Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday June 24th 2006 - practice

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Nice long evening practice on a cool shady field. Had the field all to ourselves, so took advantage and moved things around. Spent 3/4 of the session working on individual obstacles and mini-series. Discovered he jumps the tire much better (ie doesn't cheat) with it raised some distance up. Backed up the weave-o-matics by putting them lower and made sure he could take them from a distance back as well as at off angles, which he did very well although not totally consistent in taking them from a sharp angle to the left of the poles. Did some work on the seesaw (still on low) and he usually bangs the thing down pretty hard - not sure how to get him to ease it down more gently or if it's ok for him to bang it down. Also introduced "here" and will work on practicing that off the field; worked on "off" for obstacles that I didn't ask him to do. Spent the last 1/4 of the session on the following series: 1st line: dogwalk, tunnel curving right; 2nd line: jump, jump, jump curving right; 3rd line: jump, sharp turn right, jump, tire, jump; 4th line: turn left, a-frame; 5th line: turn left, chute, jump; 6th line: turn left, see-saw, jump, turn left to table. I have no idea about designing sequences and probably broke a million design rules, but Walter had SO much fun with it regardless. It's like he said, "finally, something I can really sink my teeth into" (not literally of course). One thing I was NOT crazy about was how fast he took the dogwalk when we did the sequence. I really would like him to walk nicely across it for safety reasons (time be darned), but he trotted it both times. It was fun watching him having fun doing all the jumps (still on the 3rd setting). It was a fun evening with lots of breaks for Walter while I moved things around, and he never got whiny or bored.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday June 20th 2006 - Advanced 1, class #6 (last class in this level)

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Today was a really fun class. We didn't learn any new techniques per say, but instead everyone ran a standard course, then we all did an abbreviated version of gambler's. The standard course as I recall it was thus: 1st line: jump, dogwalk, tunnel curving right. 2nd line, diagonal across the field: tire, jump, a-frame, jump, table. 3rd line: see-saw, jump, weave-o-matics about midway up. 4th line: chute, jump, jump, jump. Note that the elements were not at full height (except maybe the dogwalk?) -- Jumps were on the 3rd setting, see-saw on low and a-frame on beginner's. I tried to get Walter a bit revved up before we started (he wasn't totally fresh since we had practiced for half an hour before class and then gone for a walk), just by using a perky voice and it seemed to work. He did really well (he even did the tire on the first try) until we came to the see-saw, when he immediately deeked around it to sniff the ground at the see-saw's landing for what must have been treat crumbs. I called and called him but had to resort to pulling him off the area, then he did the see-saw and the rest of the course fine except for at the last jumps where I think I pushed him over towards the jumps once or twice. A classmate commented that he looked like he was having a lot of fun! In the modified gamblers (we just did the 60-seconds part where you rack up as many points as you can), I can't remember the order of the things we did, but we focused on weave-o-matics, a-frame, dog-walk, the special jump worth 4 points, and tunnel. We racked up 36 points but lost 9 for taking 9 seconds to get to the table, for a net of 26 points, the highest in the class. Walter was such a good boy and I dare say he was the class star tonight! Our closest competitor should have been a speedy aussie, but she just happened to have an off night tonight, deeking around a lot of the obstacles. Another of the class stars, a little Jack Russell, wasn't there tonight so we missed out on that competition. Some of the dogs had some spin-out moments, especially in the standard course, but Walter kept his cool when they came by to say hello and was totally awesome. We're looking forward to the next level, which is supposed to start in a couple of weeks, and several of our classmates are also continuing, so it'll be nice to have some familar faces along with us.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday June 17th 2006 - practice

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Stayed around after flyball practice to get in some more agility time. Really focused on the weave-o-matics and he did super, got them high enough to start some hip action happening. I pushed my luck though by putting them up even higher after we had been practicing for about 10 minutes, by which point he was getting a bit bored, and he started ducking out of them. Must learn to not push him with something harder after he's hit the boredom point. Also did some work on the see-saw; he's getting really comfortable with the tilt now.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday June 16th 2006 - practice

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Missed this week's class (class #5) so got in some practice today. Weave-o-matics are now very high up, with both sets end to end for a total of 11 poles. Did it also from calling over a jump, but was not totally consistent in that sometimes he went right around the weaves to the target. However, when he does enter the weaves, he seems to "get it" and keeps weaving right through to the end. On the see-saw he now seems to get the idea of pausing in the middle. I didn't have him on the leash today but simply told him to wait at the middle, and he's pretty comfortable with the tilt (still on low setting). Worked on the tire but this still needs more work since he often cheats it by squeezing through the tire and frame, especially at off angles. Wanted to practice rear cross by calling over jump and sending to tunnel, but by then he had had enough of the heat so we called it quits for the day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Tuesday June 6th 2006 - practice and Advanced 1, class #4

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Got in half an hour of practice before class. Focused on see-saw and weave-o-matics. I'm keeping him on-leash for the see-saw so I can keep him from speeding through the tilt point. A few times the tilt was fairly fast and loud, but he wasn't bothered since he was getting all kinds of treats. After a few practice runs, I raised the poles up higher than ever before, and he did very well. Took our first agility photos:

Posing in front of the dogwalk and a-frame

Outside the ring, taking a break in the shade between practice and class, watching his classmates arrive

The class warm-up was four stations, two or so minutes at each one: (1) jump to weaves; (2) tire, holding on to the dog and charging him up; (3) figure 8 (front cross) over two jumps; (4) see-saw with instructor assist. Next, we did a timed run on the a-frame, from hitting the frame to freezing in the contact. Walter did it in 2.6 seconds, tied with another dog for fastest in the class. Then, she added a jump before the a-frame. Walter scored 4.1 seconds, again tied for fastest. Surprising since Walter's normally not too fast. After that, we did the following sequence: jump, 90 degrees left to another jump, a-frame, front cross at contact, 90 degrees right to jump. Everyone did it twice. Walter did well enough, although his jumps are not very "poppy" and I need to work on getting him to work out farther from me so I don't have to babysit him quite as much. Finally, we learned a new move, the rear cross. The setup was a jump followed by the tunnel in a straight line. Call the dog, who's on your right side, over the jump, then with your LEFT hand guide them to the tunnel sort of curving your hand motion to the right; once they're in, move to the right side of the tunnel and see which way the dog looks when out of the tunnel. The idea is that with 3 of the 4 cues (voice, shoulders, and momentum) you're asking the dog to go straight, but with the fourth cue (hands) you're asking the dog to turn AFTER they do the next obstacle. Eventually (for some dogs quicker than others!) the dog should learn to turn to the appropriate side after the obstacle. Some dogs did this on their very first try, but not Walter, who turned left on both tries. Ah well, something else to work on!

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Sunday June 4th 2006 - practice

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Stayed around after flyball practice to get in some agility work. With Chantale's assistance we did some work on the see-saw with her ensuring a smooth tilt. Then we did a little bit of practice on just about everything. Was able to send him through the chute with the full chute on the ground, good boy! Later on, did a bit more work on the see-saw this time sans spotter, and he did pretty well. I jackpotted him at the tilt point and he didn't seem too bothered by the tilt. Didn't stay very long at agility since he had already had an hour of flyball.