The foot ligaments: are better! Not at 100 percent yet but I think with timely applications of adrenaline and ibuprofen I’ll be able to run Phoenix this weekend. The swelling is pretty much gone, my foot is still kind of bruised-looking and definitely sore, but if I wear stiff-soled shoes, I can walk without pain. Give me another 36 hours and I’ll be able to sprint like the wind. Or something like that.
The training: What exactly AM I doing with Phoenix’s obedience work now? At the moment, we’re on the “less is more” plan. I’m making it a point to keep our daily sessions at 15 minutes or less. And I’ve quit training every day. OMG! THIS IS HARD FOR ME! I’m a training junkie and always had dogs who felt the same way. We could train FOREVER. Phoenix thinks that much training, for a dog who knows what he is doing, is highly over-rated.
While some trainers might argue “But he HAS to understand that he HAS to do it,” I think the “We will train as long as I want to and you will like it” approach is counter-productive for where we are right now. I’ve been down that road. Yes, I absolutely agree the dog has to understand that non-compliance is not an option, but he also has to WANT to do the work or all the HAVE TO in the world is not going to create the kind of teamwork I want. If you get the WANT TO, the HAVE TO is kind of a non-issue, providing the dog understands his job.
So we’re doing less training but we’re doing it with more intensity and stopping while whatever we're doing is absolutely the most freaking fun either one of us has ever had. Talk about hard! When things are going so well, I want to keep going. But I want the game to stay fresh and fun and grinding him into the ground just to prove the point that I can MAKE him do it is not the answer.
Something that helps is keeping a training journal. I’ve done this for years, but now I use it to pinpoint what I want to work each session and how I want to make it challenging or new. This keeps me from trying to work everything at once (over-training, ugh), which seems to be my training default, and also helps make sure we work each of the Open/Utility exercises on a regular basis. Left to my own devices, I would totally ignore the moving stand and broad jump. Just because I can. Because they are stupidly, deceptively simple. And they need to go away.
The weather: sounds awesome for camping this weekend. With an extra blanket. And long underwear. And thick socks. And I’ll probably be sleeping in my stocking cap, something that hasn’t happened since the ice storm power outage of February ‘07.
The weather dudes can’t seem to agree on nighttime lows, which are ranging from 38 to the mid 40s for the weekend. Well, I camped one year in the spring and the water froze in the dogs’ water buckets. We lived.
The mission: when I started ExerciseFinished, I never intended it to be a training blog. And it isn’t, because there’s always of bunch of weird crap on here that is just reflections of my life and has nothing to do with dog training.
But when I do write about training, I truly hope my thoughts, experiences, reflections, etc. can help trainers with the same kinds of issues to reasonably think things through, not just follow the training approach that often seems to value making the dog perform no matter what - instead of trying to figure out what the dog really needs in order to give a happy, willing performance that is not based on constant cookies OR fear or pain avoidance training.
In keeping with these thoughts, you might like Denise Fenzi’s new blog, www.denisefenzi.com. She is much of the same mind and expresses it in a more sensible and organized fashion, unlike my rambling discourses.