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Dog Trio

Dec 10

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This week, Trio graduated basic manners!


Diploma for Christmas!

I am still in awe of the border collie brain.  It seems almost effortless to teach him new things.  (I will probably eat those words eventually)

Anyway, we are finally done with basic manners and in January we will be starting agility classes! Wooo!  For a while there, 8 weeks seemed like it was just DRAGGING.  (I may be a little bit antsy to start something more fun) 😉
But now, looking back, it seems like it has flown by.  (As most things do, in retrospect)  I guess that’s a good reminder to live in the present.

So now we have a few weeks ‘off’ before starting agility.  That gives us some time to devote to practicing important things like shadow handling, maintaining a sit at a start line, and recalls.  Definitely definitely recalls.  If there is one thing this border collie figured out right off the bat, it’s that he doesn’t need to listen if I can’t catch him.  Ugh.  But he’s getting better with that.  We do a lot of recall practice off leash in the backyard, being very careful not to bring him in directly after a recall.

Another thing that’s been on my mind is strength and conditioning in preparation for agility.  I thought about different obstacles and physical requirements.  He definitely gets a lot of practice running full speed and making quick turns in the backyard chasing (and being chased) by big sister Gen.  He is so light on his feet he jumps up and down from the bed to the couch and even right over the top of Gen!  So jumping should be no problem, though I am still doing a lot of ‘sit-down-sit’ exercises to get those front leg muscles strong enough to prevent injury on landing.

I started looking up fun tricks to teach him too, and realized that ‘sit pretty’ is a really good one for core strength!  So that’s one we have been practicing lately.  (With the added bonus of being a really cute trick to show off)

How do I keep taking pictures with his tongue out?!

I’ve read that sit pretty can be tough on a dog that has pre-existing injury or back problems.  I am watching very carefully to make sure his back is straight and he is not rolling onto his back legs.  Despite being asymmetrically balanced, he corrects for it pretty well on his own and ends up with a pretty healthy stance in this position.

Plus, I just LOVE watching him make an effort to keep balance.  It’s just so satisfying to see that what I’m doing is WORKING and doing what it is supposed to do- strengthen balance and muscle.

While watching him hopping around the living room one day, I thought about tunnels.  Something that is pretty physically easy for most dogs might be his greatest challenge.  Because his gait is naturally a hop, having less head room is really going to force some serious muscle work to get though a tunnnel.  He has the benefit of being a relatively short dog, which is good.  But I think he is still going to be ducking a little and not hopping as high to get through the tunnel.

So glancing around my living room, I came up with an exercise idea.  I have an end table (Ikea is wonderful) that is just barely too short for him.  Its’s not so short that he can’t get under it, but I definitely see him having to duck a little to get under.  So, I started sending him under the table just like a tunnel.

Strengthening muscles by running under a table

It’s not as long as a tunnel but he still has to put some muscle into getting under it and out the other side without bonking his head.  (He hasn’t bonked his head yet)

After doing this with him twice- TWICE- He started running under the table on his own- while I’m just sitting on the couch watching TV.  This boy really has some value and drive for obstacles!

He is going to have so much fun in agility!



4-paw Gen joins in on learning sit pretty!

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2 comments so far

  1. jerry
    5:53 pm - 12-10-2018

    Congratulations Trio! You are on your way to stardom!

    It sounds like you are doing all your research to help him be a great agility dog without causing any kind of injury or joint stress. Nice work 🙂 We cannot wait to follow along. And in the meantime be sure to check out our member Maggie’s blog. She’s an angel now but boy did she have a career as a Tripawd!

    • bbzzzztt
      6:30 pm - 12-10-2018

      Wow! Maggie was so cool!!
      Trio has a new role model!

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