Sunday, November 22, 2009

An Agility Rainbow

I love seeing Marge's smile come out when she knows we're going to start agility practice. Last night, we had the hall all to ourselves for an hour, and I think we got a lot done!

Here's the course set up with three sequences.  The set up is not completely accurate, but it gives you a general idea.  I downloaded a free trial of Course Designer 3 and have been having SO much fun with it.  This set up was inspired by part of a CPE Level 1 sequence that I found somewhere on the net - for the life of me, I can't remember where!

And, of course, the accompanying video, with several explanations to follow.

GREEN sequence
This was the sequence originally inspired by the previously mentioned CPE course.  I liked it because it was long and narrow, just like the space with which I have to work.  The tunnel was purposely curved outwards - I wanted to work on "strange" directional stuff in to and out of the tunnels after last week's confusion at class.  The green sequence was very short and straightforward.  

At one point, I tried a three jump lead out and had some pretty cool results - a lot of speed from Marge!  The front cross between 4 and 5 wasn't necessary for these 6 obstacles, but was something I would have needed to do if there was room for another jump after the tunnel.  I considered it good practice.

BLUE sequence
What fun this course was!  Again, the jump-tunnel opening was intentional, as the tunnel wasn't the obvious next obstacle for Marge and forced her to watch my handling and position.  There was a front cross in between 5 and 6, I don't know how well the video shows it.  Going from tunnel 7 to jump 8 was pretty cool, too.   I tried to use my position, especially my shoulders, to tell Marge where to go.  We ran it correctly every time we did it, so I think that's a good sign.  

The 180 was pretty tricky since there was another jump so close to it.. but I managed by bringing up my other arm and keeping her focused on me.  (I noticed that this isn't a popular handling style.  It's how I was taught, but I very seldom see people use it.  I wonder if I'm doing it correctly.)  

I didn't necessarily have to front cross to get her from tunnel 11 to jump 12, but it made more sense for me to run up there and cross because of the way I had the jump angled.  I think it worked and made it clearer for Marge.

PINK sequence
This, I thought, was the hardest sequence that I thought up.  I built on what I did in the blue sequence and had Marge take two jumps before having to change direction and go into the tunnel.  It really wasn't as challenging as I thought it would be.

I'm still not sure WHAT I did in between jumps 4, 5 and 6.  That was not how I originally intended to handle it, but it kind of just worked out that way.  I feel like my arms were in all the wrong places!  The back cross into the tunnel (though it was more like a push) was pretty cool, too.  All those back crosses on the flat that I practiced after my very first night of agility class back in April seemed to have paid off.

All in all, it was another learning experience.  I'm no good at setting up courses and the handling gets harder when the course is so tight, so I think the fact that I ran all three courses that I set up was an accomplishment in itself!

We did work on some other things, too.  I'm trying to figure out how to handle threadles, but, for the life of me, can't learn to put it into motion.  That'll have to be a topic for a future private lesson with my teacher.

Something really cool that we did was the beginnings of bounce jumping (for those who don't do agility, bounce jumping is when the dog doesn't take a full stride in between two jumps - supposed to help gain strength).  These jumps proved to be too close together at first (I don't have any way to measure) and Marge was straining herself, so I spread them out a bit and we had some fun.  I started off at 12", and, by the end of the session, was up to 16".  Marge even took it upon herself to do a bounce when we were working a 270 - at full jump height!  Pretty cool! 

Marge invented her own course, too, jumping over the tunnel when I asked her to come. By sheer luck, Louie got a picture of it (too bad I'm in it).  Silly dog!

While we were cleaning up and putting away equipment, she spotted my high-value treat stash of cold-cut turkey. When we came back, we found the entire bag empty!

Oh well, she earned it. We did a whole lot yesterday.  Besides, how can I be mad when I've got a dog with such a happy, innocent smile?


Kathy Mocharnuk November 22, 2009 at 11:37 PM  

FREE TREATS when you find the treat bag are always best, just ask my puppies, smart Marge, LOL. That looks like fun, looks like you got in some GREAT practice and isnt the clean run course designer cool? I LOVE IT!

Ms. ~K November 23, 2009 at 12:01 AM  

Wow, Marge! You are doing an excellent job teaching your hooman how to run the agility course.
Keep up the good work!
Wrooo wrooo,
Zack, Sassy, and Buddy

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With Khattledog November 23, 2009 at 12:07 AM  

That last pikh is pawesome!

My mom smiled!

Tank woo fur sharing your fun!


Sara November 23, 2009 at 6:01 AM  

Great job. It is tricky to run such tight course, but you two did great. Good practice for CPE where courses tend to be a bit tight and twisty, especially in the upper levels.

I think Oreo would have been distracted by that wall of mirrors!! He would have kept stopping to check himself out. LOL.

Dexter November 23, 2009 at 6:02 AM  

I thought threadles weren't allowed in competition. Although as luck would have it, we did them at good dog attention school last week just for fun.

That pink course was very tricky! But you did it smoothly. You certainly did earn that whole bag of food.


Cyndi and Stumpy November 23, 2009 at 8:00 AM  

I love that Marge is having so much fun! She definatley deserved those treats!

Frankie Furter and Ernie November 23, 2009 at 8:44 AM  

Inventing and purloining... two of our favorite things. I certainly hope that you have that last picture ENLARGED and FRAMED. It shows all the love and trust that is in Marge.

Ruby and Penny November 23, 2009 at 11:42 AM  

Marge has a great smile.
Love Ruby & Penny

Golden Woofs! SUGAR November 23, 2009 at 12:27 PM  

Woof! WOW! You did a good job. I used to do agility and still remembers lots of moves n equipments. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

The Army of Four November 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

Sorry we're so behind visiting blogs! Mom's been "working" ... blah blah blah.
You're doing SO great with agility! I think our mom would get lost on the course and go the wrong way. Ha roo roo roo!
Play bows,

Gus, Louie and Callie November 23, 2009 at 2:09 PM  

Marge you are doing such wonderful work.. Keep it up...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

BRUTUS November 23, 2009 at 7:58 PM  

Nice job! Marge seemed exquisitely happy and focussed on you! Going to check out that course designer - sounds like something I could play with for hours :)

BTW - What on earth is the composition of that floor? Is it hollow? Sounds almost echo-y!

No lesson for us tonight, but hoping to get one in tomorrow or a sunrise session (7AM) on Weds. Our maiden CPE trial is this weekend, so needless to say, I'm all wound up!! Maybe I should take some melatonin...

Happy Thanksgiving to you & Marge!!

Michelle & Brutus

Muttsandaklutz November 23, 2009 at 9:33 PM  

Nice video! Marge is working so well with you.

Lorenza November 23, 2009 at 11:13 PM  

Marge! You are doing it very well!
I love your happy face!
Kisses and hugs

Martha November 24, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

Marge, you are just the cleverest dog!
We think you earned those treats without a doubt.
You look so happy doing your agility and as we have said before we are impressed at how fit you keep your human!!!
love and kisses
Martha & Bailey xxx

Kari in Alaska November 24, 2009 at 3:43 PM  

she is looking so happy and her focus on you is wonderful! It looks like you two are having fun :)

Cheryl, Indiana, Shingo and Molly November 25, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

You are SO good at agility. We're afraid that our Moms would get lost on the course! HEHEHE!

Woofs and Kisses!

Scout and Freyja November 25, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

The smile on Marge is worth a million bucks. Nothing like a dog that is loved, happy, cared for and cared about. She is a lucky pooch to have found you☺

Astrid Keel November 25, 2009 at 6:42 PM  

Marge, the best things in life ARE free! ... like the turkey and your smiles for your mommy!

Johann The Dog November 26, 2009 at 7:13 AM  

What fun!!! Agility is the best. Nice two are doing great :)

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