Handling with Laura Derrett

I really should write here more often, but we have loads to do all the time. We came home from our honeymoon a week ago (after 20 hours of waiting in the most awful airport ever). Then Laura Derrett came on Monday and we’ve had four days of handling with her. She left yesterday and I was once again just exhausted from running two dogs, taking care of people and staying up a bit too late drinking beer with Laura. Tomorrow is qualifications for Norwegian obedience nationals and I should be out training Missy (better late than never?) but when I do we just end up running agility instead. I don’t really feel motivated for obedience right now. If I’m lucky, we’ll qualify for the finals on Sunday, but I’m not counting on it. We should have trained more, but with the wedding and having both Justine and Laura here, obedience has not been a priority. I should also make some videos of obedience training because I leave for Canada on Monday and will teach obedience in Edmonton next week.

Having Laura here was great! Both my dogs surprised me in a very good way. I ran Missy the first two days (double box) and both dogs in the last seminar that was more advanced. Missy has made such an improvement since Justine was here. I havn’t done a lot with her, just her running contacts and some collecting and turning over one jump. But she was like a new dog and for the first time I really enjoyed running her! She didn’t knock any bars unless I did something stupid and she could even keep the bars up in serpentines. She could collect and dig in when I was stationary in a sequence, something she’s never done before. We still have a lot of work to do, but I finally feel like we’re getting somewhere.

Shejpa was suprisingly focused through both days. I always obsess over her speed and think that she’s slow, but videotaping and actually timing her made me think differently. She was acutually 0.5 seconds faster than Missy over a six jump sequence. That’s a lot! She was 0.3 seconds slower than Ted (genius border collie who is really powerful) in the sequence with two serps and I slowed her down on when I didn’t get out of serpentin position fast enough. I guess I should be happy with her speed, but there are still things that could be a lot better. She responds nicely to my handling, but she could be faster on arm changes. Maybe I don’t reward them enough (thinking about it, I very rarely reward front crosses) or maybe I’m sometimes early? I don’t know, but she blind crossed me and took white number 3 in this exercise when we ran black numbers and were told to just front cross and leave on commitment to 2:

She also blind crossed me in a front cross in the video, but I was babysitting the turn so that she was just turning wide. Anyway, it’s very good to know and will be the focus of my handling training this weekend. Her response to my decel is getting a lot better, but I will need to work on a verbal dig cue and also on her responding to my decel when I’m behind her. I also think that I need to work on decelerating in a rear cross to make them really tight, I’m not sure of how to do that.

I had to try some dogwalks now that I hadn’t been training at all in over a week. Missy was really good and consistent when I ran her straight. Laura timed her to 1.25 s. and I also had some really nice turns off the dogwalk where she really dug in on the yellow and had a nice, tight 180-turn off it. We’re unfortunatly not done with turning of the dogwalk, sometimes she’ll completly jump off to the side, but I had a nice session with her today where she turned nicely. Shejpa’s dogwalk was not as good as Missys on Tuesday when we started training it again, but she’s really come along nicely and I had a session today where we worked on turning and she was almost 100% when I sent her to a person with food that moved more and more to the side (almost to 90 degrees). I also started working on her seesaw again and it’s looking pretty good.

Here’s a video of mosty Shejpa from Wednesday and Thursday:

I’m really happy that we got both Justine and Laura to come here and teach for us. It has been so much fun and people seem really happy. I hope that they’ll come back next year. I’m seeing Greg in Malmö in Decmber. I look forward to that.

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