Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday November 29th 2006 - Novice 3, class #5

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

Did more work on the flip around a jump standard. Ran a sequence starting with a jump, 90d left to weaves, tunnel, back to weaves. He got the difficult offside entry, which I was suprised but happy about, but then on the return pass I was ahead of him on the near side as he entered the poles and he entered at the second pole, twice. The instructor suggested that we need more practice with him nailing the entry while I'm ahead of him. We learned something new tonight: jumps at 270d. On the first try the instructor put a pair of standards to represent an imaginary jump between the two jumps, then on the second try she removed it and we are supposed to run the dog as if there is an imaginary jump to help guide them through a good path between the two jumps.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday November 24th 2006 - practice at Red Gate

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

Checked out a nice new agility facility. Worked on SLS including in front of a tunnel (boy does it ever suck him in), 12-pole weaves, and miscellaneous other stuff such as going across the dogwalk a few times. His first pass was nice but on the second it's like he remembered his spook of a few days ago and was very hesitant on the upramp but I said nothing and let him decide what to do, and he completed the obstacle.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday November 22nd 2006 - Novice 3, class #4

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

Startline stays: The instructor suggested I try running and jumping and generally acting kooky as I lead out to further proof his stays. So I acted mildly kooky today and he stayed; good boy. Dogwalk: One of today's sequences had the dog come out of the tunnel which is snaked under the dogwalk and immediately turn 180 onto the dogwalk. Well his turn was quite fast and his footing on the upramp got messed up, which spooked him; he managed to scamper across the dogwalk, but on several subsequent tries of just the dogwalk alone he was very hesitant, even choosing not to take it a couple of times. I kept things light and he finished with a couple of half-decent passes. Weaves: Used his tug to reward weaves today, first time ever doing that with the weaves. He entered at the second pole but after that initial goofup he did well, including each of two passes on a sequence with frame, jump at 22", weaves with a slight off-side angle entry from jump to weaves.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday November 15th 2006 - Novice 3, class #3

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

Walter's start line stays were noticeably better today. Could be because I've been working on them outside of class, or maybe just because he was pooped after a long walk this afternoon. In addition to working on them outside of class I'm making a point of going back to reward on random lead-outs in class. We had trouble today with the tunnel in sequences where it was adjacent to the frame or dogwalk. He wasn't trying to take the contact, it's just that he didn't want to go in the tunnel, but he did eventually do it. Oh well. On the bright side, so far in this session Walter has been 100% for his weaves. Today on the 4 non-sequence passes of the 6-pole weaves I "pushed the envelope" by running (slowly) ahead of him as he weaved. Then we did a sequence where he takes the weaves immediately after a tunnel (easy head-on approach) and he got it both times.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday November 11th 2006 - home practice

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

Got our brand new fixed upright weaves today! I got them with plain poles (no stripes) so that Walter has the opportunity to get used to different-looking poles. I put him through them a few times and he had no trouble. Now that he can weave uprights, however, I won't be doing much weave practice at home because there's just not enough room for him to get up any kind of speed before or after the weaves and I don't want to pattern him into weaving slowly. The neat thing is that the base of these weaves come apart in the middle so I can easily transport them to different places for a change of scenery. Other news, I've started watching the Success with One Jump DVD by Susan Garrett, and I'm learning tons from it.

Walter showing off his brand new fixed weaves!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Wednesday November 8th 2006 - Novice 3, class #2

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

Got in some more time on the teeter, and this time I didn't say anything at the pivot and after a few passes he had much more confidence than last week. Did 6 passes on the set of 6 weave poles, including him starting at 5:00 and 7:00, and he did every pass correctly. A weak point in our training showed itself clearly tonight, which is his lack of drive on the frame, particularly when I rear cross behind it. Also, we did some sequences and the instructor noted how after I've led out, when I raise my hand Walter stops looking at me and looks ahead to the obstacle in front of him, looking for his line. Apparently this is something you want to teach your dog in agility, to "find his line". In theory I should be able to lead out ahead of him and be at quite a lateral distance, for example, and when I raise my hand he should look ahead to find the obstacles he's supposed to take. I look forward to learning more about that in later courses! Meanwhile it sucks that the agility field has closed for the season since practice opportunities will now be few and far between! Oh yeah, one last thing: a few of the sequences we ran tonight included the chute, and he did it on the first try (today was his first time with this school's chute).

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Wednesday November 1st 2006 - Novice 3, class #1

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

Today was our first class and first time ever at a new-to-us agility school. The first task was a simple set of 6 fixed weaves. The weaves were set up with some strange looking, large wooden training blocks jutting out from the poles to encourage the proper path. Walter and I had never seen anything like that but the instructor said why not try them anyway; well that didn't work at all, Walter didn't recognize them as weaves and just ran right by them. So she pulled the blocks out of the way leaving just the regular 6 fixed weaves, and voila! Walter had no problems at all and did them correctly all 4 times, hooray! twice with me on his right and twice on his left, me standing lateral to the first pole and calling him from a sit stay. I had been wondering before the class how he would handle a different set of weaves since he's only ever weaved my wams and our practice field's weaves, so I'm really glad that he did them great! Other exercises included a review of the flip and some sequences that use a lead-out pivot, as well as a false turn to adjust the dog's path between a jump and the two ends of a C tunnel (use false turn to get them to go to the far entrance). Oh yeah, and we tried their teeter which is a bit different from the one we're used to. The instructor advised that I shouldn't say "easy" or anything to slow him down at the pivot, since speed is a crucial part of agility and the dog should be allowed to find his own way with the teeter; interesting advice and makes sense to me.