This is about what I’ve felt like doing for the last two weeks, but I think Mufaasa and Me are ready to get our groove on again (PS: yes, it is hard to breath with him lying on me like that. Beleive it or not, that’s us at work. Shows what Mufaasa thinks about editing).
We’ve graduated to 6 weave polls (using the Susan Garrett method) and he’s picking up the extra set really fast. In fact, I do all my weave poll training currently in my extra room and he’s now started wandering in there on his own and then glaring at me from the door way, clearly annoyed that we aren’t training every moment of the day (sometimes I wonder if there’s actually lab in this guy and he’s not just an exceptionally laid back purebred boarder collie). Also, his boarder collie face is really coming along!
I think I’m going to have to invest in some mats for better traction if we’re going to keep training inside, since the more he drives to the end of the weave polls (which I want), the more he tends to slip on my floors. It’s worrisome since a) it might freak him out and make him not want to go as fast and b) he could easily slip and hurt himself, especially since moving through weave polls is a pretty unnatural thing for a dog to do, and puts a lot of stress on their bodies. I think I might go out and get a set (or two) of these. If I’m going to keep training indoors they’ll probably be a good investment. They might even be good to have for when I’m training outside on an uneven or hard surface. Anyone have an experience with these things?
Anyway, I’ve definitely got the DIY bug. Right now I’m borrowing weave polls to do my training, so I’m going to have to either buy a set or build one. The easiest thing is to get the kind that you just stick in the ground, but again I train inside (don’t have a yard I can just leave them set up in) and it’s the winter, so the ground is frozen (however, two of the polls I’m using right now are exactly that kind, I’ve just stuck them in a plant pot and filled it with dirt so they’ll stand up. Works for now at least but the pots give him more stuff to work his poor little legs around). I also need to build at least two jumps. He’s still a bit sloppy with his hind end and could use some set-point exercises, not to mention just doing circle work over fences would be great for him. I’m going to see if I can pull these plans off. They seem simple enough, but ideally I won’t have to glue every connector so that the jump can be more easily transported. Hard to jump in my little 650 square foot condo! I’m also going to see if I can make a few cavaletties. They are so, so useful for jump training with horses, and I’m sure the same will be true with Mufaasa. And the advantage with these particular plans is that I should be able to put it together with scraps or very cheap supplies (same with the jumps, actually). I figure if I can put this stuff together without screwing it up to much, it could save a tone of money, and we’re at the point where we really need actual equipment to keep going.
Happily I do have one bit of equipment on the way. My dad made me two practice planks. I think they’re both the same size (4 feet long), but I might be wrong about the width (we talked a lot about it, including him suggesting that he build me a full sized dog walk which whoa boy do I not have room for nor need just yet). They haven’t arrived yet, but they should look like the one in the photo to the left (from Clean Run, but I ain’t prepared to pay $60US for a fancy board with paint on it) but one may be the width of an a-frame as well as one the width of a dog-walk, I can’t remember what we decided on. I really only need one, but I think it’ll make a nice proof of his 2 on, 2 off skills (see original post about contacts if you forgot what that’s all about) later; I’m thinking I can just set them up in two area’s in the house and just run from one to the other (but, like, in a month or two when I can reasonably expect him to do that for me!).
In the meantime Mufaasa has been doing great with his nose touches. We’ve been practicing with his Kurunda bed standing in for a step (since my condo’s all one level and yes, I am seriously too lazy to walk outside). We have the target on the floor and I can pretty much stand all around him and get him to “stick it” (poke the target with his nose). Once I start waving my arms around and jumping up and down he looses it, but we’ll get there.
Again, I wish I had more actual pictures of Mufaasa. I’ll try and see if I can set up a video of us doing weave polls, but unfortuantely I still don’t have internet at home so updating the blog is kinda hard. In the meantime, here’s a crappy phone photo of him in the snow at Africville: