Experiences of a late-comer to the agility competition scene -- our training, trials, life-style changes/challenges, RV adventures, and observations on the sport, the people, and dogs involved in it. Begun July 17, 2010.
Sheryl and I met at the field at 8:30 a.m. to practice the XJWW we set up Sunday night. It was shady and cool but the ground was sopping wet from a big storm last night. No matter. Skies were clear. With us were Max, Lucky and Charlie.
Here's a small image of the course, but the large one is 2 posts back, here.
We broke the course down into segments 5-6 Target, 5-7 Target, 5-8 Target, handling from further and further behind 5. Within 3 tries, Maxie could do 5-7 with me behind the turqouise line and tunnels in between us. Within 5 tries, he could do 5-8 with me behind the line, but kept popping out at weave 10 until I ran to meet him at the last weave.
Charlie couldn't handle from that far back and found it great fun to run away with the plastic target. Had to switch targets to my water cooler top!
Of course I had to run right beside Lucky but she took the jumps and weaved, if slowly. She didn't run off, at least.
Then we all repeated 9-13 over and over and found it easy enough if we got deep within the box and completed a 360 after D committed to 11. After sending to 14 then RC, 15 and 16 were easy. We kept hanging back further and further and increasing distances. 16-19 were surprisingly easy from within the turquoise corridor so long as we turned our shoulders to support the tunnels. Sheryl got to where she could stay behind the line and get past the 2nd tunnel before Charlie exited it. Earlier, he was beating her and she was nearly tripping over him.
After several segment repetitions and several sit-stay reinforcements from as far as 3, I put it all together for Maxie and he ran it flawlessly with me inside the corridor, with a treat after the weaves. It's the best distance handling we've ever done. Charlie needed a bit more support from Cheryl and I had to run right alongside Lucky and treat after 4, 8, 13. But she did it.
Running this course over and over, breaking it down into segments, and seeing everyone's (D's and H's) enormous progress in just one session, convinces me that this is exactly what we need, and also that Maxie is not ready to compete at the excellent level. Applying the 80% rule, I have done right keeping him out of trials for another couple of months.
I emailed Loralie asking if we could leave this course up past Wednesday night, in fact volunteered to push mow between the obstacles if we could leave it up another week. We'll see what she says. It's a shitload of work to set up a whole course on Sunday for it to be taken down on Wednesday for a lawn mowing. Between me and Sheryl, we could lay each obstacle over one at a time, mow under it, replace it, in about half an hour, whereas it takes a few hours to set up a course, another hour to tear it down and stack all the equipment way over there, by the fence line. There has to be a better way than what we are doing now.