Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tangle's First Fun Run


I have to say, I was a little bit giddy during the day at the thought of getting to run Tangle on his very first fun run. It was kind of like a first date in a way. You know all the prepping (year long training), anticipation, and finally you get to go on the date.

I had no expectations going into the run. I just knew that what ever happened I would come out of the experience with work assignments. If he ran perfectly, I would take him to another fun run, but one with a little more energy. If he had all sorts of issues, I would analyze those and come up with a training plan to fill in the gaps that had been exposed.

In short, it was a great first date! We ran a 18 obstacle Jumpers With Weaves course. The courses wasn't a gimme. It had some advanced lines of motion. My plan for running him tonight was to support him as best I could. I wanted to run him conservatively, let him extend and just gain confidence. The course was a little difficult to run without too many sends and front crosses.

Tangle did a really great job. True to his nature, he was a little reserved with a the new experience. He hadn't been in this particular arena a lot, so it was a perfect place to dry run some skills. He had a marvelous start line, followed my line of motion beautifully. Beautiful balance between handler/obstacle focus. Hit his weaves every time (straight on entry). The spin after the tire was because I didn't want to front cross a tire with such a young dog and I kind of cued a rear cross, ops.

Really, really proud of my boy!

Next run I will pace him a little bit faster and see how he holds up!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weaves in Sequences

Tangle graduated from 6 poles to 12. We have been working on building value for the entries and all 12 poles. Weaves are a hard thing, I don't want to do too much weaving with him, but you have to do some to build the value.

In order the build the value quickly, I brought out the big guns toy for him. The "ball"! I don't practice much with the ball since the reward is always being thrown away from me, but I don't mind in small doses. With most of his other toys, I can choose to either reward by my side or in the case of an independent obstacle I can reward away.

So, prior to today I just did the classic "around-the-clock" proofing of the 12 weaves. Today I decided to put them in short sequences to measure our progress. I have seen with my dogs that when you put the obstacle in a sequence it sometimes changes the picture. In the case of the weaves, it really changes the picture. The dog generally has to add scope to the weave performance as well. That is, look ahead to gage his jump, land and collection, but without starting it at a sit-stay which allows him a ton of time to see what is ahead.

I am not pushing Tangle in any of this. My goal is to set him up to be successful and build confidence. Challenging him will come later.

I am proud of Tangle, he did a really great job. This video isn't just the best of all the performances with him, it is all of them. Notice, he didn't miss a single entry, even when my handling was less than desirable :)