Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Agility...a hot, hot night

Our Tuesday night agility class went fabulously, even though it was humid and in the nineties all day. A few months ago we had a really hot night and Ike was the only dog in class. We were doing a lot of jumping and Katrin recommended wetting Ike down, in particular his loin area. Thank gods Ike doesn't mind being wet; it works like a charm!

Even though it was terribly hot we had a terrific class. I feel like Ike and I are beginning to have a rhythm in our partnership. I am glad my knees don't bother me (at least yet) because I really need to book it with Ike!

Katrin pointed out to me on Tuesday that I wasn't rewarding Ike enough during runs. He was starting out super fast but since I didn't reward him until the end of the run he was losing speed. We choose three spots for me to treat him and even with giving the treats he maintained a much faster speed. This is something I will need to think about and incorporate in our lessons/practice so that when we are at a trial I can get the same speed while delaying the treating!

Right now it looks like we are giving up on rear crosses. Ike just is not at a point where he wants to move if I am not - he doesn't increase his speed when I am behind him - only when I am ahead of him. The great news is that he is beginning to rely slightly less on me. I know it sounds like a contradiction to say that when I talk about how I need to run, but for example: On Tuesday the final portion of our run involved coming off a pinwheel and taking two jumps in succession and then the tunnel. I can now run ahead of Ike and holler the commands; and he takes the obstacles (for the most part). Before I had to be right there with him.

So, that's very exciting. I am also excited that he visibly appears to be enjoying agility more. I think that the obedience class is helping with our agility; Is that possible? It could also be a case of things just coming together. We've been working hard and maybe we are seeing a little bit of the effects.

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