Saturday, September 18, 2010

Trust what you Train


So after a night of being bummed about what to do fence wise I woke up and started a new day. Something will get worked out for the fence and I just need to take a little time to figure out what is best for us right now.

"Things always work out in the end" is one of my favorite sayings.  A good friend used to tell me that a lot. I first heard her say it on my trip to Africa. I have come to find that it is usually true. While it doesn't always seem so at the time things do have a way of working out. Maybe not in the way you want, at that particular time, but usually in a way that ends up being best for you. It may take awhile to see that, but often that is the case. 

When I am worried about something or working through a problem I often give myself a time limit on how long I can feel bad, waste time worrying etc. Worrying is not going to solve any problem. Working through the problem will. Of course worrying is a valid emotion and one that is good for all of us to feel from time to time, but I don't find it any help to dwell on things endlessly. That doesn't do any good and just takes too much of my energy. So I put a time limit on it. Such as thinking about what to do with the fence. I was all confused last night, didn't know what I wanted to do, okay, fine. Worry about, think about, stew about it for awhile, but in the morning it's done. Will I have all the solutions then? No, but life goes on in the meantime, and as it does I may find some of the answers I was looking for.

Reese and I played fetch in the yard this morning and after we did that for awhile, I took her for a jog on my bike. I tried this for the first time last week, but this was the first time at home. I rode in the alley which helped because there were no cars or other distractions.

I took Reese to a local agility trial that was here in town. To walk around and give her a chance to be at a trial situation with the people, the noises and dogs. She sat ring side and watched small, medium, and large dogs all take their turns on the course. She was fine with all of it, stayed calm, layed down on her own as we walked around the trial site. I put her over the practice jump a few times to see if she would listen to me.

When a handler and dog would walk by she was more interested in the handler then the dog. I really liked that, because she used to think that every dog was put on earth just to play with her. So that shift in focus was nice to see. I put her in her kennel in the car and worked on her being calm using the Manners Minder as I increased my distance.

I also talked to some people that knew Reese before when she was a crazy, barking, lunging, I want to chase any dog running in the ring mess. These people didn't even know she was there until we walked up to them and started talking. Less than a year ago that would have never happened. They would have known we were there long before they ever saw us.

I've thought a lot about the changes in Reese in the past year and half, and I'm not really sure what has had the most effect, but I think it has been lots of little things we have learned. What ever it is I was proud to show off my distinctly different dog than I used to have.

Later, at home I got out our tunnel which has basically been in storage since I got it last Spring. I couldn't take it anymore, maybe we don't have a fence today, but I am not going to let that stop me anymore. I'll figure out a way that we can use the equipment I have.

So I put a long loose line on Reese and sent her through the tunnel, she came whipping out and back to my and stopped at my feet waiting for the tuggie. I added a set of jump uprights and we worked on turns with the tunnel for speed. Then I got out our weaves. Those don't work on a long line, jumps don't really work either.

So.....I decided to be brave, or.... to trust my dog.

My trainer always asks, "what would she do if she was off leash at home, do you really think she would run off?" So I decided to test a bit. See where we were on things.

It was a fairly quite day in the neighborhood, so I took the long line off Reese and put her leash on her and then promptly dropped it. I sent her through the weaves and over some jumps and into the tunnel.....it was great. No, the jump bars didn't stay on so we left those down and worked on turns around the uprights and used the tunnel for speed. I also managed one face plant, luckily no one was here to witness it. Reese listened to me great, and had great attention while we were working. So we will get working on heavier distractions so that I can keep trusting my dog. Even though she was still dragging a leash I was really happy with her.

You can train all you want, but at some point you have to test it.

I was really proud of my dog today, and proud of myself for trusting what I trained.

2 comments:

fulltiltbcs said...

GREAT POST!!!!! LOVE THIS! :-)) I am so proud of both of you!

Sare said...

Thanks.