Puppy has been having a busy few weeks! He spent the first weekend in May in kennels with Mollie, due to a whole crop of unforseen circumstances. Kim and I were competing (badly!) at Shrewsbury and the rest of the family were in Blackpool or Doncaster, and in the end, we decided it was better to leave the dogs in kennels than leave them locked up at home for 8hours+ a day. Neither of them seemed at all bothered by the experience!
Dylan had an agility session all on his own last night, without Kim or Mol. It’s the first chance I’ve had to work him somewhere whilst the girls have been at home, and he loved it! He loves been the center of attention and he had me and Mum all to himself. We did some more jumping exercises over mixed-height jumps (medium & small height), and he’s working really well. He broke his wait once or twice and that’s something I definitely don’t want him to do, so we’re going to go back to basics and reinforce it. He also knocked a couple of poles off but that was entirely my fault – I set up a box as I normally would, and completely forgot to consider the stride difference between Dylan and Kim! The jumps were spaced loosely for Kim, but they were a bit tight for Dylan’s lanky self, which meant he didn’t get chance to get his paws up in time. He did start thinking about it and adjusting himself after a while though, which is great. He’s also jumping huge at the moment, far higher than he needs to!
We did five or ten minutes contact training, which he quite enjoyed, although I don’t think he’s quite got the concept yet. I really need to build up his confidence on the contact equipment. I wasn’t planning on doing any weaves with him for a while yet, mainly because I wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle them and I didn’t want him to do them until I was confident. But I read the fantastic articles that Bernadette Olssen-Bay wrote for the Agility Voice last year (you can find them here if you don’t subscribe, and she also had a wonderful blog over at http://obayshelties.blogspot.com/. I think she’s got me hooked on Shelties!) and she commented on some training techniques for the weaves that I hadn’t heard of before, and when we arrived the V-weaves were set up anyway so I thought I might give it a go.
I left the V’s really wide, since we hadn’t used them before, but Dylan took to it like a house on fire, I was really surprised. I did five minutes mid-session with him, only three or four run-throughs on the lead towards a toy, which I planned to leave it at. But then after we had put the equipment away he was still wanting to work (doing his target training by himself!) so I thought I’d let him run-through again, on the lead. Well, something must have clicked, maybe he’s not as stupid as he looks! He was working the weaves himself, and the lead was really just holding him back. Chuffed to bits! I then recalled him through three/four/five of the poles, and then did one six-pole recall with him, just to see if he could. No problems! Obviously the poles weren’t tight but he still had to think about it and his left/right foot pattern was lovely.
Dylan also has some new best friends, particularly Lolly (right), Stripe and Ben. He still loves his Jet the best, although her little brother Chip the Lurcher is great for leaping around like a lunatic with! Dylan loves coming to flyball training and watching the other dogs run, although I am going to hold off until later this year to get him started. Jet and Stripe have just done their first real tournament and they both did fantastically! I’m sure it won’t be long until Lolly does hers either; she’s had some issues in the past but has really come on these past few months and had a bright flyballing future ahead. Hopefully this time next year Dylan will be joining her!