...ready for action !

Monday, September 14, 2009

Secret update and when to trial?

Well I haven't updated on Secret for a bit, mainly because she is such a frustrating dog! She probably has the most natural ability of all my dogs, on the flat she can run extremely fast and turn very tightly. She outruns and out-turns Terra easily. But she doesn't really seem to like agility that much. Jess did agility because I wanted her to, she enjoyed it but she enjoyed doing it with me, the same as all her other dog sports. Being a naturally biddable and intelligent dog, she did very well. Terra does agility because she LOVES it. She would run with anyone, doesn't think or worry about anything too much, she just gets a blast doing agility FAST. Secret will do agility, if she thinks its worth something to her. For example, if I ask her to do an A Frame on the way out to walk in the park, she goes over bottom-over-head, holds her 2o2o, easily a sub 1 second A Frame. To get her dinner she will perform great sliding See Saws and so on. Unfortunately when I take her to training there is so much else going on and so much else to watch that I don't get anywhere near the same performance. I guess I haven't managed to transfer the value to the obstacles. The same reward at training does not produce the response it does at home, and it is still more enjoyable for her to chase/bark at other dogs.
I have had lots of people ask me recently why isn't she in the ring? She can do all the obstacles, reliably and consistently. She waits at the start, stops on her contacts and can do basic weave entries. She is not performing the way I would want her to in the ring though, so hence I am not putting her in the ring! It amazes me the people that put their dogs in the ring when they are not performing the behaviors how you want them to at training. In my experience, if anything, the behaviors tend to get WORSE in the ring, so you certainly want to start from a pretty high level.
I've never had a dog ready to go into the ring at 18months of age, I admire the people that can get them ready for that age, but at the same time I would rather wait until they are ready because I have seen a lot of people put dogs in the ring too early, and the dog either shuts down or learns that they can do whatever they want in the ring. I had quite a lot of pressure to put Terra in at 18months, because the nationals were in Perth, and lots of people put their novice dogs in. I'm glad I resisted, because she wasn't ready. When she went into the ring (6 months later), she proved that it was the right decision to give her a bit more time, and she hasn't looked back.
So, Secret will hopefully go into the ring, it wont be for any particular time or event, (although I would like to have her ready for our nationals), it will be when she says she is ready (please, Secret, can that be sometime this century?!)

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