Monday, March 5, 2012

Tunnel of Love and a Peep Show

Another weekend without a show! I’d say a girl could get used to this but it does get a bit dull by Sunday.  After one plays with the dogs, watches sci-fi and naps, there is little left to do but clean.


Don’t worry though. Successfully avoided for another weekend.
After kicking around some fun looking international-style courses with Smooth Sailin’, the girls and I ventured out to run a few.  We chose courses by Kees Stoel; I like that there are the typical scary elements, but all the courses he designs seem to also have huge lines to open up and run too. Part of my struggle with The Dog has been balancing those transitions so I wanted to see if there was any improvement there. Other goals for the day were watching her jumping and orbiting (a.k.a. China trips) as I attempt to start moving more again.

Course #1: Agility!  
Course #2: Jumping!
With The Dog, it’s survival mode. I try to drill individual obstacles in most practices so when I get the chance to do coursework I can see how far we get. I think this has made the biggest difference in our turnaround in Standard courses (we get through them now!) and boosting her attitude (stopping for every oops bummed her out).  First time through is always the ‘real’ one; we stop only for off courses, then we go back and pick it apart (er, in a fun way).  
Tunnel of Love!

Well.  I’d have to say that if it wasn’t for tunnels and grotesque over-handling we might be on to something! In ‘Agility’ we survived until #15 when I called. So. Hard. and sent her into the other end of #17. Upon visiting it again later, I needed to only run to #15. No call. No stopping. Sigh. The right thing was so effortless!  Aside from that, if you watch the video you can see her veer off to the right after the dogwalk. One might THINK she was headed to the #11 jump but no. She was in fact zooming off to the tunnel bags and tunnel piles. So much tunnel love now!  Part of the zooming was due to me crowding her at the end of the contact. It seems that on the right she just needs her space. It took a few tries to work it out, but the right answer turned out to be layering the jumps.  Then she had a lovely dogwalk and nice lines.  (This ‘space’ thing keeps coming up off the dogwalk… you reckon someday I will actually remember and handle accordingly?? Bets, anyone?)

The Jumping course was fun! Pipe tunnels, wee! I tried three variations of a lead out to start, and the best was the one on video (video is our third time through).  I wanted SO badly to be on the landing side of #13 and call over, but she had NONE of that. Tunnel, tunnel, tunnel… Tunnel love! Once I got my butt down to the takeoff side tunnel vision was gone.
It was good learning. I hadn’t realized how much of a tunnel sucker she was becoming. And now that she uses them as her self-reward...yikes! Even more incentive to keeping upping my own personal ante.   But her jumping was good, and held up well.  Unsurprisingly, the bars she took were on the Jumping course and the cause was her having that darn tunnel vision. Like I said, good learning!
Oh man, then there was The Pup.  This was the first time I’ve run her on such a wide open layout. It definitely presented a new challenge. All the space was very inviting to her and she wanted to expand to fill it.  I can’t say she’s ever run around anything but her first time on her baby version of a Standard course featured a LOT of runarounds.  She was incredibly high after watching a BC run and it took a spin around the block to get the engines firing on all cylinders. Even then she was a bit of a mess at the start and finish (all the dogs and treats and toys and people were at the start and finish area!); she had to inspect things and say hi. We did get through it in a respectable fashion eventually but I can pretty much see what her inaugural run will be like!
Peep show!
Other learning points: Pup cannot be ringside before she runs. Not sure how this will work but other dogs running before her will be harder to overcome that anything the judge lays out. My hope is that small and highly unmotivated dogs run first.  Otherwise I may stand in the bathroom with her until her name is called!

Pup also must be very carefully set up and collected after her run. I can’t manhandle her on her set ups. It makes her insane.  Calm letting her self-control is key. I must be extremely diligent that she comes to me after the last obstacle. No excusing herself.   And for the next month, any ADHD resulting in her exploring ringside dogs/people will be met with a crate trip.  Also I read up on some interesting attention work I think I will start on with her. Sounds like more fun than crate trips.

Also apparently this was the first time she has seen a double with wings. You’d think it would be hard to miss the giant spread with wings but no. Totally invisible.
Oh, we did have much fun. Worry not. It is a blast to run her, even if she is a nut job out of the box.  If I remember to let her settle in before I push her, she does really well. Then she needs to be pushed. As you see in her JWW course, she was mentally ready to go and I wasn’t on the ball.

Many good things for her overall.  Her weaves are great, she is still picking up speed and has figured out her footwork.  Her contacts are AWESOME! Her dogwalk is finally there without Marvin and she is driving ahead! It’s hard to tell in the video, but it’s down to five strides now and all four feet are running through the zone. I checked out slo-mo and her back leg separation is text book. (Ugh, I can’t keep up with her anymore so it’s time to start working on her getting herself on straight.)  Aframe is good, a nice untrained freebie. Teeter I am really happy with. She hasn’t had any issues with maintaining her stop there (view with envy my wicked lead out from the teeter, heheh). So while dialing in to her brain from the get go is our biggest challenge, thank goodness our obstacles are reliable.

Er, except the double. What’ up with that?

1 comment:

  1. Dynamite is so cute, and contacts are awesome! And I love Shiver :)