Team practice was at a new location this week, so we had fun exploring the property. Z did longer runaways (all between 70 and 100 ft) in one of the fields along the treelines tonight with C as her victim.
1st runaway: C ran about 70 ft away and ducked into the brush in the treeline. Z was off upon release and found C, but didn't want to come all the way to her since she was standing in thick brambles. She did return to me and do a nice alert before returning to C and inching into the brambles for her reward.
2nd runaway: C ran about 90-100 ft away and turned right into another treeline perpendicular to the first. Z again ran right to her, though she did come all the way in without brambles to contend with. She did a very strong jump alert off of me and went back to C for her reward lickety split. This was probably the best rep of the night for Z.
3rd runaway: C ran about 80 ft away back into the original treeline. Z went after her with lots of speed but shot past her and C had to call out a few times to get her redirected to her spot. Z did go in all the way to C through light brambles when she found her and did a nice refind as well after that initial bobble.
As an experiment, I had C reward Z with food for her finds but then toss her toy stuffed with tuna brownies to see if she'd engage in some play like what I see on the agility field. No luck this time - much more interested in the food vs. the toy still. It might be something else to work on in the future but I've got more important stuff to focus on right now, so we'll probably just keep trying different stuff as we get the chance.
Overall good enthusiasm and focus in the dark in a completely new location.
After putting Z up, I played victim for another puppy, G. G is at about the same point as Z is and he's lots of fun, very enthusiastic, and a bit of a goof still at 1 year old. It was pretty neat to see him take several turns on our runaways smoothly and his unbridled happiness at finding me. :)
Later, I ran as flanker with C for K and his dog C. A nice 3/4 mi run through fields, over a creek, and into the woods for all of us. Got to see some nice scenery with the moon almost full and pretty bright in the open. I can't imagine how cool this farm would be in daylight!
While waiting for others to come back in from their practice runs, I got to chat with S a bit about starting dogs and her thoughts on the matter and she said some things that really made a lot of sense about the pace at which we push dogs at the beginning and how going too fast can be so detrimental to the foundation skills you need to build to be successful in the long run. It certainly resonated with me and really helped to have someone give me a bit of a different perspective than what I get elsewhere. I'm looking forward to practicing with her and K on Thursday. :)