On the day of Falka’s 0.5 birthday we have officially joined one of the best IPO Clubs in the UK. Of course, we will not be doing any serious work for a veery long time, but I am very keen on Falka learning that the Club is the place of greatest fun.
We have had 4 sessions now and what a ride it has already been! I am extremely grateful to our trainers, there is nothing better than experienced guidance!
Session 1: A complete and utter disaster L Despite all the time put in the play at home, and all the great attitude to play that Falka has had in other situations, when placed on the new turf she was not interested in the play at all. Of course, the fault was entirely on my part, as I did not fit in her comfort zone on that day. First of all, this was the first time she was asked to play with a strange man. Second – the toy was a puppy bite pad on a lunge line, which she has never seen before. To that date we only played with “fluffy” toys. Third – new place, though we have played in variety of other locations so here I think it was more stacking of issues than the location alone.
Session 2: A complete and utter success J We have changed pretty much everything. I took her out to the field and I was holding the flirt pole. We changed the toy to a rabbit skin, still stinking the “original” smell. The results were amazing.
Session 3: Progressing further. The decoy is slowly taking over the flirt pole. She is now starting to positively react to his verbal praise, even when she hears it from outside of the ring, directed at other dog. A little slower, but still devoted.
Session 4: Not a particularly great session in terms of the play, but still made me happy. She was pretty distracted with the spectators and a few times disengaged from us to have a good run around, saying hello to the crowds. After winning she also took the toy to show off in front of the fans rather than come back to me. But, as she is now going through a fear period, with some worries about other people, I was very happy to see her just having fun and being open and cheerful about the crowds. Still, it was not all lost on the play part, as she is now consciously playing with the helper and even tugging a little bit.
A cautionary note. Playing with flirt poles can be dangerous for growing joints. It is a heave form of exercise, so should always be done with care and responsibility. We do not play too much. A few minutes 2-3 times a week is plenty. I also run with her on a straight line, rather than stand still waving the flirt around, making her do tight turns. I am still working on my mechanics, but I feel that the length and intensity of our game does not exceed the levels she chooses for herself when running free.