Salsa is competing mostly in agility at this point. My main focus is to keep her happy on course, which also keeps her speed up. I’m trying to determine how hard I can push handling-wise before she starts going around jumps to catch up with me. She likes to chase me, but if I get too far ahead, she sometimes pulls off of jumps. I’ve accepted the fact that Salsa isn’t confident enough to work ahead of me at trials which sometimes means some creative handling to avoid the need to rear cross. Salsa is headed to the Agility Invitational in December. I’d like to try to have as many clean runs there as possible and know we will have to push for speed to make time in jumpers. Salsa is working on open obedience also, but doesn’t have a retrieve yet. I’m taking it slow, because I know too much pressure will cause her to shut down. After the Invitational Salsa will need to take a break from training to have a large fatty tumor removed that recently formed.
Juno will also be attending the Agility Invitational. This is exciting because she is the first GBGV invited, but also a little nerve wracking since unlike my reliable PBGV girls she still does strange things on course fairly often. We are getting more Qs than we used to, sometimes even in standard where there is more “stuff” to get her in trouble, but every run is still on the edge. Juno is faster than the Petits since she is about 2 inches taller, but she also weighs 15 pounds more so turns are physically harder for her. Juno is more confident that my other agility girls, so things don’t bother her as much but she also doesn’t concern herself as much with what I ask her to do. I’m hoping she will look like she belongs at the Invitational and maybe have some clean runs. Also if she would stop making right turns after every single a-frame it would be nice…….. Juno is doing well in obedience. She’s also not retrieving yet, but holds a dumbbell. We will probably try Graduate Novice this winter.
Last fall I had talked about my training plans and goals for each of the dogs, so it seems like a good time for updates. To keep post lengths under control, I’ll make this a four part series and talk about 2 dogs each week for the next month, from oldest to youngest.
Chili is still competing in agility and hunt tests and doing really well. I try not to think about the fact that she will celebrate her 10th birthday next month, but I know that I should enjoy this time with her. She hasn’t really slowed down in agility, but has never had the fastest ground speed between obstacles. Over the past year I’ve added a lot of blind crosses and new handling moves, which have helped her speed a lot, especially in jumpers. If you can’t go faster, it helps to at least run the courses as tightly as possible. I don’t train agility much with Chili, but she does still enjoy learning new turns and I think this keeps her more interested on course, which can mean more speed. This fall I am doing an online prep course for the Agility Invitational, which Chili will attend for the sixth time in December.
I have come to the decision not to continue working on open obedience with Maya. The out of sight stays are so stressful for her that she started really shutting down when I asked her to work in new places, even in the Pre-Open class where stays were not a requirement. We are still competing in agility on a limited basis, but Maya will retire when she finishes her Master titles in standard and jumpers. She currently needs one leg for each. Maya enjoys agility, but has never gotten the idea that speed is part of the game, so making time in a big challenge, even in preferred. Pursuing a PACH just isn’t going to be realistic, as she usually trots along at about 2 yards per second. Maya really likes therapy visits and helping me teach CPL puppy class at the women’s prison, which will make a good retirement job for her. I may try nose work with her over the winter also.