With very little practice and almost no warm up as I never know when to show up for obedience trials, Navarre and I gave Open another try today. And, once again, ALMOST finished that CDX. Unfortunately ‘almost’ counts for nothing in obedience. Today’s issue, about five feet from the end of the heeling pattern Navarre just had to stop and scratch at his collar, which he never wears outside of obedience trials. Maybe I should change that. Now, the scratching I can kind of get, but then he looked up and saw one of the markers on the ground and went over to sniff, so I called him, which apparently he came on his name and not the command or something silly like that, so NQ. I’m not overly concerned about the technicalities of it all, your dog really shouldn’t stop to scratch and wander off on the heeling, so I’m not at all upset about it.
Other than that bobble he did everything correctly, including the command discrimination and he did not ONCE stand up when I said ‘yes’ that I was ready before every exercise. I even did the ‘get your leash’ exercise correctly for once – go Heather! He didn’t look sad on his drop on recall and his fronts and finishes were actually pretty good. So, hey, not too disappointed. And it was a very QUICK trip, what with arriving two dogs before he was in the ring, and then leaving to meet someone right after. Normally I would have liked to watch and visit, but it was so claustrophobic in there with all the obedience folks squished into the tiny venue.
Navarre was pretty outwardly focused and easily distracted, but I get it, it’s not his passion in life. I felt he was trying really hard to do something that he doesn’t really care about just for me. He doesn’t find that intense one on one time as desirable as Haku and Fenwick did – he’d rather be saying hi to the people around him! He’s a good boy though, and, gosh darn it, we’re going to finish that stupid CDX one of these days. Now I have to figure out another trial to enter him in. We probably will not do Utility, or, at least, not right now. We may save that as something to do when he’s older, he’s got enough other hobbies at the moment that enjoys more. He is entered in another herding trial with Ian in a couple weeks, going to give pro-novice another try. Hopefully it will go better than last time!
Asher got to go on a six month old hike with sister Flavia this week. She really IS taller than him! Not by much, and I assume she’s just maturing faster and will pretty much stop with height soon. She has a much finer appearance and adorable little girlish head with cute little expressive ears. Asher is getting a big ol’ noggin, let me say. Asher and Flavia got along well, every time they’re together they lose more and more of that edge they had when they were younger. Now they’re just dogs hiking together, running around like nutcases.
I do wish that Asher wouldn’t get any bigger than he is now, he’s just the perfect size, just around 20 inches and about 35 lbs, I think. Alas, I think he’s got a lot more growing to do. He really is getting cuter, and just more ‘present’ in general. It just melts my heart when he stares at me with that goofy look and tilts his head trying to understand what I’m saying. And, much like with Navarre, when in doubt he just does his little sit-pretty, which is too adorable.
Asher continues to be sort of unnaturally good, which is such a border collie thing. I’m glad I had real dogs before I got border collies or I’d have really unrealistic expectations about how dogs learn. But it seems like even compared to his siblings he’s an easy boy, he never barks, certainly never screams in his crate, never even gets off the bed unless invited to in the morning. He sweet without being at all pushy, tonight he would come right up into my lap and put his head RIGHT into my ice cream bowl … and then just wait to be invited to have some. He demos stuff for my puppy classes where he works off leash surrounded by all the puppies and is perfectly focused and happy to play with me, despite the fact we certainly don’t ever work around other dogs. I have so many examples of how he’s such a good boy, but has absolutely no reason to be as I certainly never TAUGHT it, he just kind of does it.
I did get a little frustrated with him this week as we were going back to looking at some circle work and he was slamming into me and cutting behind me again and I got a bit huffy about it (that kind of thing is definitely less cute now that he’s older and bigger!), and he was so sad. Train the puppy, don’t huff at him, he wants to be right, he just needs to know how. And he does love to train, and it’s interesting to see what an extreme difference between when we’re working with food and with toys. He’s super thoughtful with the food, and really gets into his toys. We’ve been getting our tug back on now that he’s past teething stage and it’s fun to see him get so excited about it. Now, it’s not exactly unusual that my border collie likes tugging, but both Navarre and Bright were not huge toy dogs when they were younger, so it’s fun. Haku, of course, has loved all food and all toys to a ridiculous degree since day one. Haku knows how to party!
We finally somewhat mastered position changes with his front feet on a pedestal. That was so hard for him! He wanted to do it right, he just had a hard time coordinating his body. Still needs work to do it on verbals independently. We also worked a little on sequencing of pedestals. He struggled with ‘sticking’ them when coming in with more speed. And with toy could get sticky. He was mostly following my direction though. Also worked on the table and introducing sends, once again, could get sticky but if you resent him he would loosen up. We also graduated to him being required NOT to exit the arena when people came into the building – which was hard and he was not always successful! He remains a very popular puppy, he makes people feel well loved, so he loves it when people come in to the building ‘to see him’ (as he thinks of it).
We have officially introduced wraps, using a bucket so he wouldn’t have to bend too much. Didn’t take long to get him offering multiwraps with food, but he was so excited when the toys came out and we looked at just sends. That dog is DEFINITELY an ‘away’ dog, he very much prefers to go to the left, turning to right is way harder for him. We have been looking at spins, so going to try to work those right spins twice as much as the left. Yeah, it doesn’t take long before things start looking suspiciously like real agility. I think he’s going to be a lot of fun.