A Natural Break

Each year in upstate NY most agility enthusiasts have break in our training imposed on us by mother nature.  It can be a good thing to slow down, to let body’s recover and to concentrate on cross-training activities.  We’re nearing the end of that cycle this year and soon (please, please, please), the snow will stay away and I’ll be able to get outside with nearly 15 month old Tai and train the way it works best…several short sessions a day.  It has been a LONG winter.

I also introduced a not so natural break in this training last week…the danglies that never dangled in Tai, were searched for, recovered and removed.  A 3 inch incision on his belly is healing nicely and HE is trying to tell me that he is good to go for a romp.  Just a couple more days to get to the magic 10 days post surgery.   That timing will put us in Lexington where the AKC Nationals will be held later this week. Virginia Horse Center – with it’s beautiful open grassy fields will be a nice setting for Tai’s first run since surgery.  Hope we beat the crowds so it can happen.   Here’s a picture of Tai at that site in February.

This break along with a Foundation Day seminar with Nancy Gyes and the ramp up to Susan Garrett’s Recaller 2.0 course has also given me some things to think about and plan for in our training.  Priorities include: Games to improve his toy retrieve and drive back into me including tons of retrained recalls (hope my husband is ready).  Revisiting and ramping up our crate game to an even higher level – which then become a tool to create that drive back to me; or to obstacles.  More deliberate “it’s your choice” distraction training to build his self-control around motion.  The notebook is set up and I’ll be record keeping on these items.

Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned training jumping, weaves or contacts.  That’s on the agenda of course and I have record keeping started for those too!  But that training is vastly helped by having a dog that is 100% engaged in his work,  and who has a well established reward system (e.g. drive to toy reward and bring right back to Mom for a great tug game).  Without those, the training goes slower and it can be frustrating.

Oh…in a few days Tai is officially old enough to begin trialing in AKC.  The thought makes me laugh but give us a few months and it will all come together.  That thought makes me smile.  Meanwhile, here’s to good training and here’s to reaping the rewards with fun and successful runs with Breeze at Nationals!


  • Elisabeth Hammer

    Another entery which was a joy to read. Good Luck and Best Wishes for Nationals to you and to Breeze!

  • Sharon Normandin

    I laugh also at the idea of trialing a 15 month old puppy! You are so right, getting those basic foundations well established is a must. So many people are in a hurry to do “stuff” before the relationship building, impulse control and basic skills are firmly established. Hopefully Kindle and I will be seeing you and Tai soon, as we continue on our journey.

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