Thursday, July 12, 2012

2 Dog Agility

It's really hot today so I tried taking both dogs to Jonah's class.  It turned out to be pretty stressful, and I don't plan on doing it again at least for a while.  Nika had some good moments:  she walked happily into the ring and through it, was happy to be around the other dogs and people, and was generally more relaxed than last time.  She was really yappy, though.  Whenever Jonah and I went to run I'd give her a kong with chicken and peanut butter.  It would keep her busy for a minute, but soon she'd realize we were gone and it was time to bark bark bark.  Yarg.  No one complained, but I felt bad to have the peace disrupted and have it be my fault.

As for the actual agility, Jonah was good.  We had some mistakes.  I don't know if it was having the puppy or me being tired or what, but we just weren't 100%.  The first course started really nice, with a lovely RC into the weaves, a threadle that worked very smoothly, a teeter and a push to the backside.  Then he ducked behind my back to take the wrong side of a tunnel.  Oops.  The rest of the course went pretty well but he made a couple turns wider than I'd like.

On the second time through I tried a hard push out of the weaves which worked well.  I handled the threadle on the other side and it was smooth again.  Then I tried to RC the teeter, but it was a bit much for him.  It was about a 45 degree approach, and he doesn't love the teeter.  Something to work on, for sure.  I worked on decelerating really hard for the jump turns, and his lines tightened up a lot.  It's fun to really accelerate and then decelerate fast.  That's something I want to emphasize from now on.  Instead of just getting ahead, I can wait a bit (in tunnels, on the teeter, the table, etc), then accelerate quickly and decelerate to get tighter turns.  That way I'm more with him and it's more exciting for him.

The second course started with a line that I would have liked to run lots of different ways.  It looked like this:

I couldn't decide what to do first so I tried what was looking at me saying, "Is this possible?  I dare you to try it."  So I took the dare.  I sent him into the tunnel, called, "Right-right-right-frame," and took off to handle 3-4-5 with him on my right.  He didn't turn as tight from 1 to 2 as he might have, but he got it.  I was pretty far ahead for 3 (I had to be to be ahead on landing for 4 and push to 5), but he still did a nice contact and followed me nicely.  I'm not totally sure why you would actually handle it that way in the real world, but it was fun to see that I could in fact do it.  The second time I ran this sequence I tried a post turn 1 to 2 and we screwed it up.  I started alright, but then I was too close to the tunnel and I thought he'd committed to the A-frame but when I stepped laterally to get around the tunnel he came with me.  Oops.  I also would have liked to try a lead out to a flip.  I thought it was a neat sequence.

After this section, the course opened up for a while and then slammed into a tight jump sequence.  It looked like this:

The safest option here was to double rear (at 4 and 5), but I don't generally like safe and I don't generally like rear crosses either (well, I used to, but now it seems more fun to always get ahead).  One person in our class got in double fronts (between 3 and 4 and between 4 and 5), but I didn't think I could get one in between 3 and 4 after having to support 2 a little bit.  So, I did a blind between 2 and 3 (he was still pretty much in the tunnel), picking him up on my right on the landing of 2 and to 3.  I was enough ahead that I got a FC in between 4 and 5.  I did it fast and got out, but then I was already moving towards 6 and so he turned quite wide.  I tried it again, hung back a little bit more, and waited over 4 for a head turn before pushing forward.  It worked much better.  Later I tried rear crosses, and his turns were even wider than my initial FC.  Grace pointed out that I like to rely on lateral movement in RCs, but that I should play with more deceleration (that's the name of the game today!) when I want a really tight turn like I did here.

Other than that, it was smooth sailing.  Jonah's looking great and he's a joy to run.

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