Yesterday, I got something of a very pleasant surprise when someone on a Facebook Group recognized me from this blog!! It was totally unexpected! And it meant a great deal!
And, after that I got the idea to stop on in here and write a brand new entry!!
As much as I would love to go back and fill in all of the blanks that exist from the last time I posted and now, what I really want to do, and what I am going to do, is just pick back up as if I never stopped blogging, and write a post about something that just happened.
These days, Bandit is my Freestyle dog.
Dean, whose back end doesn't work so well anymore, is enjoying a quiet retirement with short hikes as his main activity. Tessa, who is still doing well, and is reasonably active, also enjoys hikes, and we are still involved with Parkour. I do have one last Freestyle goal for Tessa. We are just one leg away from her Melody Title in Poised for Success Freestyle. If we film her Artistry Leg, we will finish that up. I would like to do that, so we probably will at some point.
Dean Dog enjoying a hike in a nearby State Park
I do dabble just a bit with Rocky with some Freestyle, but he is more Ben's dog than mine, so my training with him is more casual on-again off-again. I "borrow" Rocky often when I need to film a demo with a dog who has not been trained for a certain skill!
But, for all intents and purposes, Bandit is my Freestyle dog. He is the one who goes to the building weekly to work on Freestyle. He is the one with whom I spend the most time training and building new skills.
My main goals for Bandit right now in Freestyle are to work on the skills that he needs to earn his Harmony Title in Poised for Success Freestyle, and also to work toward creating demo routines for the Dynamic Division for the venue.
I do plan to enter a WCFO competition with him in November. He needs one more leg toward his Novice title, and I would like to finish that.
One goal that I did not have for him was further work in the Cyber Rally-O Dance Divisions.
I love the CRO Dance Divisions. I love the concept of pattern dances. I enjoy working toward mastering performance of a specific structure. I have always wished that they came around when Dean was a little younger because we thoroughly enjoyed them, but he got to where he could no longer had the physical ability to do them after we had finished the pre-Bronze Level.
Bandit, on the other hand, does not love too much structure! He prefers things much more free-form. He generally does not enjoy repetition, and he is rarely thrilled when he does not have input into how things a movement sequence is going to go.
I like for my dog sport activities to be those that an individual dog of mine and I mutually enjoy, so I long ago gave up any plans to continue with Bandit in the CRO Dance Divisions. Especially since he particularly seemed to dislike duration heelwork!
Then, a few days ago, the owner of the CRO Dance Divisions made a post on the Cyber Rally-O Facebook Group to announce some modifications to the existing rules and patterns. I saw at that point that one of the Preliminary Level Patterns - the Scenic Route Tango - had been chopped in half to provide a shorter option called the Truncated Tango.
I saw that and thought, "maybe Bandit and I could do this".
We had the building rented that evening, so I set up the proper sized ring, set up the camera on a tripod, and we gave it a shot!
It was such a great experience!
we attempted the whole pattern "for real". To my surprise, Bandit was
"in the game" for the whole pattern! His nose hit the ground several
times, but he returned to offering attention when I quietly said his
That was an enormous success right there!!
sharpen it up a bit, we went through it again, with food and a clicker.
I clicked good focus, and a couple of times used the clicker to help
Bandit self-interrupt that nose touch to the ground.
Here is a video of our first attempt and the first of our two training runs:
that, we did another training run, and then took a short break. He
hung out in his crate and then we played around a bit with a target.
Then, we went out and tried it again, "for real" and ... WOW!!! We had a great run!!
can honestly say that for the first time I felt like Bandit and I were
connected and moving together as a real heeling team! I could see that
he was working to keep his focus up and to work with me!! That is the
first time I have ever seen that from him in a heelwork context!!
Here is the video that we submitted for our Truncated Tango!! I will have results within a couple of weeks!!
Now I am really excited to work with Bandit more on heelwork. I think we will work with a couple more of the CRO Dance Division patterns and see what we see!!
One really cool thing is that Bandit and I had been working on an option toward our PFS Harmony Title that I believe helped prepare us for this!! We had been working on a Floor Pattern with Transitions. I had been using reinforcers in a way that was very motivating to Bandit as we ran through the shorter heelwork pattern.
If you would like to see that Floor Pattern, and some of the other things that Bandit and I have been working on, check out this video!! (As you can probably tell, I am very much into video these days!!)
To anyone reading this, thank you for stopping in!! I am glad to "see" you here, and hope to be back again for another update soon!!