Thursday, December 16, 2010

Training and hiking

We have a month off from competition. After week three I am starting to go through trialing withdrawal. However, we've been fairly busy doing lot's of trail runs in the morning, hiking on weekends, and some training. Summit hasn't actually gotten a lot of training except for a couple of drop-ins we did to proof contacts. Soleil though has been working hard on foundation and her recalls while off leash on a hike.

Her training is coming along SO WELL that I want to share a video of her weaving 12 poles! She is just so amazing for only 6 1/2 months old!

Ok, so the real story is Jen and I had just finished a training session with Summit and Bode and I asked Jen if she wanted to see Soleil's weaves (it was a joke). Of course Jen fell for it (I think) and said, "Wait, I must get this amazing act on film!"

Does Soleil look small for 6 1/2 months? She still seems so tiny but then I'm used to Border Collies.

So what Soleil and I have really been working on....

Proofing sit and down stays - increasing duration and adding distraction

Table games! The table is now at 16" and I am withholding reward until she offers a down. I need to move the table from the sunroom to outdoors because when its dinnertime and I'm gathering up the dog bowls from the crates, she immediately runs to the pause table, jumps up and lays down... waiting .... too cute!

Lot's of handling on the flat. I'm using two traffic cones (and if you've watch MEB's DVD, you'll know what we're doing). Also using jump wings for turns on the flat. She is getting MUCH better at recognizing which side to come to and has pretty much stopped crossing behind me.

Recalls to heel and circle work

Restrained recalls (on the flat and through a straight tunnel)

I ordered a Ready Treat from Clean Run and will start plank work this weekend. I'll start with a plywood plank about 24" wide and 8' long. I'll use this until we've worked up to 16" and then will transfer to the full dogwalk (lowered to 16"). But that will be several months from now.

One thing I've noticed different about Soleil (vs. the BC's at this age) is she can be easily distracted by her environment. When we train in a building or the house, she is 100 percent focused. When training outside in the back field, she can be distracted by strange noises (car door slamming for example) or movement (squirrel running across the fence). Many times she'll alarm bark at a strange sound. Most of the time, I can get her back but sometimes it's too much and we'll simply call it good and go back in the house. What is interesting is she can be ringside at a busy agility trial with hundreds of distractions going on around her (movement and noise) and stay 100 percent focused. Possibly a fear period she may be going through?

Summit hasn't been getting as much training but I have been working on some specific skills with him. Convergence has been our main goal. Not just on a serpentine but lot's of recalls followed by pushes. He is doing so well considering how difficult this skill used to be for him.

Also working on recalls over jumps at depressed angles.

After not having worked contacts in 8 months (other than those he saw at a trial), we are proofing the release again. After Nationals, I pretty much broke his 20/20. We did a drop-in at the Jeffco Fairgrounds last week specifically to train contacts. It was a fun course and we got to work lot's of different skills. Here is a video.

The course ended at the tire and after that I was making it up as we went; wanting to get in lot's of contact reps.

Our next trial is the 31st-2nd in Windsor at an indoor soccer field. Until then, we'll be training and hiking and taking advantage of the strange 60 degree weather in December.


Elayne said...

That same course was set up at Biscuit Eaters and we handled it almost exactly the same way except I couldn't get the blind cross in (I tried but I was too late and he came up on my left side, such a good boy) and had to do a rear. Good to see the blind was possible with a fast dog, I was trying to find video on the internet since it was the Finals course at the Invitational but most of the dogs were much slower and of the 2 or 3 fast dogs I found none of them had attempted a blind.

Morganne said...

@Elayne, Jen couldn't get it either with Bode. The trick was getting a good Send to the jump. Basically, a Send and Go (without waiting for dog's committment). It was a fun course!

Morganne said...

Aaah, I didn't realize it was the Finals course from the Invitational. Now I want to go see some video to see how others handled it with big dogs.

Elayne said...

I couldn't find a whole lot of video of fast-ish dogs. I found this one: which was how I had to handle the course though I had to go in and support the jump at the pinwheel more than that handler did. I was having dogwalk issues so I was starting from a stop at the dogwalk. Maybe if I could have been running and sent further I could have gotten the blind in .

Susan Garrett had some problems:

That was about all I could find for fast dogs, maybe there was one more but I can't find it now, but I'll admit I didn't look all that hard.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Soleil and her weaves - too cute! She looks tiny but normal I think! Summit did great with his contacts!

That distraction stuff with Soleil may be simply Sheltie - they are big alarm barkers and tend to notice every tiny little thing and need to tell you about it! LOL!

Strange 60 degree weather sounds so awesome!

Morganne said...

I got the feeling from watching the video (and seeing the dogs in our area that qualify for the Invitational its all about consistency and not speed).

I don't you will find many fast dogs at the Invi.

Morganne said...

Thanks Chris, that makes me feel better that the alarm barking is normal. It doesn't particularly bother me. I was just hoping it wasn't a strange fear period/issue.

Priscilla said...

Morganne, I am in AWE of what you have achieved and taught Soleil. She is going to be quite the agility dog!

Kathy said...

The weaves are fantastic, you will have to put out a new video with your training method!!! LOL. I think Soleil looks bigger then I thought she was going to be, but then hard to tell from video. I wonder if the distractability is part of a fear period, Breeze did the same thing at about that age. The contacts looked FANTASTIC! I LOVE the MEB dvd, so good I would think a real must have for everyone to work through, we transfered the cones to use the trees, and broad jump posts and have had a ton of fun with that and I am suprised at how much Cricket understands that is transferring where she knows way more then I thought

Christine said...

ha ha with the weave vid, but she does look real cute. Wish it was warm here. Minus 14 tonight.