I've been asked to post more about my training sessions. Originally, I started this blog just to keep up with all the competition and title updates without having to edit my website.
I have a 75 x 110 foot field behind my house and pretty much all the agility equipment minus the chute. However, I never set up full courses to run. I tend to set up short drills to work on specific skill sets. Some of these skills are natural progressions of foundation work and some are weak areas that show up while running full courses in competition.
This is what I set up this weekend.
Saturday I worked tunnel - teeter with Summit (teeter is weighted). Then we worked just the tunnel to jumps. Extension and collection, send out to the pinwheel, turn, and then cue extension over the jumps to the tunnel. Then back down the line of jumps, deceleration and lateral motion for a 180 vs. pinwheel. Summit did very well and did not drop any bars while jumping extended down the line of jumps towards the tunnel as well as collecting nicely out of the tunnel for a tight wrap around the first jump, back into the tunnel and down the line to the pinwheel/180.
I did not work the teeter with Sage but did practice the four-on-the-floor at the bottom of the dogwalk as well as the deceleration cue for her stride collection on the downramp. Then I dropped the bars down to 16" for her (she jumps 16" in training) and we had fun running down the line of jumps into the tunnel and then deceleration to cue collection for a FC or post turn at the jump before the tunnel. Because she is hearing impaired (she can only hear out of her right ear), I find it is often best if I run her without verbal directional cues (not even her name). This way I focus much more on what my motion (forward, lateral, decel.) is telling her.
This morning we worked on convergence with motion - something that I need to work on more with Summit. We've done a lot of RTH work but I have only lately added more motion.
Sage got another session on the dogwalk and more extension/collection drills using the tunnel to jumps.
On Sunday we had a nice jumpers course with a serpentine. Sage's time was 25 sec. and Summit's was 23 sec. I think Sage placed 7th or 9th in Ex. B. Summit won Ex. A and his time would have put him second place in Ex. B (100's of a sec. from first).
This weekend was the CKC AKC trial at the Denver Coliseum. Three rings, three judges, and three classes equaled tons of FUN.
Both Sage and Summit were running nicely. Sage double-Q'd on Sunday and also earned a leg in Ex. B FAST. The Send was jump to a-frame and then into the tunnel under the AF. I was pretty confident Summit would get the Send since he has independent contacts and a verbal command for the tunnel but was not so confident about Sage. But she nailed it. She had a nice running A-frame and then responded well to my pressure and redirected into the tunnel and then over the last jump.
Summit had one OTT run in Saturday's standard class but then came back to win the Ex. A Jumpers class that afternoon. He also earned the last leg he needed for his XF title with a second place.
Summit's JWW course times are consistently 2 full seconds faster than Sage when both run clean. What is interesting is I am for the most part, starting to handle the course exactly the same for both dogs. Which I guess means that I take advantage of forward and lateral Sends in order to get downstream to execute those front crosses.
Another thing I'm realizing is that the calmer and less "rushed" I am when handling Summit, the smoother he runs and the bars stay up. Saturday was a good example. We had FAST first thing Saturday morning. Summit had no collection or focus and was all about go, go, go. After he came blasting out of the tunnel, completing ignoring my lateral movement towards the next obstacle, I recalled him to my side to try again and he nipped me on the leg (thigh). He hasn't done that in a very very long time - boy was he high! I gave him a moment to calm down and then I finished the gamble and then sent him through the weavepoles on our way to the finish jump. I had less than 10 minutes until I had to run him in standard. I lead out with a simple LOP, he had a good startline stay but then blasted over the jump, ignoring my collection cue and landed at least one stride behind me. The rest of the run was pretty much the same, no collection, missed his weavepole entry twice and stopped at the bottom of the dogwalk with 4 feet on the ground (but he did wait). I found myself rushing with him to get around the course, my handling was not smooth.... I was totally hooking-in to his OTT behavior.
That afternoon in Jumpers I ran Sage first (before Summit). The run was beautiful and so smooth. The Ex. A dogs ran next. I wondered if my baby dog would have a brain this afternoon. I decided that no matter how crazy he acted, I would run him exactly as if I was running Sage. I put his morning behavior out of my mind and focused on handling him smoothly and keeping my body quiet.
Well he had a beautiful run, didn't drop a single bar and executed a serpentine perfectly. He won the class with a time of 23.04 seconds. His time would have put him in 2nd place in "B" but only 100's of a second from 1st place.
Videos will be posted as soon as I get them from Don.
Sunday, Jen and I met at the Four-Pines trailhead for a nice long hike with the dogs and were met by signs posted everywhere informing us that there were lion sightings and all dogs were to be on leash. As we were standing there discussing what to do, a woman hiked by with two dogs on leash and told us that there was a family of Mtn. Lions that had been sighted during the day (Mtn. Lions are usually nocturnal).
So we packed up the dogs and drove down to another trailhead at lower elevation in the attempt to enjoy a hike with the dogs off leash and avoid encountering lions.
Here is a picture of Summit and his younger brother, Bode. Bode is named after the ski racer, Bode Miller. Very appropriate name for this dynamic red boy!