03 November 2009

Instructions for building the bombproof gambling dog.

Since it's apparent that I'm lacking the coordination, smarts, and any kind of wherewithall to get the stupid stupid stupid gambler's Q's I need with Otterpop, I've been on a mission to bombproof her. Make her impervious to the kind of gambling abuse I dish out at her in the show ring, so that when faced with weird suggestions that I give her such as "Get in the Car!" when she is trying to decide whether to turn into a tunnel or come back over a jump, that she just understands to do the harder thing. I am building a better, stronger, smarter gambler.

So we practice and practice and practice gambles. Otterpop isn't even supposed to be doing much agility, yet there I am, back on the practice field, scheming like a scientist. Otterpop is my monster, and I am implanting a better brain in her head, one that can take over when mine does whatever it does during gamblers.

I think this is what they mean when they say use the science in your dog training. Scientific method at work. Building a brain better than the handler's. Otterpop will become my Jamie Sommers and kick Steve Austin's ass. And eventually, will learn every gamble that can be invented, and will just go out there and do them even if I'm leaping around shouting in tongues. Also, I actually think that learning how to do gambles is fun in a sick, disgusting way. Even with all my trial and error, I always think it's pretty fun to figure out how to make it work.

I am giving myself the Tim Gunn award for today. No one else might be proud of me, but I'm pretty sure if Tim Gunn was my friend, he would be. Wouldn't it be cool if Tim Gunn was actually the bionic man and besides just being his awesome Tim Gunn self, he was a helicopter? A girl can always dream.

So here's the 3 we learned today as part of Project GambleQuest.

Gamble Number One

I call this one Go Over the Dogwalk Without Me There and Go in Whichever Side of the Tunnel I Say.

This is useful and fun for everyone to practice. It let's me tuneup on Ruby's running contact, and is the beginning of official gambler's training for Gustavo. Pretty much all his gambler's Q's have been based on the fact that he is running 100 mph far away from me and somehow I manage to get him over or through the right thing.

And Otterpop just needs to memorize it and add it to her database. So we practiced this on both sides of the dogwalk and everyone had to go in the left or right side of the tunnel based on whether their name got called or just a tunnel.

Hint: Always call the tunnel a tunnel. This will be easier with your dogs that don't have running contacts. I am really, really glad I taught Gustavo a stop on the bottom of the dogwalk. And boy oh boy are you going to get some good running exercise when you practice this one.

Gamble Number Two

I like to call this one Pick Different Sides of the Tunnel Then Go Out to the Jump and Into the Poles and Then Do It Backwards.

Otterpop excels at weavepole gambles. This one she pretty much has memorized. I can even dance around like Missy Elliot when she's in the poles. But I have to say go go go. I learned today that I can't sing Missy Elliot songs and dance like Missy Elliot at the same time or she pops out of the last pole. So we have a scientific goal to work on. I love Otterpop.

This one is hard with Gustavo. He is ok backwards direction but that tunnel, jump and into the poles does not guarantee a perfect pole entrance with him. We practiced. Ruby didn't have to do this one because she only has to do poles in case of emergency now.

Hint: This uses the path pushing! Also don't use punching bag arm. You will be sorry.

Gamble Number Three

I like to call this one Dreaded Teeter Totter in a Gamble Then Turning to the Chute.

The team nemesis, teeter totter. Now that Gustavo is confident of his teeter totter practicing, I am starting to build a little bit of distance from him and me when he's on it. Otterpop has just recently been able to do a teeter totter without me standing next to her. Because now she is brave. She is almost 6 years old.

We had to do the chute in the gamble last weekend. Clearly that needs to be added to Otterpop's database. Mission accomplished, but Otterpop had to do this a bunch, the turn to the tunnel is hard off the teeter, we learned. Ruby was really good at this one. She likes teeter totters. Gustavo was doing it great but I was staying closer to the teeter with him than with everybody else.

Hint: Uh, make sure you taught the WORD Turn or your Left Right because no amount of arm flailing is going to get them in that tunnel. I just use Turn. I am way too lazy of a trainer to do left and right and Tim Gunn says he still loves me anyways because I have other nice qualities and he always wanted to be a helicopter.


Elf said...

You could also do what I did with Tika to not get the chute from the teeter with that pesky jump in between--say "hup!" (our secret word for "over") and when she looks like she's about to go over the jump, yell "left" so that she skids to a halt, turns left and goes into the chute. If that's what I had WANTED her to do, it would never have happened. Why am I saying this? Because I'm here, pretty much.

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