Training notes


Photo (not from today) courtesy of Neja Česnik

Another early morning session. Just freestyle training this time, no distance. I’m backing off on making major modifications to Oli’s routine just now. It’s too many changes at once for her and I’m setting her up for failure, not success.  She doesn’t react well to that. She likes to perform her job with distinction and she loses interest in the game if things aren’t working and we do too many do-overs. Of course I never scold her but she finds the confusion demotivating and the repetition boring after a certain point. It’s also quite hot, even at 8 in the morning, making it harder to work and more likely that she’ll bite her tongue (which she did).  I could see her enthusiasm steadily waning, so I ended the session, hosed her down, let her drink and rest in the shade for a time, took her for a short relaxing walk, and when she’d recovered mentally and physically, went and did our usual routine with just a few minor modifications. She was much happier with that, and consequently also successful.  Or  maybe it was the success that made her happy.

After that it was Bamm Bamm’s turn. By that time it was very hot, so I kept it short and simple. His psychology is different from Oli’s, he’ll keep working till he drops, no matter how long, chaotic, and confusing the session. It takes him longer to “get” things, and he has a high tolerance for repetition, indeed, even a strong need for it in order to master a particular lesson. As with many border collies, it’s easy to overdo things with him because of his strong will to work and please; it’s my responsibility to look out for his best interests and make sure that doesn’t happen. We made some incremental progress on a couple of new figures and moves, and that was enough for one day. There are still a lot of issues to resolve in our freestyle and I don’t think he’ll be competition ready by August 31, but that’s not important. What’s important are his health and fitness, and our relationship.

Went for the usual post-training dip in the Vipava, then home, for them to rest and me to work. Just another day in the life.

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