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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Good Seminar; Bad News

This weekend we were at an obedience and agility seminar with Kiersten Lloyd.  Saturday was the obedience portion.  In the morning I took Bosley and we worked on heeling and drop on recalls.  Bosley's heeling was very nice.  He was really focused on me but was forging a bit.  I use my shoulder to get him back in position, but I need to work on him keeping the proper heel position without giving him any physical cues.  I learned that, during heeling, it is important to keep your body language consistent and calm.  I also need to take longer, faster strides with Bosley to keep him at a nice heeling pace.  When we are working on the slow portion of heeling, it is important to keep my strides long (not choppy) but slow.  Everyone seemed to improve on the slow heeling exercise when they did this.  I also need to work on my turn footwork - it is sloppy.  During the drop on recall exercise I worked each part separate because Bosley has not yet learned to combine the two.  I am going to start practicing the drop from short distances and make it a fun game for him.  The afternoon session was for dogs getting ready for their CDX.  I brought Maggie to this because Bosley has done little dumbbell work.  I have not done a lot of retrieve work with Maggie so I was interested in how she would perform.  I was actually impressed.  She retrieved the dumbbell  ( but in typical goofy Maggie style) on the flat and over the jump (we have never practice retrieving over the jump before).  She drops it when she gets to me, so we need to work on her getting comfortable holding the dumbbell until I take it from her.  We also worked on the broad jump exercise, which Maggie has not done before.  She did quite well coming back to front after the jump, but neither of us was familiar or comfortable with the exercise and we probably won't be practicing it at all, as I don't know if we will ever get to a CDX level.   The best part of the day was that Maggie nailed her stays, even the out-of-sight stays.  I was impressed with that.  Overall, the obedience seminar was very good.  We got lots of feedback on our dogs and how to improve.  
Today was the agility portion of the seminar.  Kiersten really stresses that each dog is unique and that your handling must reflect the capabilities of your dog.  I really liked this approach.  Maggie was very good today.  She tried really hard and was spunky all day.  We did a lot of handling skills, which I need, and I learned a lot.  I think that the biggest thing that I took away from the agility session, was that you are a team with your dog and you need to keep connected in order to have a good run.  Use what works for your dog, not every dog is the same.  The bad part of the day came right at the beginning of our first agility exercise.  Maggie knocked a bar (which she rarely does anymore).  We redid the exercise and she knocked the same bar again.  Right away Kiersten said "your dog is injured".  She noticed that Maggie's stride in the front was not quite right.  She was reaching farther with one leg than with the other.  She checked Maggie over and Maggie has a tender and inflammed muscle on her left right leg.  We continued with the rest of the seminar, but only jumped 10".  Maggie is on complete rest for the week and she has an appointment tomorrow to be accessed by a canine massage therapist.  I am really worried.  Maggie has been running so well lately.  We are entered in a trial next weekend and I will be disappointed if I have to pull her because I have been really excited about this trial.  I know there will be lots more trials, but everything seems to finally be coming together for us and I really wanted to get out there and go full out with her and have fun.  The health of my dog is way more important than going to a trial, but it is still really disappointing.  I am also worried that Maggie's problem may be more that just a strained muscle and that she will need to be out of agility for a while; we both really love agility.


  1. I have a few comments, so bear with me.

    your dogs are fabulous =)
    you are a great dog trainer =)
    and yes, Maggie is a little sore but I would not call her "injured"
    She may have bumped it on the standard when she knocked the bar, she may have slipped a bit on a run, she might have been playing too rough with Bosley...and she might be perfectly fine by this morning.

    Keep thinking positive!

  2. Wow, is Bosley in Intermediate level like me too? Coz that's what Intermediates learn. Sorry to hear about Maggie's paw paw...I hope it gets better soon. Keep us updated!

    Love licks,
    Solid Gold Dancer

  3. I love the new picture at the top!