Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 21

Moved the dogwalk up, and again Bentley did well.  Still hoping to have it up to full height in one week.  We won't push him of course, but things are looking promising!

That leaves me hope that we may be able to enter Standard at our trial at the end of July.  I hope that the A-Frame won't take us as long, and that still leaves us with 3 weeks to teach it.


Reps: 25
% Success:  92%

1.  Sequencing.  So now the trouble comes in sequencing after the obstacle.  I know that if I peel off to the left as he comes down the down side (especially as he closes in on the yellow) that he's going to peel off with me and miss the contact.  So I guess this means we need to start practicing this....I'm just not sure how.  If I leave the target plate out front, then that doesn't make sense because he'll never be driving to it during a trial.  If I remove the plate, I feel like he will immediately miss and be confused, and I want to set him up for success.

2.  Height.   He hits his contact higher up the higher the dogwalk goes.  I'll need to keep an eye on this as we continue to go up.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 20

I've been sick, so my wonderful husband took Bentley out to work with him.  He only videotaped the first half, but Bentley does well (and he moved the DW up).  I think we should be at full height in about a week.


Reps: 17
% Success: 94%

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 19

No video today!  We took Bentley up to the field to work with him after Lexi's intro class (she is such a little terror!)  And it turns out that other people were there to do some run-thrus, and we didn't want to monopolize the course.  So we did a quick little practice, maybe 15-20 reps sans camera.

I don't know what happened, but he didn't do too great.  Probably around 75% accuracy.  We didn't raise the dogwalk, and last time at the same height he did great (93% if I remember correctly).  On a positive note, I was able to send him with some distance between me and the obstacle (that's a very good thing for him!)

I think that sitting in his crate barking for an hour beforehand really got him worked up, and he was very excited. I'm not sure what to think.  I'll just chalk it up to a bad day...but I'm going to monitor him very closely tomorrow and the days to follow to make sure that it isn't a pattern or habit that he's getting into.

Days 17 and 18

Day 17 was at the same height as Day 16.  The session was short--you can see it go from bright and sunny to very dark!  It started pouring about 5 minutes after we stopped the video.


Reps: 24
% Success: 88%

1.  Variation.  After our Stuart Mah seminar we realized how important it was to change things up.  We are now doing something different for every run.  Some runs we wait at the end and send Bentley.  Some runs we give him an "out" or "go on" command.  Some runs he goes over a jump then on to the left--you get the idea.  It's actually nice because we're working on things other than contacts there too!

Day 18 we increased the height, and he did great.


Reps:  30
% Success:  93%

1.  Speed.  When he gets moving (and thinking) he is still averaging around 2.1 seconds--woohoo!  I'm very proud of that!

2.  Front Crosses.  Realized that we won't be able to get front crosses in much anymore because Bentley can make it down the dogwalk faster than I can!  This will change how we run courses, so that's something we'll have to consider in the future.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May Trial

This weekend was our club's May agility trial.  It wasn't a great weekend for Bentley (oops we've been concentrating so much on contacts that we forgot to practice other things!), but he did eek out one Starters Pairs (Relay) Q, which was all he needed for his AD title!  So that last run--at 1:30 a.m., made up for the whole weekend!

We didn't enter him in Standard to keep him off of contacts, but did enter him in Pairs thinking it would be maybe 1 contact and I really wanted him to have a chance at his AD.  He also took the dogwalk during one of his Gamblers runs.

I made a quick compilation of his contacts.  I was pretty sad that he didn't get his dogwalk contact, but considering we aren't up to full height yet (not even close!), I couldn't be too mad.  I was pleasantly surprised at his A-frame.  It's not great, he still hesitates at the top, and he jumps off at the bottom, but he didn't creep, and he did get his contact both times.  I'll consider that a success.  Doesn't change our training plan of lowering it almost all the way though, when we get there.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Days 15 and 16

As you can see, I'm still behind on posting the videos!  But, these are the last two for the next few days as we have a trial this weekend.  We're only entering jumpers, gamblers and pairs to avoid contacts for the most part, but it will still be a long and busy weekend.  Day 15 is at 36", and I didn't measure, but I would guess that Day 16 is between 38 and 40".

Day 15 video:

Reps: 23
% Success:  88%

1.  Speed.  He's really doing well with speed.  I really like the way a lot of these look.

2.  Treats.  I think it's a good idea to start giving him extra treats for extra good ones (jackpot).  Some of these are better than others.

3.  Mistakes:  Speed is a factor, and he again misses the first one.
-1:05 BIG mistake.  I think it's the first really bad mistake in a while where he completely misses the yellow.

Day 16 was spent out at the field when there were about 5 other dogs on the field running, and several dogs just running and playing in the field next door.  It was great practice for a trial-like scenario, but definitely proved to be difficult for Bentley's concentration.  Please note that I had to edit not 1, not 2, but 3 dogs going to the bathroom that we captured on video-haha!

Day 16 video:

Reps: 36
% Success:  81%

1.  Success.  I left this training session feeling a little down.  In retrospect, considering everything going on, it was more stressful and full of distractions than even a trial would be.  It is good practice, but was disappointing as I wasn't happy with a lot of the ones that he did correctly.

2.  Mistakes.  His mistakes were also significantly worse than previously.  On ALL of his misses, he missed by a lot.  Didn't even come close to the yellow.  When we pick back up it will definitely be at this height.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 14

A little behind on posts (and on training days!).  Day 14 was around 36"


Reps: 30
% Success:  80%

1.  Success Rate.  Success rate isn't as high as I want it to be, so we'll be leaving it at this height.

2.  Speed.  In direct correlation with his success rate...we were literally sprinting in a lot of the repetitions.  The last 3 times I was going as fast as I could go.  He missed every single one of them.  So I'd like to leave it at this height for him to learn to use his brain when he gets over excited.  I am very proud though because his speed has increased tenfold.  I've now clocked him between 2.1 and 3 seconds every time he runs.

3.  Mistakes.  I now find it helpful to determine why he's missed some of them.  I've listed the reasons (or my thoughts on them) here:

-:03  He misses the first one.  I think he didn't realize the new angle, because the next 5 or so are correct.  We also started him on the full dogwalk rather than just the down board.
-:24  and :33 I specifically instructed my husband before this run to "run fast and rev him up ahead of time"
-1:27 and on...I am running as fast as I can.   So the sprinting was hard for him.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 13

30" to begin, then around 46 seconds we go up to 34".  Getting closer!


Reps: 23
% Success: 91%

1.  Misses.  In case anyone is wondering, the 2 misses are at 37 seconds and 1:12.

2.  Speed.  Closer to 3 seconds this time, but I also didn't clock his faster runs.

3.  Distance.  Really getting some great distance work in.

4. Command.  We've also started using the command "climb".  We had previously used "walk it" but felt like it might confuse Bentley into thinking he might need to get his 2o2o.

5.  Sequencing.  We ran Bentley over a couple jumps prior to getting on the dogwalk, and also put him through a tunnel a few times at the end and treated him after.  (He did not get to go through the tunnel if he didn't get his stride).

Day 12

Two days ago was actually day 12, and yesterday was day 13, but the internet has been down here.

I think the height of the board is around 28" here.


Reps: 33
% Success: 85%

1.  Speed.  I was very pleased with his speed.  I know the obstacle is not at full height, but I clocked him around 2.1 seconds the couple times that I kept time.  Previously he was between 3 and 4 seconds.

2.  Stride.  I am now noticing Bentley adjust his stride to touch farther down.  I know that in the long run we want it to be a natural stride, but I am happy that he seems to understand the end goal (striding through).

3.  Temptation.  I am so tempted to try him at regulation height!  But, we won't until I think he is ready.

4.  Height.  He did fairly well, but he needs more practice at this height.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 11

Starting to get hot we did short sessions at the field.  You'll notice at 1:11 in the video we start doing the entire length of the dogwalk.  Previously we had just been doing the down side.


Reps: 28
% Success: 93%

1. Obstacle.  I was SO pleased when we started taking him over the entire obstacle.  He transitioned easily and did great.  (Oh, and don't mind the attempt around 1 minute where he's choking on a treat!)

2. Analysis.  Still struggling with jumps v. strides.  As my husband says, "we'll know it when we see it".  As the board goes higher, I think this will get easier.

3.  Distance and Independence.  I started working away from Bentley, and he did great.  I think the high value he associates with the obstacle has helped him to drive towards the obstacle, whereas before he wouldn't go without me.  I was able to send from about 15 feet out without him turning around to find me.  I also stopped, and ran backwards a couple times and he didn't even notice.

4.  Timeline.  Our original goal was to be prepared to trial in August.  However, we have a trial next weekend (we'll be skipping out on Standard), and then one in mid-July (we'll skip out on Standard and GP).  Then we have nothing until December (we're missing an October trial for a wedding).  I hope we can find an away-trial to go to before then, or we'll have 6 months with no trials.

Training Goals (obviously subject to change!):
-June 1: To be running a dogwalk at competition height, and to be adding it into short sequencing.
-July 15:  To be running an A-Frame at competition height (this is a lofty goal!)
-August 1: To be working towards a cleaner, faster teeter.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 10

Day 10 was actually yesterday, and today is Day 11, but I'm only going to get to one post tonight (the videos take so long to edit!)  We moved to the agility field today, and at first, it was bad.  I'm not sure if it was the environment, or the board being too high (we did have it too high at first), but I was worried that nothing would translate.  Unfortunately, the hand full of bad mistakes were prior to us setting up the camera, so you don't get to enjoy them.  But after a few mistakes in a row, we lowered the dogwalk again, to about 20" (maybe a bit less since he gets on a little lower), and had much more success.

Also, we are going to begin working on independence (sending out, not going with him) a bit more at the suggestion of a friend.  We didn't get to it this day because he seemed pretty confused with our new set up.  (The set up being that we had the table at the down side of the dogwalk for him to jump on, then get on the dogwalk from there).


Reps:  40
% Success:  Somewhere around 85-90%

1.  Analysis.  I spent a good deal of time tonight analyzing Bentley's strides vs. jumps.  I think we incorrectly don't click some successes on this video.  And my editing software is being weird, so I couldn't go back and honestly count the successes vs. mistakes.

Here are my tips on differentiating jumps from strides:
- Jumps begin with all four paws together, and end with two paws in the front together and two paws in the back together.
- Strides begin with legs slightly separated, and end with legs (especially back) slightly separated.
- The angle of the body on a stride is slightly sloped down towards the bottom of the board.
- The angle of the body on a jump is straight, going straight out.

2.  Changes.  I was extremely happy with the adapting that Bentley did in the short time we were at the field.  I think the field added a good deal of excitement and working there is great practice for real applications.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 9

I can't believe that we have only been doing this for 9 days.  It feels like a lot longer than that!  Today we worked at 16".  And despite several (bad trainers!) days off, Bentley does well.


Reps: 30
% Success: 100%

1.  Height.  We honestly can't go any higher with this board in our backyard.  We may try putting our mini A-Frame in the yard to see if we can use that.

2.  Transitions.  I think we need to move a bit faster as far as height goes.  I know it's only been 9 days, but he is doing well.  I think it will get harder as we get closer and closer to the regulation heights.  I want to spend more time there, and then not only can we focus on strides, but also building speed.

3.  Puppy.  We took Lexi (7 months) out today to "play" on the board with it flat on the ground.  I just took her out and treated any interaction with the board.   With her smart sheltie brain she was running all the way across with just a few tries.  Now it leaves me with the difficult question:  What kind of contacts do we want with her?  2o2o for her?  Or running?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 8

Another day at 12".  Short update--putting in a fence this weekend!


Reps:  26
% Success: 96%

1.  Analysis.  Still having trouble identifying jumps/long strides.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 7

Board is up to 12" off the ground.


Reps:  34
% Success:  91%

1.  Analysis.  We incorrectly identified 1 jump in this one (we click at 38 seconds, but it's a stride over the yellow).  I think it becomes more and more difficult as his jumps become more and more like long strides.

2.  Striding.  It's as if he has learned not to jump, but not yet understanding that his goal is to stride to the end of the board.  It is lucky because his strides take him to the end of the board around 90% of the time.  I hope this will come with time.

3.  Clicking.  In combination with the above, we have to make sure that not only are we clicking for strides instead of jumps, but also ONLY strides through the yellow.

4. Transition.  I think our goal is to get him up to full height on the dogwalk (48").  Then we will lower the A-frame and work on striding to the end of that.  The teeter is a whole 'nother story!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 6

Double update today! Quick one though, as I'm working on an exam...

We raised the height about halfway through the video from 5" off the ground to 9".


Reps: 37
% Success:  97%

1.  Height.  Bentley takes the height change in stride (quite literally)! And only really goofs on the second to last rep.  Notice that my husband accidentally clicked it!

2.  Increasing Height.  We are progressing more quickly than I expected.  I'm currently brainstorming the best way to make the board taller and taller.  What we're using now (extra boards) will maybe get us a few more inches, but no more than that without sacrificing stability.

3.  Traction.  We painted the yellow portion with sand and paint and the traction is great.  We'll need to take another time out soon and add sand to the middle section.

Day 5

We skipped a day on Friday to add traction to our board.  Unfortunately, we picked the worst day to do it because it was so humid.  The board didn't dry until today (Sunday).  Saturday we had class at our agility training field so we did a quick practice out there.  We didn't bother raising the board, and the result was a very successful 25 reps.


Reps: 25
% Success:  96%

1.  Speed.  He's a lot faster now than before.  But ONLY when we run with him.  He isn't motivated by himself (story of his agility career!)

2.  Weather.  The heat has an impact, which is going to make this tougher and tougher.  Notice how hot/tired he is by the end.  And we only trained for 6 minutes.  We may have to do 2 five minute sessions a day when it starts to get hot rather than one 10 minute session.

Hopefully more to come tonight...