Saturday, September 12, 2009

puzzler & some distance

Below is the first sequence we did in agility class this week. It is called "puzzler", from Bud Houston's blog. Oreo and I did really well, until we got to the 270 from jump 9 to 10. We really need to work on those at home.

My teacher had me get Oreo's ball. I ran jumps 8 & 9, and then threw the ball past jump ten, in the direction Oreo needed to go. Unfortunately, Oreo didn't actually get the ball, but he did habitually move toward it. We did that three or four times. Then, I ran the sequence again without the ball, and Oreo did the whole sequence beautifully!

Were we done? No! My teacher said, "Now do the sequence without using your arms!"

What? Run without using my arms?

OK. I'm trying to believe in myself and my dog more....confidence. I tried it, and lo and behold, we did the whole sequence, without me using my arms, except at the 270.

It is amazing how much you can do with you feet and shoulders! I was impressed. I'm going to try and set up 1-11 at home and practice some more this weekend.

Next up....distance work! Yea! After Q'ing our jackpot run, I'm much more confident about trying distance stuff.

This sequence was harder than our trial. It involved turning into a jump, as well as layering (having a jump in between me and the obstacle the dog is doing). My kind teacher swapped the teeter for a tunnel, and then we only did the #6 jump, not the #5 tunnel, although she angled the jump.

My teacher said, "Have faith in your dog, I bet he'll do it."

Yes, I thought. That's what I need to do.

Our first try, didn't go so well. Oreo took jump 2 & that was it. However, I didn't lose faith. It was our first time in that particular ring that evening. Oreo usually needs some time to get oriented, and I probably rushed into it before he was comfortable.

My teacher told me to extend both arms toward jump 3 to reinforce what I wanted him to do. I also did a few jumps before we got to 2, that you can't see on the diagram. I wanted to get some movement going.

Well, Oreo went over jump 2, I extended both arms and he went to jump 3! Yes! He started to come back toward me, but I kept my arms out and said, "TUNNEL"! Oreo went shooting into that tunnel, and I cheered! It was so exciting, I almost forgot what I was doing. Luckily, I made it to the end of the tunnel just as Oreo was coming out, and got him over the last jumps. Big reward!

One of my classmates said, "Either he really knows what the word tunnel means, or he really understands your hand cues, because he was totally coming back to you before that tunnel."

Whatever it was, worked! Oreo also was running really fast, and we were heading toward the parking area. Usually that causes anxiety for him. He feels more comfortable running toward the woods. It was quite thrilling.

My teacher asked if I wanted to try it again.

Nope. We were done for the night. I love to leave on a high point like that.


Honey the Great Dane said...

Wow, Misty & Oreo - this all sounds so complicated and advanced...I'm so impressed!!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

What a fantastic class! Thanks for describing it all and including the sequence maps. We never get those in class - would make it a lot easier to practice stuff at home. Sounds like you and Oreo did some new and difficult stuff very well! Way to go!

Diana said...

Very well done. Good for you. Diana