Friday, May 14, 2010

Working those weaves and dogwalks

Somehow I managed to sneak in a couple of quick practices this week despite being hellishly busy and 2 days of snow mucking up the field.  Tuesday I worked on some proofing out at the practice field.  Experimented with a few things but didn't have any errors until I started using motion and an obstacle as 'bait' after the weaves. Accelerating near the ends of the poles caused him to pull out and charging towards the poles caused him to get only the first pole or run by entirely.  I'm careful not to do this at trial but it was a way to proof and ideally he should be ignoring my motion once he's in the poles.  I think running to the poles is unfair though and I'm not going to do that anymore.  I hate proofing because I hate trying to get the dog to fail.  I remember somebody  somewhere, maybe Clean Run, wrote an article about ways to proof without setting the dog up to fail but of course I can't remember the details.

Thursday we went back to the field and by the end of the training session he was staying in those poles if I drove towards the next obstacle with constant speed but faster than him and I was able to peel laterally away from the end of the poles which obviously is an important skill to have with a dog like Strummer.  Change in my speed while he was in the poles was still throwing him a bit so we'll work more on that next time.  There are times in Gamblers where I may need to declerate and stop at the line while he goes on through the poles without me so it's a good thing to practice.  Though I'm shooting for those non-turning obstacles to be independent of motion I'm not sure how realistic that goal is, especially for Strummer in particular but we can try.

Did some dogwalk practice on Thursday as well and he had maybe one miss out of lots of reps.  I was focusing on flips to tunnels and turns.  DOCNA has contact/tunnel flips all the time, I'm wondering if it's a requirement in course design.  He used to have a wonderful flip on a verbal 'turn' cue (the only place I use that) and in fact had started flipping into tunnels himself whenever he saw one under a contact.  But somehow he's completely forgotten it or maybe he was overexcited with the cold, cloudy weather but it didn't go so well.  Worked on the same thing on Tuesday with the A-frame with not much better results but the set-up there was a little unfair as there was a tunnel straight ahead off the A-frame and when I said 'Turn tunnel' I'm sure he saw that tunnel ahead and was sure that's what I wanted.  I hate relying on verbals and eventually resorted to getting ahead and indicating the flip physically before he got down the frame.  Can't always get there for the dogwalk though and he needs some warning so he can adjust his stride for the turn or else it's a wide turn.

Tried a rear cross on the flat after the dogwalk and that was a disaster.  I simply couldn't get there in time.  Need to do more fartlek running I think.  I'm going to do more turn work in the backyard with the plank/table before I try it on the dogwalk.

Lola goes to the orthopedic vet today for another exam and X-rays then we see the physical therapist.  She was up on 3 legs for a brief period of time on Monday.  Poor girl, I'm not thinking the vet will have good news.

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