Thursday, January 31, 2008

Agility Bandwagons

I wonder, after doing agility for a while, how much we are being driven by business interests. It is starting to seem a little fad driven to me with lots of folks jumping to the latest technique for contacts or whatever. Good handling and a good relationship with your dog and lots of proofing are the best thing for a you and your dog especially for those of us not concerned with being at the national level. That's not to say that techniques have not improved and that there is nothing new to learn. But I think we have to be cautious about always changing our techniques and jumping on the latest bandwagon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

NADAC Practice

We had NADAC practice Sunday. I took both dogs since our baby sitter had to cancel. I learned more about running my wife's dog Patriot. Wyatt ran great and was very on. We had not run in quite a while. I really see how valuable taking some off is. One thing we may want to work on is Wyatt's up contact. He tends to slam into the up contact. Lynn Smitley suggested using hoops on the up (and the down) to get some muscle memory on both sides and to reinforce the 2o2o on the down. I had previously thoughts hoops and 2o2o were not compatible but why not use the down hoop to help with muscle memory and trial contacts?

I learned not to crowd Patriot too much. It slows him down especially on weaves. Also, we need to be moving when he comes out of tunnels. Sometimes, we will wait for him and crouch a bit to race to the next obstacle. Also, I need to make sure to cue him first and encourage later. I was missing cues with too much cheerleading (at the wrong time.)

Too Much?

I see Wyatt making some mistakes recently such as not going down with my hand signal. I am wondering if we are doing too much or I am putting too much (unconsious) pressure on him.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rally - Not The Best

We did rally for just one day Sunday in a new building in NY State. We did not have our best day but we did get a double Q and our 8th RAE leg. In Excellent, we did pretty well. Wyatt seemed stuck a few times. One was with a right pivot where he did not move with me so we lost 10 there. Maybe I forgot to cue him enough. We lost 3 on out of positions so we got an 87. He also got stuck on the last station, a halt, stand, down. Weird. I did not feel connected with him and relaxed at the start. Somedays, you know you are in synch and others days you get through it and do your best. The new way of doing honor was fine and he did a nice sit. Perhaps I was nervous showing to my teacher, who was the judge and Wyatt was nervous in the new building. Advanced felt worse, with a lot of lagging. We started off with a crooked sit with a stationary call front. It can be hard to feel good afterwards if you have trouble with the first station. I also had trouble getting him to stand later in the course. Beautiful side step though. On the final offset figure 8, Wyatt went for the food. I should have maintained eye contact in the figure 8 I think. I just left and he following after a bit. Saying "leave it" did not work! Mentally, I still carry obedience standards in rally so sometimes I think we did a lot worse that it felt. I am thinking of this as just not our best day and that somedays are like that. I am still hoping to get a 99 or 100. Our highest score so far has been a 97 and we have been routinely scoring in the mid to upper 90 (except yesterday). We got a 79 in advanced by the way, our lowest score in quite a while.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Agility Run Thrus

We did agility run thrus Saturday. This is at a facility that neither of dogs seems to like that much. Wyatt was a little nervous on the first run. I went back on the first contact. He did 2o2o but pulled off before my release. I also has some weave trouble where they had training weaves next to regular weaves. I tried to work at a distance but I think he got confused. When I moved in closer, he was fine. The next 2 runs were flawless and fast. Makes me want to trial again but I think I am going to do run thrus and NADAC trials only until I get the perfect contacts at trials too.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Utility Match Video

Match Results Utility A

We entered Utility A and Open A at a match in Chicopee, MA Sunday. Utility A was first to happen and also our first utility match.

This was a great learning experience for me and I think I finally get all the different parts and rules for utility. Wyatt did great in spite of me. I made some errors such as forgetting to only use a hard signal for signals for the first forward! She let me redo that one. He actually did great on signals. I had to give a double command for the down or the up (can't remember) and I stayed about 10 feet from him but he did everything. I also gave him a side command and not a front command at the end getting mixed up with the moving stand. We have not been practicing signals much and when we do it is only the little pieces and not the whole thing. Lost 8 points for heeling.

For scent article #1, he went right out and got the wrong, adjacent article. I think my turn around for sending directly was a bit spastic. I sent him out again and he got it. He got the second article with only 1/2 off and was whining to get started.

We lost only 1 1/2 on the directed retrieve. It was the #2 glove and not the dreaded left pivot glove.

For moving stand, I only gave a hand signal. I forgot you could do both so he needed a double (triple really) command to stop.

For directed jumping. I just did the jumping part and Wyatt needed a couple tries on each running around each jump the first time. I need to practice this at larger distance is all and was doing that before the snow fell.

All in all, very good for our first outing I thought. I will post a video later.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Open Run Thru

We had open run throughs last run. I was very pleased with Wyatt. I did novice sits and stays and he was perfect. That was a relief. I am planning on talking with our instructor about a plan for open sits and stays. Right now, he is doing very well at home with the 3 minute out of sight sit so I need a plan on how to slowly replicate that in class including a consistent strategy for when he makes a mistake. We did have a problem with drop on recall but I think I figured out why. I was looking at the judge for her hand signals and I was also saying "Wyatt, down" instead of "Down". I found I could see the judge fine with my periperal vision. We lost 5 1/2 on heeling, which I consider very good. We lost 0 on retrieve and a 1/2 each on the jumps. So that was awesome. So, if we did not have a drop issue, we would have gotten a score in the 190s. Looking forward to the match Sunday. Not sure what I am going to have him do for the sits and stays though. Should I try it or skip it or ask the judge if I can stay in sight?