Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Tuesday August 8th 2006 - Advanced II, class #5

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

Well, today wasn't Walter's most impressive class, that's for sure. We started with these warmup drills: jump to a-frame (aim for speed and good contact); weave-o-matics (work on off-angle entries); and tire (send from distance). This went fine, especially the tire one where we got some good distance, 20 feet or so. Then, we did an exercise using the following set-up: jump, jump, jump (all three jumps are parallel to dogwalk, approx 8 feet away from dw), handler is between the jumps and dogwalk, then using your feet only (slow your pace in advance of the turn to the tunnel), get your dog to turn 90d right to the tunnel which is snaked under the dogwalk (can cue "tunnel"), end of exercise. Note that there is a table after the third jump so the dog may want to go there instead of turn to the tunnel. Walter kept avoiding the second and third jump, coming to me instead, but he did it after a few tries. Another exercise used the following set-up: jump, jump, then there is a tunnel in a backwards "c" on the right, then the a-frame which is in line with the jumps. The exercise was jump, jump, tunnel using further entrance, a-frame. The point is to use your gait to slow the dog so that they listen to you and take the tunnel rather than go to the frame. The first time I didn't quite believe that it would work, so it didn't (I ended up running too fast which just served to push Walter forward to the frame), but the second time I believed, and it worked! To close we did an exercise with dogwalk, tunnel, and two jumps, and it was kind of tricky remembering the steps so I wasn't exactly smooth, but Walter responded well anyway. Today was the first class that the jumps were raised to the 2nd highest setting for the taller dogs. (Jumps on 3rd setting for first time through a drill, then raised to 4th for second time around.)

Back to the basics: I have decided that I need to go back to the basics with Walter in using the hand to guide, having severely neglected this exercise lately. After class I went to a park and did circles, both directions, inside, outside, first with food then with ball for variety, mostly walking with some running. I can tell that this will be a very valuable exercise to practice regularly, on and off the agility field. What I especially noticed was that if I moved my arm back a bit, say while doing the inside circle, Walter responded by slowing, making it easier to do the circle.

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