Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday Night Fun

Last night Jonah and I went to DogStar for our weekly lesson.  We had a really great time!  Both of the courses were not too difficult to do, but they were difficult to do well.

Our first go round, our challenges were a tight turn to manage, a RC into the weaves, a push out of the weaves the second time we did them, and a tricky pull in a serpentine at the end of the course.  Jonah did absolutely beautifully, and it was a lovely run.  The only thing I would have changed about the whole thing was that I got too far ahead before the RC weave entry that I really had to decelerate to avoid running into them.  That was completely my fault but he didn't blink an eye and still drove in and weaved very fast.  What a good boy.  His contacts looked great and his down on the table was good.  I would say it took him half a second to go into his down--it wasn't immediate, but it wasn't slow.

Since he'd done so well the first time through, I tried to come up with ways to make it more difficult, or at least more difficult.  So, I handled part of the course as a gamble.  It looked like this:

He was awesome!  Well, not completely.  He pulled a CPE on the table and jumped on and right back off.  Oops.  But other than that, he was awesome.  He charged out for the RC over 2 and then didn't blink before he charged onto the DW.  He raced into the 2o2o, which was impressive since he is usually a little tentative when I'm not right with him.  The peanut gallery was all oohing and aahing at us and I think he picked up on that because he was clearly very proud of himself when he hopped right on and off the table.  Anyway, the rest of the course ran very well, too.  I tried some other handling for practice. It was lots of fun.

For our last course of the night, we had less of a smooth run.  We had trouble with the beginning of the course, which looked like this:

The best way to do a running start was to slingshot 1 with him on my right.  When I did that, though, he jumped really big over 1 and by the time he realized he was supposed to weave he was past the entry.  I need to practice this.  We got it eventually, but I had to stand completely still to get him to turn back to me soon enough.  A lead out would have been better.

There were two other sections of the course that were recipes for wide turns.  The first one I handled well and his turns were nice and tight.  The second, which was just jumping one jump, then another, then back to the first, didn't work so well.  Usually I would just cue jump 2 and get out of there, but now that I'm working on setting tighter lines I tried to stay a little longer.  He didn't really respect my space, though, and still jumped fairly wide behind me before coming back in to my side.  Another thing we need to practice.  The second time I stayed even longer and that was better.  It's unintuitive for me because I've always worked so hard to keep moving, but sometimes he needs fairly strong deceleration cues to prevent inefficient lines.

All in all, it was a fun lesson because I walked each course and knew we could do it, so then I got to think about not only how to get it done but how to get it done well.  Jonah's been doing great lately and I feel like we're really stepping up our game.  It's very exciting!

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