thoughts on dog activities

Parts of a skype conversation from tonight

(me) I've had lots of throughts today

about lots of things... heh

(K) thinking is good

me too.

A lot of stuff I'd not thought on for ages.

I think Buzz'll be retired from agility after the January trial... it'll all depend on how he runs and how he feels afterwards, he LOVES agility... but I think he loves rally even more and if I stop paying for agility runs that are potentially? damaging, we'll have more money for pursuing other rally things

I think Bailey does obedience and agility for me these days--I seriously can't match her excitement/enthusiasm for tracking and hunting, regardless of how/when/why I work her and that makes me sad... I tried getting her amped up and gah... but I think she'd have a blast in Utility--so we just need to "get through" open?

and blaaaaaaaah

(Exciting conversation, no?)

That was the start, the middle was words like premack principles, predatory sequence... and guilt. I was feeling so guilty today. I got up late for work so Bailey only got yard time, Buzz got a snappy human when he wanted to sniff and roll in the snow, and when I got home I had "things" to do. We didn't get out for any real exercise today. I've been struggling for a couple months on the "is this for me or them" dilemma and her enthusiasm for tracking and hunting has really fueled that. She just enjoys those two activities (add in free running in a field and retrieving bumpers out of the water and you have Bailey's absolute FAVORITE things) so much that I was feeling guilty for "asking" her to do other things. Yes, it's a training issue, but it also comes down to early experiences and even semi-current training. Buzz is 11.5 years old now, when HE started "classes" (I can barely even call them that) enthusiasm was NOT desirable and was corrected. As a result, obedience was THE most boring activity ever. When he could escape it, he did. Bailey was trained much the same way. I've since done a complete change in training methods, but there was early imprinting that has lasting effects... ON ME! The only activities to not have THAT (and to be based on natural dog instinct and behavior too) ARE tracking and hunting.

The end? Continue doing what she loves, continue doing what he loves... and continue doing what I love. Incorporate them into the other training. Why can't I use birds for retrieving in obedience (Buzz would be downright giddy, Bailey would be ecstatic), why don't I use feathers on a rope to chase as a reward in agility? Many of these things CAN be used across the board.

As it stands, Buzz adores rally and is really starting to "get" tracking. Bailey may drive me crazy, but I can appreciate her (and even thank her breeder sometimes) and embrace her enthusiasm for the "natural" things in life. Less "controlling" control, more fun.

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