Gracie and I had a pawsome practice yesterday at our Trainer's house. We joined a class, one for me and one for Gracie, since Trainer was going to be out of town the rest of the week.
I got to go first this time. We worked on some sequences, no full courses. Mum needs to get in some better handling of me since I'm getting faster.
Trainer set up a couple of jumps into a fairly straight tunnel going to the left (my left), then a tire arcing to the weaves, a jump and then turning to the Frame. I did my lie down start again, and have to say Mum is really happy with this new start line routine. She can lead out confidently (her confidence always helps my confidence), and release me when she's ready. And I'm faster coming off the start in a down. I did break a couple of starts during the hour, but it was because I was feisty, and Mum wasn't definitive in her commands. No worries though, she can get me to keep my start line at trials.
I did the sequences fairly speedy, and Mum was happy with them. Trainer and Mum are super happy with my running Frame. Mum ran out from it, and I still nailed the contact - so we are pretty certain that it's independent now. Yeah! Now on to the independent dogwalk, which is taking some time.
After that sequence we ran another with four jumps to the teeter. That third jump was straight away past the tunnel entrance I took before. I had patterned myself on the tunnel, so Mum had to give me some big comes. After a couple of off courses, Mum led out to the third jump. With that I didn't even look at the tunnel, so Mum learned some good tips there to keep me from off coursing.
After the teeter, there was a serpentine, then a double, wing and quick back to the dog walk. First time I was wide in the serpentine, but the second time Mum got me tighter. But I started to almost run into her, so we need to work on our timing.
I made my dogwalk as long as Mum stutter stepped when I neared the end, whereever she was. But the minute she ran on from the dogwalk, I bailed. So more work to be done. And I don't think she told me to 'get it', (my mouse pad) duh!!!!
After me it was Gracie's turn. She did great in the class environment. Motivated but yet really focused on Mum. She didn't run off but once when Mum tried to set her at the start with her back close to some other pups.
Her running Frame needs lots of work, as does her dog walk. She got her frame, but barely. And she missed all her dogwalk contacts. But they'll keep working. Mum's going to get that contact board painted this next week so we can work the board on the ground, she promises!
About midway through the class, one of the students from my class went out to the adjacent ring to work our Trainer's sheep. Did that ever get Gracie going! She was doing her screeming banshee immitation, watching that BC work those sheep. Mum thought she had no chance of keeping her running during their next sequence.
But to everyone's amazement, Mum kept on top of Gracie through the entire sequence, and Gracie was incredibly, incredibly focused on Mum - she even made her weaves the first time after looking back at the sheep a little.
Gracie was so on top of Mum, she was running into her. And Mum had trouble getting her to go on to some jumps. It really confused Mum, because Gracie is a great work away dog - and Mum really only has trouble getting her to come in to her.
So between runs, Mum took Gracie over to the other ring away from the action, and lined up some jumps. She ran Gracie through a couple and then sent her over the last one throwing the treat bag and telling her to go jump. Gracie picked it up immediately.
Then they ran again in the other ring and Gracie did some go on jumps very nicely.
Mum really has to change how she handles Gracie nearly every run. One day she's running off, the other day she's working away like a pro, and other days she's a velcro dog. But the great thing is that Gracie is doing her job on the course 95% of the time now. Mum's hoping with all the different Gracie's she's learning to run, that she'll be able to handle any Gracie that shows up at her upcoming trials.
Before Gracie's two USDAA trials coming up later this month, Mum is going to work more on her weaves to get them more consistent. They are also going to continue working on the 'get it' mouse pad for the dog walk and frame. They need reminding work on rear crosses and sending to jumps. That's plenty to work on.
My next trial is this coming weekend. An AKC trial about 30 minutes from here. Again there are only about 10 dogs in my class; so I can't wait to see what I can do this weekend.