Thursday, August 30, 2007

Training this week!

Gracie and I went for training this week and I wanted to report that it was GREAT!!!! We had another private with Trainer J and got to work on some good stuff.

Gracie went first and was kind of sniffy and unmotivated at the start, so unlike her trialling speed. When she's like that it sure is hard to get a handle on directing her because it's sooo different than at a trial. So Trainer J recommended we rev her up! Now Mum has to admit that she never thought of revving Gracie up, 'cause she's so wacky and wild at trials. But when they did rev her up, Gracie took those obstacles just like she was at a trial.

So that helped her and Mum get some rhythm and timing down; and allowed them to focus on commands for certain situations, like turning tight and turning wide. It really helped them. My sis took those obstacles like a pro, and was speedy and accurate with her weaves, contacts and turns. Way to go Gracie!

Then it was my turn. Mum tried out some rear crosses with me since I'm really starting to love them and it was practice after all. A couple of them seemed really awkward, but then we got our timing down and they were smooth and tight. That's one of the things we've been working on, me not going so wide and Mum helping me to be tight. I was trying to be so tight on one jump that I wiped out before the jump, slipping in the wet grass as I tried to collect myself.

Another thing we've been working on is Mum getting commands out early and directing me so I know EXACTLY where I'm supposed to go when and don't have to think about it too much. Helps keep me speedy and I don't have to make my own decisions.

I had a bit of dog walk contact issues this week, so we worked on that. I have running contacts and sometimes get pretty excited and try to jump them early, especially if Mum doesn't see them through with me. Mum and I are going to work on me being independent about my contacts, whether she can be there with me or not.

We've also been working on weave and teeter speed. Well, there was no trouble with that this week! Mum's hopeful that I'm getting the fact that I have to be speedy on them both, all the time. We're gonna keep on it.

We came away with some homework for the week:
  • Turn commands for Gracie; here for tight, come for 'come toward' her.
  • Revving up Gracie before practicing in the back yard and never letting her slow down so they can work on 'real trial' types of situations.
  • Weave and teeter speed for me.
  • Mum getting those commands and moments out early so both Gracie and I know what we need to do.
Mum also has to think about Gracie's contacts. She was always trained for running contacts, but as she gets more confident and independent in her runs, will she stick to hitting them? Does Mum need to get her to do a 2o2o? Hopefully not. In all the time Gracie has been training, I think Mum can count just a couple of fingers of times that Gracie has missed her contact; so they may be OK. Something they will have to think about.

BTW, we were thinking. Back when Mum started training me a couple of years ago, 2o2o was all the rage for nearly every dog. Now it seems that 90% of the dogs we see run in trials are doing running contacts, trying to get those extra seconds. How do you agility enthusiasts do your contacts? We're pretty curious, is everyone moving from 2o2o to running contacts, did you start training with running, or are you sticking with 2o2o for good. What's your take and what's your plan?

Looks like the 90 degree heat has finally subsided around here and we may be able to get more practice in in the backyard. Yeah!


  1. Phew, just reading about your agility made me feel tired!

    Katy x

  2. My mom taught me 2o2o but I heard her say last weekend that I now officially have running contacts in competition because (a) I do them anyway and (b) I haven't missed a down contact in a very long time. So I decided to fly right over the dogwalk down contact in gamblers. Now mom is being a little less blatant about letting me run through, but I still try to get to the end really fast if I'm excited enough.

    I think that a lot of trainers are still doing 2o2o but with more focus on drive to get there; in competition you might not realize that they're doing it because the dog drives into the contact zone at a full run and the handler releases almost immediately.

    But more people are doing running contacts. My mom just doesn't think she can move fast enough to handle us on the dogwalk, and she doesn't think that she's obsessive enough of a trainer to succeed at training it.

    But we've seen two methods--hiding a beeper board under a small "blanket" of some sort draped always the same way across the contact so the beeper's in the middle of the zone and the dog gets rewarded when the beeper sounds. (Not sure how they worked up to that point.)

    And making an outline of the contact area in PVC pipe, and start on the ground by teaching us dogs to hop into it and then hop out, then run into it and run out, and then adding that to the contact zone on the contact.

    Those are just summaries--

    Tika of Taj MuttHall

  3. Johann- What a great post! Your sister Gracie looks lovely! It is obvious you are very proud! This 'two-legger' doesn't know much about this sport, and have enjoyed learning through your posts! I tagged you on a meme today! Your the best 'dog-gone-blogger!'

  4. You have a great and fun blog going on here. Barrett so graciously gave me the award that you gave him, so I had to check your site out.

    Thanks for spreading the love!

  5. Hi Johann,
    Happy Blog Day! I think you're adorable, so I have recommended you as one of my 5 Blog Day picks! This is a really unique and fun blog.



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