Thursday, January 5, 2012

Backsides and Serps

I ran this course last night with Tip and Tangle. Really interesting course with several challenges .

Obstacles 1 - 7 were fairly straight forward, ran as you would expect.  In my first attempt I wanted to handle 7-8-9-10, from the landing side of #8.  I was thinking that this would put me further ahead to get the backside of #11.  In order to run from that side you MUST have an independent teeter.  Tangle did OK (but did give me the baby dog, what are we doing mom?).  Tip however, wanted to come off the side of the teeter to my surprise.  I ended up running it from the take off side of #8 as both dogs really wanted the added support.  To my surprise, I was still able to get ahead of them so that I could cue the backside of #11.  There would be no way to get that if you were behind.  It was amazingly hard for the dogs to jump the backside of #11 and go right into the serp.  The physical skills are fairly impressive. 

The next challenge on the serp (11-12-13) was to handle #13 and get the dog turned to #14.  First I tried wrapping Tangle.  He read it fine, but wasn't it wasn't fast.  I felt like I would loose a ton of time and it is boring for the dog.  It took me a couple of tries but I eventually got the rear-cross, wrap to the outside.  That was a new skill for Tangle.  Once we got it fluid it ran really nicely.  Tip is the Queen of the rear cross/wrap to the outside!

14-15-16, the tunnel was not a given, you had to support it and push to it a little.  So, depending on how soon the dog committed to the tunnel determined how you were going to handle 17-18-19.

That was a fun little sequence, there were several ways to handle it well.  I tried the serp from 16 to 17.  The only trick there is you had to be patient until your dog was committed to #17.

Also, with Tangle I was on the take off side of #17, facing him in the tunnel.  Then I did the "backy uppy" to get him over #17.  He read that like a champ as well.

In all a great little course.  I am always going to favor the handling choice that creates the most chase generally speaking.  It is fun for me and the dogs.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Directionals and Proofing Weaves

Happy New Year!

My two black and white BCs are now off of vacation and working themselves back into agility.  I truly believe that the rest that they get every year helps them heal, and renew mentally.  I feel like I get a break from being  their coach and I use the time to just love on them and spoil them (not that they aren't spoiled the rest of the year). 

I hit the new year trying to teach all three dogs directionals.  I have avoided it up until now mostly because I suck at my own right/left.  Also, I guess I hadn't seen a method of teaching it that floated my boat.  When I took Tangle to a puppy seminar in 2010 with Tracy Sklenar she showed us how to teach it and for those of you who know how Susan Garrett does it--basically same method.

With all three dogs I had sessions that I really wish I had taped.  It had me rolling on the floor laughing at my dogs.  My logistics in teaching them just sucked :)  The dogs were frantically offering behaviors, over stimulated, and just completely crazy!  Not much in terms of directional got taught, but by the end I did have all three of them going screamingly fast into a kennel (you had to be there to see how we made the leap from directionals to crate games).

This morning I started Tangle on some harder sequences, and harder weave entries.  He had a couple of weave entries in a sequence that I thought were brilliant!  In reviewing the tape, he skipped poles and I didn't catch it.  A good justification for always filming your sessions!

So, we went out a little later and just worked a bit on weaves.  In this video the first two takes are from the earlier session.  Although his weaves were nice, I felt like they were a bit too mechanical.  He was thinking too hard.  He needs to begin to feel the passion and rely more on muscle memory to get the job done.

To put more drive and energy into the session, I brought out his most favorite toy on the planet 'THE BALL".  He gets consumed by it, it owns him, kind of like the ring in "Lord of the Rings".

Not sure that everyone can see the difference in his energy, but I could feel it.

I am really pleased with the soft sided entries and at the end I dared drop the ball in front of him before he exited the weaves.  Good Boy!!