Thursday, January 20, 2011

Traffic, and a Lesson

I left for Riverside today in what should have been plenty of time.  The lesson was at 5:00 so I thought I'd mostly beat the traffic.  I was really, really wrong.  We arrived at 5:35 for our 5:00-5:30 lesson.  Joan was a total saint, though, and let us do a few runs then. 

We worked through a pretty basic course, and Jonah was a good boy.  The one thing he had issues with was a jump to a 90 degree turn left to weaves, so an off-side entry.  His weaves weren't great.  Joan wants me to be right next to him, egging him on, but this really seems to distract him more than motivate him at the moment.  I eventually found a middle ground where I was next to him but otherwise left him alone, and that was better.  He'd start pretty slow and then pick up speed as he went on.  As for the entry itself, he just didn't seem very interested in weaving (whether this was general or because he was uncomfortable with me so close to him, I'm not sure).  We'll have to work on that as time goes on.  I really need to get our weaves painted.

The main highlight in my mind from the course was beautiful rear crosses.  Out of the weave poles, there was a jump and then the dog walk.  He'd get moving in the poles, and he knew the dog walk was coming, so I could rear cross the jump really well.  It was so cool!  He really moved forward to it beautifully.  It was pretty textbook, if I do say so myself.

Other than that, his obstacle performance of everything was great--solid contacts, immediate down on the table, more distance from jumps, etc.  The general problem was that he was just slow.  He's still nervous there, which translates to him poking along.  In a lot of ways this makes him easy to handle because I have time to think about things, but I'd really like him to pick it up.  We ended with an outside loop with him on the leash, and I was still ahead of him the whole way.  I might be above average fast for a handler, but I should not be beating him in a race! 

I feel a little stuck on the speed problem.  When the snow melts, I think I'll be able to get lots of space out in the yard and just sprint over obstacles with him so he gains confidence at more speed.  Until then, though, we're stuck in the small area I shoveled and a class or so a week.  The nice thing is that his speed shouldn't keep him from any Qs.  He's doing great in everything else, so I probably shouldn't worry too much.  I guess I'm just a little anxious. 

For now, though, we can enjoy the snow and I need to paint the weave bases. 

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