Saturday, March 6, 2010

Agility practice, 3/6/10

Today at class we worked on a lot of fun stuff. First, Cedar and I did some short jump/weave sequences, working on getting her to drive forward through the weaves without looking back at me, as well as finding weave entries when I'm not close to her/guiding her to them. She did great!

Her weaves are really coming around... she's doing 6 straight poles reliably now, on both sides. She can find the correct entry with a jump in front, jump after, or both, which I was happy about! She tends to go too fast sometimes and not think about what's ahead of her.

Next, we worked on contacts. I've been pretty lax about working her on contacts during our "off" month from classes. However, she did pretty well. We worked on the A-frame first, and she remembered "spot" almost right off the bat. We still have a lot of work to do in this area, however. That became clear when we went and tried the dog walk for the first time. She didn't want to have both of her hind feet on the board at the same time. Mary says this is because she's cow-hocked and her feet tend to be wide apart anyways. So I'll work on that more at home with the tippy board (it's the same width as a teeter/dog walk board so it's ideal for that. I just set one end on the top of the stairs and it works just like the bottom of the dog walk. Good stuff.

Next, Mary helped us with the teeter. Like I said before, Cedar tends to go so fast that she doesn't think about anything else. As a result, she scared herself on the teeter once so we had to back track and do some clicker work with it. By the end, she was doing pretty well. We're still not up to full height on the teeter. I need to work on not always being right next to her so she doesn't depend on me to find her contacts. Gives us something to work on I guess :)

After the teeter, I put Cedar up for a few minutes and all of us strategized on how we were going to run our dogs through a short "start line challenge" sequence of jumps and tunnels.

The first sequence was a candy cane shape with three jumps and a tunnel. We had to get our dogs to go into the end of the tunnel that was not in a direct line with the first three jumps (if that makes sense). So, I tried a big lead out with her (walked between the second and third jump) with the intention of doing a front cross between the third jump and the tunnel. We accomplished that, but apparently I didn't direct Cedar hard enough, because she took the wrong tunnel entrance. When we tried again, I was much more exaggerated with my cues and she took the correct entrance.

Since all of us managed to successfully complete that sequence, Mary made it harder by adding a few more turns, weave poles, and two extra jumps and a tunnel at the end. The sequence was like this: jump, weaves (and a left turn), three jumps, a tunnel, two more jumps, and another tunnel in kind of an "s" shape.

The biggest challenge was the opening of the first tunnel. Since Cedar is so fast, and I had no hope of catching up to her to make the front cross like I did the first time, I had to hang back once I got to the third jump to get her to decelerate and look at me for tunnel directions. We nailed it on our first try!

Over all, it was a really great class. Cedar did awesome considering how little I've worked her this month (been SO busy with school and teaching). I can't wait to see how far we can go in agility! She definitely has what it takes... now I just need to learn how to handle her :-P


JoeC said...

Cedar is very fun to watch at agility, she is super excited about everything, but does seem to go as fast as she can as much as possible :D It was good to see her do so well at the mini courses that were setup I think she can really excel at agility competition.

SprinklerBandit said...

It looks like she's really found her niche. Nice.