Saturday, 14 February 2009

Valentines day.....well training days!

Well today I had two training sessions, the first was a 6-7 group. I had fantastic dogs on this with already very talented handlers so this was a tweaking and refining session.
We started off walking the course to the right, everybody ran the course as they would normally handle it, we then went back and re-assessed the course and handling techniques.
Firstly a couple of people tried 1-3 as push throughs to varying degrees of success (those who didn't wanted to but had not done it before), This was defiantly how I would have done it as I believe done well it is the quickest and smoothest way to handle it, as it allows you to progress up the course.
So we spent some time on breaking down how to teach a push through. After 3 go's everybody was able to complete all three as push throughs.
The next difficulty came tunnel to dog walk, a few understood the difference, but generally this needed a little work, so we spent the next exercise breaking this down, and lavishly rewarding the right choice. From the dog walk was a VERY hard 90 degree weave entry which required the handler to stay very straight allowing the dog to find the entry, anybody trying to "shape" this ended up putting their dog over jump 13.
The rest of the course was more straight forward with just a couple of handling choices. 9-11 worked best for those who stayed the seesaw side of 10 and 11 to enable a push through on 11, and allowing the handler to progress past the seesaw, to help pull through the dogwalk/weaves channel through to jump 13. The only choice left after this was which way to turn on 14. On the first run everybody went right (it was quite close to the wall, so people felt it was hard to push the other way). I personally felt that you achieved a quicker, neater and more powerful line by turning left on this. Then it was the line of jumps, some on angles, some very tight bounces and others with very long strides, every bodies dogs coped really well with this.
Once we had broken the course down, handled the tricky bits, and re-assessed, they gave it a second shot! EVERYBODY ran it a second time so well! All achieved the push throughs and tunnel dogwalk with ease! I had a great time training everybody, they were a fun group that listened and worked really hard. I think everybody went home tiered!!!!!!

Next I had a 3-5 group. It was made up of very capable handlers, a couple with their youngsters.
We spent the first section of the lesson on "driving" over contacts and reward on the contact at the bottom. I love doing this (sometimes end up going home more tiered than the handlers!!!!) next we played around with some jump channels. I believe this is an extremely important exercise, for agility a dog needs to jump, but quite often this is as far as people go when teaching it. Many dogs that I see have no comprehension of how to
1) Extend
2) Collect
and 3) Most importantly how to use their back ends!!!
So we spent quite a bit of time on jumps 13-9. Firstly we had them open and spread out and drove them on ahead of their handlers, next I put 12 and 11 into a tighter stride (a bounce for most dogs), a couple did bounce but not as many as I would expect. The next time I moved it in a bit again as well as the same stride on 11-10, this worked well, encouraging all the dogs to bounce both jumps. The last lane we did was to make all 5 into bounces. Every dog achieved it really well. For the couple of very driven, naturally long striding dogs this was very good as they really had to engage the rear quarters, sit back and check their strides, where as the slightly less confident dogs were able to bounce multiple jumps in a row without feeling phased. When we opened these jumps back out a bit it was amazing, just from that little bit of jump training how many more dog were prepared to try a bounce, and achieve it!
We then played a bit on the drive across the seesaw, having a great game of tuggy or a really nice treat at the end.

After this we had a walk of the course, and then had a bash at running it! Everybody worked really well, all running the course excellently.

I deliberately left time near the end to have a look at tunnel under dogwalk. Everybody except 2 were astonished that we would be doing this with "Baby" dogs and absolutely convinced they would never able to do it!
I don't personally feel that this is too hard for a baby, as I feel the younger (in a dogs agility life/career) you teach obstacle discrimination the easier it is and quicker it goes in, not to mention "those lessons learnt first are learnt best!" So off we set teaching this firstly straight up the dogwalk. 3 achieved this straight off, very well done!!!! the others quickly shared their success. We then began to sequence it as follows.....7 wing wrap dogwalk, then 9,8 (from their backsides) pull through left side of the tunnel, 7 wing wrap dogwalk and lastly 9,8,7 (all from the backside of the jumps), right hand side of the tunnel, 9,8 (wrong side) pull through dog walk. Everybody achieved this, some better than the 6/7 dogs! It was really great to see people achieve something they were so sure was an impossibility!

So any way I had a great day, loved training everybody and hope they enjoyed it too. Every soul, human and canine looked shattered at the end!!!!

So on to my Valentines day.... well it can't be that great as I am sitting here updating my blog!!! ha ha
I am waiting for Jay to get home, and then I will cook him a special dinner, and watch a "chick flick!"


Hillary said...

Thanks Leah,great mornings training x

Karen said...

Yep I will second that it was brilliant xxx

Hex- 3 weeks - 19 weeks