Training notes for the last couple of weeks – dogwalks, teeters, and weaves oh my!

We’ve been doing quite a bit of training here lately, but I haven’t had a chance to write it all down.  Both dogs have been working for breakfast and dinner for the last month or so which automatically increases training time.  I like to do that from time to time to remind them where their bountiful feasts come from 😉

Miles:

Weaves – keeping him at 1″ spacing on my weave poles for the forseeable future.  I would really like to see him change his style to single stepping and to stretch out more.  His poles are 20″ tall still and I don’t think I’ll need to go lower than that as they seem to be low enough for Rue as well.  Interestingly, I measured my pole spacing at home and it’s only 20″ which is likely one of the reasons why he learned to weave very upright instead of pushing through with his rear end.  Miles does have some very mild elbow dysplasia which may limit how much he wants to contort himself through such narrowly spaced poles.  So, now I’ve added 22″ spaced weave poles to my shopping list.  The trial this past weekend used 24″ spaced poles which was awesome, but not a lot of clubs have switched to that yet and we also play in USDAA where the max spacing is 22″.  So I figure if he’s single stepping in 20″ poles with a 1″ channel, then giving him 2 more inches in spacing should do the same thing for him. 

Here are some videos of him on 12 poles with 1″ spacing.  He had some entry issues in the first video that I figure out were due to the taping on the poles…he couldn’t see the first one, so I switched them around and he was good to go.  The second video is from the side….you can see his head lower, but you can also see how he scrunches himself like a slinky in order to single step through those narrow poles 😦

Teeter – I’ve been seeing more and more fly-offs in practice and he nearly had one over the weekend in our second Standard run.  I don’t want to have to add a stop back in, but I will if I can’t correct it in another way.  Since he hasn’t been doing it at trials, I may not have to do anything at all, but I think as his confidence grows so does his speed and the likelyhood of flying off.  Last night in class he launched himself off 3 times despite me slowing down at the end of it.  So this morning I thought I’d do some work on it and see if I could communicate to him that flying off was not the correct behavior.  So we worked some fun and fast tunnel/jump sequences with the teeter and on his first rep he flew right off.  So I stopped and gave a no reward maker.  So we tried it again, and he stopped in a 2o/2o….quite an impression I made I guess!  Still not what I wanted (I want him to ride it down and then move on), but I rewarded the valliant effort.  Third rep was perfect.  Fourth rep I tried to push him and got a lot of speed going and I kept running….fly off.  So I gave a non reward marker again.  We did 4 or 5 more reps and he was perfect each and every time.  We’ll see how this goes!

Rue:

Weaves – This little monkey is doing amazing things with her weaves!  She is one smart potato and once she understands what I want (sometimes that’s a tough battle ;)) then she is rock solid.  She’s graduated to 12 poles and worked from a 3″ channel down to straight poles in about four sessions.  She is a speed demon single-steppin’ fool!  Just this morning I started working entries, so I added a jump 15′ straight before the weaves and led out just past the jump to release her.  She drove right ahead of me, hit the entry, and just flew through.  I have also just finally added a word to this behavior…”weave”.  Up until now it was just the release word to go do something.  We worked through Joe Canova’s 5 actions with the jump in this position (dog on left, dog on right, recall through the poles, rear cross dog on left, rear cross dog on right) and then I moved the jump to “station 2″ which is a 30 degree hard side entry still 15′ from the poles.  We did the first 2 actions before she finished her breakfast, so we’ll continue either tonight or tomorrow morning with this station and then change it again. 

This is the only recent weave video I have of her and she was finishing up her 12 poles at 2” channel.  That was on 7/5, so you can imagine just how fast she’s caught onto this!

And this was her first attempt at 12 poles with the 3″ channel:

Teeter – Again this little girl has made some HUGE strides lately.  I hadn’t been doing too much teeter stuff recently because I’ve spent most of my training time with her on weave poles and her board/running contacts, but I decided to do a session the other night and she was on FIRE!  Totally driving to the end and sliding into her 2o/2o position.  Only issue is that she doesn’t stay on the board after her reward, so I have to start proofing my movement and her staying on the board until released.  I didn’t video this session, unfortunately because it’s better than the one I did video, but you can still see her driving much farther than she did when I initially transitioned her to doing it unassisted.  I think the most notable thing about this session, though, was that she had to poo really badly (I didn’t know it but as soon as we were done she went).  In the past she would have left me and just gone and pooed, but she continued to work really hard.  She does go off from me once for a brief moment in this video and I think that’s probably why…but she came right back when I called her name 😀

Dogwalk/running contacts – WOW, what can I say here other than she’s AMAZING!!  She has been on a full dogwalk five times now and has had *two* misses, that’s it.  Holy cow!  The first video here is her second time on the evil giant slatted bouncy wooden dogwalk at PBH.  I am starting with her in the video, restraining her before the upramp and running with her.  Her striding is a perfect 5-strides, but you can tell she’s kinda bouncy and not really driving forward…yet.

This next video is on my new home dogwalk, yahoo!  It’s aluminum and fiberglass with low profile slats and is very sturdy.  I started by restraining her as I did in the above video since this was her first time on this dogwalk and then proceeded to send her into a macaroni tunnel before hand.  She is really starting to drive in this video.  You can see her one miss is very close and she may have gotten a toe in the contact, but it was not what I wanted so she was not rewarded.

And finally, here is her most recent session.  I decided to add a jump about 12′ after the down ramp and then placed her food reward 8′ after that.  I’m going to attempt to fade the food lure now, ack.  In her second rep in this session she actually does the whole thing in FOUR strides!!  I have no idea if she’ll ever do that again or whether that was a one time deal, but it was something awesome to watch!  She also has a near spill in the 3rd to last rep…I think she just got on a little crooked, but managed to hang on and still hit her contact.  I was freaked out and had her do it two more times.  She was definitely slower, but still looked good.  We’ll work it again tonight and see what we get!

So that’s it in a nutshell.  We have another private lesson tomorrow night and I’ll only be working Rue.  The plan is to start working on turns after the dogwalk as well as proofing the stop on the teeter and handling (jump grids, figure 8’s, etc.).

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