Sunday, July 27, 2008


In other news, agility is going quite well. Now that things have settled down with the house, we found time to practice with equipment at the house 4 times last week. I'm going to keep better track of our practices soon, but I'm excited that I'm finally getting better about keeping them short (less than 30 min) and productive. It helps to have a variety of tasks to practice so that neither Grete nor I get bored.

Here's a typical session:

* Get out the hoop. Run through it for a minute or two. Tossing treats or toys.
* Get out the HP computer box that Grete's big butt fits in. Shape for 1-2 minutes.
* Get out her old rug. Let her do something super easy like "go to your rug" and relax
* Do some "play" with the toy -- practice her new release word "Break" which means -- go ATTACK whatever it is ahead of you. Not just "ok" go get it -- but ATTACK. ZOOM!! "Ok" is still her normal "go be a dog" release word, but "break" will be more of her agility release word.
* Get out the hoop again for fun.
* Get out the weaves but only practice the first one. (We're only to gates -- i.e. 2 poles, so I need to tweak the next set initially.)
* Do some "touch" because it, again, is easy and fun.
* Do some "jump" to get the toy.

After we do these various things for about 20-30 minutes, I call it quits, and without fail, Grete stands at the bottom of the stairs refusing to come in. She loves it and wants more, more, more...

We also do some "practice" at work. We generally work on "break" with the tennis ball. I'm sorta sloppy, and I've been sorta working on "right here" to mean get to by my side so I can hold you back from the ball. (Opposition reflex stuff.)

However, I should get more militant about that. No tossing the ball unless she's parallel. I think that will really help, but it's an idea I haven't run past our trainer yet. I kinda like the idea of "nothing good comes to you unless you're paying attention to me and right at my side with your long butt in line."

Lastly, with the ball and fetch, we're still working on "left" (spin) and "right" (spin) as a holdover from our first classes. This is finally exciting because she's finally got "left" on a verbal. "Right" is still confusing.

However... this might have to be put on hold as this is polluting our ability to do front crosses. [ Another reference: Agility Nerd] When she's at my left side, she wants to do "left" so she'll do what's called a rear-cross instead. I get this feeling this is "No Good." (tm)

In any event, I think my biggest homework for the next two weeks will be working on parallel flat work: one or two steps forward while staying perfectly parallel, the push and pull turns (as my trainer calls them) and the very slow "front cross" that we're working on. We'll just have to sneak in a lot of parallel work at our little backyard practice sessions, when we're playing fetch, and on our walks around the neighborhood. Also, the one step forward practice should help with Grete's terrible heeling. Maybe. I can always hope.

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