Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lesson at Riverside

Jonah and I had a great lesson at Riverside today.  The big highlight was that he was actually excited and happy about 95% of the time.  He let me 'rev him up' and didn't get worried--he played along and started to get to his playful, almost nippy self.  I was thrilled, and it made him run faster.  There were a few times where I'd be walking the course and I'd just leave him free and he was going around picking out obstacles on his own.  He would jump, get on the contacts and he even weaved by himself.  Then he would look at me wanting a big cookie.  Smart man.

We worked on some wraps that were difficult for me as I just haven't done much of that before.  When I'm not sure of myself he picks up on it and gets a little worried that he's the one screwing up.  Of course, it's pretty much always my fault, so I need to figure out how to be encouraging to him even if I'm messing up royally.  The first wrap was a threadle with me picking him up on landing and pushing out to the next jump.  He did it correctly every time but it took me a few tries to get my handling smooth and minimize my backing up.

The second wrap we did was a much bigger struggle for Jonah.  He was supposed to take a jump and then wrap around towards me.  He was on my right approaching the jump and then I tried to front cross while he was in the air so he'd come between the stanchion and my left side to go on to the next jump.  Well, it used to be that Jonah was so scared at Riverside that it was a success when he did any obstacle.  Now, as I mentioned, he's actively looking for obstacles.  When I did my front cross, I was pressuring him too much rather than inviting him into me, so he back-jumped the jump.  Oops.  Well, I got more deliberate about my handling but he kept back-jumping.  This is something we're going to have to work on.  I'd rather have him excited to jump than not, but this could cause us trouble in competition.  I was able to get it to work, but it was quite an effort.  I also tried handling it as a post-turn, which was a little more natural for him, but it would be good to be able to do it either way.

Other points of note:
1.  The running A-frame looks good.
2.  I need to keep my upper body upright.
3.  Rear crosses were great today.  We rear crossed single jumps, a double, a tunnel, a tire and weave entries.  No trouble anywhere.
4.  I need to watch where my feet are pointing.  When I tried to send him ahead but was turning too early, he would turn before the obstacle.  I can't wait to have outdoor space to work on distance handling.
5.  Dog walk contacts were great.  I still have to rev him a little for him to be really running across the top, but he's driving into the contact great.

Overall, Jonah's doing super.  Lots of room for improvement, but he's only been doing agility for 6 months!  That's hard to feels so natural now.

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