Monday, October 25, 2010

weave pole work

So i had asked and the first trial that we are entered in has 24 inch spaced poles. No problem, right? Big wrong! I don't have 24 inch spaced poles so I put Deuce through Lori's 24 inch spaced poles before class last week. He acted like he had never seen them in his life. He would hit the entry and make it through about 2 or three poles and just pop out. You could see him thinking and trying but just not able to figure out the puzzle. After a couple of tries, he just refused them period. I didn't want to pressure him on closed poles, so opened my poles up at home again and signed up to take a lesson with Lori on the 24s. I figured once he got on them and they were channeled out, he wouldn't have any issues with them. At the time, Lori didn't have channel weaves, but God bless Alice, she went and had some made so we could use them in class. She got them before our lesson, so I was super excited to use them! I have tried to really avoid using any visual or physical helpers on the weaves. I feel like using them with Miller really didn't fix any of his weaving issues he had, more or less just was a band aid and not a permanent fix. I so far, knock on wood, have not had to use them with deuce so have nothing to wean him off of for competition. It was super cool to watch deuce go from weaving super tight (our poles at home are 21 iches from center to center) to really stretching out and using all of his body to reach. Tony came with and video taped the lesson so it was really neat to watch the video in slomo afterwards and see him figuring out his footwork. I would prefer him to single step but whatever he feels comfortable with is what we will do. He seems to single step till midway, then he hops one time and then single steps the rest. It is so funny to watch. Of course when I went to edit the video in imovie, the stupid version I have doesn't have slomo and I don't want to upgrade so had to just post the video in real time. I have a set of 24 inch channel weaves on order so crossing my fingers we get them in the next few days. I really wish all clubs had 24s and I wish USDAA would consider switching to 24s as the dogs seem to LOVE them. I guess for now, whatever spacing we will have is what channel set we will have out. I am also thinking about making stick in the ground WAMs for his footwork as well.

Here is the video link. Wish freaking IMOVIE v. 6 had slomo!

We also worked on Deuce's a-frame. I had previously been working on a running a-frame but Deuce just couldn't seem to get his striding right and when I would take away the hoop or the stride regulator, I would get the pounce. He would either miss the contact or be super high, plus it wasn't safe for him. I started asking for a 2 on 2 off and he was doing great, until he started creeping and I HATE creeping. Not sure what happened but when I went back to just letting him run to get his confidence back up, he would still creep and stop. We have decided to lower the a-frame again and get him back running and then put the 2 on 2 off back in when he is running full out again. If we are ever going to have a shred of competitiveness in the sea of 20 inch AKC dogs and 22 inch USDAA dogs, we are going to have to take out any slow or creeping. So far I have not seen this behavior on the dog walk or teeter so keep your finger's crossed we don't. While I would love to have running contacts, I don't think deuce's build will ever allow for the correct striding needed. His back is just too dang short and that is okay, we will deal with it. 3 more weeks till Deuce's debut and I am super pumped!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

USDAA thoughts for my baby dog

Well, nationals has me thinking alot of about deuce's future and what I expect of him. I am not talking about putting pressure on him, just what goals I have for him in the future. I know there will be a learning curve for both of us and he is a mix of Miller and Harley so running him will be different. I know that I have instilled exactly what contact behavior I want and what weave pole behavior I want and I think that will help me immensely. SO many of my miscues with Miller are because of lack of training in the beginning which is okay because even though I trained Berry to do agility, I still was learning alot when I got miller. I want to instill all the foundation work I can get in him so that he can handle pressure, he can respond to being asked to step it up, and that he can have a nice balance between handler and obstacle focus. I have such high hopes for him, yet don't want to put any undue pressure on him. I will love him even if he never sets foot into the agility ring or wins a class or goes to a nationals. He truly is the sweetest, goofiest aussie I have ever had and I love that about him. He could be a lap dog and I would be happy but I hope he loves agility as much as I do. Here is to the future and what we can accomplish!