Monday, October 18, 2010

Weave Pole Wonders

I know I posted on Friday that my goal was to have Jonah doing 9 weave poles reliably by November, but we've done it already!  He found his footwork and was bombing through the nine, so I went ahead and took a big step:  I added three more poles so now there is a full set of 12.

Even though we've only been doing nine for a bit over a week, Jonah popped out of the 12 right after the 9th pole on his first time through.  I think it's unbelievable that his muscle memory catches on to a certain number so fast.  It makes me feel good that I went ahead and pushed the weaves up to 12 now.  If there are fewer later on, it shouldn't be a problem, but we shouldn't run across more than 12.

Anyway, as I mentioned, he popped out after 9 the first time.  The second time he popped out after 11 (just one early).  Then, he went through the whole way perfectly!  Third time's the charm.  Since then, he has popped out a few times here and there towards the end when he's tried to push his speed, but in general he's been excellent.

As for his footwork, he's starting out great, hopping side to side with two feet.  As he gets about half way in, he usually gets a little out of rhythm and starts running the rest of the way.  The running is a little bit discombobulating, and it looks like he almost trips over his own paws sometimes, but he's still really trying to move forward quickly.  He's even driving through the poles so that they're really moving when he goes through them.  I have a lot of confidence that, as he keeps going, he'll figure out that it's easier to just keep hopping all the way through.  I don't know if he'll ever move to the one paw on each side technique.  I hope so, but I feel like there's no way for me to teach him that--it will just be what's most comfortable for him.  He figured out the hopping on his own, so I think he'll know what's fastest and easiest for him. 

When Dave got home from work he timed us, and Jonah got through the 12 poles in between 4 and 4.5 seconds.  I know the best dogs do it in less than 3, and I know it's supposed to be hard to speed dogs up, but I'm still kind of amazed that the dog we got about 3 months ago now cruises smoothly through 12 weave poles.  It's like we taught him something, or something.

Now that I'm so excited, my job is to keep him excited.  I know that if I drill things over and over he gets bored and slows down.  Since the biggest thing I want him to improve is his footwork and speed, I want to keep sessions short, extra rewarding and fun.

Aside from weaving, Jonah's contacts are looking great.  He's mostly going right into the contact position quickly, but he still wants me right next to him.  His jump figure eight is also looking excellent.  As for the table, he's just not very fast going to the down.  I'm not sure how to work on that, but hopefully we can figure something out or ask our teachers tomorrow night.  I'm very glad we have class tomorrow night because I'm in need of some new things to practice.  I was trying a jumping exercise today with a rear cross but I'm just not exactly sure what I'm supposed to be doing, so it's confusing both me and Jonah together.  We've got a lot to learn.

Also, I keep waiting for our tunnel and chute to arrive.  They left Arizona a week ago and the shipping log last had them in NY on Saturday.  I hope they get here soon so we can start working, especially with our chute.

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