News, commentary, and training tips for the dog agility enthusiast.
Welcome to the BDA Weekly! A cold front has moved into Texas, dropping the high for today to a chilling 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Let’s talk agility before it starts snowing…
Christmas is here! I have not one, but TWO preset Sirius satellite radio channels in the dog agility minivan. I’m getting the tree up before Thanksgiving. Before I do that though, can we all agree that “Last Christmas” by Wham! isn’t really about Christmas and has no business being played on these Christmas channels?
Meanwhile, the U.S. Open starts tomorrow in Jacksonville, Florida. Did you know that the Jacksonville Jaguars are 5-3 at the halfway point and are 50 to 1 to win the Super Bowl? Before you bet the farm on Blake Bortles, make sure you set aside $15-30 for donation to 4 Legged Flix, as they will be providing the free livestream for the event.
Two weeks ago, Sarah and I did a podcast called “Pushing the Edge” and we talked about pushing the edge of commitment to create distance and increase confidence in our dogs. This past weekend, I took my inexperienced border collie Miriya to her first trial in 3 years and she was a little clingy. In the video below, you can see that Mir is very relaxed, confident, and fast at home but much less so at the trial as she pulls off two different jumps and checks her stride on rear crosses. Many trainers in this situation will look to help the dog by handling closer to the jump or avoiding rear crosses, and I will do some of that in the short term, but mostly I want to figure out the underlying cause of the difference in performance. Is it stress and anxiety? Excitement and overwhelm? Running on a new surface besides grass? Perhaps a little bit of everything, and I will be looking for opportunities to gradually ease Miriya into busier environments where we can do some simple work and play, like tugging, start line stands, and nose touches. I’ll do this at the agility trial in between runs, working our way closer to the ring. As Miriya becomes more comfortable, her performance in the ring will improve. In the meantime, I will continue to push the edge in both practice and trials.
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and give me a few days to get back to you, weather permitting. The last time Houston got an inch of snow? December 4, 2009, when my son Isaac was 5. He’s a teenager now.