Friday, September 5, 2008

Training and Lack of Training

I haven’t been staying on top of my blogging~

Last Saturday Carmen and I went to a training party hosted by a friend who has small dogs. I brought Carmen solo and she was GREAT! Typically I bring Bug or Ike as a travelling companion, but I decided that Carmen needs to be able to function alone too. There might be a reason some day that one of the boys CAN’T come.

Marie, the hostess, does a lot of AKC and the courses she had set up reflected that. They were tighter than what I am used to seeing, but Carmen was a good girlie. She seemed to take a lot of turns pretty wide, especially 180s. I feel pretty confident this is a reflection of my handling. Carmen is compact enough that physically she CAN take tighter turns.

We have been practicing our weaves on a daily basis (not that you can tell!) and I added a 180 to the mix to see if I can work on tightening up those turns.

Wednesday we had a private lesson with Erin and I mentioned I wanted to work on my front crosses and Carmen taking turns wide. We never got to work on Carmen’s wide turns – she was very distracted and acted like she left her brain at home. VERY similar to her behavior during the wildcard run at the Gemini trial. It was VERY hot at the practice field. So, I am starting to think that Carmen really doesn’t tolerate the heat well. Not a huge surprise since Ike doesn’t.

Erin helped me out a lot with my front crosses. She commented that she often sees me moving backward which I should NEVER do (and Katrin confirmed the tendency to move backward). Then she recommended thinking about a front cross like this, you move forward to point x and turn, that is your front cross. Don’t know why, but this helps me have a clearer idea of what I should be doing with my body that I am not. The crosses feel a lot better. I just have to REMEMBER to do this! In the heat of the moment I fall back on my backward double-step. Hopefully with time it will become second nature. Oh, and breakthrough!! I was not having such a hard time with the course – My brain is beginning to be able to comprehend twisty courses. Hooray!

We also got some more table, tire, and chute practice in. You see all three of these items in CPE (not the chute so much, but on occasion) and not in NADAC. Carmen is BIZARRE about the chute. I think I am going to have to suck it up and buy one.

Yesterday Bug and Carmen had class. I have been super neglectful about training the Bug! I have been hyper-focusing on Carmen’s weaves. New plan of attack is 10 minute training session for each dog every day. My FIL and I have figured out the lawn guy’s schedule so I can leave my equipment out for 10 days before having to pick it all up.

Last night in Bug’s class we worked on tight, switch, and out with poles on the ground! Bug said, “Oh dear.” He got over it though. He was much more stressed than the last lesson two weeks ago. We also worked out with actual jumps, but for the bug it was much more about getting him used to the jump stanchions. I haven’t done this at home because he does get stressed. I wanted Katrin’s watchful eye on us! He was becoming more confident when the lesson ended, so I will plan on working on this with him this week.

Carmen had a good class, Katrin had a pinwheel set up the ended in the chute and went into another pin wheel.

Then we lost the center jumps of the pinwheels and did two 180s. Very fun. Carmen did do a good job, even though poor Katrin had to take extra time with our chute issue. To end class we did a four jump jump-chute. Carmen seems to have poor depth perception. Katrin has noticed that she often takes off for jumps early. She recommended setting a bar in front of the jump – it can be up to the height the dog is jumping plus half. You can also do this on the landing side if your dog is having difficulty. It is stolen from the horse world and gives the dog an actual marker for where to take off. I think this might be Susan Salo’s method? I will have to search. Anyway, everyone saw improvement in their dog’s jumping form. I will def. use this more with Carmen. Especially now that we are settled on 12” until she reaches Veterans.

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