Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday July 30th 2006 - practice

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

Had fun practicing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Managed to snap these photos:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday July 23rd 2006 - home practice

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

I've been having difficulty getting Walter to bow on command without using a hand to lure. So I took him to a park and showed him a ball, and he had to bow, or at least start to bow, before I'd throw it. This worked like a charm. Now he does a nice, if brief, bow when I have the ball out. The next hurdle will be getting him to maintain the bow position since after a couple of seconds he turns it into a down. I'll also have to work on getting him to bow without being lured on the contacts.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday July 22nd 2006 - practice

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

Took advantage of a nice cool evening to get in another practice. Worked on jumps and tire at 22". He's getting better at jumping at that height now. Checked with a measuring tape and realized that I had set the tire at 26" yesterday, oops. Must be an optical illusion that makes the tire look shorter than jumps set at the same height. Set up the weave-o-matics (6 poles only) with a 10" jump before and after which helped a lot in keeping him interested and motivated. Worked on improving contacts on the a-frame which was set fairly high.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday July 21st 2006 - practice

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

Worked on individual obstacles mostly, particularly weave-o-matics, sending to tire at 16", tire at 22", jumps at 22", and see-saw at full height. He took a wrong step on the dogwalk and ended up leaving it from the middle section, landing calmly on his feet. It was no big deal; I asked him to do the obstacle again a couple of times right away and he was fine.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday July 20th 2006 - practice

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

Focused on weave-o-matics since haven't had a chance to practice them much lately. He did pretty well and even let me take a few photos. (Some of the poles are loose which explains why some of them stick out at different angles.) I've had the poles up a bit higher before, but I didn't push it today because I want to get more practice in at this height first. Broke it up with working some other obstacles now and then, such as the teeter at full height for the first time (he didn't seem to notice the difference). Got nice bows on all the contacts but I still have to lure him into them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday July 18th 2006 - Advanced II, class #3

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

Today we learned all about snooker! I learned a lot about how the game works, and we even got to try a snooker course. The opening sequence I used was red, tire, red, chute, red, a-frame. The closing sequence was tunnel, a-frame (snaked around each other), tire, chute, 90d left to weave-o-matics, 90d left to dogwalk. Fortunately for me, Walter did everything I asked of him in the opening sequence and nothing I didn't ask for, so he made my job easy. We made it to the end contact of the dogwalk just within the 60 seconds and racked up the required points. Next time I see a snooker competition I'll be able to ooh or aww along with the audience :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday July 16th 2006 - K9 Kup

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

Our first agility competition! Ok, so we were just spectators, but it was really fun to watch. We watched a bunch of human-dog teams (mostly at the starter's level) do standard, jumpers, and snooker. Having no clue of the rules, I couldn't follow the snooker and didn't have the faintest idea why the crowd was awwing or oohing or why the judge was blowing the whistle. Anyway, some of the teams were spectacular on course and what they all had in common was that the dog was extremely attentive to their handler. Seems to me that if you can get and maintain your dog's focus, you have it made in agility.

Walter posing in front of the standard course

The standard course

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday July 15th 2006 - practice

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

Stayed around for just a few minutes after flyball. There were 5 jumps set up in a row, and an a-frame/tunnel off to the side. So I got Walter to run over all the jumps in a row, then after a few repetitions I would have him do 2 or 3 of the jumps, then call him over to the a-frame or tunnel so that he had to decide not to continue with the rest of the jumps. He responded well to my instructions, turning away from the rest of the jumps when I asked him to. Then I got him to bow at the contact of the a-frame a few times. That's pretty much all we did since it was starting to get warm.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday July 11th 2006 - Advanced II, class #2

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

A good class, but not the best since I have a feeling Walter had to go but refused to, so he was slightly distracted. The class started with four stations. (1) jump to weave-o-matics - goal was not to get the weaves high, but rather to do it with some speed. Walter did well. (2) Tunnel - goal was to be able to send from a distance. Walter did this alright, but we should practice it some more. (3) Weave-o-matics - this time the goal was to push the limits and raise it higher. Did alright but need more work on this (obvioulsy). (4) A-frame on very low - goal is to get the dog into bow position at the contact. Ultimately once the dog knows bow properly on their own and doesn't need to be lured into it, then at the contact you shouldn't have to lure the dog into the bow, and only after they go into bow do you treat. You want the dog to get into the border collie crouch. At this point Walter only bows with hand lure, so I'll work on that some more this week. After the station work, we did the following straight-line sequence: tire, jump, jump, jump, table. You want to be a bit behind the dog and have them going fast over the jumps, but you don't want them to fly over/across the table. So to collect the dog to prevent them from flying off the table, you collect your own pace and it acts like invisible reins on the dog. I need to work on getting the table a fun place to be again for Walter since he's pokey around it (he used to love it, but it's worn off of late). Then we did part of that sequence in reverse: table, jump, jump, jump, turn left to a-frame. You want to veer your path gradually away from the jumps while extending your hand further and further toward the jumps. Walter being such a keener went to the tire instead of turning left with me the first time, but the second time we did it better. Also, Walter showed me today that he's a glass half full kind of guy when the instructor kept feeding him air treats, about 6 or 7 times in a row. It was pretty funny, actually.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Saturday July 8th 2006 - practice

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

Kind of a scattered practice. I couldn't decide what to work on, and the field was not laid out in any obvious kind of way so it was hard to get motivated never mind try to motivate Walter. Towards the end of the session I tried to lay out a course but it ended up being one big boring loop - just wasn't my most creative day today. :P Can't say we achieved much of anything today, but I learned that if Walter and I have the field to ourselves and another dog arrives, I should take Walter out of the field before the other dog enters so that he doesn't feel like he owns the place.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Tuesday July 4th 2006 - Advanced II, class #1

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

First class of the next level. Flyball teammate Abby is in our class, as well as some other dogs we've met and some new ones as well. Timed a-frame from hitting it to freezing in contact: Walter did it in 2.2 seconds. Received some homework to practice in relation to contacts: Teach bow and teach touch nose to ground in down. 1st sequence: dogwalk, sharp turn right, tire, tunnel curving left, jump, table. Walter deeked around the tire but took it after we regrouped. 2nd sequence: table, jump, tunnel curving right, jump, 90d left to jump, 90d left to jump. Tip: call dog while in tunnel for tighter turn out of tunnel. Did the sequence twice and both times after the 1st jump Walter headed for the teeter, which was to the left of the tunnel. Tip: Exaggerate shoulder turn in desired direction. 3rd sequence: jump, 90d right to jump, 90d right to jump, tunnel curving left, jump, table (ie reverse of previous sequence). Wasn't exactly smooth getting him from 3rd jump into tunnel - was at awkward angle. Tip: practice using right hand to guide dog in counterclockwise "spin" on my left side and vice versa, to help with hand directions. Overall wasn't our best class, but considering first-class jitters and Walter's refusal to "go" before class it could have been a lot worse!

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Saturday July 1st 2006 - Jumping seminar

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

A 6-hour jumping seminar based on Susan Salo's methods. We learned a bunch of different jumping grids to help the dog develop/improve various aspects of their jumping technique including bouncing, judging distances and adapting striding, power and drive, and turns. Walter was a very good participant until about 4 hours in when his focus started to go downhill making his waits pretty unreliable. But I'm thrilled that he was a happy, willing participant for most of it, and he didn't deek out of a single jump except for the bend exercises which were the very last thing of the day and it was hard to convey to him the path he was to take since hand motions were not allowed. All in all a fun day!

At the end of the day: "Is it time to go home yet?"