Where’s your nose, and baby balancing

This week has been a busy one, and this weekend is going to be busy as well. My local agility club is hosting a USDAA trial, and I'm the chair. Which means that anything that goes wrong is almost certainly my doing, and anything that goes well is almost certainly the doing of all the great club members who are doing the ACTUAL work while I figure out what's what. I figure this time is for learning, and NEXT time I'll actually be of use, self-directed, and more capable of directing others.

Between setting up rings at the show site and picking up one of the judges at the airport this evening, I have managed to find a couple of hours to answer emails, and do a bit of training with Chispa. I do count our stop at the mall for judge's gifts as training as well – she did after all get out of the van and potty in the shrubbery, and pottying in public is DEFINITELY a life skill.

This afternoon we worked on TWO behaviors. One, a trick, and the other, just some exposure to an awkward situation, learning to be comfortable flopping and falling. Of course this latter was no problem at all, as Chispa seems quite confident flopping and flailing and falling all over the place. Not all puppies are so comfortable in their own skin, however, and so even though NOW she seems confident and happy to crash about, it's in my mind a good idea to EXPLICITLY show her that flopping around and picking herself up again is to be admired as a skill, and rewarded. This latter behavior might LOOK like a beginning conditioning behavior, but personally, I don't think a puppy Chispa's age should be doing any “conditioning” other than running around, climbing over stuff she wants to climb over, exploring, bumping into things, etc. I might set situations up like the one below just so she can EXPERIENCE it, but that is NOT the same as engaging in a behavior for the purpose of developing strength or conditioning. It's just not appropriate for her at this age.

So, on to the actual training!

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