Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fixed One Thing; Another to Be Fixed

Wyatt has been anticipating the finish on retrieves. He brings back the dumbbell and sits in front of me and is supposed to wait for a command to come back to heel position. I waited extra long and did not treat when he jumped the gun so he now waits (reluctantly.) I try to wait a little extra so he won't start anticipating again. I am still having problems with barking before the glove (directed) retrieve though. I think those are most like a prey item to him and all the fooling around and moving with me before he gets to go seems frustrating to him.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

NADAC Last Sunday

Felt a little disappointed last Sunday. Got a Tunnelers Q with with Wyatt but nothing else though we had some really good runs we could not get the 100%. It sure it hard for both you and the dog to both have a good day and put everything together with no mistakes. The courses were hard but we could have done them. Made some mistakes like I the last 2 tunnels with Chances. In regular, I realized that I was overhandling and stopping Wyatt before the yellow zone so I drove to the end more in our second Regular run. But then I got lost, something I never do. Ran by some jumps in Jumpers when I did not maintain contact. One of those days I guess. I think I need to write a list of things to remember that I can review before our runs so I don't keep making the same mistakes.

New Courses

I finally got the lawn mow Thursday night so I need to set up some new agility courses. I feel really stuck in thinking of new courses. Our contacts are pretty much stuck in the same place. We have 2 areas, one with contacts. With the non-contact area, I seem to always make up similar courses. We missed out Chances Q last Sunday in an otherwise awesome run with 2 tunnels side by side sending him out to the outer tunnel. Totally my fault, I saw that we might Q, got nervous and started to pump my arm, which brought him in.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quick NADAC Report

Wyatt went 1 for 6 but has some real close ones like .6 over for tunnelers and almost got chances but his 1 Q was a 1st in Regular (Standard) which we need for his NATCH. Patriot went 3 for 4 but pooped out on his last run.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I have been working on sits more. Instead of doing long out of sights, I am doing more short in sight sessions trying to work on fidgeting. I actually think I should do both types of practice. Wyatt tends to fidget quite a bit, which can turn into moving out of position, laying down, or standing up when under stress. So I am rewarding for short periods of no movement and saying "Oops" if there is fidgeting. Hoping to do at least one Open attempt this fall but agility has been the priority. There is an open date in December but my teacher is the judge. Shoot!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Run Thrus

Did some run thrus tonight at our local club. We brought Aidan. We are trying to keep him exposed to dog sports. He wants to do agility but it's hard as the dogs focus on me and not him and it's hard for Aidan to connect to the dog when they aren't focused on him, he does not understand that he has to keep at it and keep issuing commands. Then it's hard for him to treat quickly and not eat the treat himself.

Both dogs ran well though. I pushed the distance with Wyatt so we had a few small errors but it was great practice for our NADAC trial in Wrentham this weekend.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Checking In - Agility

I want my dog to constantly be checking in with me. When we run the best, we are continually checking in with each and adjusting to each other. Checking in, to me, is different from stopping and turning back to me. When that happens, I have not given Wyatt a cue in time. That is not desirable.

The NADAC folks that do bonus lines (they run the whole course basically from behind the start/finish line), usually teach their dogs to keep running in a "straight" line unless directed otherwise. That can work too, but then you need to be able to change directions with a verbal or physical command or both. They usually run the course "in miniature" from behind the line, but in theory the dog would keep going in a straight line no matter what they are doing. There is a very good team that trained this way but the dog does not always check in and runs its own course frequently and the handler complains that the dog did not check in with her. Anyway, what I want is a continual checkin using peripheral vision. That does mean I have to leave space to move in the desired direction when working behind a gamble line. It's a real challenge to shorten one's stride when one is used to trying to run WITH a fast whippet. But it does work.

Also, in a previous post I talked about the OUT command and that a lot of people pump their hands screaming OUT, which brings your dog in to you (the hand pumping.) Note that is it possible to just use a verbal to discriminate 2 side by side obstacles at distance. However, it is going to be much easier and less stressful to find out the physical cues your dog naturally needs to discriminate at the distance.

It is going to be helpful if you run NADAC or other venues with challenging gambles to have an OUT and GO ON command. However, they are typically going to be mostly physical cues. In my experience, this is something that needs to be studied and worked on when you get to the larger distances. I see a lot of really bad distance handling because people have not really worked on it or studied it. Again, typically you see this when people pump their arms and scream OUT to the dog, often from a stationary position. What they should be doing is leaving space behind the gamble line to be heading in the right direction, painting a line with their hand/finger a few feet ahead of the dog, keeping there arm out and level and (not high up or pumping), and supporting the dog with a verbal OUT. When I do OUT, I push out an open hand against the dog's line and lean into the dog's line. Some people keep painting the line. Also, if I need to do a contact/'tunnel or other discrimination at a distance, I push perpendicular to the dog's line at a point 1/3 of the way from the first obstacle. I was taught to go 1/2 way but I found with Wyatt that that was too late.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tracking Sunday

Here is Wyatt's track from Sunday. He did pretty well once we got going. I do need to start reading him more and reading the track less. He does tend to go off track and I need to recognize what he does when he goes off the track rather than reading my map or seeing the track itself and stopping to let him get back on. He found once turn very nicely, which I had lost track of. This field is narrow and I forgot to leave a good escape route and he picked up my scent from walking back after laying the track at one point. Wyatt followed the whole track and found all the articles. He seems to really like it because he gets very excited before we start.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Check In

I have been working with Wyatt (and Patriot) but not writing much. No big insights or competitions. We do have a NADAC trial in 2 weeks. I hope to be able to squeeze in an obedience trial or 2 in the fall. I am running out of room in yard to work distance with Wyatt (unless I can think more creatively) and Wyatt's go outs have been fantastic. I should try those outside and add the directed jump part in before he gets to used to coming back directly to me. I am also trying to ramp up my sits and downs training as I have been a little lax lately and I know from experience that we need to always be working on that.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Running Out of Room

I feel like I am running out of room in our yard with Wyatt. My main focus in agility now is distance work for NADAC Elite Chances. He is doing great but I may need to drop in on our local agility classes or rent a ring to get the distance we need.