Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The clean slate

I didn't expect to have a new dog. And since Epic spent most of his time before we adopted him in a crate I wasn't exactly sure what he would be like. 

So basically, I don't have any goals. I'm not hell bent on any earning any particular title or qualifying for any certain event. I don't have any kind of timeline. I don't have a "first trial" of any kind picked out or stuck in my head. 

This is actually pretty refreshing, although I do have to keep reminding myself it's ok if he's not perfect right away or it takes him awhile to learn something. I've also not been as rigidly focused on formal training as I have been with my other dogs. I spend a lot of time just teaching him fun tricks and also to be a good pet. I want to be able to take him places and have it be enjoyable. I want him to be well mannered at home and around company. I want to be able to take him off leash hiking. And I would like these things sooner, rather than later and just by "luck" or as a by product of spending an inordinate amount of time doing agility trials. 

Don't get me wrong, I've been introducing sports to him too. While I don't have any specific goals I'd like to at least try him in Nosework, obedience, and agility and see what he likes. Truth be told I hope he really does well in Nosework. In the back of my mind the Elite champion title and going to the invitational are potential goals. But I don't want to put all that pressure on him before we even get to an ORT! 

I've also shown him a few agility obstacles. He's been over a jump and trots across the a-frame and dogwalk happily for a treat. He's working nicely in obedience class. I plan to just do a little at a time and really have him solid and well proofed before we enter trials of any kind. I don't want him underprepared and set up for failure, bad habits, or ring stress. Even if it takes a few years I'm really ok with that. It gives me time to do it right and also focus on Legend and her Nosework. 

Plus, he doesn't quite have the drive that she does, so I have to remember not to over work him and get him discouraged or burned out. He's definitely a new journey, and I'm not sure where it will take us, but it's going to be Epic. (Pun intended)

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