Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday Nite Class

It is official, Ike LOVES agility. Tuesday night we had a great class. He is just so full of joy when he runs now.

The first run through Ike took off like a bullet and we almost CRASHED after jump 5. This is because I have taken to rewarding all of Ike’s tunnels with tossed food. This leaves him AHEAD of me. He thought we were taking the jump beside tunnel 6 (even though I was continuing to drive forward – hence the near crash).

Kathleen suggested I continue rewarding his tunnels, but after he has been rewarded slingshot him back into the tunnel and then continue the course. It makes for a much smoother run!

We moved the a-frame up a link and Ike continues to drive through the hoop. He also seems to really LOVE the table, throwing himself up and into a down on it. This week I did remember to utilize the table, allowing myself a lead-out so I could position myself between 13 and 14. Ike handled the wrap around 15 and into the poles really nicely. He was REALLY moving through the poles, so I think he has figured out the 24” spacing.

Second course was not as smooth for Ike. It was, of course, my fault. There were two wraps (8 and 14) in the course and I drove all the way to the stanchion in both cases, even though my dog was not ahead of me. This resulted in an off-course and wide turns. We had the most difficulty with 8 to 9. Poor Ike. When I tried to call him back to retry he thought I wanted him to do the poles – we did a confusing dance for a few minutes. We both found it painful.

However, Ike had no issue once we moved past that. In the past if the momma was THAT confusing Ike would absolutely have gotten emotional/stress-y and checked out. In this instance he moved on and was fast and happy – happy to have left that wrap and confusion behind!

Next run through I only ran to jump 9 with the goal of decelerating enough that Ike could make the wrap at 8. Success!!

This was an interesting class because our classmate Linda and her SS Darcy specifically asked Kathleen to work on some It’s Yer Choice exercises from the recent Tracy Sklenar seminar we attended. Kathleen numbered a shorter sequence for Linda and put out some closed containers that contained food. Second run-through she upped the ante because Linda and Darcy did so well. She put out Bug’s rabbit tug and had someone sit in a chair like ring crew. Third try Kathleen and I tossed a tennis ball while they ran and we had two “fake” ring crew members, as well as all the containers, a bag, and the toy. Darcy did an awesome job with the distractions. I think there were only two instances when he lost his focus and in both instances Linda went and grabbed his collar and brought him back to the first obstacle.

In Ike’s last run of the night Linda sat in a chair right next to jump 8 and we left out a bucket between jumps 1 and 2. I was nervous because the chair was really close to jump 8 and Ike has space issues. After Ike and I started running he immediately went to the bucket; back to the start line for us. After that he ran the course beautifully and I swear I don’t think he knew Linda was sitting next to jump 8 (obviously he knew, but it didn't seem to bother him at all). Very cool. I think it would be helpful for us to do more of this. I wonder if part of the reason Ike has so much trouble in a trial situation (in terms of stress) is because he doesn’t have laser focus – he is taking everything else in?

I have also taken to incorporating “Go” into Ike’s meal times and I think it is paying dividends in class. I have been doing this for a while with Bug. I feed Bug in the bedroom with the door closed (because otherwise he would try to scarf down Ike’s food), once his food is ready I tell him “Go!” and send him ahead of me to the bedroom. Bug is like a little freight train as he barrels into the room – it’s great.

Recently I started bringing Ike’s bowl with me to the bedroom and once I have closed the bedroom door, sending him down the hallway to the kitchen. I crouch down, just like I would on the start line, say “R-e-a-d-y” and sometimes even hold him back before I say “Go!” The first few times Ike was hesitant, but now he races into the kitchen and thinks it is a really fun game.

Both boys are really food motivated and eagerly await their meals. I feel like this is a good exercise to build value for the word “Go!” for them and they really enjoy it!


Katrin said...

YEAH Ikey P!!!!!!!! YEAH Julie!!!!! That is terrific news!!

Kathy said...

Sounds like a most excellent class, love the go training with the food bowl. Good job Ike to be able to move on after the confusion, that is HUGE, and what a challenge with all those distractions ;-) .

Jules said...

Thanks, ladies. I am so excited by the progress he is making!

Nancy and Stewie JRT said...

Sounds like an awesome time. So glad to hear Ike loves to play agility now. That is huge! Keep up the good work. Very interesting about the It's Yer Choice too. I should be doing that with Stew Ball

Diana said...

WhooHoo Ike!! Diana

Sam said...

He really does sound like he's doing well. I think the games with "GO" and his food are also a good idea. And, your tunnel work has obviously paid off!

I can't wait to see more video of him!