Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Update on "The Boys"

Wyatt looked great in agility class last night. He was super motivated and eager to run. I gave Patriot the night off. This was the last class in a 5 week series. I got good feedback from the teacher, who said my timing and handling, in general, showed much growth. I needed some feedback, I think, to get me back on track. If you don't get any for a while, it's hard to see what is going on and you can drift away from good handling. I also picked up some great tips in this class. The biggest thing that has helped me is to keep my focus on "drawing a line" on the ground about feet in front of my dog. The 2 feet in front and on the ground parts are really important, it turns out, both of which I was not attending to. I am also working on not cranking back my arm past my midline when sending out but keeping arm arm out the whole time. If I do need to send out from a stationary position, I am staring the motion from my midline.

I picked up another great tip last night when sending Wyatt to onside weaves at an angle. The tip is to send him to a point behind the weaves so he can get a good entrance rather than trying to send directly to the entrance.

I have Wyatt and Patriot entered in rally and obedience at a couple of during the week obedience trials. I am working on Patriot's excellence stations - back up 3 steps and moving down/sit in paticlular. They both need a refresher on offset figure eight too.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dance With Your Dog

I got some good advice from Lynn Smitley at class this week, "Just dance with your dog."  I had been focusing on my footwork and leaving enough room to push out on an elite chances course.  But it messed me up and, of course, Wyatt was confused.  I am finding that if my main focus in on "painting the line", which means drawing a line where you want your dog to go a few feet in front of your dog, that sets me up to "dance with my dog."  I asked if the painting itself provides information or is it a technique to get the handler's body in the right place and flow.  I was thinking it was the latter and Lynn confirmed that.  Lynn thinks it really the eyes that are most important and that the technique forces the handler's eyes to "draw the line."  I'm not sure about that but it definitely keeps my shoulders and whole body in the right place as long as I keep ahead of my dog and cue fast enough.  We tend to focus on obstacle performance and crosses, position, etc but we need to focus much more on the overflow flow or dance. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vet Results

I need to trust myself more. What I thought was going on with Wyatt was correct. Basically he has a sore right hip; which is always a weak spot for him. That's what I had thought. I needed to cut back on the long runs, less agility, and more ball work and other exercises. I was relieved that there was not a major problem. He was fine at agility practice last night.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Vet Tomorrow

I have been in a holding pattern, giving Wyatt a break from agility, while I wait for his sports vet appointment tomorrow night with Dr Julie Roos.  I have been thinking about the worst case, if I need to retire Wyatt from agility.  I have been doing obedience with Wyatt and sometimes with Wyatt and Patriot on a daily basis.  I am trying to increase motivation on sits, heeling, and recalls.  I am also working on Patriot's down by doing lots of "foldback" downs and now trying to do those when moving.  I am also working on Patriot's recalls and some on sits and downs.  Patriot needs a few things to pass open:  a better drop, a more reliable out of sight sit, and more enthusiasm for the dumbbell.