Sunday, 16 November 2008

Training and other things

We had a good session at training last night. We set up a pattern that we last used in 2004 and worked on weave entries as well as pull throughs and fast contact loops. Murphy was a very happy boy as Leah was back from her month away in Wales. He was rather enthusiastic to say the least. Poor Leah, I don't know how she does it but she runs Murphy in the first class, then Hex, Link and finally Herbie. It was nice to have her back at training (and Jay of course), I have missed her but don't tell her that!

I was pretty pleased with Naughty Niamh, her contacts were excellent and her weave entries pretty good. I have been working hard on getting her to continue in the weaves when I peel away or stop and she has definitely improved with this aspect of her weaves.

I had Zeki out and about during one class. She is a real handful when there are other dogs working. If I have food then it's no issue, she's totally into me (well, the food!) but if I try to use a toy then she is much more likely to watch and bark at the other dogs. She has a very strong eye. We did make some progress but not much! More of this little problem later!

Kizzy and Andy had a good training session. Their contacts have really improved and Andy now seems to be much more clear in how he wants to move these forward. He was due to attend a training day with Toni Dawkins on Saturday but unfortunately had to pull out due to a pulled muscle. He somehow managed to do this on Tuesday evening at training and so can't run much at all right now. He has had to pull out of badminton for a couple of weeks. Of course, he can still manage to ride a motorbike!!

On Friday Karen, Leah and I got together for some extra training. Leah set us some difficult exercises which highlighted all my weaknesses. We did a couple of sequences where we had to layer and also run past obstacles that the dog couldn't take. I did not achieve it with Niamh so I need to practise this more. Karen and Leah both managed to get it right with their dogs. Boo hoo, I am so useless. We also had a session on pull throughs and push throughs. This was better and I managed this reasonably well.

Karen and Leah did some training with Hex and Todd. I think they had a good time, they were both very tired after. I didn't watch them train as I had a much more important role, that of buying our lunch. One has to prioritise.

After lunch Karen gave me a lesson with Zeki. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have some video which I'll put on the blog as soon as I've edited out the really bad bits! Our ladder work was hysterical because I used a toy rather than food and we had rather too much drive and kept forgetting to trot through the rungs! Poor Karen was trying to assist me and video and typically most of the not so good bits got filmed and the better stuff not! Karen brought Sparkie down for a wander and we soon discovered that Zeki's focus was not so good when Sparkie dared to move. So, we spent some time getting Zeki to play whilst Karen and Sparkie walked and then trotted round. As mentioned earlier, she has a strong eye and I realise I am going to have to work hard to build up her focus on me in situations where there is movement and excitement. I am going to see if I can find a local obedience class for where we can start to work with other dogs around. Overall I was delighted with our training and her tugging has strenghthened enormously and more often than not I can switch between toy and food.

On Saturday I judged Tenterden agility club's competition. It was good fun with lots of nice dogs and handlers. We had a lovely buffet after the competition and I won a jump in the raffle. It's one of those portable stick in the ground types that you can pop in the car and take to shows.

Andy was pretty busy getting the land rover cleaned up ready to sell (it has gone!) and then he and Michael went out on a bike ride. We decided to sell the vehicle because it's a lot of money tied up in one car that for seven months of the year sits on the drive. Come the spring we're going to look for a cheaper tow vehicle ready for the agility season.

Today was also busy. I had my beginner group in the morning and then I took Zeki down and trained her. We worked on our open v-weaves - she's very proficient at these now and does them equally well for a toy or treat tub. I won't be doing too much more of these for a bit as I don't want to upright them any more as she's only 8.5 months old but equally I don't want to keep them wide open for much longer. Hopefully when we come back to them she will remember the process.

We moved on with our little jump and tunnel sequence and can now complete two jumps to a u-shaped tunnel and two jumps to finish. I do this from ahead, beside and behind on both hands. So far, so good. She is very keen for her toy which is a real help.

I have decided that I will do a stop dog walk. I simply don't have the kind of commitment required to achieve reliable running contacts. So I have been working on her targets and they have improved enough that I decided to start work on the down dog walk plank. I lowered it right down and just started from about a third of the way back behind the contact on lead and she pulled straight to her target. We did about five repetitions on each side and I was pleased with the result.

This afternoon Michael came round and helped me get my new PINK laptop sorted out with the software I need. It's very nice and this is my first blog entry using it!

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