Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday Nite

Woo-eee, Ike is being fun. Now that we have come to an agreement about not trialing and I try to listen to him more, we are really making progress. Go figure (loads of sarcasm)!

Last night Katrin set up a fast course after a couple of weeks of hardcore focusing on "switch" and being all twisty, curvy, and potentially demotivating to certain dogs. I tried to recreate the course below- it is not exactly right, but it's easier to give you an idea of what I was doing where and when I was having "issues."

Our first run Ike kind of lost his motivation between jumps 2 and 3 and came off jump 3 SUPER wide. Totally my fault. Originally I thought it was where I crossed, but it was more that I continued to move and wasn't leading with my body directly to the tunnel, so he redirected to me and not the next obstacle.

At jump 7 I was trying to add a bit of distance and Ike thought he was coming with me, so I stopped and waited and Ike said, "Oh, you want me to take THAT jump? Sure." Good boy! I front-crossed between 9 and 10 which was a disaster because I was WAY too far ahead of Ike. Eeek. From that point on I crossed between 8 and 9.

Our next run we worked on using the monkey as a motivating toy. A few things I did successfully and not so successfully...... First, I did not throw the toy too far (or hit anyone)! Success!! Two, I repeatedly threw it the first time, and Ike said, "huh?" Not-so-successful. Lesson - one throw is enough! Three, I have a tendency to toss the toy and watch. Not-so-successful. Especially with Ike a dog who would much prefer to have a party with me versus alone. Lesson - NEVER just throw the toy - always go with (making sure not to crowd Ike, of course).

Nancy (with AS Remy) and I were talking between runs and she commented on how Ike slows down when I slow down and she reminded me of a very key lesson I learned this winter and wasn't implementing.

Consistency in speed and handling. This is so important with ALL dogs, but particularly Ike - a dog who cringes at the thought of being wrong.

Our final run Katrin asked us all to think of one thing we wanted to try and push - after all you don't move forward by being static. For me, since I had obviously forgotten my winter-lesson, I wanted to try and have Ike take the first turn off jump 3 tighter and work on being more consistent in my movement thereby reinforcing his movement.

The difference in the way Ike runs when I am being conscientious about my body movement is tremendous. It makes the entire run SO much more fun - for both of us, I think.

Everyone had a great class last night (in my opinion) and I realized what I am really enjoying about this session is how different the handlers and dogs are and what they are striving for; the fact that they are STRIVING to attain a better working relationship with their dogs.

Callie, Matt, and Julie are a young team but they are learning at such a breath taking speed. Callie (AA) was born to run NADAC courses - she has such distance and speed. Nancy and Remy are a really solid team, but instead of being static Nancy is really pushing both herself and Remy to be better. She's trying things in class, using the time to really learn. I have known Shaya and Tom (AA) for many years (via the shelter) and this is by far the most connected I have ever seen them. Kim and Opal (GH) are very new to agility and Opal has a very different learning style than the family’s other dog (Tom), which is challenging. Jenn and Steeler (Dal) are new to our class. Last night was their third class at the indoor and we had an opportunity to see how well they can work together.

I almost forgot the evening’s true break through – it was a NO-Bark-at-Nancy night!! Since we started taking classes with Katrin, Ike has barked at Nancy. It doesn’t matter how often we see her – he barks at her. Last night, not only did he not bark at her, he stood up on the bench and offered her various begging behaviors! This follows last week were he actually stood up on Katrin’s leg and displayed true Ike-affection to her!

Katrin said last night, he is getting braver by the second, and I think it is true. And I swear it is Bug who is responsible!! So, good class in terms of agility, the mechanics of running a course together, and challenging ourselves and GREAT class in terms of Ike’s issues with people.


manymuddypaws said...

That is great news about Ike! It is always nice when it starts coming together.

powder-puff said...

Heya Ike!!

Hope you have a great 4th of july!!

lots of love