Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Class in the R-A-I-N?

Ike and I had a great agility class last night – even though it was raw and rainy! I guess playing agility with me has become its own reward since this is a dog that usually acts like he will melt in the rain!

He was GREAT. The course was nice and there were lots of training opportunities. I gave Ike more distance at the weaves, thinking ahead to how I would ultimately like to handle them in this particular course (even though I didn’t get to layer the jump after the weaves like I wanted to – we would have needed to run it once more for me to feel confident about doing that). Ike has pretty independent weaves as it is, they are very high value for him. I plan to continue to work on distance with the weaves this summer.

We did have a run in with a scary tunnel. Truth be told I have not seen Ike act like this about a tunnel in a very long time, but I completely understand where he was coming from. To set the scene: it had gotten quite dark out, it was raining and the lights weren’t on yet; the tunnel was dark, forest green and curved in a tight “c” shape with the dog walk ramp in the center. Ike went in and immediately backed out/turned around. This happened twice before he would complete the tunnel. We partied when he came out. Then he was hesitant about getting on the dog walk. I think it was because of the tunnel as he has done it fine from the other direction and was/is moving a.o.k., and in fact was in extension once he was on the dog walk. Next run the exact same thing happened.

This is easy enough to work on at home. I have a dark blue tunnel. I will set it up in my backyard in a tight “c” shape and practice at dusk when the tunnel is getting dark and scary!

I need to note that even though he had a tough time with the green tunnel later in the class, during the first two runs he went tearing into a dark blue tunnel and actually slipped just before he exited due to his speed and the rain, twice (!), and he wasn’t fazed at all. His tunnel issues are definitely improving. I think Kathleen’s idea of sending him from the tunnel to the weave poles is ideal because he LOVES his poles and definitely picks up speed when he sees them!

Ike blew one of his dog walk contacts (1 out of 4) - this was completely my fault. Ike has “managed” running contacts and I did not support him at all. I had also forgotten to put out our training hoop.

In the 2nd course where all of our “troubles” (relatively speaking) occurred, we had two awesome rear crosses! I walked the course and could not see a way to do a front cross without getting in Ike’s way, cutting him off and slowing him down. I decided he should have enough speed that I could try a rear cross. The first run the rear cross was flawless! I was so happy. The second run it was pretty darn close to flawless again. The 2nd run Ike seemed more aware of me and it seemed like he slowed a bit and checked in, but he was ahead of me, I didn’t crunch him in terms of space and there was no spinning! Hooray!

We have been practicing rear crosses on the flat and him running into my space/between my legs, so perhaps it is paying off!

I feel like my mind set was a bit different last night, I was looking for ways to challenge myself and Ike. I am not sure what has changed. I feel like we had gotten in a bit of a rut where I have been just running the courses to the best of our ability not necessarily pushing things.

I also picked up some AA batteries and downloaded the run-thru run. Hopefully I will get that posted tonight.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Smart of you to realize about the tunnel color and darkness approaching, it is suprising how many dogs really notice that and gosh, it would be scary running into a dark hole when it is dim lighting! Sounds like you got some great training in, and what a cool thing that even the rain was not dampening enthusiasm!