Sunday, February 1, 2009

Agility Class & Training Session

Got back from almost 2 weeks in Canada last weekend. Then catch up on work, laundry ... you know, the usual.

Luce's agility class on Wednesday night was cancelled due to ice, however, Blaze's class on Thursday night was a go. And then on Saturday I met up at Rosemarie's with a couple of people for a training session. I really envy Rosemarie her indoor :-)


Thursday night we had Mary Ellen and Alaina. I REALLY NEED to work on Blaze's start line stay. Okay, I can do that. He was releasing when I raise my hand. I worked on that on Saturday and I can see some improvement. That is something I can work on in the house. It is supposed to warm up above freezing for today only, so hopefully I can pry one of the jumps out of the ground, or even get the shed doors open, and bring a jump inside.

Blaze is dropping bars. One jump work. So, more use for a jump inside. He tends to do it when jumping very extended or very collected. I can work on the collected part in the house, but not the extended. I also noticed on Saturday, that if I can be very, very calm and quiet, he drops fewer bars. However, and Jean had the same problem with T, also a "baby dog", when I am trying to move into position to handle the next bit, then the bars go flying.

I also noticed, that whereas Blaze can find obstacles here in the yard or up at the Kruisin barn, he had problems the first sequence in class and then on Saturday. He isn't used to looking for obstacles so he ends up running by them. So, that will mean going to run throughs etc. But now now ... there is more training to be done.

While dogs did Mary Ellen's sequence, others went over to Alaina to work on dogwalk contacts. Alaina gave me some good pointers, the most important being to visualize what I want in the end contact behaviour. What I want Most important. I am willing to accept a foot or two off of the plank. I am not good enough (or let's face it, patient enough!!) to enforce all paws on. What I really want out of the dogwalk and teeter, is Blaze in a down and one elbow on the plank and at least one back leg. I need to train myself to see it as soon as it happens and give him a verbal marker, which will be "yes" Then ping pong the duration. So, I also need to pry either the teeter board or travel plank out of the ice and bring that inside also.

We also worked on the aframe on Saturday where I realized that I will accept a different performance. There, I want a down, but I don't care if his elbows are off the board ... I want the back feet ON, but given the steepness, I can accept that he might not be able to stop with elbows on. If they ARE on, fine, but he has to have his elbows touching a surface.

I was very please that he is landing ON the aframe very softly and running up. I hope he keeps that!

Luce was happy to do some agility again and running with her is so comfortable! She doesn't have the distance that Blaze does and doesn't have the "twitchiness" either. But she also understands more. One of the sequences was much easier for Luce and Zen than it was for Blaze and T due to their experience. However, Blaze can get weave pole entries that Luce can't.

It was nice to get into "agility mode" again!

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