Thursday, February 24, 2011

Geeking out with Agility Nerd

My training partner and I decided to give Agility Nerd's latest challenge a go.  His course maps and analysis are at that link.  We had to make some adjustments because the dogwalk was in the middle of the field and I don't care for those hogback broad jumps and I'm not even sure if the training field has one.  So we substituted the dogwalk for the A-frame and modified the course so as not to take the one way broad jump backwards.  It looked roughly thus:

I know, my handwriting is appalling.  I used to have to hand draft things for work complete with nice neat lettering.  I could use fancy technical drafting pens and everything.  Then came computer drafting and thankfully that hand drawn stuff all went out the window.  But between taking notes at the seminar and a class I took over the weekend I realize that I can no longer write.  Like at all.  My notes look I'd been drinking.  Heavily and continuously.  I wonder if kids today even learn handwriting and if they have any use for it.

Anyway, this course was a great opportunity to practice just about everything we'd worked on at the Mary Ellen Barry/Jenn Crank seminar.  Forward sends, lateral sends, forward motion front cross, convergence, you name it, we got it.  Except no rear crosses this time, oh well.  I labeled some of them with captions on the video for those who might be interested in the types of things we worked on at the seminar.

I didn't read Steve's course analysis before going to the field because I wanted to see what I would come up with and compare to what he had to say.  The only thing I didn't think to try was front crossing the teeter before the weaves.  I did have some problems with Strum coming off the side during Exercise 2 and though this is a training issue if I'd carried on for the front cross I wouldn't have had the problem.

I had arrived a little early to work on the dogwalk but we only got one rep in.  The set-up was jump, dogwalk, jump, treat gizmo.  So I decided to put the treat gizmo 15' straight after the #9 dogwalk rather than try to work a turn.  Unfortunately he jumped and I put in a mini-dogwalk training session that I omitted from the video.  I'll probably put it in a separate post.  Or maybe just cry myself to sleep and tomorrow is another day.

I decided to make some changes to Exercise 2 because I recognized something from the seminar that I wanted to work on.  My version looks like:

I changed the threadle at 5-6-7 into a 270/serpentine type thingy.  You can also do a double front cross between 5-6 and 6-7.  I did it both ways at the seminar with a kinda similar set-up (though the entry to the 270 was much easier,more straight on at the seminar) and had success with both.  The double front cross in this case is a more surefire/safe option but the serpentine is kinda cool.  The trick is to face the #6 jump until the dog is past the plane of the jump, then you can move into serpentine position and call him in.  Very cool.  I also decided not to do the dogwalk so I repeated the tunnel instead.  That push to the tunnel past the dogwalk was something I wanted to work on anyway since we had an off course at the last trial.  The other thing about that push to the tunnel is that you want to be able to send and go quick as you can because that 12-13-14 line is a horse race.  The lateral send to the #15 weaves was hard for Strum because he's still struggling with his weave entries.  Does falling behind on the straightaway count as deceleration?  It's a good weave entry exercise and I'll have to set it up again.

More video.

I didn't put music on the second video so I could hear my verbal cues.  I did put it on the first video out of respect to my training partner who I thought maybe didn't want to be heard yelling at her dog to be quiet all over the internets.  You'll notice how quiet he was on this video though, she barely had to say a word to him, such a good boy.

It was a nice cool day, temps. probably in the high 30's with a little nip in the air so the dogs were feisty and we were able to train for an hour (taking turns) without the dogs getting too hot.

Big thanks to Agility Nerd for letting us play, we had a lot of fun with the course.


  1. Elayne - thanks for giving these courses a whirl and especially for writing up and video taping your practice! You really have to move to get ahead of Strummer :^)

    I can't wait until it gets warm enough here to get rid of the snow and for the ground to dry up... April? I love training when the temps are cold to cool - you are right the dogs are certainly feisty then!

  2. Ugh, it better dry up over there before April, I have to go to Chicago for a wedding in March. I do love training in the cold though, the dogs are so much happier.

    And yeah staying ahead of Strummer is a challenge especially when there are straight-ish tunnels involved.