Last Thursday was agility class. It went well enough, but I really don't have anything special to report. I'd gotten Gimme out for a run on the Fort Lewis training area earlier, so she was pretty focused. During our first turn, she was avoiding jumps. I'd had her treated recently, so I knew she should not have been uncomfortable. I slowed everything down and just got her to jump a half dozen jumps one-by-one. Afterwards she was fine and the rest of our turn was lovely. I think she remembered being uncomfortable two weeks before and since we haven't practiced since then, I believe she thought jumping might still hurt.
For our second session, it was a disaster - all because of me. For the life of me I could not get the course to stick in my head. We never did do more than short smidgens of the course, but Gimme was doing everything I cued... so I was certainly happy with her efforts. I can't explain why I couldn't remember the course, I just couldn't. Oh well...
I do want to talk about our last weekend, but not the nosework trial, which I've already covered in another entry. We went down to Cowlitz for a barn hunt workshop. It was just a basic workshop, which we don't need, but I'd talked to the organizer telling her what I wanted to do - which was basically to have Gimme experience multiple rat finds. I didn't think she would have any difficulty with it, but did want to try it before I entered a trial.
|Mock Instinct Test|
|obligatory Barn Hunt butt shot|
Our last run was a two rat search. When Gimme found the first one, she was being her usual over-the-top self and trying to keep it from being taken away, when I told her "Thank you. Find another one." I use this cue in nosework to tell her to look for more odor. Amazingly, she just stopped, looked at me for an intense half-second, then took off to find the other rat. I was just so proud of her. To see her respond correctly to a cue she'd only heard in the context of nosework, in this entirely different context - well, it was cool. But then we already knew she's a genius.
I'd seen a group holding a weight pull in a nearby building. I asked if it was possible to try it with my dog and the lady said if someone had a harness in her size, they could let us try it at the end of the day after the trial ended. So after our workshop was over, I watched weight pulling through to the end. It is mostly Pit Bulls, but a smattering of other breeds, to include one woman with four toy poodles.
There was a harness available in the correct size, so Gimme got to try weight pull. I was so proud of her because the woman who dressed her was pretty rough and intrusive, without any introduction or finesse. Gimme handled it well, though I could tell she thought her very rude. Gimme pulled the cart three times. The first time she was kinda worried about the feel of the harness straps against her legs and the bar moving behind her, but was willing to pull while licking peanut butter. The second time she was a little more comfortable and pulled with the peanut butter just as a lure, despite turning to look at the huge old cart coming after her (there is a person behind it acting as a brake to make sure it doesn't run up on the dogs).
The third time she just pulled because I was in front of her and cheering her on. I could tell she was kinda enjoying the experience. I was pretty certain she would like the challenge. The cart she pulled on smooth and level ground weighs 340 pounds. For the novice title she would need to pull eight times her own weight, so between 360 and 400 pounds, depending on how much she weighs at weigh in. So her easy pull was nearly enough to qualify for a title leg.
To get a weight pull championship, she'd have to accumulate 100 points. Points are assessed based on how much weight she pulls successfully each day. They can earn 5, 10, 15 or 20 points. She'd get 5 points for pulling ten times her own weight (450-500 pounds). I'm sure she could do it, since the 340 pounds was so very easy for her.
I'll want to do some training and conditioning for her. I'll have to buy the pulling harness for her, as well as a 4 wheel garden cart from Home Depot. We can start just pulling it around the neighborhood. Then I can load it up with cinder blocks and let her pull it around for conditioning. We have some shallow inclines which would be good for conditioning.
I just love seeing all the things this girl can do. So far I'm thinking Barn Hunt is her all time favorite. Still she likes doing new things and conquering challenges, so we have plenty of things we can do together.