29 September 2008

Gustavo's First Agility Lesson

So Gustavo had his very first Official Agility Lesson yesterday. Up until now, I've been just training him all on my lonesome. Snuck him into some runs during Dirt Nite the other night, run him around at Dee's, but this week I asked Jim to give us his first Genuine Dog Lesson. He's practicing at Master's Level, just starting to trial, time to get official. People are always telling me I need professional help. This is what you mean, right People?

So everyone got to do some lesson. Otterpop and Ruby, they can always practice something. Gustavo though, time to show Jim what we can do. Jim had us start out a jump drill with a nice long leadout.

"Uh. Jim? He doesn't really stay? You know how I always run with my dogs? I sorta just thought we'd start like that? Like, Always?"

Jim nipped that fantasy in the bud.

I'm like, "But the papillon people, they always run with them...right? Look, like this." I demonstrate my papillon people startline. Off Gustavo goes 100 miles ahead of me, down a row of jumps and into a tunnel. Jim is sitting there, just sort of staring at me.

Gustavo is really fast. Sometimes running with him and him getting out ahead makes him run like a teensy drunken sailor. No matter how fast I run. Oh, like how sometimes I shouldn't startline run with Ruby and I do and there is a near crash which frequently precedes a dropped bar and the beginning of a crazy, disaster attack the jumps run?

Advice from Jim, "Work on his startline stays. You're gonna need them."

Then we worked on rear crosses and serpentines. Neither was as crappy as I thought, in fact his rear crosses were way better than I thought they'd be. I need to work more on driving faster and straighter and stepping behind him earlier. And he showed me a good drill to teach a clearer understanding of that serpentine arm The Power Paws Way.

When Jim shows me a basic drill and starts talking about the Power Paws Way, that's when I know sometimes my teaching method of It's a Fast Running Party has a few holes in it. We'll practice standing way closer to the jump. For real. We want a bombproof serpentine dog that ALWAYS knows where to go.

So did a bunch of jumping drills, then ran some courses that had all the contacts in them. Ruby dazzled Jim with her newly consistent and fast running dogwalk contact. Otterpop, dazzled. Right Jim? You were DAZZLED? Well, anyways, they did just fine. Jim is used to them. Time to show Jim Gustavo's contacts on the course. Good turns! Fantastic dogwalk! Fantastic teeter! Then on to the a-frame. My super trained running a-frame. That we worked so hard and methodically on and has seemed like a no brainer.

Until now. Fly off. Fly off. Fly off.

Maybe some trace of toes touching yellow. A tiny trace of tiny toes.

Jim has me keep doing them. Counting his strides. Boy he is close. I am running way ahead, sometimes closer. Left side. Right side. Faster. Slower.

"Jim I am like freaking out here! His a-frame was stunning until just now!"

Jim is like, "Yeah. Right." No, he was sympathetic. He understands the running a-frame drama. We did about a million a-frames. Uh, we have a little backtracking of work to do on these. I think he was hitting the a-frame harder and faster in his lesson than I usually have him do in practice and thus the little mess. This is a new priority of dog training. Work on the a-frame.

We didn't demonstrate the poles. Even though HELLO FOR THE LAST WEEK WE HAVE HAD SUPER FAST STRAIGHT AND WIRE-FREE POLES in the driveway, I didn't feel ready to try this in his lesson. We are in the middle of the Take the Poles on the Road Show. Which is going well. I think we almost have ready for prime time poles. Also, poor Gustavo at this point is hiding from me under the teeter in the shade. This is more agility than he has ever done in his life, the last hour and a half.

Best advice. As always. Practice hard. Run fast. Train like you want him to always be. Thanks Jim!


Elf said...

Oh, cool, you got to discover that there's something missing in the Aframe performance BEFORE you discovered it in competition. Such an advantage over standing dumbfounded in the middle of an agility course the first time your dog is in a competition and wondering where did the dog go with those perfect contacts? Dang dogs.

vici whisner said...

Agility is soooo much better than the debates.

team small dog said...

Agility is better than debates, and but a failed a-frame contact is better than John McCain being president.

vici whisner said...

Ok, if you'll give up A frame contacts, I'll give up weave pole entrances...just to prevent John McCain from being elected. Maybe this could be like a catholic lent...we can all give up something from our agility performance and instead of going to heaven, we'll keep McCain out of office.

team small dog said...

You may have hit on something here! A wave of sloppy agility hits the country for Obama!

Anonymous said...

How *many* weave pole entrances do we have to give up to keep McCain out of office?

I may have a moral lapse, here.

Could I just give up a couple of tunnel-dogwalk discriminations?

I'm happy to give up one 5-fault bar down (in an ASCA Regular class) for Sarah Palin. I figure that should about cover keeping her out of office. I mean, any more would give her too much credit.