Friday, February 20, 2009

Equipment Foundations #5

Last night we worked on Front and Rear Crosses, the A-frame, and the teeter.

I mentioned a few posts ago that Bug had a teeter fly-off. This happened during a lesson with Erin last Wednesday. The teeter at the training center tips later (I *think*) and he had so much momentum….when I ask him to “wait” he just kept going. It SUCKED!! I actually called Cheryl right then to see if she could see him that night, but no dice.

He got right back on it immediately, but ever since I’ve seen Eeyore ears (Katrin coined this phrase and it is so apt!) on the teeter. I am sad because I was sick and on cold medicine and I probably should have just cancelled the damn lesson. And he was liking the teeter a lot. Instead I now need to make the teeter fun and exciting again. Fortunately I HAVE a teeter at home, so it looks like it will be out all summer. Poor Bug.

I didn’t even bother blogging about the lesson because it really wasn’t good. Carmen seems to find this training center very high stress and while both she and Bug work well for me I am not sure I want her learning in that environment. I might wait until the weather changes for any more lessons with Erin.

Last night Bug was also funny about the A-frame. He was stressing. Katrin and I thought maybe it was because he was on leash. Bug hates leashes. However, it was raining last night and windy and the barn was noisy. Hmmm….

This morning on our walk we went around Old Shepherd’s Pond which has a bridge that is not a dam, but has water going through it? Not sure what those are called. Anyway, it was VERY noisy and Bug immediately started doing Eeyore ears and slowed WAY down. I tried to treat him and jolly him along, but he wouldn’t take treats and he crept along. It appears we will be visiting this bridge frequently with high value treats. Oh Buggie-boo.

I am not going to be too sad about it (or I will try not to be!). In general while Bug has displayed sensitivity to a variety of things he has gotten over these sensitivities with a little dedication and yummy treats. Now I just need to add a mental note that he is a bit sound sensitive and be sure to take that into consideration when training, etc.

Bug was super with the jump exercises. I think I have also figured out why he is breaking his stays. With Carmen, because when we started working agility she had NO training I kind of treat her like a baby. I make sure I treat her after I’ve asked her for a sit-stay, etc. With Bug, even though he has had no training and actually IS a baby, I have not been doing that. I think because he is so smart and picks up on things so quickly I assume he’s got it and don’t reinforce him enough. SUCH A BAD MUM. (assume = make an ass out of U and me.)

So, I realized this during class last night and started treating his sit-stays and down-stays and saw a definite improvement almost immediately. I need to be a good mum and highly reinforce my pooch!!

I also need to make working rear crosses and switch a priority this summer. I think ESPECIALLY with Bug I am going to want this skill. And as I have mentioned frequently, I am terrible at it! I definitely prefer front crosses, but with a fast herding dog I think rear crosses are going to come into play a lot more frequently. Even Ms. Carmen is fast enough that a rear cross would be preferable at times if we had a mutual understanding of the handling required.

So, while I am a bit sad about some of the things I discovered during last night’s lesson, I learned a lot and it was productive. A mixed bag, I guess. Lots of work to do!! I CANNOT wait for the weather to change so I can drag about my equipment and practice, practice, practice.

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