Friday, August 6, 2010

Practice Make Perfect!

I've been super busy the last weeks with University work, and starting to get my mind around going back to work. However, I've interspersed this with some solid agility work with Spike and some foundation work with Murphy.

Murphy is a challenge to train. She's easily bored, very distractable and sometimes hard to motivate. Somethings come very easy with her and others are painful to train. So, for example, she likes to do 2 on, 2 off contact work and this has come very easily to her. Recalls, on the other hand are very hit and miss and are nearly driving me to the point of craziness! However, I've chosen this as my battle with her, so I have gone back to puppy basics of working on "Come".  So, I've made it into a game, in the house now, whenever I think about it. I've got food treats hidden around the house, and randomly, I'll call Murph to me and when she does, she gets a reward. Every now and again she'll even get a jackpot if she's come speedily along. It's clearly beginning to pay off because the other day I was cutting the lawn and she managed to squeeze through the fence. I gave her a minute, and played a little game of "chase me" with her; Murphy chasing me, not the other way around.  Then called her into the garage. Granted, I had to use a piece of Buffalo out of the deep freeze to lure her in but she did come, right away! Success, right?

Spike and I are getting ready for our first trials this fall. I am so excited and nervous at the same time, but I am sending in his forms Monday to register so there will be no turning back!  I've been working hard on details with Spike; getting his tire jump comfortable and getting his jump heights up to 26". He wants to make me happy and he works sooo hard for me, it's amazing to see his progress. Over the last 2 or 3 weeks, Spike and I have accomplished the following:

1. Spike is now running the teeter comfortable, unaided, and doing a touch at the end.
2. Spike is jumping through a 22" tire. I need to get this up to 26" still, but I have some time left!
3. Spike is single stride jumping 5 26" jumps, set at 10 feet apart. I can't believe he can bounce over these jumps with the ease he does!
4. Spike is jumping the double jump comfortably at 26".
5. Spike is jumping a jump/spread jump combination, both at 26" with no problems.
6. Spike and I managed a 26" jump with a send to a 22" tire, me rear crossing behind. We did this more than once so it wasn't a fluke! WOOHOO!

That being said, I still have lots of work to do! We still need to accomplish the following:
1. Weaves, sigh. I am stuck somewhere on these!!
2. Front crosses. I am lacking coordination somewhere there.
3. Contacts. Spike is doing ok on his contacts but I still want to focus on these until I am 100% certain he knows what I expect and will do it automatically. I realize this could take a lifetime, sigh.
4. Hmmm, what else?? Well, putting things into combination and building sequences up. This takes time, I guess!!

Anyway, I have to admit, my boy has come a long, long way and I am seeing a dog intent on working. He's matured so beautifully, I can't ask for anything more!


Mango said...

Weaves. Sigh indeed. We are still working on getting entrances down. I just have a set of four that I use for that. But getting a good entrance is so hard. Right side, left side, far away, up close, running, etc. We'll get perfect entrances at home and then blam it up at school. All good fun, though, right?

Mango Momma

Jen said...

I am in the same boat! If Spike can get his weave entry I have a way better shot at him doing 12. I have a set of 6 at home but want to invest in another 6 so we really CAN practice them.

Yup, it IS all in good fun and I have been totally bit by the "dog sport" bug!