Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Penultimate Four Paws Class

Jonah and I got a semi-private lesson last night and we stepped things up.  Unfortunately I was still sore from the weekend's events (I played my first frisbee in over a year, thanks to my ACL surgery), so my handling was not as smooth as it can be.

This week we had numbers out on the floor and we walked our sequences before we ran them.  We would walk the course two ways and handle each sequence twice to try different methods.  To work on:  Jonah's stays.  He was unhappy tied to the wall, so I asked him to stay while I walked the course.  He wasn't terrible, but there's room for improvement :).

Our first sequence was weave poles to a U shaped tunnel where we had to take the far entrance, to a tire, shoot, 180 degree turn to the dog walk, then back to the tunnel, a jump and the A-frame.  I've got a lot of work to do so I'm not going to draw out a full map today (sorry!).  Here's the opening line that was a little tricky (===O is the chute, O is the tire, the funny thing at the right is the tunnel, and then the poles are at the bottom):
==O                   O              O\
. . . . . . . . . . . .                O/

The first time I handled Jonah on my left through the poles and pushed him out to the tunnel entrance (the upper on the map), then picked him up on my right out of the tunnel to push him to the tire and rear cross the chute.  This worked great.

The second time I had Jonah on my right for the poles and tried to pull him to the tunnel entrance.  Before I knew it, he'd plunged right into the entrance straight in front of him.  Oops.  We tried it again with me coming to a complete stop and calling his name as he finished the poles.  He did it alright the second time.  This handling scheme had me pick him up on my left out of the tunnel.  We had trouble getting the line to the tire because I was already moving forward and he'd be taking too sharp an angle for the tire.  This second plan was good for showing our weaknesses, but the first worked a lot better for us.

Our other sequences were mostly jumps, including a serpentine and pinwheel, a mini-threadle and some 'out's.  I won't lay them all out right now, but here are our points of note.  

He was wary of the teeter.  I'm glad I ordered one because I think we're going to want to take some steps back.  He would go across and tip it fine, but then he wanted to get right off at the end instead of staying in his contact position.  We need to keep proofing that.

Jonah liked when I did the one-sided serpentine handling better than when I did a front cross in the line.  He did better with the pinwheel when I rear crossed than when I stayed on the inside the whole time.   The rear cross made him turn tighter as he was looking to catch up with me.

He popped up once on the table.  Oops.

We need to keep working on our 'outs.'  He got to the jumps, but it was a little shaky.  At one point we were working with a box on the diagonals, and the first time he came in the gap between the jumps.  It was very similar to the situation at All Dogs last week, so we need to keep working that.

His A-frame is awesome!

Other than doing sequences, we got a little advice about venues.  I'm still not really sure what I want to do.  I like to run, so NADAC could be a good option, but I'm worried that he'll just never be as fast as the border collies and it could frustrate me.  I think we could be really good at CPE, but I think I'd like to do one of the more competitive venues, too.  I guess I'm leaning away from USDAA right now because the heights would be the highest.  AKC has a reputation of not always being the nicest people, though.  Anyway, we'll see.  There's a CPE trial that opens this Friday that's in mid-January at All-Dogs.  I'm tempted...

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