Saturday, October 23, 2010

Second Advanced Beginner Class

Class this week was good but less exhilarating than last week.  We spent a lot of time just getting repetitions on things Jonah does well:  tunnels and chutes (he went through without help at class, thanks to practice from our new chute at home), A-frame, dog walk, altered teeter (it was full height but had a pause table under each end so as to minimize the movement), channel weave poles (grr, still about a foot apart), etc.  Last week we did lots of sequences but this week was mostly back to individual obstacles. 

Anyway, we did come up with a concern about contact performance.  Jonah will go right into the two-on-two-off position, but he doesn't like to touch the target with his nose.  The teacher is concerned that if he doesn't put his head down he won't be able to move forward off the obstacle as quickly.  I'm honestly not 100% convinced that this is a big deal, but I will work on it.  After all, there won't be any targets there in competition.

Another thing that was difficult for us was doing the dog walk with a 180 degree turn away from the handler to a tunnel.  Jonah's rear cross turn isn't bad, but I always do it while we're moving.  Doing it from the stopped contact position proved difficult, but he did do it after a couple of tries.

We did do one sequence that was quite challenging for us and shows that we need some work.  The setup was something like this:

                                    ___        [ ]

(Key:  ___ is a jump; [ ] is a pause table; [[[ is a broad jump)

First we did the broad jump alone, since we had never done one before.  Jonah didn't blink an eye.  Next we did the broad jump, about 20 feet to a 90 degree turn to the two jumps, which were about 10 feet apart.  Again, no big deal. 

Then the teacher added a harder twist, though.  We were supposed to jump the broad jump and then jump the first jump, do a front cross and turn to the pause table without jumping the second jump.  I think we could have done this ok without the front cross, but the cross definitely complicated things.  In my attempt to get in the right place to do the cross, I cut the corner of the turn to the jump.  Jonah followed me instead of taking the wider line to the jump.  Then the second time I stayed closer to him and he jumped, but then I didn't get to the front cross in time and he went straight ahead and jumped the second jump.  Oops.  The third time I compromised and we got it, but Jonah had slowed down a little and he already knew what he was supposed to do. 

This shows me that he needs to be more independent in driving out to jumps even when I'm not right with him.  I wish we could have had more time to practice this, but we moved on to other things and I was never fully satisfied with our performance with that line.  I set it up yesterday in the back yard, though, and we got lots of repetitions and were doing it beautifully.

So, overall it was a good class, but we know we need to work on things.  We're going to practice our 'turn' command (turning away from the handler), our contact touches, and our jumping independence.

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