Countdown…

It’s just over a week until Rue debuts in AKC agility!  Part of me is wondering what the heck I was thinking when I sent in her entry and the other part of me is beaming with pride and confidence for this little girl.  What is going to happen??  Oh I’m so excited!  I’m trying to prioritize what I need to work on in the upcoming week to make sure that we’re both ready.  Her obstacles are all pretty solid, but are obviously still works in progress.  

Dogwalk: 

Her dogwalk is looking amazing, but we are still ironing out the turns and my timing with them.  Last night she was 100% in class both with tight wraps into a tunnel under the DW as well as sharp turns to the weaves and to a jump.  One thing I should probably work on is straight exits.  With all the turn work we have done very little straight exits and the few that I’ve done with her have resulted in questionable hits.  Seeing that in Novice most exits are relatively straight, I will concentrate mostly on proofing those this week.

A-frame:

Pretty darn awesome!  I had a few high hits the other day when I was peeling away from it abruptly, so that’s something to practice with her, but if I’m just booking straight she hits really nicely in the contact.  I should introduce a tunnel under the a-frame though as I don’t think she’s see that much and then work on exits into the tunnel and entries out of the tunnel.  Could also stand to try rearing the frame as well as introducing a blind after.

Teeter:

Rockin’!  Hits her contact and stays in 2o/2o until released.  Proofed with front crosses before and after as well as me continuing motion while she’s stopping at the end.  Need to introduce rear crosses before the teeter and continue to proof the stop.  I also need to make sure that I continue to occasionally reward the release as this is a place that she has lost a connection with me in the past and might be a place where she’ll stress at trials. 

Weaves:

Dang this little girl can hit all kinds of crazy entries…thanks 2×2’s!  Her striding is fairly consistently single stepping, but if she’s a little stressed she will slow down and hop.  If I leave her in the poles and continue to run straight she really speeds up.  I need to remember to not overmanage her entries because I have a tendency to push her to a wrong entry if I’m driving hard into the poles (ie. she’ll enter with pole 1 on her right if I try to drive in to shape her entry on a soft sided approach).  This is very different from the way I handle Miles with a soft side approach as he relies on me to hit those entries.  She has much more independence there and I need to trust her that she knows what she’s doing.  Still need to work on rear crossing the poles as well as fading off to the side of the poles.  Should probably introduce a blind cross here as well.

Chute:

Still a bit slow in the chute, but getting better.  I will probably concentrate a lot on rewarding the chute this week and just work on simple sequences with it.

Table:

Great auto-down that is pretty solid even if I continue my motion.  Need to proof her in a sit and me leaving her a little bit more as she tends to go back into a down as soon as I move away.  Again, this is a place that I need to make sure I occasionally reward the release as it’s another place where we have lost a connection in the past.

Jumps/spreads/panel/broad/tire:

Pretty darn solid.  Still working a bit on timing of rear crosses, but otherwise this little gal has a fantastic jumping style and can wrap a jump as tight as a BC.

Tunnels:

Mastered those 🙂

Start lines:

Has a very solid stay, but occasionally can lose a connection with me if it takes too long.  If I absolutely need a lead-out, then I need to make sure I do it quickly.

Handling and other general stuff:

Rue really reads my motion well and seems to really be getting the game.  I need to make sure that I’m very clear and crisp with my handling b/c she doesn’t like “grey”.  Need to work a bit on recall-to-heel stuff this week and make sure she’s coming to my hand well as she does sometimes take something behind my back if that’s the obstacle I’m closest to. 

I also need to do more practicing without cookies on me.  I did that for the first time this morning and she was just perfect.  All of my practices from now until the trial will be “trial-like”.  She’ll go to the field on lead, we’ll do tricks for cookies outside of the ring, then go in on lead, throw the lead off at the startline and do a short sequence before running to our treats.  I also need to practice finishing a sequence, putting her leash on and getting the treats.

I am taking both dogs for a drop-in class next week as our regular classes will not be meeting.  It’s at the indoor facility that I’ve taken Miles before and even though it’s a Masters class, the instructor graceously is allowing me to work Rue too!  We’ll do shorter/simpler versions of what the big dogs are doing, but this will be a great time to practice without treats!

I’ll be sure to update as soon as we get through the debut!  Oh and here’s my little girl last week at run-throughs as well as a little warm up session before our turn…..

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