Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Weather's Been Nicer and Overall, Hardy had a Great Week!

The beginning of our week didn't seem promising since Kristen, Sean (her boyfriend) and Soapy left early Monday morning on their long drive to Skagway, Alaska. All of us enjoyed their visit immensely and are missing them already! Hardy, especially, loved having his "cousin" here to play with and he's feeling the loss the most, I think. 
Instead of laying around missing everyone, Hardy and I ran some errands (while Laurel took a nap). We picked up a prescription and a couple items at the drug store and took a deposit to the bank. He was very well behaved and received many compliments from employees and other customers alike. In the evening, we went to the rally class - we did some mini-courses to work on the various exercises and I recognized that Hardy struggles with focus and enthusiasm at the beginning of the course; once he gets going, he can be brilliant! Obviously, I need to work on developing that from the very start. After the rally class, Laurel got to come in and play "obedience dog". We worked on directed jumping, retrieve on the flat and over a jump, drop on recall, and the go outs. We tried to connect the go out with a directed jump and discovered that we need to work on that. Besides using treats, I'm also using a ball as a reward - Laurel finds that combination extremely motivating and she is a happy, happy worker!
Tuesday, Hardy and I attended an obedience class - we worked on long sits and downs with distractions. Although we are working on this, Hardy still tends to sit in a sloppy "puppy sit". We've been working on having him sit up and straight by asking him to sit and clicking just as his butt hits the ground and then throwing the treat so that he doesn't sit back and get sloppy. Obviously, he can sit "well" but it seems to be difficult for him. And when he is doing a long sit, he tends to slide into a down - he doesn't get up and go anywhere but he doesn't remain sitting either. So while his down stay is really solid, we need to keep working on the sit stay. We also worked on changes of pace and in order to have him enthusiastic as we step off heeling, I did a lot of starting off fast from a halt. I'm sure I can work through it with him but this certainly reminds me again just how different Laurel and Hardy really are! After class, Laurel got to come in and do some more obedience. She did very well and we were able to do a send out and then a directed jump on her way back to me. Then Hardy had his first "big boy" agility class. He's still jumping 12 inches but also does the full height A-Frame and Dog Walk, 1/2 height teeter, tunnels & chutes and has the beginnings of 6 channel weaves. For class, we performed a number of exercises which involved having a tunnel wrapped around one end of the dog walk and then did a complete 19 obstacle course. Hardy handled the tunnel to dog walk entrances going both ways beautifully and I have to admit that I was amazed at how well he did with the entire course. So far, he does not take the jumps very seriously - of course, he can trot over a 12 inch jump so he often knocks down the bars. However, he did the course without any knockdowns while completing the contacts (dog walk and teeter) and tunnels beautifully.  
Wednesday and Thursday, Hardy and I went for walks at the MetroParks on our way to my Levels classes. There is an entrance to the park right on my way to Canine Affair and the weather was cool and beautiful. We had a great time - Hardy is a joy to walk with and we spent some time enjoying the scenery with him sniffing to his heart's content. He also did demos for my class which is always fun! 
Yesterday and today the weather has turned nasty again (cold and wet) so we worked on things around the house. If the weather cooperates tomorrow, Hardy will get to run around outside with his Border Collie friend, Xen, while we visit with our friends, Ana & Rob. Xen is not Laurel's biggest fan but we'll see if they do better outside with lots of running room!

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