We’re back from more than three days with Greg Derrett in Malmö, Sweden. It’s so much fun and the fact that I probably won’t be able to work with Greg until next December is pretty depressing. We’ll try to get some other intructors to come before that. Monday night was a lecture on the system. It’s always great to hear it again and to hear the new stuff that is going on in the system. And to be able to ask all the theoretical questions we’re always coming up with…
Tuesday started with some ground work. I ran Missy, to show that her circle work actually is pretty perfect even though it doesn’t always look like that on equipment… It was really good. We then did some two jump drills and my dogs were really showing off their worst sides. Missy was crazy and bar-dropping. Shejpa was sniffing and shutting down after a few runs. Some of it was probably my fault, it’s just like Shejpa’s first trial. I love running agility under pressure so much that I get too excited. I want to run fast, get to positional cue as fast as I can and I’m not patient enough on my rear crosses. I alternated wich dog I ran. On Wednesday, we did sequences with jumps and a tunnel. I ran Missy some in the beginning, and it was really better when I tried to think about being calm and just flowing instead of rushing. I have no problem getting where I need to be even if I’m not running away from my dogs. She was still dropping quite a lot of bars. Some of it is handler error, some of it is that Missy can’t handle my acceleration. Greg told me to do a lot of speed circles with 90 degree turns with her. Shejpa was a lot better and I ran her all afternoon. Greg concluded that: “She does have her moments of brilliance”.
We finished yesterday with a test on contacts and weaves. I was a bit nervous to try our running contacts on new equipment and under pressure, but Shejpa was just perfect. The proofing test we did on the dogwalk was stopping half way and she hit her contact below the last slat. A-frame is never a problem, so I didn’t worry about that. Seesaw is definatly a problem at times, but with just that one obstacle, she was alright and Greg was pleased. Weaves were good, Shejpa was the only dog that passed all the tests on weaves, and her time was much better than I thought it would be. We get a lot of nice comments on our weaves, but I’m not entirely pleased with them, so the plan is to retrain her with 2×2 (but I’ve said that for a long time…). 2×2 is a brilliant method and Thomas dog Pavlov has the best weaves with almost no training and he’s the only dog that has been taught with the 2x2s.
Today was about running courses, and I ran Shejpa all day (we only got through three courses). She was even better today and when she is focused and running, she really is brilliant. I think she could still get a lot more speed, but I do struggle to keep up with her sometimes, so I think she’s pretty ok. She had better turns than I thought she’d have and she is very responsive to my handling. First course was the individual small standard course from world cup (as it is on paper, not the actual course that you can watch on YouTube, they differ a lot). Shejpa was great and I manages to get us around the course fine (rewarding her seesaw). I got into position for front cross after the dogwalk and was even able to decel and be stationary and front cross as she met criteria. Contact was perfect. Next course was a pretty tricky jumpers course that was fine, apart from some footwork on my part. And the last course (wich, surprisingly enought also was a USDAA masters course!) was really easy and all about running.
Here’s a video with Shejpa running all three courses with Greg’s comments in the background.
About my handling then… I seem to have good footwork, good timing and I can run pretty fast. Most of my mistakes comes from not having enough patience. I need to work a lot more on handling with both dogs, really getting to the point of “meditation in motion” that Greg was talking about. Where you just flow around the course and also really know your dog. Missy needs a lot of work on speed circles and double box. Both dogs need to drive better to a jump before a rear cross. Shejpa needs more drive on lead out pivots, I feel that she is slowing down, especially on the harder ones.