Monday, December 28, 2009

Acting Like Nerds

Though I originally planned for a massive setup with 8 jumps, 12 weaves, a tunnel and a dog walk, I decided to make things a little more simple and work on some skills-type stuff with less equipment.

I've long scoured and have several course maps saved on my computer, hopefully for future use one day, but this one fit in the space I have available so well that I just couldn't resist them - even though they were some of the hardest courses I've ever practiced without my instructor around!

So, a HUGE thank you to Steve of AgilityNerd for putting this stuff together for those who are pitifully course-building-challenged, like myself.  All courses in this MargeBlog came came from his blog and are his property.  You can find additional maps and information on these courses in the AgilityNerd post linked in the previous paragraph.

An equally large thank you to my wonderful boyfriend, Louie, for being so nice as to sit in the cold training hall with me and take all of these lovely videos.  What ever would I do without him?!

Here is the video:

Though I don't expect many to read this, since recovering from the holidays is probably the greatest priority right now for most people, here are some notes:

Sequence 1

Sequence 1 wasn't too bad at all and started us out on a good note, save for that pesky 6-7-8.  I think I ran it multiple ways, but I don't really like how I handled it in the run shown in the video.  

Sequence 2  

I had the most fun with this course.  We didn't work on it long at all - I think we ran it clean on the first try.  Off side tunnel entries and offside weave entries didn't present a problem at all.  The ending was nice and flowy, so it was fun for Marge.

Sequence 3

Oy, threadles.  I practice them sometimes at home, but still have a lot of trouble with that whole "backy-uppy" thing.  I tried that and an opposite side handling of the opening, but I don't think I did either particularly well.  Surprisingly, though, going from 8-9 was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I did go the "long way," around the far side of jump 8, but it was the safe way. Notice when I tried going the other way around jump 8 that it was harder for me to find my path and we almost wound up at the weaves.  Very cool little course!

Sequence 4

By far, this was the hardest sequence of the night.  Well, at least 6-7-8-9 was, because I gave up on it.  My problem was that I was trying to beat Marge down the line to jump 7 (as I whined about in the video) and sort of will her into the tunnel even though I knew she wouldn't go on her own.  In retrospect, front crossing to keep her on my left as she came over jump 6 probably would have helped some.  I may have tried it, but it's not on tape so I'm not sure.

Sequence 5

This course really opened up my eyes as to how important lateral motion is. The first few times, I was in Marge's path for the weaves and she was SO not getting them. Then, since she was tired, she was doing all sorts of wacky stuff like skipping poles or starting on the wrong side (thus the bent poles). I was afraid of Marge blowing by the weaves if I pulled too hard to the right, but it didn't happen and she found her entry perfectly. The final 180 was pretty tricky. I think because of slight differences in how I had everything set up, I could NOT front cross the weaves and get her over 8 and 9. Fading from the weaves and pulling hard worked just fine for us.

Our biggest problem tonight was drive ahead, especially to the tunnel, though I suspect it at least partially had to do with Marge being tired towards the end.  Several of my readers have commented that I should begin to throw treats for Marge rather than always feed her out of my hand; I've always done it to some (small) degree, but did try to implement it a bit more tonight.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to try sequence 6, although I was really curious as to how I would handle it.  Maybe next time!

Thus concludes our final agility post of 2009.  And, what a year for agility it has been!  Beginning in April and culminating in our debut November trial.  We may be able to squeeze in a dual Rally/Agility practice some time during the week, but I'm not positive that it's going to happen.  We have no agility class tomorrow, so we won't be back on course until Monday.

I am pitifully behind on commenting blogs - I sort of took an unofficial hiatus over the weekend.  Will catch up sometime this year - I promise. ;)


Martha December 28, 2009 at 4:06 AM  

We are always very impressed with your hard work Marge.
Those diagrams looked really complicated to us but as we have explained before bassets dont go in much for agility!
You have come so far over the year we cant wait to see you new challenges in 2010.
You two are a great team. We hope you had a great Xmas and we wish you a good New Year.
Martha & Bailey xx

Sara December 28, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

Wow, some of those sequences were really tricky. You did great, and Marge was REALLY paying attention to you. She is very focused.

Great job.

tula monstah December 28, 2009 at 8:04 AM  

Aroo Marge- fabulous job on the different sequences. Looks like funballs. So much to learn about agility.. i would last maybe one time through.

Happy New Years,

Frankie Furter and Ernie December 28, 2009 at 8:15 AM  

Marge I think it is very hard, what you do. I could never do all that. I am proud of you.

Diana December 28, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

It looked really good. You may want to increase the amount of reward to are giving esp. when the coures gets harder. That may keep her from stressing so she knows what she is doing right. Great job!! Diana

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! December 28, 2009 at 1:10 PM  

Again we have to paw WOW!

What a team woo two make!

Tank woo fur sharing!


Bijou December 28, 2009 at 1:16 PM  

Hi Marge,

You and Sam make us feel like lazy butts. BOL Seriously though, we love reading about your agility lessons and trials. Keep up the good work!


Kari in Alaska December 28, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

wow those look like some interesting setups! I got confused just reading them!

Ms. ~K December 28, 2009 at 2:44 PM  

Wroooo wroooo Marge!!!
You're paw-some!!!

Cinnamon and Mint December 28, 2009 at 2:52 PM  

Wow, we are so impressed! You are practising very difficult sequences. I also found very helpful. When we were practising Back/Front Crosses, we referred to the website.

We enjoyed watching the video. Thank for sharing it!

Kathy Mocharnuk December 28, 2009 at 3:08 PM  

VERY NICE practice. I have the problem of encouraging drive forward especially with Breeze and I really have to work with getting the treat off my body, I have a wide variety of toys I throw, I like to even use a small bottle rinsed out and dried, then put treats in them, then I can run over and give her the treat but she loves to run to that. Marge really seems to like the front crosses, they seem to give her a lot of confidence, good work

Natasha December 28, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

Great job! I know what you mean about how handling that isn't "just-so" can stress dogs...Mika used to be like that. You're doing good with Marge though, your handling is nice and smooth. My handling always seems to be jerky. Oh well, I guess everything improves with practice! :)


Gus, Louie and Callie December 28, 2009 at 4:33 PM  

Marge we think you did awesome.. If you put a few sheep in there we might attempt it.. hehe
Keep up the good work...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

BRUTUS December 28, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

Wow! Gonna have to check out, never been there. You guys just keep looking better! How could you even keep straight in your mind where you were going after running that same course so many different ways?? Your front crosses are nice and smooth, and Marge looks so perky (well, other than that one time she sort of ran into you LOL).

Wish I could train that long with Brutus without him getting bored - we need to keep out sessions short to keep him happy (or he'll just lay down in a tunnel & not come out!!). Have some new videos from a run-through last weekend, I'll try to email them in the next day or so. Have a lesson tonite as well, maybe get some footage there if I remember to turn the camera on!!!

Happy Holidays Sam & Marge!!!
Brutus & Michelle

Cyndi and Stumpy December 28, 2009 at 6:52 PM  

I'm very impressed! Thank Louie for us! I'd be so sad if we didn't have videos to watch marge (and you) progress

Muttsandaklutz December 28, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

Nice! Those sequences look like fun, with not too much in the way of set-up. I've bookmarked them to try at my next practice.

The Army of Four December 28, 2009 at 9:16 PM  

Our mom would totally get lost out there. Just sayin'.

RILEY AND STAR MY MALTESEKIDS December 28, 2009 at 11:08 PM  

Great job! You are so smart! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Luv ya,
Riley and Star.

Lorenza December 28, 2009 at 11:43 PM  

That sure is interesting!
I really don't know how you do it!
Kisses and hugs

kissa-bull December 29, 2009 at 12:20 AM  

you sure are as smart as you are beutiful marge
that looks super complicated to us lazy doggies
but it sure is fun watching you

waggles and slobbers
the houston pittie pack

KB December 29, 2009 at 9:18 AM  

My first reaction was noticing how much your footwork has improved. Your movements look really precise, which I'm sure helps Marge. I don't know how to make the hard part of Seq 4 easier - but I could see that Marge got confused about the tunnel during the 7-8 transition. That was really the only place in these very tough courses that she looked confused - you did an awesome job!!!!!

The two of you look more like a linked pair every week!

Natalie December 29, 2009 at 2:42 PM  

You two look really good, I love watching your videos. Marge is always paying attention to you well and you are doing a great job of analyzing your own handling. Nice job!

Rufus and Indie December 29, 2009 at 7:37 PM  

OMD! Those sequences are difficult but when I see your videos all seems so easy to do!

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