July 2008

Missy is running her contacts as well!

Justine Davenport has been here for four days teaching and we’ve had a great time with lot’s of training for the dogs. Justine did four days of handling (one day flatwork, one day double box, one day rear crosses and one day of running courses). It was really good and I think everybody was extremly happy. I’m to tired to write a lot right now, I have to come back to some of the things that I learned and did. Shejpa has worked a lot on her running contacts in the evening. She’s good when she can run straight after the dogwalk, but we still have to work through different angles coming off the dogwalk. I guess it’s just something we have to work on, like how you gradually raise the plank and add handler motion. She is making progress.

Missy started her runnig contacts training on monday night. We started with a plank on the ground. Yesterday, we added height and raised the plank a bit. And tonight, Missy was running a full height dogwalk. Missy is easier to train than Shejpa in many ways, and I’ve learned a lot from teaching Shejpa. But I never thought we would come this far in two days! We obviously still have a lot of work to do, but I’m very pleased with us both so far 🙂 Here’s a video of our first session on a full dogwalk:

Two agility videos

This is me and a friends border collie running a jumpers course at a trial in Lillehamer yesterday. He is a really nice dog and is wonderful to handle. Unfortunatly, he knocked a bar in the end of the run, but I think we were a good team.

When we got back home, we were inspired and built a sequence for Pavlov and Shejpa. Shejpa has had a boring weekend and she was very keen on running. She always looks slow on video, but this run was really fast!

Obedience and another video

We finally did som serious obedience training today. We went to a park and set up a ring. Missy had a really bad attitude when we started, it’s obvious that she is affected by the trial-like environment. We took a break and then started with some really easy stuff, just walking into the ring, and starting up. I rewarded her for good focus and attitude, and just started over again outside the ring if she lost her focus. She was soon doing very well and we did all the exercises. I was especially happy about her scented articles, that has been a problem for her in new situations before, but she was really good today. We need to work more on our send to square at home, it’s an exercise that really requires regular training for us. And we havn’t been training that much obedience lately… We’re doing this again tomorrow, in a new park with new people. It’s really good for us!

Here is a video of Shejpa from tonight:

One stride a-frame and missing up contacts – with a cocker :D

It’s really hot here right now and it’s hard to do training. It’s not cold enough until it’s dark. I guess a lot of you live with that all year, but we certainly don’t, so I guess we should be happy. We have long days in the summer and the weather is great (except if you want to do something active…). Fortunatly, Shejpa seems to really enjoy her training on contacts, but she’s not as fast as she could be in the heat. She is a very fast dog, but I really have to work to get her to want to run fast. Her favoutite thing is sniffing while running (but I don’t think many dogs run and sniff that fast) and she’s also likes running very fast away from me 😀

We continued our work with the running contacts yesterday. When Shejpa ran the dogwalk at 1.4s yesterday, she missed the up contact and I know she did it quite a few times. I never thought that I would have that problem with a cocker spaniel, but she is a remarkable little dog with a huge stride. It helped a lot to just take the dogwalk the other way, so that she started with the contact where she’s gotten a lot of clicks on her way down. I got to click correct behavoir on the way up and reward her on the dogwalk. She didn’t jump any more up contacts yesterday, but she might do it again if she picks up speed.

I also worked some more on the down plank contacts. I tried to fade the crate and throw a toy instead. I still had the crate there, but I threw the toy after the click most of the times. She was pretty good, but if she isn’t speeding, she is more likely to jump. I don’t know if I should just keep sending her to something (person or crate) or if I should just work on throwing toys.

We let her run her first a-frames yesterday too. She didn’t miss the yellow many times, but she was not low enough and I will have to lower the a-frame and work through it. She did the whole obstacle in one stride once and got a perfect hit, but I don’t think she’ll do it again and I don’t think she should either. It seems to hard on the body. Is it common with one stride a-frames with the bigger dogs running their a-frame?

I’ll do some more training tonight, when it’s cooler. I think weaves and seesaw will be my focus for the night.

First running contact on full dogwalk!

Shejpa did her first full dogwalk today and we’ve been progressing fast this last week. I got my dogwalk on thursday and let her run from the table and down the ramp on friday. We were away teaching this weekend and Shejpa was with a friend of mine and did no training and I just didn’t have time yesterday. I started with the plank a bit higher today, added about 10 cm. She did great and had a success rate of 80% in her first 10 repetitions. I added about 10 more centimeters at lunch and went from calling her to me when I was sitting with food in front of the plank, to doing all sorts of different handling and sending her to her crate if I was behind. She did great. I put up the full dogwalk tonight for the first time and she had no problems running the down plank, so I started to back chain it. She had some misses, but I think most of them came when she was out of balance and confidence. I think she’ll be even better when she picks up speed and confidence. I sent her to a friend with food so that I got the best possible drive forward. I’ll try with crate or tunnel after the dw tomorrow. I havn’t decided if I’m going to teach her to turn tight after the running dogwalk or if I’m just going to cue her target behavior if we need a turn. I need to work some more on my nose touches anyway, but the stimulus control might be difficult to get.

Here’s a video of Shejpas first dogwalk 🙂