Monday, March 8, 2010

A weekend of firsts...

So this weekend was packed with lots of action for both girls. The warmer temperatures and sunshine meant it was time to finally get out of the apartment and get some fresh air!

Saturday saw a trip to Masterson Station Park where we went for a short walk and then met up with some of the Park's resident horses. LaMesa has yet to meet my horses back at my parents' farm, so this was her first experience with the four-hooved creatures. She was absolutely enamored by them! As always, she didn't show any fear when she just trotted under the fence and right up to each one that was currently munching away on their hay. Here's her video from that:

After meeting the horses, we went to an open area and played tennis ball with the girls so they could stretch their legs and burn off some more energy.

Sunday, after another walk around the neighborhood (I've been trying to get in as many walks with the girls as I can--it's good for Mesa to see more different things, plus to work on her heeling, etc.), we made our first trek out to the agility field since this Fall. Well, this was Dally's first trip in five months, and Mesa's first-ever. Dally and I had Competition Prep class, but I brought Mesa out to, once again, get her out and about and meet all the other dogs. She was a trooper hanging out in Dally's wire crate. She spent the whole time watching all of the dogs go through the different courses and watch the comings and goings. She only whined/barked a few times, but was hushed when I'd yell out to her. After I worked with Dally for a while, I took her back to her stake with Porter (Dally's "best friend"--a Cardigan Welsh Corgi) and got Mesa out to work on a few things.

I hadn't been able to do much training with Mesa over the last week because I left my clicker in Jodi's car. I got it back Saturday, so I had the opportunity to use it Sunday. I started off with our basics--"sit," "spin," and then working more on "down." I got out a target and threw it out on the grass and even though we hadn't worked on target since the first time we did it a week ago, she went right to it to touch the target and come back to me for her treat after she heard the click! Yay!

Merinda and I decided to see if she'd go through a tunnel if we straightened out and scrunched it up. Merinda held Mesa on one end, while I laid down in front of the other end with the clicker and a treat. The first few times Mesa wasn't too sure how to get to me while I was calling her name, but she'd slowly go through the tunnel the first few times. Finally, after maybe four trips slowly through the tunnel, she ran right through when Merinda let her go, so we stopped there and she got lots of praise and love. Afterwards, I turned Dally loose so they could run around and play before heading home. Dally ran through the same tunnel (which was returned back to it's proper length and angled in a wide "U"), with Mesa running right after Dally and not even bulking! Yay!

I know many people say to take it slow with Mesa and introducing the different obstacles from the field, but I didn't think it'd hurt to introduce a short tunnel with positive results. I had wanted to walk her over the "baby dog walk" which is just the top of an old dog walk propped on cement blocks, but I had forgotten. Oh well...there's plenty of time for that. I just need to continue working on the basics and slowly introduce things to her.

I'm thinking of working both Dally and Mesa on Rally and get both of their Rally Novice titles this year. I talked with one friend whose Sheltie got her RN at 10 months and she said it was great foundation training for a puppy in preparation for agility. And I think the results speak for themselves--Bindi Sue got her MACH last year and I think she's only three! But, I need to find someone who will work with me on the basics, and then find some trials to enter later this summer.

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