I had planned a couple more trials since my last post and signed up for a handling seminar at the end of December. THEN I broke my elbow at the end of November and had surgery last week. As far as life in general goes it's a huge annoyance but I'm trying to look at it as a dog training opportunity.
When I first broke my arm the dogs were fairly freaked out - they are used to being able to come for cuddles whenever they want but sometimes they would hurt the arm. Try as I might I couldn't help grimacing or saying Oww both of which upset them - particularly Max. Then some wonderful trainers I know told me to teach them what I know like to call the "swearing game". Essentially whenever I would wince or say Oww (or swear - which I don't often do but I thought it was a fun name) I'd make a fuss over the dogs and they would get a treat. Of course we had to practice when I wasn't hurting so I had to warn Engineering Dad not to come running every time I said Oww. This worked so well with my food driven dogs that Max would come running from another room for his treat when he heard me!
Once the arm was not quite so tender and I was able to train a little I noticed Max avoided being on my left (broken arm) side so i would get down on the floor and hide treats in my sling for him to find. I did stop this game when I found out I needed to have surgery though.
I've decided to devote these next weeks to going back to foundations and working on foot targeting and directionals for running contacts, So far tat is going pretty well.