Ben is now 6 months old and beginning to learn his agility obstacles while continuing with his trick training. He has a big personality – likes to be in the middle of everything and loves to play with the other dogs – but is physically still a small guy at 14.75″ (37.5cm) tall and 15lb 11oz (7.1 kg).
Here he is in action with some of his current training sessions:
Feeling sorry for myself …
Disappointments come in all shapes and sizes and I’m still trying to size this one. Nearly 3 weeks ago Bella badly sprained a toe on her left foot while taking a tire jump at an agility trial. Since then the toe remains swollen and she’s had to rest from most agility training and all competition since sharp turns to the right cause pain. I could be disappointed about the lost entry fees (3 trials and counting) and fees for canceled airline tickets, or the fact that we have worked hard to get our semi-finals spots at the USDAA Nationals and cannot attend, or that now we will not be trying out for an IFCS spot to compete in the Netherlands. Instead I find myself disappointed that poor Bella doesn’t understand why she has to have more crate time than usual, and why she cannot just go out and run crazy circles in the yard, and why her most fun activity seems to have disappeared. Walks in the park and swimming in the pool to retrieve a floating frisbee can only do so much.
However, things could be worse … The other dogs are enjoying their extra training time – no excuses for not teaching Knixa the weaves and contacts now! Also we have a pretty good idea of what Bella’s injury is even if we don’t know how long it will take to heal. There are a lot of dogs that suffer soft tissue injuries that sideline them from agility and their owners may never find the specific problem area or may not find very effective long term treatments. And, there are other skills Bella and I can and should work on, like our heeling for obedience that we need to brushed up on before our national specialty next year. As with dogs that retire from agility permanently we need to find activities to stimulate the thinking and exercise the body of our injured dogs, albeit more gently, while they regain full health. I remember after my first agility dog Maya retired her eyes took on a sadness and her body had a sagging posture in the weeks after she stopped training. Even though I knew we’d never be at a freestyle lesson much less a competition I decided it would be fun to learn some of the more challenging skills, such as weaving through the handlers legs forwards and backwards and moving away from me backwards across the room. The sparkle returned to her eyes and she awaited our short training sessions each night as eagerly as she had sat on the agility start line! So for now we’ll get back to proper heeling Bella (hopefully without the crooked sits this time) and maybe we’ll throw in the odd pirouette 😉