Last night Ike had agility class and, wow, he was ON. The course set up was designed to practice rear crosses so there was a lot of flow. Ike and I both enjoyed the courses tremendously! The first course I successfully completed WITH A REAR CROSS. Twice!
I led out between jumps 1 and 2, asked Ike to stay, and “teased” him with “ready.” He took off like a bat out of hell! I did a landing side front cross at 6 and a rear cross between 12 and 13. Ike did not spin! We handled the cross fluidly. Coming out of 14 I forgot to do a front cross and ended up on the wrong side of jump 16 for the a-frame. I didn’t stress about it and crossed behind him as he started up the a-frame.
The second time we ran the course I was able to get a landing side front cross in after 15 as well as the cross by 6 and the rear cross! Ike was moving so fast he took off of the a-frame pretty high – with only one paw in the contact zone. Hmmm…more on that later.
I have had a lot of trouble with rear crosses – in part because my dogs are usually not driving ahead of me. However, the Tracy seminar really gave me a different way to visualize my body language driving into a rear cross. Last night I was able to hold up a bit at the stanchion of jump 12 and allow Ike to drive ahead of me.
The second course I did a front cross between 6 and 7 and tried to do a landing side cross at 13. I totally got in Ike’s path of travel but he didn’t really falter (even though I literally said “eek!”) and I rewarded him after tunnel 15, which also happened to be the green tunnel he hates. Between nearly smooshing him and then having him do his least favorite tunnel Kathleen commented it was a good time to reward.
The second time we ran this course I did a cross on the take-off side of 13 and that worked well, except….Ike LEAPT off the a-frame like Super Ikey. Uh-oh. Kathleen asked how we originally trained his contacts and I said, “I didn’t really. It was always a non-issue because of his speed.” That is not entirely true. I originally trained his contacts with a “wait” in the contact, but he really didn’t seem to like it and it seemed to demotivate him (at the time) so we moved to a moving contact. I will have to re-evaluate now that he is moving so much faster. Kathleen mentioned that we could use the hoop to work on his muscle memory.
For the end of the class we did a speed circle and Kathleen taped it for me. Ike was flying. I did purposely slow down at the a-frame to ensure he didn’t blow his contact and that is something I can do in the future, but I would like more independence – so again, I’ll have to think about it and talk to Kathleen. Perhaps part of the problem with the “wait” was my tendency to yell commands and get all German sounding. There is lots of food for thought.
Here is the video, enjoy super-speedy Ike!
5 days ago