Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Training 23

Holy cow.

Talk about a LOT of training!

We were at the training hall Monday for three straight hours. First was totally private practice, then was semi-private practice (a lesson with my instructor and another handler), and third was regular class.

Hour 1
Because I knew we'd be there a long time, I didn't want to overdo it in the beginning. So, I set up an APDT Rally Level 1 course from my club's last trial and ran it two or three times with Marge.

I don't think she was as enthused as she was at our Rally practice a couple of weeks ago, and certainly not as enthused as when she does agility (but that's a given). She lagged a bit and wasn't as tight as she normally is on her turns. It was pretty warm in the building, though - I was absolutely dying in that sweatshirt I was wearing - so that may have been a factor. Looking back at the video, she did better than I first thought she did.

What you can't see in the far right corner are three "married" signs - Halt/90 Degree Pivot Left - Sit/Walkaround - Down/Walkaround.

After that, I cleaned up the Rally equipment while Marge practiced sit and down stays. No problem with either other than the fact that she loves to slide into a down after sitting for a little bit. I have no aspirations for obedience competition any time in the future, but it's not a bad skill for her to have.

I then dragged out the teeter, and we did a little bit of work on it with the table underneath. It was the fastest I've ever seen her do the teeter; she slowed at the pivot point (which I actually want so that she doesn't spook herself flying off of it or anything), but had so much less hesitation. A few reps with the table, and then I removed it and she did it full height. Still looked very nice. I put the treats right on the teeter rather than feed them from my hand, so maybe she makes the connection that it's not a scary thing.

Hour 2
Next was my semi-private lesson. Marge did not take very kindly to the other dog who was with us, a young, adorable Golden. I tried introducing him to her before we started and she gave him nasty growls and a couple of snaps. Probably my mistake. We kept our distance the rest of the time and she was eventually more comfortable with his presence. If we have a lesson together a few more times, I think she'll feel better about him.

We worked the A-Frame mostly (sorry, no video). We've incorporated a nose touch to our 2o2o criteria and it seems to be helping tremendously. She hit her contact almost every single time with the help of our temporary target, a simple piece of paper. She's still not doing it as smoothly as I like, but she wasn't thudding into it like she did so many times in the last video.

She did do one silly thing.. I forgot to put the target on the descending side of the A-Frame (we were obviously switching which way we ran it) and she ran half way up, turned around, and performed her contact on the target. Marisa was hysterical.

She said to leave the target for a while, at least a month or two, and gradually make it smaller. Sounds like a plan to me. I'm not using a target on the dog walk.

Only other things we did were some bounce jumping, the dog walk and table to solidify criteria for those two obstacles, and a small sequence to practice using either a front or a back cross between two jumps.

Hour 3
Then, finally, we had class. Marge had to hang out in a crate while I helped set up and walked the course. I gave her a Kong and covered her crate with a sheet so no one would disturb her, but she whined for a good portion of the time. Almost every other dog in the crate room was whining, though, and I think it may have added to the stress.

(Later on, when I walked the second half of the course, I put her in a down stay and she didn't move. GOOD GIRL!)

Here was the course:

  • Opening was simple enough; lead out to jump two (on the non-wall side of the jumps), and ran completely straight to get her in the right tunnel entrance.
  • Back crossed over 5 and 6. Marisa told me to try to front the second time around, but I was already in back cross position and I got screwed up. Marge, I believe, spun in a circle, but then when I sent her on to 6 and told her to weave (I was way behind her), she did it beautifully. Way to make up for my mistake!
  • Jump to dog walk to table was simple. Her dog walk looked great today. Didn't miss any contacts and had lots of speed.
  • Still having some table sticky issues.. I don't think I'm clear enough to her that she is to DOWN and stay DOWN until I release her.. she gets her cookie and then gets up. I suppose I could try delaying the reward to really proof it first.
  • Used my inside arm to get her over jump 11, front crossed, front crossed again after 12. No problem.
  • The tunnel to A-Frame was pretty disastrous.. the tunnel was too short, which made it really hard for all of the dogs to find it. Both Marge and I were exhausted at this point and we kind of bombed it, but Marisa said to leave it alone, so I just told Marge to tunnel and sent her over the A-Frame without doing the obstacles before it.
  • Closing wasn't bad.. just, again, had to basically run into the triple to make sure she took the right tunnel entrance.
This will be our last agility class until probably the middle of February, maybe longer. In the meantime, I'm going to practice during my ring time and take some more lessons. We're pretty much going full steam ahead for an early April AKC trial. I don't plan to trial heavily this year, but I want to make the most out of the trials that we DO do. I was told today that we'll breeze through Novice.. I really hope it's true!


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With Khattledog January 26, 2010 at 1:23 AM  

Dear Marge -

I'm so glad woo keep your mom out of trouble by keeping her so busy!

PeeEssWoo: I hope woo had fun!

Dexter January 26, 2010 at 6:38 AM  

Three hours??? I am mentally exhausted after just one hour. You must be in great shape.


Jules January 26, 2010 at 8:16 AM  

When you treat Marge on the table do you treat out of your hand or on the table? I have had good results putting the treats between my dog's paws and reinforcing "down" if they look like they might break.

3 hours, wow!! it sounds like you both got a lot out of it though.

Frankie Furter and Ernie January 26, 2010 at 8:25 AM  

THREE HOURS!!! How many naps did you get to take????

Pedro January 26, 2010 at 8:27 AM  


Holy dawg! 3 hours of training! I'm gonna go take a nap now. Just thinking about it makes me tired...


Diana January 26, 2010 at 8:37 AM  

Marge looks really good in the video to me. Im glad you had a successful practice. Diana

Brenda's Arizona January 26, 2010 at 9:53 AM  

Wow, three hours. You both must have been exhausted! Thanks for including the video and the diagram. I love reading and learning this.

Cheryl, Indiana, Shingo and Molly January 26, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

That's a long time!! That sketch looks confusing!!

Woofs and Kisses!

RILEY AND STAR MY MALTESEKIDS January 26, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

Hi Marge,

Just a quick hello and sending lots of love and kisses! Hope you are having a great week.

Riley and Star.

Anna the GSD January 26, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

You are going to kick sooooo much booty in that April AKC trial and gets lots of ribbons and prizes! I know it!!

Kari in Alaska January 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM  

Haha you do talk about it a lot but it lets us see the progress you two make!

Cinnamon and Mint January 26, 2010 at 3:43 PM  

Hi Sam and Marge,

Again I am very impressed by your performance as a team in the video. Marge looks SO happy working with Sam, and I like the way Sam praises Marge after each sequence. Thank you for sharing the video!

Cinnamon's Mum

Sara January 26, 2010 at 4:24 PM  

Sounds like a great night. Three hours is a long time. Kudos to Marge for having the stamina to focus for that long, and to you for keeping it fun and positive for her.

Bijou January 26, 2010 at 4:28 PM  

Hi Marge & Sam,

I bet you two were wore out after practice. It looked like you were both having a good time. Keep up the good work!


KB January 26, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

It looked like Marge did great with Rally. You mentioned her lagging, and funny, but it looked like the only times when she lagged were when you went slow.

My trainer, Gigi and I, noticed that K would get very 'hang-doggish' and lag during heeling training (this is related to the lagging). To keep K upbeat and happy, I now throw in sudden little sprints, then I slow down, then I accelerate again. K seems to see it as a very fun game - trying to keep track of her crazy handler. Perhaps something like that would help Marge in rally training (I don't have a clue about rally rules - so this might be totally inappropriate, even in training, i don't know).

One more thing, then I promise to stop rambling. Have you read anything about "Constructional Aggression Treatment"? Pat Miller has written a couple of articles about it in Whole Dog Journal. It seems to work for some dogs but not others. I thought marge might be a candidate when I read the articles.

Gus, Louie and Callie January 26, 2010 at 6:17 PM  

Wow 3 hours you both must have been exhausted.. Great job you 2...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

AC January 26, 2010 at 7:57 PM  

Sam, I found MargeBlog awhile ago while looking for info/inspiration to help me with my fearful dog. Well you have certainly provided both for me! Keep it up!

Ms. ~K January 26, 2010 at 9:40 PM  

Marge is a lucky pup to have an energetic, young lady!

Muttsandaklutz January 29, 2010 at 6:19 PM  

Sometimes Lucy has flat days in rally too, lags a bit and isn't quite into it. I wouldn't be surprised if the heat was affecting Marge, but still she looked pretty good.

Great news with the teeter and a-frame progress! Too funny about Marge turning around to do the nose touch :)

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