Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday morning practice

I had reserved the Kruisin barn for Thursday morning, so off we went. Blaze barked the whole way there which was very unnerving.

There was a whole course set up - Thursday morning is a good time to go :-)

I took Blaze out first. We worked on the opening quite a bit as it was tricky. Sort of a loop coming back, extending out a bit, then looping back then switching.

We needed to work on when I need to slow down or move laterally, or both, so that Blaze reads it and collects. His inclination is to YEE HAW down a line of jumps :-) However, I have been working on some jumping stuff at home where he needs to collect and come to me and work close and it seems to be paying off.

He did get it after a while. If he got the handling cues about turning, then he dropped a bar, so we still don't have it right. Sigh. At least he was doing 20" the whole time (Kruisin has AKC/NADAC jump cups, so no 22") and didn't duck under any of the jump bars like he did in September. I have to NOT get obsessed with the dropped bars and create a problem where none exists right now. It is most likely just a green dog thing.

He got all of his contacts which was good. I was very pleased with that. He wants to leave SO badly though .... I will need to continue to reinforce the contact behavior so that it doesn't become a problem. And remember that the DOCNA trial in December is for the training!!! Maybe if I tell myself that enough between now and then I'll actually DO it :-)

There were tricky sections on that 23 obstacle course, so I broke it down and we worked on parts.

I tell you, I really need to get into shape for this dog! After the aframe, it was a jump, jump, weaves, all in a straight line. Then a curved tunnel beyond the weaves but they had to take the far end of the tunnel. A front cross at the end of the weaves worked the best to get Blaze into the correct end of the tunnel, but to get to the end of the weaves to actually DO it was hard work! I didn't have the right shoes on which didn't help. So, note to self, ALWAYS weave running shoes when running Blaze!! And it was still humid in the barn! My jeans felt like I was wearing lead which didn't help matters any! And thank goodness Blaze has stopped contacts, because I couldn't get to the end of the dogwalk before he did and it was a flip away to a tunnel.

One problem we had at that section was there was a dummy chute even and to the left of the weaves. I was on Blazes left, and he took the chute the first 3 times ... if he was ahead of me, he crossed in front of me to take it and once I was ahead of him and he crossed behind me to take it. Not sure what was up with that - I need to bring the video camera. Maybe a tunnel is more of a draw than weave poles are? More visible? I was on that side? I somehow cued it? I don't know. Once he knew where the weave poles were he was fine, but we aren't going to get a second chance in a trial situation!

I was very winded after Blaze's session. I rested a bit, then it was Luce's turn. It would be SO much easier if they jumped the same height! Luce would have gotten a Q our first time around :-) Good little girl :-) We redid some parts to tighten turns etc ... actually got a flyoff the aframe, yikes! Got to correct that and I went back to reinforcing all of the contacts. She got the weave pole entrance, the little monkey ... why not at trials!!! Again, need to bring the video camera to see just what the heck I am doing differently!! I would love it if she had independent weave poles, but she doesn't and at age 9, I don't know that she ever will have. I am certainly aiming for that with Blaze!

We had a little break, then I brought Blaze back for another go at the first half which was the trickiest. I had noticed with Luce that if I moved even more laterally AND slowed down, it cued a certain turn much better than the way I had done it with Blaze. It did work better and he really collected and knew that he was going to turn. I should have thrown in some going straight at that point ... just thought of that now. He is smart enough that he knew what the course was by that point :-) Anyway, more bar problems. Hopefully this will resolve itself eventually.

We didn't get to work on rear crosses, but the extension/collection stuff was good. Didn't do any distance stuff with Luce either. I need to go with a plan in my head for her.

Unfortunately, Blaze must have very tender feet because he has some very tender spots on his pads, and two of them are slipped. I think due to the combination of doing the contacts and the mulch. So, that is it for agility for a week until his pads are better. He did this once before at the barn and I totally had forgotten about it. I will have to be more careful in the future if the contacts are out. It is only on the contacts ... when it is just jumps, he is fine.

All in all, a good session. Blaze wasn't crazy wild like he was in class that one night. He was "listening" more and I'm trying to handle more. The first time through the sequence, I was too afraid to get up to one point for a front cross as I was afraid it would push him even further out. Gave myself a stern talking to, and got up there all the other times.

Got to work on stay at the start and the first obstacle was a tunnel that Blaze VERY much wanted to take :-)

Blaze rode in the back of the car in the crate on the way home. I figured, if he was going to bark non stop, he might as well do it back there rather than right behind me in the car. He was POOPED, so other than his usual barking as the car starts up, he was quite almost the whole time home :-)

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