Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Weekly Wrap Up

Tri training:
Totals for last week:
Walking: 2 1/2 miles
Running: 9 1/2 miles
Swimming: 4875 yards

No biking, didn't manage to fit it in.

Went for my longest run yet on Sunday with Lola, a 3 1/4 mile out and back on some nice trails and I added on about 1/2 mile to throw out some dog poop. I probably walked around 3/4 mile and ran 3 miles. Then right after that I went to agility practice at an agility friend's field which is on a pretty good slope. Lots of walking back & forth to the car to switch dogs between exercises and sprinting uphill. I was trashed when I got home then had to go to a friend's birthday party (it was fun but I hate going out on Sunday nights).

My right knee has been doing a wierd popping thing for the last couple of months. It feels like it's popping out of place and is worse on some days, barely noticeable on others. I'm trying to have 1-2 days in between runs but it's hard with needing to exercise the dogs. On rest days I take them to the dog park to chase tennis balls but I want them doing some lower impact trotting too which is what they do when they run with me. It doesn't exactly hurt but it does feel alarming, like the knee's not tracking at all correctly.

Wish I'd been keeping better track of this during the week. Sunday's practice at my friend's field was great, both dogs kept their focus and enthusiasm despite being in a strange place (they've only been there once before, last spring) with strange dogs and people, one of which Lola doesn't like. This was the best part for me because it means there's hope they're getting over their stress issues with being in strange places and might start being more consistent at trials. I also love to see them having fun because that's really the point of it all.

Highlights (other than above):

Perfect contacts (both dogs)

Tight turns on the jumping exercises which were very tight courses (both dogs, yay Cody!)

Cody didn't stress at all when an Aussie got loose from his owner and started chasing Cody while he was doing a jump sequence. I stepped in and shooed the Aussie away but it took a while and Cody didn't react at all then went on to continue the exercise like nothing happened. It's taken me SO long and so much work to get him to this point. He used to hate any dog anywhere near him.

Room for Improvement:

Weave entries (both dogs) Lola used to be so perfect with her entries and now she's started blasting past the poles and entering at the 3-5th pole. Cody always needs work on this but he was doing better than Lola.

Traps, esp. with the A-frame (both dogs but esp. Lola/A-frame)
Lola sucks to the A-frame anyway so if the course has her heading straight for it and I need to turn her away from it it almost always turns into a call off which is very demotivating. We worked on this a little yesterday. I set up 2 jumps in front of the A-frame then a 3rd jump to the left and perpendicular so she had to turn left away from the A-frame right in front of her to do the jump. It only took one or two tries and I had to stop and treat her right away at the turn the first time she got it right but then she followed me like a pro. We'll definitely need a lot more work though.

My timing is getting better but still needs work. One of my big problems right now is underestimating the dogs' commitment points and giving them the next cue or pulling myself away from the obstacle before they're committed to doing it. Or giving a quick, incomplete cue assuming they know what to do because it seems obvious that they'll do it. I need to keep my eyes on the dogs more and make sure they're committed to the right obstacle before I move on.

I'm getting excited about our next trial coming up in two weeks. I'm curious to see if the dogs will stay unstressed, motivated and focused.

Still feeling a bit sad about Kaylynn but I guess on the plus side it will mean more time for Lola & Cody. The USDAA Regionals are going to be in Denver this summer and it would be fun to qualify for the tournament events. If you win your class in the Grand Prix at a regional you automatically get into the finals at Nationals. Not that I have any hope of winning my class, but it means that some of the best handlers in the country will be in town trying to get those coveted spots so I get to see some awesome dogs & handlers and it would be so fun to compete on the same course.

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