Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shame About the Handler

I haven't actually watched Greg Derrett's DVD of this name, but the quote came to mind when I watched my videos from practice this weekend.


In terms of finding her way around the course (with a few exceptions), my dog is leap years ahead of me. Marisa says I am outright spoiled with Marge and am going to be in for a wake-up call when I get my next agility dog. She has saved me countless times on course. And I mean countless.


Here's what I set up for yesterday's practice. I've been itching to do box work for a while, knew I needed to work on the A-Frame contact, and threw in the discrimination because we haven't done much of that, either.

The box part of the sequence was actually inspired by a sequence I did way back in Beginner Agility.. a sequence I previously aced. When I ran it back then, I front crossed between 5 and 6, and, since my front crosses currently leave much to be desired, I wanted to try my hand at in again.

Not so lucky, this time. Looking at the video, I think a rear cross would have worked ten times better. But, I was so bent on the front cross that I kept doing it anyway. It most likely made it harder for my dog and I.



The double pinwheel at the beginning was also trickier than I previously imagined. Because I needed to race Marge to get into front cross position, I pulled away before she committed to the fourth jump and she, as a result, didn't take it. It was fixed with a "go" (and/or lots of encouragement once she started to tire -- as you'll hear in the video) but I kind of feel like using a go-out in that scenario is like lying to her since she has to come in to me immediately after.

Marge was flying around this course. She came out of the tunnel, took the double and was suddenly a million light years ahead of me. I fell prey to my usual error and tried to beat her, rather than decelerating to cue her to slow down. Then, I made matters worse by getting in her path over and over again -- which led to either a bar down or a really tight turn by Marge. I could just smack myself! I also probably put the double too close to the wall, making the angle really hard for her to get over the next jump.

These video clips are from the end of the session, which explains all of the praising and rewarding - I finally realized at this point that we weren't really feeling this course, so I broke it down and made it more fun. After this, I went as far as to stop every 2-3 obstacles and just feed, feed, feed. Marge wasn't really stressed, but I felt like maybe I'd confused her or made things more difficult for her; since my first priority with agility is having fun, that's exactly what I did.

She tired out really quickly, probably since she was going so fast in the beginning. I wouldn't say it was a wasted day, but I feel like we spent ourselves early on and didn't really get to work on much. I think I tried so hard to incorporate front crosses that I used them when something else would have worked better. Way to be counterproductive!


The A-Frame contact -- it's coming along. The nose touch with the post-it as a target has helped tremendously. She's still slamming into it more than I like and creeps down it when she starts to get tired, but I'm still trying to find the perfect distance to put the target from the frame so that she gets into 2o2o position on preferably the last board. She's doing great with hopping up on the side and getting into position.

For the next rental, I think I'm going to take a break from the A-Frame and just do some simple stuff.. teeter work, table work, and maybe some novice-type front crosses. For my next lesson with my instructor, I'd like to work on tunnel sends (hers were god-awful yesterday) and some general handling things - AKA, training me.

Once again, I have to thank my boyfriend for coming along - I can't even move the A-Frame an inch without him. And, I would have never had the time to set all of that stuff up and run the course without his help.

In other news, we are now the proud owners of an obedience dumbbell - though Marge won't be competing in obedience any time soon (very possibly never), I'm having fun learning the exercises and training something that's a little less impact during our down time. Stay tuned for video later in the week.

25 comments:

Sara January 31, 2010 at 4:22 PM  

Wow, there was a lot going on in that sequence. I thought Marge and YOU did great. I'd have a tough time remembering where I'm going in that sequence.

Good for you, keeping it fun for her in the end, as I'm sure it was a mental workout for her, as well as physical.

LauraK January 31, 2010 at 5:09 PM  

That course does look fun- although I'd probably get lost too! Lot's of numbers! Looks like you girls are working really hard- do you put treats on the post it, or treat her for touching it? Just curious :) I'd love to see the kinds of things you do with the dumbbell!

houndstooth January 31, 2010 at 5:14 PM  

Marge will have you trained eventually!

houndstooth January 31, 2010 at 5:14 PM  

Marge will have you trained eventually!

LauraK January 31, 2010 at 5:40 PM  

Oh that's cool. I know there are SO many ways to train contacts, so it's interesting to see what other people do. When I pull the targets out occasionally, I always put the treat on the target for Riley so she is happy and excited about coming down the downside. She's been creeping lately, so I should probably work on that some this week since we have a couple trials coming up! Thanks for the reminder :) and let me know if you come up with an awesome flavor of treats if you decide to make any!

River January 31, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

We think you look great. My mom would fall on her snout if she tried any kind of cross. Marge just flied over the jumps.

love & wags,
River

giantspeckledchihuahua January 31, 2010 at 6:29 PM  

I am in no way an agility expert and in my unexper opinion you both look great!

I am so glad you have Marge to save you!

As always, thanks Louie!

Diana January 31, 2010 at 6:31 PM  

I thought the way you ran the sequence looked great. I think the front cross worked well and sped your dog up. Diana

Samantha January 31, 2010 at 6:43 PM  

Know so little about this, but it looks so incredibly difficult! Back and forth and over and stops and and... - amazing! Look forward to seeing the DB work - although Sammie retrieves bumpers and kongs on ropes, she's totally rejected the DB,, so we're waiting til we finish our last leg on the CD before forcing it. Great job - love those vids!
Hugs xo
Sammie

Benny and Lily January 31, 2010 at 7:31 PM  

The course looks like fun for you. I don't think we would attempt that one..Good luck
Benny & Lily

KB January 31, 2010 at 7:58 PM  

I can see that indoor agility really hones the footwork of the handler and the watching for cues by the dog. I didn't see anything as awful as you described - in fact, I thought that the two of you looked pretty good.

Perhaps, for us with less discerning eyes, you could tell us the video time when you made a particular mistake or a particularly good move. I'd learn a lot.

Marge is super fast. I think that the indoor work is going to help her outdoors not to simply zoom but to watch you!

Kathy January 31, 2010 at 8:11 PM  

You both looked great and I think it is always a good thing to try different things, front crosses, rear crosses, so when you really need one or the other you are comfortable. I thought your front crosses looked terrific. Marge is REALLY LOOKING CONFIDENT, she is amazing.

Sam January 31, 2010 at 9:21 PM  

KB -- these were the best takes, so that's why I posted them. Maybe I'll include some of the other videos in my next post so I can compare and contrast them.

Ms. ~K January 31, 2010 at 9:29 PM  

You 2 ROCK!!!

Channon January 31, 2010 at 9:40 PM  

...and this is yet another reason Sissy and I gave up on agility before we started. She's not trustworthy off-lead, and I can't remember what to get at the store much less an ever changing routine!

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom January 31, 2010 at 10:20 PM  

Once again, Mom and I have to go WOW!

Thank woo fur sharing!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra

Lorenza January 31, 2010 at 10:51 PM  

Sure it is very interesting and I guess the best part is Marge has fun performing!
Take care
Kisses and hugs
Lorenza

Cinnamon February 1, 2010 at 12:16 AM  

Hi Sam and Marge,

Thank you for your support of me!!

My Mum says she understands what Sam says. She agrees that most failures made at agility is the handler's fault. That is true. She made me confused by wrong hand movements countless times!

Love,
Cinnamon

kissa-bull February 1, 2010 at 1:15 AM  

that looks like too much fun
she looks so free and happish
wiggles
the houston pittie pack

Ricky the Sheltie February 1, 2010 at 7:21 AM  

I thought you and Marge looked really good - that was a very difficult sequence that you set up - I don't even know how you remembered it!

I will be interested to see what training you do with the dumbbell. We have one which I hate and maybe your exercises will give us some inspiration to work with it again!

AC February 1, 2010 at 12:19 PM  

Wow Sam, I'm with the others that you two looked great to me. I also only know enough about agility to know that I have a lot to learn, so I like hearing you critique your runs.

Looking forward to hearing about your obedience work. (I had to google 'obedience dumbbell,' so I'll certainly learn from your posts about your new training.)

Kari in WeHo February 1, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

Im glad her contacts are coming along, I have heard those are tricky!

Gus, Louie and Callie February 1, 2010 at 6:19 PM  

Marge you are really good at that stuff.. We don't really know how to slow down either. Mom is trying to figure out a sign for that with the deaf ones.. Callie keeps the sheep all together when herding but moves them way to fast...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Life With Dogs February 2, 2010 at 12:23 AM  

I want to see this dumbbell you speak of, I'm not familiar with them. And I'd agree with your assessment - not a day wasted, not at all.

Muttsandaklutz February 3, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

Oooooh, I especially loved the 270 -- you guys made it look so easy!

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