Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Schutzhund trial pressures

So, next week Laev is attempting her SchH 1. I am getting a bit worried about it; I felt much more confident a few weeks ago.

Last night's practice went better, though. I discovered that if I leave the country for a week, keep Laev in a crate for several days in a row, and then don't feed her for a day due to resuming normal schedules after pet-sitting schedules, then all that works together to give me awesome energetic focus during obedience. That's good.

However, not even all that kept Laev from making a brief detour during the sendaway to check for critters. Stupid Laev. She came back pretty quickly, but I do.not.want.her.leaving.the.field. Ever.

I know she comes by her insane off-the-charts predatory behavior honestly, that it's very strongly genetic, but that doesn't make it much easier to deal with.

We practiced a full protection routine, for both Laev and myself. (I always forget to disarm the bad guy after Laev apprehends him. Stupid handler. Thank goodness it's not real.) Most of it is decent, but we have rough places; Laev finds it hard to sit quietly at heel while the helper is called out of the blind and then heel with focus to set up for the guard/escape bite. She's wholly capable, has done it, but she's just excited. She also finds it hard to leave the guarding position and heel around for the side transport to the judge. And heeling away from the helper to set up for the courage test is more difficult as we get further and further away -- completely my fault, because I've only done that heeling stretch twice ever in practice.

To be fair to Laev, last night she was wired for sound and loaded for bear, after her week of forced inactivity and people deprivation. But she's going to be wired on trial day, too.

So in the next few days I need to rev Laev enough to sustain that awesome energy and focus through our full obedience routine (the phase in which I feel least confidence right now), yet calm her enough that she focuses properly on her tracking instead of racing along it (as she would prefer), and polish some bobbles in protection work (she does not like heeling away from the helper). No sweat. And of the two scheduled training sessions, one is opposite my facility's open house, which will occupy me all day.

I have stated that if Laev does well, I'll buy her a ham. I hope she remembers that.

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