Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jumping: Salo Exercises

Tonight we had a mini-Susan Salo seminar.  One of our club members took several Salo seminars, and did a short class on some beginning exercises tonight.   It was great timing and particularly apropos for us and Lexi.

There were only 4 dogs in the class, so we got a lot of individual attention.  And the verdict is...her jumping is great.   Nothing to worry about.  It may have been a weird growth spurt, she was sore, tired, etc...But, as Kim described her jumping tonight, "She is making it look effortless--which is not always easy".  I feel much better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A-Frame Training

We've been a bit lax in our training.  This heat is so oppressive that we never want to go we can't train for more than a few minutes at at time.  That being said, we had an AWESOME day in class the other day with  both Bentley and Lexi.  We're lucky in the our summer classes allow us to work on a variety of short skill sets.

Last week we worked on contacts which was beneficial for both dogs.  Bentley did awesome.  Some of the sequences were hard as he's one of the few dogs with a running dogwalk (dogwalk into the tunnel under it!), but he didn't miss a single one!

Lexi also did well.  I've learned that she needs commands earlier than Bentley does, which is something I'll need to learn.  She missed a couple contacts (remember, she does a 2o2o) because I didn't tell her soon enough, and she didn't slow down fast enough on her way down the equipment.  I was amazed, too, because she was doing handling exercises that she has never seen before like it was nothing.  I was able to flip her out to a tunnel no problem!

Enough about class, here are two short training videos on the A-frame.

Salo jumping

It was brought to our attention the other day that Lexi may be using her front to jump, rather than her rear.  I've noticed this on some occasions, where I notice her "lifting" her back legs over, rather than powering herself with her back legs.  She was also, on some runs, using her front legs to pull herself over contact equipment.

It could be for a number of reasons.  One, she's still a puppy, so her front and rear could be developing at different rates.  Two, she's tired.  Three, that's just how she is.  I've also heard that some herding breeds develop their fronts more anyways due to the twisting and turning required to work sheep.  I'm calling her breeder this afternoon to talk about it--just for curiosity's sake.

Whatever the reason may be, we've spent the past week teaching "back up" and "sit up".  We're also doing a good deal of tugging where we encourage her to pull while backing up.

I've been watching her closely, and she doesn't do it all the time.  I'm starting to think that she does it when she's tired.  That being said, we set up an exercise with the video camera to watch her.  From what I can tell in these, she's mostly using her rear (I slowed down the video on my computer and watch her compress and push off the back).

What do you think?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Frame Day 2, Lexi Sequencing

Second day of Bentley on the A-Frame at a low height.


Reps:  18
% Success:  94%

1.  Height.  We will definitely be raising it up as he did excellent here.
2.  Tops.  He is learning to fly the apex.  Check out his last one--beautiful!

We also started Lexi on some beginning movement and sequencing.  We haven't done much yet, and haven't even broached the subject in our intro class, but we wanted to go ahead and get her moving with us (and to nip her herding in the bud!).

I was very impressed with how quickly she caught on.  We did some front crosses out of tunnels, lead out pivots, and rear crosses to tunnels.  She is much more obstacle-focused than Bentley so it's interesting to train her.

Front cross out of tunnel:

Lead out pivot:

She knocks 2 bars in the second video, but she hadn't knocked any all day.  I think she may have just been tired.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 25 and A-Frame Day 1

Another catch up post.  A few days ago we didn't make it out to the field because of an impending storm.  We didn't want to miss a day, so we tried Bentley on a low A-Frame.  Here's the results.


Reps:  20
% Success:  90%

1.  Identification.  We incorrectly identify 2 jumps as strides.  He only missed 2.

2.  Flying the top.  The top of the frame looked better as we continued to practice (and he got more confident).

Day 25
We finally moved the dogwalk up to full height!  And, Bentley did AWESOME!  This is obviously going to require a good deal of maintenance, but I feel like we've come such a long way since one month ago.  I'm so proud of Bentley, and even a little proud of us for sticking with it!


Reps:  30
% Success:  95%

And since this has become an agility blog, I'm adding one more video.  If anyone knows us, they know that Bentley is the most velcro of all velcro dogs.  The idea of working away from us is very foreign to him, and he has barely eeked through Starters Gamblers.  Honestly, he can get out to our side, but he won't get out in front of us (the whole idea of independent movement).  Well we have made GREAT strides.  We had a seminar with Stuart Mah who told us we were babying our dog.  He emphasized that Bentley needs to learn to take responsibility to get his job done.  So, we've been working on "get out" using pinwheels.  That combined with the out training with the dogwalk has really helped.  Without further ado, here's a video showing his progress with the "out" command.  It may seem very basic, but this is a HUGE stride for us, and I am so so proud.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 24

Over 90 degrees out all day yesterday, so we did a very short session.  


Reps: 16
% Success:  94%

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lexi A-Frame

I set out to originally make this a Bentley contact blog.  BUT...I think since I only have three followers, I can make it whatever I want!  So I think it may morph into a dog training/agility blog.

That being said, I can't resist showing a video of Lexi's contact training.  We did decide to do 2o2o with her, for a number of reasons.
1.  She's smarter than Bentley (sorry buddy, it's true)
2.  She's extremely fast
3.  She's very obstacle focused and it's good for her to learn to gather herself.

We've been practicing "touch" on a board for the past couple weeks.  We did the A-frame in class the other day (at a low height), so today we decided to practice on our training A-frame at a low height.

Without further ado, here's a quick video.  She's doing really well, and seems to really get it.  The mistakes she makes can be attributed largely to her rear end strength/awareness, which we're working on.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Days 22 and 23

More belated updates--oops!  Weather here has either been hot or rainy, so we're having a hard time getting outside to work.  You'll note in the second video that it's so humid out that the camera lens kept fogging up!

Today we had a chance to try the dogwalk at full height during some short sequencing in class.  Bentley did well--didn't miss either of the two times.

Day 22 Video

Reps: 30
% Success:  87%

1.  Directions.  We started adding some directions in.  It's critical that we give him information really early.  I read that some people would even say "Climb...left" or whatever, to show that the dog needed to go left after climbing.  Personally, I'm not sure Bentley's memory is that good, so the aim is to tell him as he gets to the flat board (obviously we don't do this often in the video)

Day 23 Video

Reps: 30
% Success:  90%

1.  Speed.  He's still right around 2.1 seconds.  I'm happy with that, and don't want to push him anymore.  We would have to sacrifice accuracy.

Treat Review
I know this is unrelated, but I had to post some treat reviews here for anyone who's curious.  We had been using Wellness WellBites.  We loved them.  One of the few treats that were soft enough to easily break into tiny pieces during training.  I hate that some treats are too small to be broken (but not small enough for very repetitive training), and I hate that some treats can't be broken.  So these were great.

Then we switched to these to try something new.  Also, they're grain free, so less filler.  Bentley likes them, but they are SO hard to break, and I'm not comfortable giving him a full piece.  Also, not only are they hard to break up, but it takes Bentley longer to chew them, and it's really hard to quickly move on in training since you're waiting for him to chew.  So I won't be buying these again.  Back to the WellBites for us!