Last night’s handling class

We had our final class for the session last night and I asked if I could put Rue in this class with Miles instead of her regular Wed. night Novice/Open class.  Mostly I wanted a free night as I seem to be burning the candle at both ends lately, but I also wanted a chance to run her on longer sequences than we do in Novice and have more instruction time. 

Melanie’s taking a teaching break next session, so we won’t have our normal classes again until January.  Instead, she’s teaching a mini 2 week session in which Miles and Rue are going to be in a Masters Standard class together and just Miles will be in a Masters JWW class.  I didn’t think that putting Rue in class Tues and Wed back-to-back would be in her best interest at the time, but now I’m kind of wishing that I signed her up for the JWW class too as that seems to be our weaker area.  Hopefully we’ll be able to drop-in if someone is absent.  Otherwise, on the alternate weeks, I’m co-teaching a foundation class with one of my friends and then will be looking at going to drop-in classes elsewhere to keep my dogs in a structured learning environment with other dogs.

Having both dogs in the same class last night was really fun for me!  I was able to really mentally compare how they respond to my handling and the course and also work on being able to plan my handling strategy differently for both dogs.  It was obvious that Rue was faster and happier last weekend with me running her very forward.  I was interested to see how it transferred in class.  Plus I just got to run more which is just plain fun 🙂  I asked a friend to video us too, so I could really see how they did.

Overall, both dogs did great.  Miles pretty much is always a superstar in class…very fast, accurate, and happy.  I wanted to capture on video the difference in his 3 “slow” areas (table, dogwalk, and weaves) between trials and class.  For his last sequence, which was the whole course, I used his dinner (raw chicken) as his reward.  This historically is extremely motivating for him and it really gives me a glimpse of what he has the potential to do.  He was a bit overly aroused for that part of class and kinda left his brain on the sidelines as you can see in this video:

Here he is doing just the first half of the course in the beginning of class.  I had a cheese stick on me for reward.  The video is kind of a mess though….

Lil’ Rue was equally a champ last night.  She ran very fast and was quite pleased with herself I think!  I’m still in awe of what she’s doing at such a young age.  It blows my mind how she can know how to do some of the things that she’s doing 🙂  Anyway, here are her first attempts at the first half of the course.  The turn after the dogwalk was a real doozy and I haven’t been working turns at all, so I didn’t really care about what she gave me as far as her contact hits were concerned.  Melanie and I will be talking about turn training for the dw in our private lesson next week.

Here she is in the second half.  Here you can really see the difference of what cueing extension does for her speed and confidence 🙂

And finally, the whole course!  Little monkey thought she could bounce jump between the wingless and the double, whoops.  When we repeated that, she very smartly added a stride 🙂

In other news, I’m completely redoing my home agility field.  This has been an ongoing project for a few years now and finally I’ve decided that it needed to be a grass surface.  The area is separately fenced from the rest of the yard and being that it’s near the bottom of a sloped lot, drainage and wash away has been a major issue.  It started out being a fine gravel surface which worked for about 4-6 months until most of the gravel ended up in the woods after several really bad storms.  A french drain was placed, but the wash away continued so the area was mulched…well just half of it as the project got halted.  Both dogs have always enjoyed eating the mulch, argh, and while the mulch didn’t wash away, it had a propensity to grow very large mushrooms and other fungii–ick.  So finally after much deliberation, the area got a bunch of fill-dirt and was regraded yesterday and will be overseeded at the end of the week.  Ahhhh, sweet!  Only bummer is that I can’t use the agility field until the grass takes which won’t be until March-ish.  So all of my equipment is strewn across the backyard for now, but fortunately there is enough room to be able to set up a few stations for training 🙂

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