This past week we have stepped up the handling work. Rather, I have stepped things up. Feeling behind the mark is my constant companion and sometimes I let the thought of my age creep in. Which is nonsense since I recently watched a 91 year old woman doing agility with her dog on YouTube!
Seems simple, set up four jumps in a square and practice post turns, front crosses, etc. It still feels more like the Gunfight at the OK Corral.
Me versus the jumps with my trusted sidekick Jethro running with me. My body and my muscle memory are still trying to catch up to my brain. Sometimes anxiety interferes with concentration and focus. The old ‘walking and chewing gum at the same time’ sort of thing. Improvement has been slow, but my confidence is growing. Thank goodness for instructors and other dog-minded friends who offer suggestions and encouragement rather than criticism or smugly pointing out the obvious like ‘you should have’ or ‘why did/didn’t you’ or ‘you need to stop/start (fill in the blank).
Jethro has been consistent through all of this. He is a natural agility dog. Loves to jump, loves to climb, loves, loves, loves to RUN. Then there are TUNNELS!!! And, by the way, he is really starting to get the weaves! That has been a great relief, it just required my doing things a bit differently so that Jethro would want to engage.
I need to continue to step up for Jethro. Doing it for him helps me to improve. He is so patient and sometimes gets so frustrated with me–and for me. So out to the backyard we go.
This week the rains have begun so the opportunities for training have diminished somewhat. Fortunately I have a contacts board so we can always work on that inside.
Five weeks until our first trial!