Switching Contacts.. Again
After the rough run-through (in terms of A-Frame performance) in New Jersey and an equally bad attempt to try to teach the four-on-the-floor behavior (or even the beginnings of it) during my ring time, I decided that I'm going to give 2o2o one more push.
Aside from my lack of ambition, I had serious concerns about Marge not being able to to two different kinds of contacts on the Dog Walk and A-Frame, and also did not think she'd do well with going into a down on grass (she can get iffy about it - doesn't like getting wet). I really hadn't given the 2o2o a fair chance, I had maybe 2 private lessons to train it and the rest was in class. So, I'm going to focus on it these next few weeks and see where it goes.
Here is a compilation of some A-Frames from my ring time.. be as critical as you can, and take into consideration her body mechanics.. does it look like a huge stress on her body? I'm just baffled as to why it would be so bad for HER to do a 2o2o, yet I see dogs twice her size doing it without a problem. I don't know if I'm being too cautious or not cautious enough. I don't want her to hurt her front joints, but I also don't want to do a large amount of repetitions in teaching the modified running contact.
Louie seems to think that Marge's successes and failures in getting into 2o2o position have a lot to do with when I cue her. If I cue her once all four feet are on the down ramp, she misses it. If I cue her earlier, she usually hits it. I'm going to continue working on it and see what happens. I'm also going to do dog walk work in hopes that proofing the contact on the dog walk might help out the A-Frame situation.
Crates and Snarky Town
Marge hung out in a plain old wire crate for almost an hour between our private practice and our agility class. She did great - I sat right there with her and fed her little bits of treat often. Just as I was about to take her out, one of our newer classmates - a very happy, goofy - very large breed dog - came in and went right up to the crate she was in.. which Marge did NOT take well. I can't really blame her for it - she felt trapped and acted accordingly to try to remove the perceived thread. The door was closed, and I blocked as best I could, but the snark ensued. Nasty barks, growls, hackles up.. the whole shebang. I'm hoping it doesn't set us back - I had her wait in the crate for a few more minutes to calm down before I let her out.
She got all nutso when she saw him come in to the room to run his course during class, so I put her in the connected bathroom with the door half closed and stood by, ready to slam it shut in the event that he came over to say hello. I did wind up having to do it. I tried to play Look at That with her but she wasn't really interested.. don't know whether that means she really wasn't that uncomfortable with him or what. Those were her only snarks of the day, so on the whole, her behavior was quite good.
Another Indoor Class
The day's unseasonably warm temperatures did make me long for the big open agility field, but class inside was fun too.
The (silent) video.. there was lots of talking and it's more fun for me to recount the play- by-play here!:
- The opening was more offset jumps. Seems to be becoming a theme in this class! This week's jumps were much harder than lasts. Took me once or twice to get the first two down pat, but the two back crosses before jump 3 and before the A-Frame were not problematic at all. According to my awesome teacher, we have smokin' back crosses. You can practically see those lead changes in midair!
- I think I've spoken enough about the A-Frame, but Marge hit the contact more times than not while running this sequence. I think she missed it once out of four times.
- Her weaves continue to look beautiful.
- The jump after the weaves was interesting.. we started learning the new "backy-uppy", popular for threadle handling, and I'm so happy I finally got it because it worked out awesome in this situation.
- The next cross was the really hard front cross down the opening line of jumps.. I could get there, but Marge wasn't really turning into me. I think that's the one thing we left unfixed from the class.
- Teeter didn't look bad! I put treats on the end of the board and she ate them, didn't try to jump off or anything. Thinking about doing some teeter work next week during my ring time.
- Tunnel to the final line of jumps was interesting. Marge totally saved my butt on this one, because I got way too far out ahead of her but she still came into my side and took the three jumps. Other dogs opted to go up the A-Frame, take the weaves, etc. Thanks, Marge, for not letting your less-than-stellar handler get in the way!
Next week is our final week in agility class, maybe except for one possible drop-in in February. This doesn't mean we won't be doing agility anymore - even with college classes, I'll still be able to squeeze in a trip to the club every Monday from 2 to 3. Unfortunately, since class is later than that, I can't stick around. I'll also hopefully be able to have some private lessons and get back out to Jersey for another one of those run-throughs. We are NOT hibernating this winter!
I know these Tuesday posts are always really long, but I haven't brought up our other training endeavors in a while:
- Walks are continuing in some capacity. Night walks happen when I think it's quiet enough and/or cold enough out. She's been doing well.. had no problem with an ambulance being across the street from her on Monday night's walk. I thought for sure that she'd at least keep an eye on it.
- We had another visitor to our house, a 15 year old girl friend of my sister's. She was in her crate in the basement with me when the doorbell rang and didn't try to get up or anything. Very chilled out, very good. I went upstairs with her a short while later and she took to the girl immediately. I mean, 100% comfortable with her. Welcoming pets, trying to jump up and kiss her face. Awesomeness.
- She's been pretty good with my dad, too.. going up to him with full expectation of being petted (there is only so much I can tell him - he insists on petting her), jumps on him sometimes, bops him with her nose.. MUCH better than before. Don't want to jinx it, but the door situation has been managed pretty good as well. She's beginning to learn the default behavior of coming to find me and get her cookies (ie. move away from the door), especially when she knows its him coming home (his car makes a distinct beeping noise when he locks it - convenient for me, convenient for Marge).
- Planning on some Rally practice too, maybe even with other people around. We've got a trial to prepare for!
As you can see, we're keeping busy. I know the Tuesday Training posts are pretty technical in nature, but it's so important for me to log my progress. I recently went back and read some of my old blog posts, and the difference from month to month, sometimes even week to week, can be profound.
Stay tuned for a fun post in the coming days - MargeBlog is about to turn 1 year old!