Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beckett Jumping Fool

My young bi-black Beckett was a year old on June 16th. I'm not the greatest dog handler or trainer but in my opinion he seems to be catching on to agility nicely. We started with a puppy seminar this past winter and I had him doing some flatwork and jumps without a bar in the basement until the weather was nice enough to go outside. During that time we also were taking Basic Obedience, I started to notice then that he would pick up things quickly; exercises we barely had a chance to practice one lesson to the next, he still seemed to improve his skill level and understanding by the next class.

We started with a Beginner Agility class and a Two by Two weave class in May. Last week we began the Advanced I class but the instructor moved Beckett up to the Advanced II class. It is an advantage to have most of the equipment in your backyard and to already have an understanding of handling required of the human member of the team. I have been doing a lot of basic jumping skills with only one or two jumps, wraps, lead-outs, go, here, etc. I also back trained the target of the contact obstacles but have to take a step backwards and refresh that skill as right now Beckett seems to have forgotten or lost that part of the contact work.

I was really surprised that he nearly taught himself the teeter. I was back training the teeter and had the teeter lowered and the up end on a small patio table when he started jumping up on the middle of the teeter and running down himself. So I promptly took the table away and made him go up from the end, he showed no fear whatsoever. My teeter is still lowered somewhat but Beckett has done full height teeters at two different locations so he seems to have acquired that skill easily. But as I said we still have to work on the independent target part again.

Two by Two Weaves however have been another story. He doesn't seem to be interested in them at all and rather than getting much better has been getting worse. We had difficulty moving from the first set of two poles and then once we had moved on to two sets of two poles he seemed to do fine. But then all of a sudden he was by passing the first two poles and just doing the second set so it was back to just two poles. We are going try channel weaves and see how he does with those and we'll keep on trying with the two by twos as it is supposed to make the entry a better skill in the long run.

I don't plan to trial with Beckett until he's nearly two so we have lots of time to work on those weaves and other skills. So for right now, he's just my Jumping Fool!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tucker - Travelling On

On Monday, I got the results of Tucker's triglyceride tests; there was no change from three weeks ago. The vet wanted to do a cholesterol test but when I asked why, it was just to see if there had been any change in those levels as a result of being on a low-fat diet. Since Tucker has really only been on the low-fat diet for two weeks (I took one week to convert him over from his old food) and since there really is no treatment, other than diet for hyperlipidism, I decided not to have any more blood tests done at this time. In mid to late September, I'll have the triglyceride and cholesterol tests repeated to make sure his levels are, if not lower, are at least remaining steady. The vet said that it is likely that he is predisposed genetically to having higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

We've cut out nearly all of the people food, he still gets two bites of my toast in the mornings and some vegetables and a little meat once in a while. For treats, he's getting sweet potato/duck treats and carrots. So I am also hoping that he will lose some weight, which certainly couldn't hurt.

I have noticed that he has a little more energy and that he has less difficulty laying down and getting up so perhaps even though the blood tests didn't show any change, there has been some improvement. I'm hopeful that if he continues to improve that maybe in the fall he can do some agility trials at least Jumpers.