Friday, September 2, 2011

Class Time

Last night Jonah and I headed over to DogStar for our weekly lesson.  He was, as usual, great.  I'm so impressed with how well he is settling down with the other dogs around.  It's wonderful to see.  That said, there's still lots of room for improvement.  Every time a new dog comes into the room he barks.  It used to be that he would bark at the dog.  Now he just turns to me and barks general excitement.  He also doesn't particularly like being tied to the wall, and sometimes if we're talking for a long time I have to go get him and bring him with me.  With that in mind, though, he has gotten totally comfortable with the dogs in his class being around him once he's over the initial excitement.  Last night he walked out to the car right with another dog and he was completely relaxed.  Another came and sniffed his butt last night while I was videotaping and I panicked when I realized what was happening, but Jonah didn't mind a bit.  It's a great change.

Anyway, as far as the actual agility goes, I almost jumped up and down when I saw the dogwalk up!  Not only did we get good practice, but Jonah was dynamite with his contacts!  There was one time when he was trucking so fast that he couldn't hold the 2o2o, but he legitimately tried.  Every other time was dead on the money.  Woohoo!

The first course was an example of motherly disorganization.  He started off great and then I dropped a cookie while rewarding his excellent DW contact.  Of course he had to find it before moving on.  He picked right back up into full speed, though.  Then later on I dropped another cookie which pulled him out of the weaves.  I guess we still have some proofing to do, but luckily this is not a trial-realistic distraction :).  Despite those two bobbles, Jonah was superb.  There were some tricky off-course possibilities but he was very attentive, took my cues and managed to maintain good speed and confidence.

We did the first course again and I didn't drop any cookies.  The only trouble that time was a blown contact on the A-frame, but I'm well aware of the fact that I can't expect solid contacts yet since we just haven't gone through all the work.  Grace and I decided that, since we haven't gotten to a full-height A-frame at home with the box method, we shouldn't bother with the box last night.  So, it was just a naked A-frame and Jonah missed the contact zone with room to spare.  Oh well.  He was having fun!

Jonah did great with the second course as well, although it provided a tough spot for us.  To begin, though, I did a lead-out and he broke the stay!  I'm pretty sure that is the first time he has EVER broken a stay away from home and outside of my proofing efforts in the backyard (where I burst into a sprint or say 'ready...ready,' etc).  He has a great stay, but he nonetheless broke it last night.  Luckily it was practice and I was able to take him back to the start and try again.  The second time, of course, he was perfect.

The tough spot of the course for us looked like this:

(also, can I just mention how much I love the CleanRun Designer software?!)

Anyway, course 1 had us do jump 1 to the weaves without jump 2, which Jonah nailed well.  I tried to send out to 2, and he went out well but didn't have enough collection, so I had to pull him way back to get a good entry.  I totally screwed up any semblance of flow.  Bad handler.  Grace told me I had to trust him and let him find the entry himself.  So, the second time I sent him to 2 and just said "weave."  He entered on the wrong side.  On the third try I stood completely still when I sent him to 2 so he would not jump with extension, and that time he got it.  Phew.  It was hard work.  None of the other dogs had any trouble with that spot.  My guess is that it's because they are smaller and not as drivey (wow, I never thought I would call Jonah drivey...he's come a long way.  I'm sure this weekend when I watch the BCs I'll think he's an unmotivated sloth again, but he is more motivated than the other dogs in our class).  Of course, these are also well schooled dogs and they probably have better weave entries than Jonah.  It was a tough question for us and one we'll have to revisit at some point.

That's about it for this week.  Next week I'm going to try really hard to remember to bring my camera so I can have video!  

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