27 April 2010

Practicing with the Team-Better weave poles to stave off the global warming blues.

Lest I sound too megabummer about Gustavo's runs over the weekend, let's do a little good vs. evil analysis here today. And being a real trooper, I also have included a course map of what we went to practice Monday morning following the trial. Because, goddamnit, I am one of those Train Don't Complain types and off we trek to practice to fill in the holes. And really. If we don't have that to worry about, then it's going to be starving whales in the arctic and polar bears floating on ice cubes and Arizona immigration laws. Goddamnit.

He had some nice moments. Each and every course was, on the whole, solid and focused. Twice he ran off course to climb underneath the score table. This is, of course, better than leaping on top of it, like he did once in the past. Either way, evil. I will chalk this up as training deficiency. 100 recalls a day has helped but obviously, a work in progress.

He had 2 pole mishaps all weekend. All the others, success! Dogwalk contacts-success! One table for the weekend, a success! I ran him in a limited, carefully selected group of classes. Scientific method. The first day, things where dogs do not have to STOP! Steeplechase. Jumpers. Snookers. Which all resulted in off course tunnels but no meltdowns or freakouts.

I did enter him in Gamblers, just to get him on a dogwalk and teeter. We just did an easy loop involving the dogwalk then to the teeter. Fail on teeter. But, I think he realized that it wasn't going to kill him, and had stellar teeters in Sunday's Standard and Grand Prix. Sundays runs included a lovely Advanced Standard and a Masters Jumpers. 2 days, limited classes is the way to go with Gustavo. Too bad we won't see 2 more days in a row of trialing for a while. Unless we get early retirement. Is that offered to the self employed? Anyone want to sponsor me?

Monday morning, off we trekked to the forest, to practice some of the deficiencies. Train don't complain. Just don't wear a t-shirt that says that. Embarassing. Otterpop stayed in the car. She don't look right still. I set up a little sequence where we could practice various ways to get into the poles-at a distance, with a lead out pivot, running from a loop. Lots of teeters. We started with his friend Robot at the end of the teeter to build some value. Worked swell. Success.

Most important, I set up 3 distraction areas to act as the siren call of scoretables. A patio chair with some tupperwares full of treats. His treat bag laying in the grass. Robot. He had to stick with me and complete his course to visit the reward center of his choice. Success. We will continue this project.

Download a Clip-N-Save version of this to try.

My own personal scoretable is the forest near Heart Dog Agility. Just like Gustavo, the siren song sucks me in to walk in the big trees. The steam train is running out there now, climbing Bear Mountain and hooting a spooky call through the redwoods. I can't help wandering aimlessly down skinny little paths looking for something that I don't see. It's a bad habit I have, and not a good thing at all for Otterpop's leg, and someday I will get us hopelessly lost. If I go missing, send search parties in there, you'll see my car parked in that little pull out off the road.

It's this thing I can't help, following a different path every time I'm in there, even if I have no idea where they go. They wind through the mountain and into the chapparal, and Gustavo drags his 20' rope, so he doesn't go off on his own trip. It's old in there and no other people. We walk and walk til we wind our way out. When we're in there, we just think about trees. Nothing complicated. No hard turns into poles. No whales run out of crustaceans. But you know. Can't stay in there forever. And that's how it goes.


Amanda said...

Love your course map! Very pretty.

Anonymous said...

is the odd number of weave poles part of the challenge, or simply artistic license? don't get me wrong, i exercise artistic license on a daily basis, just wondering...

team small dog said...

Just didn't count. I draw really, really fast.