Friday, July 8, 2011

Collection exercises

Everyone loves to tell us that Lexi needs to learn to collect. Unfortunately, being novice handlers, it's something that we're still learning how to do. This started with one of our lessons with Stuart where we learned that Lexi is always jumping in extension, and it causes her to take wide turns, and sometimes knock bars.

Unfortunately, an hour with Stuart isn't enough to fix the issue, it's something that takes constant work. I could list the things that we've done with Lex to work on this, but I don't think there's enough room (or time) on this blog! Jump grids have played a big role, as have jump boxes, working on tight turns, turns out of tunnels, using a command to indicate a change ("shhh"), but nothing has shown us a great deal of success. But! We aren't giving up.

I spoke with a friend of ours who recommended working on the flat some to reward staying with us and reading speed changes. Lexi read our speed changes very well. It's almost like when she sees the obstacles, she loses her mind. But, I've come to find that a great deal of it is because of my poor timing, so I'm trying to improve as well.

This issue also pops up when working weaves. You may have noticed that at our last trials, the weaves have been an issue. Lexi consistently goes wide and misses her entrance. It isn't because she doesn't know how to enter (she does), it's because entering from an angle often forces her to slow down, and she chooses not to. So she swings out wide, and enters when it's easier for her. So, we're working on that as well. I think the future holds some 2x2 weave training to help with that.

Here are a few drills that we worked on last month:

Okay, I forgot that YouTube doesn't show my captions. Here is what we worked on, in order:
1-- Circle work, rewarding for attention to speed changes
2--Circle work, including crosses
3--Circle work, then a send, rewarding a tight turn
4--Collection with jumps, rewarding collection
5--Collection prior to the weaves
6--Big scary neighbor dog comes out, forcing us to stop. Also, forces us to put up a fence.

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