Friday, August 19, 2011

What fun getting to spectate!!

Yesterday Split's biggest admirer Rachel came over to run him for me. I asked her to run him in an upcoming trial for me so she is trying to get her Border Collie shoes on! Rachel normally runs a Lab/Catahola mix Evie. Evie is a medium speed, steady, love her mama kind of dog. So, for Rachel to run Split takes some adjustment. It was awesome, she is getting the hang of it very quickly. She needs to retire so she can get a Border Collie :)

It was so fun for me to not only help her figure it out, but also to watch my dog run. Spectating was great. Split is fast and graceful and I don't get to see that when I run him. I absolutely loved just watching. I gained an appreciation for the work that Split puts into the job and learned a thing or two along the way. Thanks Rachel!! I would highly recommend this to everyone.

This morning I worked Tangle and Split. We worked on Nancy Gyes' Alphabet drill "a", discrimination's, and independent obstacles. I was super pleased with how both dogs did. In the jumping drill we focused on 270's and coming through the gap. Both dogs did a great job with forward send and come through the gap (270's are old hat to both).

This morning was Tangle's first introduction to no motion discrimination between the tunnel and the dog walk. At first, not surprising Tangle would take the DW no matter what the cue. Well, which obstacle is more highly rewarded? So, I set him right in front of the tunnel, said "tunnel" and rewarded with tug. Lights went on "ah, we are not working just the DW today". We then progressed very quickly through the process. I kept setting him back further so both obstacles were an option. Each time I didn't move and just called the obstacle name. He was BRILLIANT! Next I would send him over jump #1, and call an obstacle name. Again brilliance! The only thing that I need to work on is the speed of the dog walk. When I sent him and had minimal motion myself, he was slower. I will work on that, but to be honest it is really rare that you ever have a course that dictates that skill, the handler is always moving somewhere!

Split has a ton more experience for these discrimination's, but it never hurts to just backup, simply, and practice the basic skill. He did great.

The handicapped sequence for today was working on sending to a tunnel, taking a jump with me in a lateral position (closer to #4), and then an independent weave. I only worked this sequence with Tangle and he did stellar. I am always amazed at how well he does.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Switching gears - Handler challenged courses

I find that life has forced me to switch gears in terms of my training plan for the next three months or so. I was running Tangle last week and heard a loud pop, yep, partially ruptured a tendon in my foot. Big boot on my foot, no running and fairly limited movement for the next two weeks, then gradually over many, many weeks I get to add more movement.

It is not my style to sit around and wait for time to pass. I try to switch gears as quick as I can and find the activities that will fit in with my current limitations.

Here is my first handler challenged course. My physical limitations this week are 1) I can only take a couple of steps while handling to dog 2) I can't take them fast

I decided to work on the subtlety of cues. In this design I am showing the dog the difference between a forward send, a 180, and forward motion cues. Although I only diagrammed the dog on the right, I did work both sides.

This actually turned out to be a good exercise for Tangle. We have worked all of these configurations in the past, but as he has gained more speed and excitement for agility it proved to be a good reminder.

I can't imagine that I will heal quickly so I am guessing that I will be designing a series of these course in the coming month or two.