September 08, 2005

Agility Training

We went back to training at a local club last night. I have problems with the club environment - I know the instructors are volunteers and everyone is doing their best as they see it, but I don't always agree with what I'm being told.

I first did some work with Dusty. We set up a seesaw plank on the ground, with about an inch of tip possible. I free shaped Dusty to put two paws on, four paws, take a couple of steps, a few steps, and walk along the plank. This was the sort of game she loved. We then did some front cross practice on the flat and then with two jump uprights spaced about two feet apart.

I put her in her crate and brought Thommo out and we stood and watched while a couple of dogs ran the exercise that had been set up to practice distance handling. He sat calmly at my side and I occasionally rewarded that with a treat.

I ran with Thommo - one jump, tunnel, jump - then tried the three obstacle sequence again but this time staying on the left of the first row of jumps. I got myself in front of the jump, and Thommo came across when I stopped moving forward so we tried again, from the start. When he came out of the tunnel I was heading back down with my left arm outstretched. He did the far row of jumps without hesitation.

An instructor suggested that I put Thommo away and work with Dusty again, playing tunnel games working on building speed and drive and enthusiasm. I don't think she was ready for that under those circumstances, she got quite hyped and lost all focus on me. So I took her off to the side and rewarded her for calm attention, gradually moving closer to the other dogs.

The other exercise that had been set up was to practice tight turns out of a tunnel. Thommo is fairly attuned to where I am so this exercise is easy for him if I get myself in the right position and cue him early.

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