After taking it easy for a few days, Jackson's urinary tract infection is completely cleared up (Aren't antibiotics great!) and we're back on track again with our training. We're looking forward to our next weekend of trials, which is August 21-23. I've been thinking a lot about what I need to do to prepare for the next trial - how I need to adjust our training to improve our performance. I keep going back to the theme of the Celeste Meade seminar that I attended a couple weeks ago - 'Attitude is Everything' - and I'm thinking that's where I need to put my effort now. I believe our biggest challenge is building confidence, so my plan for the next couple weeks is going to include lots of play training; trying to build drive; and pretty much making a game of everything.
This doesn't mean that I'm not concerned with more precision and doing the exercises correctly. I'm just going to try to achieve those goals with more games and rewards. I've been working on building drive lately with the 'get it' game. In this game, I throw a treat, Jackson runs after it, runs back and touches my finger, I throw another treat in the opposite direction, and so on. We do this at the beginning of our training session and it really gets him up and going - although if we do it for too long, it may have the side affect of tiring him out : )
Here's a clip of our 'get it' game this afternoon.
Fun matches for proofing are also going to be an important part of training. Fortunately we have two fun matches close to home prior to the trial weekend. We'll try to make the most of these to see how things are coming (if any of this is carrying over into a trial-like setting), and it will give me the opportunity to train in the ring on some things if needed.
Since I introduced Jolee in the last blog, I thought I would follow-up a little on her training also. She needs one more leg (qualifying score) for her AKC CD (Companion Dog) title. Her personality is quite different from Jackson's, so I've been trying different things with her. I don't need to get her 'up' for training like I do Jackson. However, she needs a lot of proofing. We kinda jumped into trialing without doing a lot of fun matches or show and gos so her performance at the trials with all the distractions falls apart.
Here's a clip of Jolee's version of the 'get it' game.
And this is a clip of Jolee practicing heeling at the club today. Her heeling is great when she thinks I might have a treat in my hand, so we're working on attention without the treats and heeling with distractions.