I'm going to start by posting a few videos from our run-throughs this weekend, and then voice a few of the concerns that I have.
These courses were from the October issue of Clean Run, on page 54. We started with the Starters course, then the second one is the Advanced course. I felt that they were both extremely challenging, and much harder than any Starters course that I've seen!
Lexi Course 1:
Bentley Course 1:
Lexi Course 2:
Bentley Course 2:
My first concern is with Lexi. She is all over the place! I know that there are dogs that go out and run away and grab whatever obstacle they want. That's not quite Lexi. She's just so excited, and she's running so quickly, that she'll grab whatever closest that she thinks I want her to take. I can call her off, if I'm fast enough, so she is clearly trying to do what I ask...but she's so quick, that she often goes off course.
I don't want to ruin her enthusiasm or drive (the mistake we made with Bentley), but I wonder whether or not we need to try to reign her in. I feel like any time I'm slightly facing the wrong way BAM, she's gone. I need to be able to make some slight mistakes, or we'll never be able to be successful.
My second concern is the reason I started this blog...Bentley's running contacts. His A-frame is really nice, and I'm mostly pleased with it. I have seen him miss a few times, but in my opinion, not too much. The dogwalk, on the other hand, is just atrocious.
During our daily trainings, he really seemed to make progress. But as soon as we stopped the every day stuff, he just lost it. He now hits (in sequence) about 25% of the time. I think he has missed in every trial that we've entered him in since we started retraining. It's so incredibly frustrating. I'm seriously considering going back and retraining 2o2o, but I'm afraid that that will make it even more confusing for him. I think it's at least time for us to get the board back out in the backyard, and start doing that again on a daily basis.
Also, I wonder if we aren't correctly rewarding/correcting him like we should be. If he misses in sequence (except trials), we stop, and either start over at the beginning of the dogwalk, or pick him up and put him halfway up to try again. If he gets it, he gets a treat. 90% of the time he gets a treat when running in sequence if he gets it.
Big decisions ahead.