Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Training Walks!

Last night, at long, long last, Dean had a training walk.  And, for good measure, so did Speedy.  Then, I didn't want to leave Tessa out, so she got one too, even though earlier attempts to do training walks with her didn't work out very well.

I have noticed that Dean's duration focus has deteriorated.  It's no wonder.  We haven't really done anything with duration focus in ages.  Not since his Rally trials back in November!  Short periods of focus, yes, but not duration.  And Dean needs regular upkeep of this particular concept.

It was pretty nice last night.  I had been at work all day and all evening, so around 9:00 PM, out we went!

At first Dean was a little scattered and he kept disconnecting every time I gave him a treat, but we played some GMAB and his focus snapped right back.  By the end of the training time, he was doing some nice duration work.

We did straight heelwork on both the left and right.  We did 360's with him on the outside and on the inside.  We did switches.  We did straight heelwork with twirls and spins.

I hope to do this with him again at least two more times before the trials this weekend.  Ideally, I would have liked to have started this about a week ago, but I will be glad for whatever we get a chance to do.  A little goes a long way with this type of training.  I know it will make a big difference.

After we worked, I put Dean in the car - he likes to be in the car - and I took Speedy for a spin.  He did a really nice job.  In fact, of the three of them, his work was the most focused.  We did the same kinds of things that Dean did - straight heelwork, lots of outside turns, circles, spins/twirls, switches.

This will help him condition for summer Freestyle video performances, so it is good that we are starting this now.

Finally, I brought Tessa out.  The last time we tried this, she got very distracted and stressed.  At that point the cows were out and she was very bothered by working so close to them.  The cows aren't out yet, so that was one big issue nullified.

She was more distracted than usual.  She is not used to training in the street, as Dean and Speedy are.  I started with her facing me, clicking and treating as I moved backwards and she came toward me.  I did that just as a warm up.  Once she understood we were training, I had her work in heel and side.

I omitted fancy stuff with Tessa and we worked just on short bursts of forward movement in both heel and side.  It was interesting because lately in the ring, her right side work has been much stronger than her left side work.  Out on the road, it was the opposite.  She was very comfortable in heel.  In side she got more distracted.

We didn't work long, but it was fruitful.  This is something I would like to do more with her.  For one thing, the road is about the only place I can work with her where we can get into our groove and move for some duration.  Also, it is great for confidence.

I teach this evening so I'm not sure if we will get out tonight, but I definitely want to do this again very soon!


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