I love lessons with the student who is coming this afternoon. She knows exactly what she wants to work on. She is prepared. She has course maps, she might have video all cued up to the run she wants analyzed. Sometimes lessons are in my office instead of the field and we watch her runs, look at the corresponding course maps, and do some failure or success analysis. What worked, what didn’t? She is a student of the system, always trying hard to understand where and when she should be moving or not, and trying to get the timing of her turns just perfect so the dog reads both her positions and motion and has time to respond correctly.
It makes training with her easy and fun. I am lucky to have many great students with lots of different breeds of dogs. I love that they are making an effort to learn what I am standing out there trying to teach them, and that they go home and do some very positive and effective training to the best of their ability.
Some days I wish I had a full time agility instructor telling me what to do. It would not take away my need to make daily decisions about where the holes are, but another perspective is really important at times. For now though I am in charge of the home schooling. Scoop is both easy and hard to train. I am pretty sure though that the difficult stuff just relates to the quality and quantity at times of my training. I like to train some stuff more than others, so guess what, we are good at the stuff I like to train, and we are so so at other stuff I don’t spend as much time on. I love obedience heelwork, and Scoop loves it too. I like jump drills, so does Scoop. I love serps and threadles, and I think Scoop has a great understanding of those skills. I need to get my brain in gear to go train contacts, so, guess what? My contacts are good, I want them to be phenomenol, but admittedly I don’t always put the time and energy into them.
I did train frames and dog walks the last two days, and I proofed my weave exits in a couple different training sessions. I stayed away from the fun jump handling drills in the field and did some grid work with spreads in the small yard. I have been working handling but not simple grids and spreads and I had some bars down over the weekend. I don’t always have the time, nor does Scoop have an unlimited amount of energy to train everything we might consider doing every day. That might be better written by saying Scoop does have the energy but I really doubt that hours of agility training everyday is what my puppy needs. I want him to get exercise and play time that does not include physically taxing agility exercises. I don’t want to break him, he is not a machine I can pay to get repaired.
This past weekend I was at an AKC trial. Scoop did a nice job on open jumpers, but pulled the last bar when I opened my mouth a couple feet before he was going over it. He was curling back to me as well, but I will blame my jaws on the error. I have still not gotten really serious about teaching him to go on at the end of a course at a trial. He does not know to look for his leash and he is turning back to me in his excitement. I am throwing the toy too much in training rather than leaving it at the end. For many years I would not throw a toy at the end of a course, I always placed it and let the dogs run to it. I did it because I didn’t want the dog to crash on the thrown retrieve at the last jump. Now I seem to have gone the opposite direction. I am throwing way too much. I CAN leave my toy at the end, Scoop won’t run around the jump or crash into it. I just forget to do so. All the toy control work I did is wasted if I I don’t use it. Starting today I am going to balance up the end of the course work with toys left at the finish as often as I throw.
Here is Scoop’s jumpers course for you to critique:)
And I thought I would share one of Ace’s standard runs, he got another triple Q that day.
Katy Robertson and I swabbed every border collie at the trial this past weekend that had not been done in the recent past. We got at least 30 new samples. If you are willing to hand out swabs at a trial, and send them back postage paid by the researchers, we will be farther along the road to getting thousands of DNA samples of border collies for the control group for epilepsy, deafness and the ETS study. If you write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will see that you are sent a package of swabs and you can join us in helping with the research.
I hope your juvenile agility dog is as much of a training adventure as mine is and that you are balancing up with your training act too.