Friday, 26 September 2014

Two by Two Weave Training for Finn

So we started with Channel Weaves and he got the idea of a dash through the length of the channel very quickly.

However as we started to bring the poles more in line, Finn still just dashed (or bashed) in a straight line down the length of the poles. This led to a couple of problems:
  1. If I was using the home poles, which are the stick in the ground variety, they just flew everywhere like so many matchsticks!
  2. If we were at club training, using the more solid channel weaves, he bashed through hitting his face and sides, and not really thinking it was much fun.
So either way weave training was not progressing well, and certainly not to the point where he got the idea he should actually weave!

In his mind it was all about running in straight lines.

So I came across the Two by Two idea originally put forward by Susan Garrett of teaching weaves by introducing only two poles first, and then adding more.  The idea is to make the dogs look for each pair of poles.

I started this about 10 days ago.  First by just rewarding him for going between two poles.
Then by adding a second pair off-set as shown in the section labelled 1.

Over time the second pair is gradually moved into line with the first pair (2 &3) and then brought closer so that all poles are at the correct distance apart.

At the moment Finn can achieve 4 poles in a straight line at the end of a practice session, however I still usually start with the poles spaced as they are in step 3 when we first go out.  I'm doing about ten repetitions each time, and then doing something else.

My aim this week is to have him reliably running 4 poles from where ever I ask.

Next post on Weaves:  Weaves from a Distance

Monday, 8 September 2014

Last of the Summer Shine Fun Day at Cooperhill

Great Fun Day at Cooperhill today!

Nearly all our agility class were there and testing out new skills.

I was pleased with Finn, as he did nice "waits" at the start of each round, and then willingly ran on for the distant lines I attempted.

Amy took a video:

We still need to refine some of our turn commands, but this was a huge leap forward from the last Fun Day at Cooperhill where he just ran over random obstacles - only sometimes listening to my directions.

Anyway, it was a lovely day and some of the barley had been cut up behind the grounds so we got a wee spin up there too: 

Finn's sister, Pixie, had a really successful day with Amy getting a clear round in the Jumps and Tunnels round, and picking up a Judge's Special Rosette.

Here's a video of her round:

  Wee Patsy was flying today too

And she and Shona won a class...

And were also videoed: 

All in all a great day out:

For me, my friends and my favourite pup!

PS His earlier round at Cooperhill can be seen here: Not a Velcro Dog

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Outside the Ring - Gamblers and Addicts!

"Outside the Ring" is the theme for this Dog Agility Blogger Event. Other posts on the same theme can be found here:


As soon as think about my "outside the ring" activities, my brain immediately swings to the reasons I do that stuff, and it is all to do with what goes on "inside the ring"!

Even now, as I think about an agility round, I start to feel that wonderful thrum of excitement in my heart and a slightly wide-eyed, "in the moment" focus.

Every time we enter the ring we hold out hope for that perfect round - one of those moments of understanding between dog and handler that transcends all our real world concerns.

Nothing is guaranteed, of course, and every competition has champions taking falls and novices celebrating surprise wins.  It is all part of what brings us out to compete again and again: the gamble of each and every round.

The "outside the ring" stuff just helps us to load the dice in our favour.

We all have our pet training routines, queuing tips, and health advice for dogs and handlers. And we also have that "other stuff" that goes on outside the ring: perhaps those bills to be paid, work worries, emotional entanglements and so on.

Yet inside the ring, we can leave all that behind, and take another gamble on finding that perfect moment.  It's like a drug, and we keep going back for more.  And so much of what goes on outside the ring is to feed that habit.

"Hello, my name is Sally, and I am addicted to Gambling - Agility Gambling."  

Somehow, I suspect I am not the only Agility Gambling Addict!