Thursday, January 9, 2014

Remember Where You Came From... And Then Run For the Hills!

So, my little Pico's having some struggles. He likes to practice Agility and he likes 'Dog School' but he's super stressed at trials. He can do the Weaves and do the Teeter in class, but he acts like he's never seen them before at a trial... What's a slow-witted, novice dog trainer like me to do?! Give up was my first thought, but my mom read us that book with the train that says, 'I Think I Can, I Think I Can' so many times that I just can't!  I truly think I can (I'm just not sure when I will).

{Oooooh La La!}

Our instructor Jessica, suggested backing off from trialing for awhile so that we can work on  de-stressing Pico. I thought this was a great idea. Except that there was Winter League and that only happens once a year. And there is a trial coming up that is super close, and you can't really miss super-close trials because they don't happen that often. Oh! and there was a Snooker class in December that was worth our time and a Run-Through is coming up in February. A Run-Through! He can have treats and everything while we pretend we are at a real trial! What could be better for him right now?

Sometimes, the best advice isn't easy to follow. What we have done is stopped the far-away trials and we have stopped our weekly practices for now. We've had some record breaking cold temps here lately and a fair amount of snow so we've also stopped our outdoor walks. We've added in short clicker training sessions and trick sessions. We've also brought the weave poles in and are re-working the 2x2s a bit.

The other thing I did was to look back through my Pico log. When we first got him, I kept a brief little log on him and his issues. Reading the log, I can feel my frustration with his crate training and potty training. I thought he was NEVER going to learn either one of those... and yet he did! I thought he would NEVER have a Start Line Stay... and yet he got one! I really truly thought he would NEVER Weave (right Jessica?) and he does! Well,  at least at home and in class :)

{This IS fun!}

Looking back, I can see that the little, completely untrained 2 year old we adopted, has learned a whole lot of things in 2.5 years! He may still have a lot to learn, but he's proven that he has an "I Think I Can" attitude! I just know that with some time and effort, just like everything else he's learned, he will learn to relax and have fun at Agility no matter where we are. We will keep you posted on our progress. I can tell you that he's done better each night at League Play this winter so look out, Here We Come!