Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Training 25

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.


Sierra Rose February 9, 2010 at 1:40 AM  

Hey there! Great work on the jump sequences! Fantastic.
Bizarre encounter with the woman on the sidewalk. Yikes.

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

D.K. Wall February 9, 2010 at 6:18 AM  

Way to go Marge handling the scary woman. Kiska sometimes reacts with visible fear to a human. Despite her reaction and my warnings, some people still try to pet her or coo at her. I am proud of how much better she handles it (she just looks at me and knows I have her back), but the people still amaze me.

Chris and Ricky February 9, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

Great practice and lesson - you were doing awesome front crosses in the video - really good flow and timing etc. Nice job!

I thought the two sequences for your lesson looked difficult. I had not heard about the wrong side of the tunnel thing getting to be popular in AKC - it looked really tricky to me but glad to hear you didn't have a problem with it. We'll have to try that if it ever stops snowing and we can practice outside again!

Your "I can't believe someone could be this stupid" line made mom laugh! Why are people so stupid sometimes? I guess it takes all kinds to make the world go round (is that how that saying goes?) :)

Frankie Furter and Ernie February 9, 2010 at 8:29 AM  

Hey Marge, in these last two posts your mom has been sooooo very much proud of how much you have improved. I am tooo!!! Way to go girrrl. Keep up the super work. You are making real progress. I'm just sayin'.

Jules February 9, 2010 at 9:08 AM  

Sounds like a great lesson. Lots to work on.

People are WEIRD. I swaer telling them you have a fearful dog or non-people friednly dog incites them to try harder!

Kari in Alaska February 9, 2010 at 12:32 PM  

I love the feeling of everything working well :) Glad you guys had such a nice practice

Dog_geek February 9, 2010 at 12:58 PM  

People are definitely weird. Sometimes I think if dogs knew more about people, a lot more of them would have fear issues.

LauraK February 9, 2010 at 1:27 PM  

Wow, some people are SO rude. It's amazing what people say or do to others. I'm glad Marge handled it well though- you used it as a great training opportunity even though you were annoyed and shocked at the situation.

Your front cross video looked great, she looks like a really fun dog to run. And that's awesome that you're trusting Marge- sometimes it's hard- but in reality, it's the dogs that need to learn to trust our crazy handling haha. I know I've made a lot of stupid mistakes and I'm so thankful that Riley is such a forgiving girl. She's a great first agility dog to put up with all my crap. I'm looking forward to hearing about the trial news!

AC February 9, 2010 at 3:11 PM  

Nice practice session, Sam. I'm really amazed at how focused and ready to work Marge is. This is certainly a video where I'd have no clue that Marge had any fear issues.

Yeah, I've had my share of people encounters that leave me with a sideways-cocked head. "Really!?" Good for both of you for getting through it.

I'm glad you mentioned Marge's fear of people standing. Kona can pass within inches of a person on the trail and be fine, but if the same person is standing still, even a ways off the trail, it'll scare her. People I explain this to think it doesn't make sense, but it sure makes some kind of sense to our dogs!

Cinnamon and Mint February 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM  

You did very well at your agility training! The woman who you met in your walk with Marge sounds really weird... But, it is good to hear that Marge handled the situation without problem.

Sara February 9, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

I'm so glad you had a great class. I can't wait to hear about your trial news.

People are annoying and inappropriate. Too bad we can't send them to obedience school.

Gus, Louie and Callie February 9, 2010 at 4:52 PM  

We love to watch the video's. Marge you are so awesome...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

KB February 9, 2010 at 4:52 PM  

Sounds like you're really getting into some of the nuances of agility handling. It is so cool to follow you and Marge on the road to being champions.

It's odd but even 'dog people' don't know how to deal with scared dogs. They try to make friends, using human social approaches. They don't mean harm - they just don't have a clue. But, that woman last night sounded just a bit mean.

Way to go, Marge, making it past an obstacle like her!

KB February 9, 2010 at 4:54 PM  

I forgot to say - in honor of Marge learning 'take it' - I'm going to work on teaching R. R is more my husband's dog (while K is more my dog) so I haven't taught R all the stuff that I've taught K. It'll be interesting to see if R automatically has a soft mouth... We can compare notes.

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! February 9, 2010 at 5:50 PM  

Time for another edition of 'too many people are STOOPID'


The Army of Four February 9, 2010 at 6:29 PM  

Even if we would listen to our mom enough to do agility - and trust me when I say we wouldn't - we'd never be able to do this. Mom would get lost on the course. When God was handing out sense of direction... well, let's just say mom got lost on the way there. (eye roll)
You're doing great and we love following your progress!!!
Play bows,

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart February 9, 2010 at 7:10 PM  

You know what I love about the figure 8, front cross video? Close your eyes and just listen ... it sounds like a dog version of Riverdance. Precision foot falls. Terrific!

SissySees February 9, 2010 at 7:17 PM  

Pooo on sidewalk woman. You gotta' respect a dog's boundaries, especially when the owner points them out VERY.CLEARLY.

Muttsandaklutz February 9, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

I'm sorry but your story about that woman has me laughing. Some people! Seriously! What are they thinking.

Walter's the same way about people standing around loitering -- it's against his rules.

Kathy Mocharnuk February 9, 2010 at 10:38 PM  

That was gorgeous, Marge was really driving and you are getting some lateral distance to get those front crosses, you guys are really looking GOOD.

I hate when people know nothing about dogs and figure they can fix your dog, like making kissey noises is going to make a dog fall for them. Yikes, good girl Marge for handling that so well.

kissa-bull February 9, 2010 at 11:43 PM  

wowsers i have'nt heard mommish use that many hbo words in a vewy long time
please to excuse the fact that we wont write what she said here but you can just imagen
anywoo great job marge you are doing so splendid as usual
pibble sugars
the houston pittie pack

Lorenza February 9, 2010 at 11:48 PM  

I love to watch your videos!
I know about bad comments too!
People is weird and rude at the same time!
My mom prefers to ignore them!
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Dexter February 10, 2010 at 6:40 AM  

Hey Marge, how tall are you and how high are your jumps? I think maybe my jumps are too low for me.

Nice figure eights. I liked hearing the rhythm of your feet.


Sue February 10, 2010 at 3:10 PM  

People are certainly strange. That used to happen when I walked Libby. I would tell people that she wasn't friendly and they would continue to come toward her.

Martha February 10, 2010 at 5:28 PM  

Marge we continue to be soooo very impressed with your progress. You are our hero.
Martha & Bailey xxx

Charity, Katie, Louie & Natalie February 11, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

Great video! You two look like an awesome team.

Thanks for the tip about the 20ft cotton rope for Louie. I am definitely going to try that.

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