Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I haven't done too much agility this week because I thought Jonah's slowness last week might be due to boredom and overdoing things.  I have set up three exercises that I've been really happy with.  They're super simple, but going back to the beginning has gotten his excitement up again, at least so far.

The first day I just put a straight tunnel out in the yard.  I took out a tug toy and would get him pulling and excited.  As soon as he'd drop the toy, I'd sprint to and past the tunnel, which he rocketed through.  I gave him some tricky entries, but generally it was straight forward and all about playing, having fun and going fast.  He thinks it's fun just to sprint with me, so it almost acts as a reward in itself.

The second sprinting exercise was a basic line of three jumps, about 18 feet apart.  At first they were all in line, but eventually I offset them so they were a zigzag, the middle jump about four feet to the side of the other two.  We played the same game of tugging and then sprinting.  This was fantastic because he'd really run ahead of me.  I'd throw the toy for him after the jumps so he'd get the reward out in front of me, too.  This was the best work of him going ahead of me that he's ever done.  I was very excited.  He's really fast when he wants to be, and his jumping form is lovely.

Today I put a set of 6 weave poles and one jump up.  First I had the jump in line with the weave poles, but I moved it around to work on different entries.  Jonah's entries were very solid and his weaves were fast.  With this exercise, he would charge out ahead of me and find the entry, but I can still catch up to him while he's weaving.  I guess that's true of most dogs with reasonably athletic handlers, but it wasn't the same excitement of him out in front of me as the three jump exercise.  There was no sign of him changing to the one-paw-each-side method, but he's doing well enough that maybe it doesn't matter so much.  It's fun to watch him sprint up to the poles at a full tilt, then gather his haunches under him to collect, and then power through the poles.  As Dave says, he has great body control. I'd like to do the same exercise with 12 poles next time so he gets more in a rhythm.

Tomorrow we have another lesson and hopefully Jonah will be a little more enthusiastic.  I'm going to bring our new tug/food toy and see if he'll get excited about it there.

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