Monday, September 27, 2010

Oops! Week 4

I realized I never posted about last week's class! 

Last week we got to go on the teeter for the first time.  The teacher began with an explanation of why the teeter can be frightening for all sorts of reasons.  She emphasized the need to start by having the dog play with it as a tippy board, then click-and-treat for a few paws on and very slowly work towards walking the whole length of it.  Jonah went first, and he walked right up, on, across, down and off.  We all kind of giggled.  He didn't blink an eye at all.  We did it a few times, shrugged, and let the next dog go.  It was far from full height and there was a little rug under it so it didn't bang too loudly, but still, he was a total superstar.

We went through a curved tunnel.  First the tunnel was straight and full length, and then the teacher curved one end and then the other.  No problem.  The other dogs were a little hesitant, but again Jonah was perfect.

This week we did our first chute, too.  The teacher held the fabric end of it open a little bit so he didn't fully push through it, but I'm not sure he would have cared if it had been totally down.  Hopefully we'll get to try that soon.  I'd like to bring our makeshift chute out at home, but it's been too wet.  Maybe I can make one inside to practice with. 

Other than the new things, we practiced the table, the dog walk, some jumps and the channel weave poles.  He's getting the table although he's not super fast into the down yet. 

He was totally loving the dog walk and ran it pretty quickly.  Unfortunately he would come down so fast he would swing his butt off for the contact.  We need to keep working that.  I've tried some work on the stairs at home, but he just doesn't get going as fast.  I'll have to balance the speed on the dog walk with the need for an accurate contact.  Luckily he's pretty good at slowing down when I ask him to, so we can run the up and over and then slow down for the down.  We'll just need lots of repetition to get the swing of it.

This week we didn't get to take off our leash in class for the jumping, and that makes things really tough.  I am worried about keeping the leash out of the way and so I'm not focusing on the jumps and Jonah responds in turn.  He jumps, but he's not as focused as he is at home.  They asked us to bring tab leashes, so I made one (I braided together strips of an old towel and tied it to a snap, and it works great).  The one teacher was totally supportive of us just using the tab, but the other (who worked on the jumps with us) seemed to want us to keep the leashes on.  Maybe this week I'll just ask if we can take it off because I know Jonah will be good and it makes things so much harder.

For the weave poles, we started with four baited targets along the channel and backed down to one.  Jonah was very good and went straight down the channel, but I'm still not sure he makes the connection between his poles at home and the poles at class.  They were still about a foot apart, so they weren't even brushing his shoulders as he went down the line.  Anyway, he was not super speedy but did his job.  I think this week I'll try to run faster next to him and see if he'll pick up the pace.  Hopefully they'll be closer, too.  On another note, it seems funny to me that they're starting everyone out with 12 poles rather than 6.  I guess it could be hard to make the transition eventually from 6 to 12, and this eliminates that challenge, but it seems like just so much to look at when there are 12.  Jonah's up for the challenge, though!

Overall, Jonah is doing everything we ask of him very well.  The contact positioning was his only flaw in week 4's class.  A lot of the other dogs are shy of some obstacles.  It will be neat to see who goes on to the next class.  I'm pretty sure one of the dogs in our group will not--she is just nervous about most obstacles, and would probably need to go through the beginner class again.  One of our classmates asked if we just go straight on the the advanced beginner class when beginner is over, and I don't know for sure, but I can't imagine that Jonah would not be able to move on.  Then we get to start doing some basic sequences, and the obstacles will start moving towards full height.  The class starts the week after beginner ends, and it's just in the later time slot on the same day.  The teacher for that class is one of our current teachers and we like her, so that's good news.  The advanced beginner class takes 'graduates' of both the beginner class and the puppy agility class, so we might get to meet some new friends.  It will be great to see...just 15 days!

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