Ever have one of those days where everything just seems to be working well? That was our training session Monday.
I had a half hour private lesson scheduled with Marisa, but I had time before hand, so I put out some equipment and practiced. We needed to work on front crosses, so what better than one big front-cross figure-eight:
I think we worked this really well. Marisa walked in and was like, wow, those are some tight front crosses. I didn't really think the course was all that tight, but I guess it must have been.
During the lesson, I worked this same set-up using back crosses. When I tried it by myself earlier, I was trying to flip her over the jump, but since I was turning her abruptly, she'd come back in to me rather than drive to the next jump. So, the solution to that was to back cross on the flat rather than over the jump. It worked well, and it seems like it'd be a good tool to have in the agility toolbox.
Then, Marisa shuffled things around a bit, we added weaves, a broad jump, a tunnel and a chute, and did some handling exercises.
The black circle sequence was interesting. I started out with Marge on my right, ran along with her up to jump 2, let her pass me and told her to weave. So, the back cross happened in between the jump and the weaves. Location was SO important.. if I got too far out in front, she missed the entry or screwed up on the second or third pole. It goes back to one of my biggest handling flaws - that I try to outrun Marge. Rather than beating her, this exercise helped me realize I need to a) stay right with her in some scenarios and b) trust her!
The broad jump was out because Marge hasn't seen it in an eternity. Marisa said she seemed a little weirded out by it the first time, but then she was fine each additional time she went over it. The "wrong side of the tunnel" is apparently getting more popular in AKC, which is why she stuck that in there as well. Marge had no issue with it whatsoever -- I was even able to send her around the tunnel to find the entrance on her own.
The white sequence was all about slight differences in handling - positioning, where to cross, and those kinds of things. We actually did a couple of variations, but this sequence was the one we worked the longest on. We worked a lot on the jump wrap over 6.. I basically had to stop my forward motion, tell Marge to jump, pick her up with my other hand and bust down the line for the tunnel. A couple of tries and we seemed to get it.
In keeping with my desire to improve my front crosses, I front crossed from the #7 tunnel to the #8 jump. Marge didn't wrap around the jump as well as I would have liked, but she found her weave entry anyway. We didn't press it too much - I think she was getting tired.
I have all sorts of trial news to blog about, but I'm way too tired to organize it into a cohesive blog post, so it will have to wait for another day.
Before I go, though, let me share the newest addition of "I can't believe someone could be this stupid"...
Monday night, when I was walking Marge, a woman was lingering on the sidewalk, in front of what I believe to be her house. In order to pass her, I moved a few feet away into the street. (Marge doesn't like when people just stand in place -- she thinks they're going to grab her or something.) She starts making kissy sounds and baby talk to Marge. I didn't want to look rude for not stopping, so I told the woman that Marge is not friendly -- to which she replies, "Oh, I can see that. I see it in her eyes".. and then begins baby talking to Marge again!
I cannot fathom why anyone would continue talking to a dog who they just admitted looks uninviting!
I then told her that Marge is afraid of people, which prompted her to call my dog a "scaredy cat." I don't think that's very nice to tell a complete stranger, but whatever. I mumbled under my breath and walked away. Marge got a chunk of cookie for handling that admittedly very bizarre incident with perfect poise. Good girl.