Thursday, November 18, 2010

Incorporating training into my workout!

It is always a challenge to fit everything you need or want into your day. I really try hard not to compromise and blow off my workout. If I am not in good health I am not good to myself or anyone including my dogs.

Today the dogs and I took a jog in a local park that has a ton of undeveloped space. Double bonus the park is next to a bunch of soccer fields as well (more mileage and varying terrain).

We jogged probably 35 minutes or so. While I am running I threw the Frisbee for the dogs (not Tangle, he really just wants to chase the other dogs right now). Anyone who has a pack that plays fetch knows that one dog can be the hog of the toy. To combat this behavior I have trained my dogs that if I call a name before I throw the toy that is the dog who gets to fetch it. This is a really nice foundation impulse control game, especially for the dog who views it as her responsibility to ALWAYS get it (the dog that needs the control).

After we were done jogging, I needed to get in some wind sprint work. This aids me in agility since most of that is start/stop speed work for me. On the soccer field I put all three dogs into a down. I take off running, release the hounds, and they chase me. Again, really nice for recall, release work, impulse control and also gives the dogs some chase/speed work themselves. It is fun to note who catches you first. I did this 6 or 7 times. Tangle, the baby actually did awesome with this. Only broke once.

Now, I upped the anti. Again, all three dogs in a down, and I take off running. I only release one dog to chase me. Again, dog's name and then the release command. This KILLS the other dogs. Tangle, the baby of the pack had a little bit of trouble with this one. He broke twice before he got the hang of the game. I only did this 4 times to introduce the game. To up the anti next time I will increase the reps and which dog gets to play.

The last thing I did was just with Tangle. We ended the session with some flatwork (to him it looks like a controlled chase game). He is ready to add more motion to his flatwork and it gives me an opportunity to exercise my lateral movement muscles.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lateral sends

My plan was to work on contacts this morning, but the contact had a think layer of ice on them (didn't want to teach the slide). So I worked the two older dogs on lateral sends. Turns out it was a good thing, we were a little rusty. OK, well, mostly me.

My secondary goal was to just get Split out on the agility field and happy to work. Yesterday they were firing off nail guns (BIG scary thing for him). He decided that he was done dealing with it, somehow escaped and ran home (about 1 mile). At least he ran home!

I set it up as a jump into a serpentine with a tunnel as bait behind the serpentine. I worked both directions of the Serp.

Split did read that I wanted him to turn, but boy was he wide! I had to work on first the deceleration cue into the Serp and then we worked on the lateral send. He really just needed reminding what the cues were. Also, I rewarded just about everything I could to make him happy to be there again. He did keep looking around, but powered through being scared (there was no nail gun going on).

I figured out that if I started very close to the beginning of the serp, I could show more lateral motion and Split's turn was much tighter. Something I learned this weekend at the Carrie Jones seminar. Makes sense when you think about it.

Tip, the more experienced, tighter turning dog decided the tunnel was the obstacle of choice, but only going left to right. I will have to film myself to see if my cues are not as strong in one direction vs. the other. So, to get Tip to follow the lateral motion I actually had to start further away from the second jump. Probably has something to do with the way she was trained :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today's work

Tangle and I did a boat load of work today. I didn't get to work out the others because a storm rolled in this afternoon :(

We took a ton of video while playing all these games. Since Tangle is a wee one I can't always see how well he is lined up with me. The video really helped. It also helped me spot where I was not releasing properly!

We played a ton of short games:
  • start lines stays
  • table games
  • "round" the cone
  • "8's" around the cones
  • "feet" on the table
  • FC, RC, pull and push

A lot of these games have releases in them. I am trying to release either in motion and completely still (ie, don't introduce a new motion when saying the release). For the most part I was fairly good with this, but I did notice that in the table game I was REALLY bad about releases and starting motion at the same time.

I was really pleased with his no motion flatwork, just the basic crosses. He was lined up well, and followed perfectly. I did notice that his rear crosses still need work (my coordination which I am sure he can then follow).

Playing with Tangle on the table

Monday, November 15, 2010

Foundation - the real story

I attended a Carrie Jones Seminar this weekend. The first day was at the Master's level and the second day was Foundation. I want to focus on the Foundation topic since that is what is of interest to me this morning.

With the other two dogs I never had an opportunity to attend a foundation seminar. Mostly because they weren't offered or they were not available to the masses (I didn't belong to agility clubs). So, lately I have attended two foundation seminars. The first seminar was Tracy Sklenar and the focus was a lot of "Say Yes" training stuff. Fabulous information and Tracy was amazingly entertaining! The second was Carrie Jones and covered the basics of sit, stay, down, tricks and the FC, RC, push and pull basics. Again, good information, just really just the basics or beginning of foundation work.

Now, I have attended novice seminars and your dog is expected to already be sequencing obstacles and have contacts (not perfect however). So, to me it begs the question "Isn't there something in between these stages?", "Isn't that prior to 10 obstacle sequences stage REALLY important?". Too me, that is foundation work as well. You begin to get a fair amount of movement into play, combinations of skills are expected (stay, jump, read my motion). What is the best way to bring those together?

I would love to attend a seminar on how you begin to pull some of these skills together. Great, I have done some flat work, one jump work, cone work. Yes, I can read some books, blogs, and web sites, but this stuff just doesn't seem to be out there. I have to piece it together. Am I missing something?

I know that the one dog I did train with the foundation skills was not able to go from "one jump" work to "sequences" automatically. We had to build up to it. Who is going to be first in line to provide the resources on putting it all together?