We finally got a break in the weather today. It was in the upper 50s, which is like a taste of spring here in Iowa. Suppose to snow tomorrow though : ( With the decent weather, we met our training buddies at the fairgrounds for some outdoor work in a new location. We set up our portable gates and jumps on an outdoor stage there. Even though it's off season for the fairs, there was still a lot of traffic and construction type equipment moving around the grounds, so this provided some new distractions from the indoor rings.
We started out with some heeling work to warm up, then did articles. The articles went well as far as working the pile and getting the correct article fairly quickly. As he gains confidence in working articles with distractions, I need to figure out a way to speed him up on the return. Once he gets the article, he just walks slowly back to me with it. If I can figure out a way to make a game of it, maybe we can get some speed. I was pleased with the glove exercise. His pivots and retrieves were good. However, we have the same problem with speed on the return with the glove as we do with articles.
I'm still taking it easy with Jackson, and even though he wasn't showing lameness today, we didn't do the jumping part of the exercise. We did do a few go-outs and worked on speeding up his sits. The first signal exercise we did, he anticipated and started going down before I gave the signal. But, that doesn't worry me. At least he knows what he's supposed to be doing - he just needs to wait for the signal. The next couple sets of signals he did fine. What we focused on today with the signal exercise is the stand. I'm finding that when we both get stopped, we're not in heel position. He is out in front of me too far. I think this is something that I need to figure out as far as my timing on giving the signal to stand.
After we finished practicing, we went for a walk around the fairgrounds. What I realized doing that was, he's not used to just leisurely walking around, smelling the grass, etc. He tends to stay in heel position as we move forward. Maybe we need more play time outdoors and less formal training? Hmmm.... something to remember as the weather warms up : )