Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tues. Night Class

Last night was Carmie's agility class. Quite a few of the people who have been in class are taking the Thursday night class, and quite a few people who had taken the last session off were in class. A different mix!

Carmen started off in rare form last night being fairly reactive and yelling at everyone. Unusual barn behavior. I would not have been surprised to see behavior like that a year ago, but now? Not sure if it was a stress reaction from what is going on at home, she was just having a day, or what. None-the-less, she got herself under control and while I walked the course she was a quiet, good girl.

I decided this is going to be a very visual post. I asked Katrin for a copy of the course map and then used Real World Paint (cool free software) to mark my course choices and classmates course choices.

Figure 1:
the course - lots and lots of opportunities to cross.

I walked this course and I just saw lots of sweet front cross opportunities! My head said, "Rear cross, where?" Originally I told Katrin I was going to try and run it with only one FC, then as I walked it I said, "Maybe two..." A big problem for me is due to Ike's speed (rather lack-of-speed) I relied on Front Crosses to motivate him for a long time. As a result when I look at a course I see Front Crosses - they are much more second nature for me. So this is very much about me learning to reframe the way I read courses.

Last night I made the decision that I would try to sneak more Rear Courses into my runs and ask Katrin more frequently where she would RC versus walking it with a FC. I also decided that giving up Front Crosses cold turkey to learn to do Rear Crosses properly isn't wise, so I am going to go back and work on foundation behaviors for both me and the dogs. These things don't happen over night (unfortunately!).

Figure 2:
How I choose to run the course

Note the rear cross! And we actually nailed it every time except for once when I got WAY too far ahead of Carmie. Possibly part of the reason I am not as keen on rear crosses is because I need to consciously think about pacing myself and allow my dog to get ahead of me. When I am able to get all zen about it and breath deeply it works really nicely. When I do not, it is a train wreck!

Figure 3:
The Rear Cross version

This is how a lot of the other stuents handled the course - a rear cross between 4 and 5 in addition to between 8 and 9.

I would not be surprised if it takes me about a year to *get* the rear cross. That is about how long the whole consistency thing has taken to sink in and I still revert when I am tired or stressed! Fortunately I can start Bug out being ambidextrous about crosses. He will probably end up with a preference, but I would like him to be comfortable with both.

Challenging and cold (for me at least) class. Carmie seemed a bit off at different points during the night. As I mentioned the evening started with a woof, so it might have been stress. There were a couple of moments on course where I am not clear if she was tired or she might not have been seeing 100%. I have to be careful not to look to hard to see signs of her eyesight deteriorating, or use it as an excuse. It makes it more difficult to know what is going on with surety, but hey....what can you do.

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