Sunday, August 29, 2010

Better day

Today we had another run-through because of the nice weather.  And thank goodness--it was a much better day!  Again, I have no video, sorry!  I know it's no fun reading about a course, but I'm going to describe some of the good stuff anyways.

So the first run, Jonathan ran Bentley and it was ugly.  The beginning sequence was jump, straight to the dogwalk, and there was a tunnel RIGHT at the end of the dogwalk, but that wasn't obstacle three.  I think it confused Bentley and the first time he crept down the dogwalk and then jumped.  Jonathan put him back on it, and he jumped off.  I won't go into detail, but the rest wasn't much better.

The second run Bentley was tons better.  For some reason, I discovered that running slowly directly next to the dogwalk and watching him the whole way down seems to help.  And on this run, it did!  He got it the first try.  Of course I celebrated, and he took the tunnel, but who cares.  I was quite proud.  The rest of his run was beautiful.  So other than that off course, it was clean.  I was so pleased.

Lexi also did some great stuff.  We need to work on front crosses, she has tendency to cross behind us in a big loop, and then bark and run circles as we try to get her on the correct side.  I felt a little disappointed until I realized that we have not worked crosses in classes at all, so we aren't too far behind!  Her rear crosses are excellent, especially when it comes to an obstacle that she is very comfortable with (like contacts).  Her teeter is very nice as well, and she's gaining speed on the dogwalk.  She still needs to work on the tire and the chute (her least favorites) but she will do them after a try or two.

We also realized that Lexi gains a ton of speed during her run.  It's really hard to emulate in the backyard since the yard is so small.  So although Lexi never goes so fast that she misses something (like a tight turn) in the yard, she will do it in a bigger space.  It's something we'll need to set up and work on.  We've already started using a quiet "shhh" and slowing down to get her to slow down.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


We had a run-through today at the field.  We have a trial coming up in October (our club), and we haven't been able to do run-throughs because of the oppressive heat.  It was supposed to cool off this weekend, so we met up at the field at 8:30 (am).  As I speak (10:30 am) it is 85 degrees, and the heat index makes it feel like 94.  So not really much of a reprieve.

We ran a REALLY tough Standard course.  They said it was Advanced, but I think it looked more like Masters.  There were a couple angles that NO ONE got through on the first try--even the masters dogs.

Bentley's first run was not great.  He missed his dogwalk contact by a mile.  That was really the worst part.  Everything else might be too hard to explain.  His second run was a disaster.  He stopped on the teeter in the blue, and I started to coax him down as he waited (before the yellow), then he popped off before I released him.  He barked at me on the table (though he did eventually lay down).  I didn't put him on the whole dogwalk, just the downside, and he still missed it.  I put him back on, and he got it the second time.  Then, he dropped a bar on the first jump of a pinwheel, and didn't get out.  Then, he misjudged the A-frame and had to scramble up unnaturally, so he jumped off and missed his A-frame contact.  He missed his weave pole entry (in all fairness it was REALLY hard), then misjudged the tire and broke it apart.  I mean, I think he messed up more obstacles than he performed correctly.

I tried to sound positive and give him cookies, but it was so hard!  I don't know if this is a result of us not working him enough, a result of the heat (it was really hot), a result of our working contacts but not much else, or just a fluke.  Sigh.  I just don't know what to do.

Lexi got to run, too.  Of course it was a mangled version of the course, but she did some really great stuff.  Her teeter was nice.  She still needs to speed it up, but she is consistently running to the end and hanging out as she rides it down.  She also had great contacts (still using target plates), and had two AMAZING rear crosses!  It's so much easier to rear cross when your dog is fast, and obstacle focused!  I was very proud of that.  She also had her moments of spinning and running out ahead, but hopefully we'll make those fewer and farther between as she learns to read us and vice versa.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More practice

Lexi has continued to work on her teeter.  She has been having trouble making the connection about not jumping off on the end. So we're working a lot on the "bang" in her 4 on position.

Bentley did more A-frame work:

Lexi was really moving in a short sequence:

Some A-Frame Work

We finally had a break in the weather...and were able to get out to do some A-Frame and teeter work with the pups.

First, Lexi.
I think she is looking really good!  We are trying some proofing things with her 2o2o (note the running!)  She did pull off once, but seemed to understand after that.  She's coming over the top nicely, but she is slowing and skidding down.  I assume as she gets stronger that it will get a bit more fluid.

I'm also really impressed by her handling.  This is her first time doing a sequence at 16 (we only left them there for 2 runs for her) since she is just about 11 months old.  She seems pretty obstacle focused, which is a change.

Now, Bentley.  He actually missed three A-frame contacts the other day in practice.  I was really surprised, and very disappointed.  We took him out tonight, and he did great!  He didn't miss a single one!  I'm not sure what the deal was...but I'm going to keep changing the angle of the obstacle after the A-frame to continue to challenge him (and remind him where the yellow is!)

In the videos, note that he is doing a really nice out.  It might not seem far to most people, but it's amazing for us.  He also independently completes the A-frame after my husband stopped running.  I'm very happy about that.  His RC was also quite nice.

We then switched and did a little teeter work with Bentley.  His teeter isn't a huge priority of mine.  It's not great, but it works.  As long as I can get him to get through the yellow before our quick release, I'm happy.  He also gets a nice out on a 6-weave pole set.  That's usually really tough for him.

We also worked the teeter with Lexi some...and I think she's starting to get it!  She had been having trouble popping off as soon as the teeter banged.  Almost like she couldn't hold it.  We were letting her jump up the side, bang it, and get into position, but she had no trouble with that.  But as soon as we put her on the end and she ran down, she would get bumped off.  Today we put her on halfway at about mid-height, and let her run down and bang it.  I think she is learned to crouch down and balance herself, and did really well with this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wendy Pape's Teeter Method

We have been working on Lexi's teeter using Wendy Pape's teeter training method.  We don't have a finished product yet, but all of the steps can be found in her DVD, Teeter From Start to Finish, available here:

Here is Lexi's work thus far.  You will note that we did not video all the steps..and we don't yet have a finished product!

Dogwalk work

Went out, and lowered the dogwalk maybe 6 inches or so (10 links, whatever that is!)  I still didn't see the improvement I wanted to see.  I think we're going to start doing the down side only until Bentley can do the down side quickly without leaping.  I'm a little disappointing, but I knew this task wouldn't be easy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A fun post

Enough boring agility! How about some play?

Lexi learns to swim!  This is her second time in the pool:

Lexi and Bentley try to play with Bimmer (the cat):

More playing in the house:

Dogwalk Regression

I mentioned in my last update that we've seen a regression in Bentley's dogwalk performance.  Here's one of our latest attempts, showing his launches at the end.

It's frustrating, but I think towards the end of our training we pushed him too far.  We've now decided we're going to go back and lower the dogwalk a little bit, and allow him to be successful.

We probably won't get to it until at least September.  Not only are we busy, but it's still so hot here.  It's not fair to expect him to work too hard when it's that uncomfortable outside.

We're entering a trial in September (our first away trial!), and won't be entering Standard at that time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Catching up

I only have a few short videos today.  The heat has kept us from doing much outside of a few short sessions a week.  We go to class, but handling two dogs is already too much to handle, so the camera doesn't quite make the cut.

The first is some work that we've been doing with Lexi on handling.  I really don't want to make the same mistake we made with Bentley.  Bentley was never taught to learn patterns since we babysat him through all (rounds, outs, pinwheels, serpentines).  It has taken us some time to go back and teach it and it has made our lives a lot easier.  We are now working these things with Lexi.  Here's a short video of Lexi's second attempt at a serpentine (we've been doing rounds with her previously).

I have a video that I wanted to post, but my computer's being difficult.  He hits about 50% of his dogwalk contacts--an example of the regression we've seen.  I'm sure it's because we just haven't been able to put the time in at the field.  We get up there twice a week, but sometimes after class it's just too hot, and he's too tired to focus.  I don't want to set him up to do poorly, but now we have a dog who has "forgotten" the stride.  We may need to go back and lower it to start again.

And here's a video of his A-frame.  I've actually been really pleased with his A-frame, but in this video he misses the second contact.  It's the ONLY time I've seen him miss his contact on this obstacle...ever!  I hope it was just a fluke, as he was very tired (we had class, then worked dogwalk, then a-frames).