just huddle in there in one little black 6 beady eyed heap and stay warm and sleep. This may just be how they spend the rest of the rain season until they get a dog run back. Sorry dogs!

It's all about compromise.

Practice yesterday, quick practice because rain was coming and horses were waiting, was teeter day. Otterpop worked on doing her teeter all by her lonesome, far, far, far away from me. She will do anything I ask when we practice. A teeter at 30' away in the big scarey dog show ring with the Judge Who Clearly is a Dog Slasher nearby and terrible things like Photographers and Spectators who could be armed and dangerous robots, that is too much to ask. But someday, she is going to get that Gamble with a Teeter. She still needs that ONE Advanced Gamblers Q to move to Masters Gamblers. But we are a little cursed in that department. We rarely get to do Gamblers on Sundays. And one time, the time with the nice tunnel to a-frame, was the time I ran into the judge. Sorry Jim HIbbard but you were standing Right in Front of the Jump EVERYONE was using to head into the gamble! And one time I just messed up my opening timing, that time had a nice set of jumps and tunnels in the gamble. And one time, a teeter, no dice. But today, I was sending her out to speedy nice teeters and onto hard pole entrances from almost miles away. Kudos to Otterpop!

Ruby worked on nice fast teeters and just nice fast things sequences with lots of tugging or getting the toy. Far distance with toy thrown out, and close tight turns in and getting the toy. I am trying to get her less food frantic during practice and keep her motivation up with toys and see if we can somehow skew that into faster runs when she is bored out of her little skull from sitting all day at a trial or whatever causes her to slow down by the end of the day. Thus eventually becoming faster weave poles. So goes my theory. So she is just practicing having fun.

Gustavo is learning to run speedy fast up the teeter and flip into his down while I set it down slow. That is all he has to do for a long time. He just needs to learn to fly up that board and not get scared and always hit his down. So that's what he does. He needs to do everything a lot of times before he gets it. That is how he learns. I get it! So that's what we do. I am doing lots more clicker tricks with him, lots of fast, fast, fast repetitions and he is getting things. I can't ask him to do too many things or let him go to Spring Break in Puerto Vallarta of the Mind. So now he is learning a little through the legs move to my right and revisiting hand touches. Easy. Right? Your dog learned it in 5 minutes. My other dogs in a couple sessions. Gustavo, few weeks. He is fast, he is talented, he just learns more slowly so I get this now! We gots no hurry vato. We got all the time he needs.

And we got to practice in the light. At our house, we had no power last night. Tiresome. But who would have thought dogs notice? It's just nighttime and dark right? Not for little Gustavo. Power goes out, he runs to a crate and hides and won't come out. Power on? Out of crate, a-ok. Power out? Panic, scrambles off to crate. He's a fraidy cat! I'm getting him his own flashlight.

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