Sunday, December 23, 2007

Walter's agility year in summary

2007 saw Walter's and my first trial in March. He sailed through Starters and the Advanced Games, but Advanced Standard is definitely keeping us in check and making sure we're good and prepared before letting us get to Masters. ;-) Looking forward to next year's agility adventures and hopefully filling in some of the gaps in our skills set.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


We worked a very tight and technical sequence, forwards and later on backwards. Poor Walter was getting discouraged (and my clumsy handling was of no help) and started second guessing himself. Weaves-wise, he had no trouble with them running the course forward, but the backward version had the weaves after a tunnel and he kept entering at pole 2 even when I stayed way back and sent him ahead to them.

Also, I asked the instructor how she handles threadles; she does use the false turn for those.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Today was a brain-intensive lesson for Walter and for me. Also, something new, Walter was rewarded 90% with a tug toy and loved it. It's so nice to have a dog who naturally loves to tug. We worked on a bunch of things:

Get out
Using a c-shaped tunnel, standing at the bottom and getting him to go past the first entrance to the second. Didn't go too smoothly as he kept wanting to take the first entrance so we had to block it until he was patterned into taking the second.

Walter and I have always done serpentines using the false turn method, but the instructor (new to Walter and me since only a couple of months) had us try something different: using only one arm, held kind of back and low, and moving only slightly in and out. After several tries we started to get the hang of it. It was especially hard for me to get the timing right. Then, she substituted one of the jumps for the tire (all set at 16"). He needed a bit of a chance to get used to the idea of slicing a tire since it's not something we've practiced. Oh, and she noted I tend to drift farther and farther from the jumps as I run down the serp, rather than staying in nice and close. Driving home afterward I started to wonder how threadles are handled using this approach instead of false turns. I'll ask next time.

Left and right
Walter mostly knows (not 100% accurate yet though) left and right but I've only really used it as a trick for a spin in front of me and a bit in skijoring. So it was fun to apply it to agility and see him think through it. Did various jump combinations using left and right.

Go over
Worked a bit on a simple two-jump send. Haven't practiced this much lately so it was helpful for the instructor to throw his toy ahead (my aim was pretty lousy).

One of the sequences we worked on used a soft side entry to the 6-weaves with me standing around pole 3. He entered at the second pole every time. He sent ahead to it fine, but if I was standing "too far" ahead, ie in the position required of the sequence, he missed it. Clearly we need to refresh our weaves with me being around the clock.