Sunday, February 26, 2012

Equipment Cleanup

One thing about agility -- it's equipment intensive. Anybody loving to do agility with their dogs, better not mind hauling and mending equipment. Just setting up and taking down courses every couple of weeks is a chore if nobody shows up to help, and getting ready to put on a trial is WORK.
Yesterday 8 or 9 LCCOC agility folks met to clean equipment for our upcoming trial.  It was my first time participating in this activity, which included:
  • Putting new numbers on every jump cup, from 4" through 26".  That's a lot of labels, which Nedra lazar printed off of her computer onto file folder labels, then cut into strips.  To make sure they would stick, every single jump cup had to be washed and thoroughly dried.  Tedious work, so we made an assembly line and it got done efficiently.
  • Putting colored tape on the double and tripple bar jumps, a different color for each jump height.
  • Retaping the bars where the tape is frayed.
  • Bleaching and hosing the mildew off of every latice wing (about 30 of those), front and back.
  • Repairing/replacing broken or missing jump cups.
  • Hammering the uprights posts tightly onto the bottom cross bar, to ensure the jump bars make good contact with the jump cups.  Even glued, they tend to spread over time.  It's so unfair if the bar drops just from the wind of a dog going over.
  • Repairing/replacing numbers on our 1-20 overturned flower pots.  These sit out in the weather and the rain and UV lighting eventually destroys the glue.  I took these home and will put clear tape over them.  These will be used for practice but Nedra bought 2 sets of cones for the trial.
Ken brought his pressure washer but couldn't get it started, so we just used a couple of 1 gallon sprayers to apply the bleach cleaner, let it sit 10 minutes, then hosed it off.  It worked pretty well.  Green mildew disappeared, wings are white as snow.  We also cleaned our plastic chairs, which were looking horrible.

Our trial is Easter weekend, and John and I took on the job of loading all the equipment onto the U-haul, delivering it to the arena, then hauling it back after the trial.  I hope we can muster all these good volunteers to help us out.

Upwards and onward!

Friday, February 24, 2012

See Saw Puppy Training w Portia and Honey Bear

Michele and Honey Bear
My 2 working agility dogs were NOT introduced to the see saw in the following manner.  They did the low teeter for 6 weeks as our club teaches it, then it was gradually raised over several weeks.

However, still part of the Fat Tuesday experiment (previous post on Tunnel Relays) with training 10 year old Portia to train a puppy, seeing how long I could hold her interest, and seeing what I could get out of 5 lbs. of fearless Papillon from the first attempt, here's a composite video of what we accomplished over a 10 minute session.  I would not attempt this with a timid or overly rambunctious dog, but it worked out well for 4 month old Honey Bear (aka Winnie Pooch).

I do insist on a front entry as shown (with guide gates at first), a nose touch at the bottom to lower their center of gravity and get a solid "halt", and I require a release before they get off.  A side exit from the bottom is allowed, but only after the halt and release. 

As you can see, Honey Bear has no fear of the seesaw and ran right to the end on his first attempt.  This is not typical of most dogs I've seen in Intro.  He was, of course, running to get his Cheerio.  I am convinced that the placement of the treat at board level, creating a nose touch behavior within 2 inches of the end of the board, is why neither of my dogs have the fly off, get off, stop in the middle, refusal problems I see in so many other agility dogs.  Even with my experienced dogs, I still bend down and treat at the end of the board at least half the time in practice to keep their performance at its best.  Or, if I'm a good distance away, I click when they get to the end, then release them for a treat.

For more tips on see saw training with "around the clock" exercises, follow this link.

Upwards and onward!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tunnel Relays, Puppy Training, and a Junior Handler

Michele, Portia, & Honey Bear
Relays are one of my favorite agility training methods, though I've never heard mention of them outside of Flyball. They are very effective, fast moving and lots of fun.  The video below will show that clearly.

A few notes first:  Training a puppy is one thing.  Training a child to train a puppy adds another dimension of difficulty, even with my neighbor's 10 year old daughter, who has a strong affinity for animals and an intense desire to work/play with them.  Most kids can't stay focused on anything for long, are somewhat spacially challenged (left/right, distance, coordination), and easily distracted, as are many adults.  By any standard, Portia did amazingly well.

This, our first lesson, was on Mardi Gras day, and we were fortunate to have her mother running the camera.  I was well pleased with Laura's ability to keep her mouth shut when her daughter acted silly, didn't catch on to something right away, or if I corrected a mistake.  That is hard for most mothers to do.  Also, very pleased with Portia's and Honey Bear's enthusiasm lasting a full 30 minutes (tunnel relays AND Introduction To The SeeSaw (next post).

Honey Bear (aka Winnie), at 4 months and 3 days old, has meandered thru the straight tunnel in my back yard several times on his own, but has not worked with me or Portia on the below, or ever done relays.  I call him to me several times a day, but have never "sent" him to anything.  He shows absolutely no fear of either the full-length tunnel or full-height seesaw from the first attempt.  As with Maxie, he gives his full attention if there are Cherrios involved. 

Portia had no idea I was teaching her too, as I told her she was just "helping me train my dog".  And come to think of it, that's much like Beginner Agility students who think their dogs are the ones coming to school, and they're just holding the leash and dispensing treats.  HA!  Little do they know.

Here's the video:

Introductory See Saw training followed immediately, and I'll report on that in my next post, still part of the Fat Tuesday experiment with encouraging Portia's interest in dogs.  Both exceeded my expectations again. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barely Q's and Nearly Q's

It's Fat Tuesday.  Happy Mardi Gras!  A bittersweet day for me, because . . . . .
Today I remembered what I forgot about the Mobile trial, which is that I left in tears and disgust (despite my previous post depicting an upbeat view of the weekend).  Packing up my car at the end, I remember a clubmate drove by saying "See you Monday at practice" and my retort was "NO, I'm so sick and tired of all my barely Q's and nearly Q's, I quit!"  Then my head filled up with tears.  It wasn't until I reviewed my videos in sequence a week later and saw how well we did that I began feeling better about our performances and ready to continue trialing.

It might be different if my dogs weren't 95% accurate, that last 5% holds major frustration.  Why, why, why does there have to be one error on each run, or one bobble that so nearly costs us the Q.  Why can't there just be perfect execution on 19-20 obstacles in a row?  Have we ever had a flawless run?  I don't recollect any Q's that weren't close calls.

You're always skating on thin ice; just getting by; hanging on by your fingertips; holding your breath.  I've been there, done that, for many years in business.  It's an awful feeling I never want to return to.  But here it is, running rampant throughout this volunteer sport.  Any little thing can NQ you. 

3 or 4 mistakes are easy to reckon with.  A bad run today.  An off weekend.  A novice dog. We all have those.  But being so frequently so close and yet so far away, without a real excuse, becomes downright depressing.  Competitors encourage each other with their personal failure stories such as:
  • We didn't Q a single time in 6 months (now a MACH dog).
  • We only Q in TimeToBeat where the rules are more relaxed.
  • We're here only to have fun.
  • My dog is slow too.
  • My border collie can't slow down.
  • We're still in Open after 3 years of trialing HA HA.
Maxie in Mobile
These don't help me.  I hate feeling stuck in a rut. What would John (Cullen) say about my mental game after that trial?  Surely, not good. But if my dogs can consistently do 19 out of 20 obstacles correctly, surely they can do that last one too.  What is the impediment?  One thing I did learn recently, from Julie Hill, is her report about a dog that went from Novice thru MACH1 in 7 months, which only goes to show:

there are dogs who Q consistently.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mobile Agility Trial - March 2012

This is our first trial this year.  We've been on break from trialing for 10 weeks, and when we practice, I'm concentrating on specific skills rather than running full courses.  I've been less interested in pursuing titles, more interested in feeling "connected and in sync" with my dogs (from whence I suspect all titles flow.)

Goals for this trial:
Maxie: At least 1 QQ, some placement ribbons. (QQ goal not met, but 2 Q's and both with placement ribbons)
Lucky: Every run under course time, whether a Q or not. Enthusiastic participation. (goals not quite met, but the trend is up.  2 Q's, 13 MACH POINTS, with 3 more clean runs that exceeded course time by only 1-4 seconds)
Me: Confidence in the ring, faster running, better handling, don't get lost on course. Relax. (my goals were met)
I wrote an extensive summary of the weekend only to have Blogger disappear it.  Big mystery.  Big bummer.  Can't repeat it. So instead, I just made composite videos of each dog's runs, with commentary, and post them below.

What's not in the videos, I report below.
Weather:  It was bitterly cold and windy on Saturday and Sunday.  I didn't bring enough warm clothes, no gloves and no ear muffs.  I managed to borrow those, and wore 2 pairs of leggings under my baggiest pants, which were still too thin a material to keep out the cold.  I had to wear my pajama top under my 3 upper garments to have enough layers on to keep from shivering.  The wind was fierce.  Poor planning!  My nose ran all weekend and sometimes I had to wipe the drip on my sweatshirt sleeves both days.  Disgusting, but I didn't let it distract me. 
Volunteering: The food provided by the Mobile Bay Dog Training Club (MBDTC) trial committee was delicious two days:  5 huge crock pots filled with various types of piping hot chili on Friday, various types of beans and rice on Saturday.  Of course, with sides of bread, salad, desserts, chips.  Sunday was just sandwiches.  Volunteers were asked to donate some cash for the meals.  Instead, volunteers got a raffle ticket for every segment they worked, and each evening several were selected.  First night, I won a huge knuckle bone, which Lucky chewed on all weekend back at the hotel.  They also had a "Whiners" raffle, for every NQ you put a raffle ticket in a jar.  At the end of the weekend several tickets were drawn for bottles of wine.  Cute!  No toys were given for Q's, but every entrant got either a satchel or a collapsable water bowl.  I forgot to participate in the raffle, mostly because the baskets were all wrapped and I couldn't tell what was in there.

Maxie hits the front edge of
the table like a pro.
Photographer:  The photographer was not selling digital copies of her photos, so I didn't purchase any.  I don't ever purchase prints since I like to crop, size, and print my own.  I managed to snip a few thumbnails off her website to illustrate this page, none of which I would have purchased anyway.
Crating:  It was so darn cold, the dogs spent all 3 days "crated" in my car!  A first! I parked in the sun, and sometimes ran the heater when I went out to check on them.

Lucky Lucy:  To start, I ran her in a 2 minute match late on Thursday. We ignored the numbered course, just ran willy-nilly around the ring interspursing jumps in between the weaves, A-frame, tunnels and dog walk several times, with a tug toy in my hand and tossing it if she ran fast.  She was amazing!  Fast weaves!  Fast dog walk!  Fast across the flat!  Accurate!  Tight turns!  No mistakes.  No hesitation.  Total focus.  Full of joy.  It is clear to me that when motivated, she has what it takes to excel in this sport.  I watched her do better than several other dogs who have much more experience and higher achievements.  I think the match is what improved her speed all weekend, alas, not yet enough for consistent Q's. My goal/challenge remains building up her enthusiasm for agility itself, not just for chasing her toys around. Or . . . . . . .  finding ways to trick her into thinking I have a toy in my pocket!

She came home with 2 XS Q's (making 4 total to date), 13 MACH points, and 5 clean runs, 3 of which sadly were over course time by 1-4 seconds.  Here's a composite video of her 6 runs, with my commentary.

Maxie:  Maxie's first run on Friday was a Q 1st place with 20 MACH points.  2nd place was 5 seconds slower, and 3rd place was 20 seconds slower.  Maxie was smokin!  Saturday he Q'd with 2nd place in Jumpers.  All 6 runs were well under course time, 2 were nearly Q's, 2 were just ugly. Video with commentary is here:

Standard Course Times:  Studying the score sheets from last year I noticed the SCT (Standard Course Time) set for 20" XB dogs is shorter than SCT for 8" XB dogs.  Same course.  Different times. XJ is almost always a 6-7 second difference, XS between 9-11 seconds difference.  I suspect this because larger dogs are presumed to be able to cover more ground more quickly with their longer strides. 
Videos:  I was glad I got to witness and video clubmate Loralie's first MACH run with her little Parson Russell Terrier, Jenny.  I was proud that several of our clubmates were gathered in the stands together to honor the achievement, and made quite a racket, stomping on the aluminum bleachers, shouting, and clapping.  It's the first time I've been to a trial where one of our own achieved MACH.  She said later that her heart was beating so fast she thought her chest would burst!  I finally resolved the mystery of how MACH cakes magically appear at trials, like, how do they know when the last QQ will happen?   Turns out, we'll provide both Loralie and Noel a cake at our own trial over Easter weekend, and sign their MACH bars then!  That was easy.

 Nobody complained that I videoed a few folks' runs from my chair while serving as bar setter in both Open and Novice classes both days.  I was still able to set bars between runs.

So many club mates bring their own video cameras nowadays, I don't really need to video them, though occasionally someone asks me to, which I'm pleased to do.  Someone mentioned they didn't bother viewing the ones I post online since they have their own, upload their own to YouTube, and "besides which, it's too much trouble trying to find them."  Still, I like to review some of them myself, so I keep doing it on a "catch as catch can" basis.  I wish we were so rich a club we had a designated "videographer", but that won't happen any time soon.  Someone suggested I offer a video service: $5/video and send them a disk, and that someone else used to offer that.

So that's it until Monroe the first weekend in March.  Two more weeks to practice, if it ever quits raining.

Upwards and onward!

Yardage Calculations

On every AKC run, entrants receive a report stating the Standard Course Time, the dog's time and Yardage.  This is useful for calculating your dog's average speed and to track improvements (which I do).  When you have a lethargic dog like my Lucky, it's important to know if you're improving. Especially important as the Excellent B dogs don't get as much time to complete the course.

Lucky's Yardage: Using the Excel program I designed last year, after every trial I input the data they give you and calculate her average speed for the weekend.  Course Yardage/ Dog's Time calculates the Yards Per Second for each run.  I add those up, then divide by the number of runs, which gives me her Average Yards Per Second for the weekend (the bottom figure).

By this chart from last weekend's Mobile Agility Trial, you can see Lucky exceeded course time 4 out of 6 runs, by from 1.3 to 4.6 seconds.  Other than exceeding course time, she had 5 clean runs out of 6.  If I can improve her speed, we should have little trouble Q'ing based on her accuracy.

The chart below clearly indicates Lucky has gotten faster during her first year of trialing. 

Trial Weekend         Class Average         Yardage
3/19/11                           Novice                   2.96
4/1/11                             Novice                   2.70
4/9/11                              Open                    2.70
4/23/11                            Open                    3.07
6/23/11                            Open                    2.59
8/19/11                             Ex A                    2.77
9/23/11                             Ex A                    2.58
10/21/11                           Ex A                    3.26 (After Brittany Schaezler seminar)
11/25/11                           Ex A                    3.05
2/10/12                             Ex B                    3.31

The yardage differences may seem small, but they are not.  For example, the difference between covering 2.75 YPS vs 3.25 YPS is considerable as follows:  3.25 - 2.75 = .5 YPS or 1 yard every 2 seconds.  If your run is 180 yards long and you are given 60 seconds to run it, your dog will need to cover 3 YPS just to make time.  If every 2 seconds Lucky is covering an extra yard, I can reduce her final course time by 15 seconds, and Qualify with time to spare.

This knowledge allows me to set a realistic goal of 3.50 YPS for Lucky this year in Jumpers, 3.25 in Standard, which will allow her to Q with every clean run.  It also makes me VERY CURIOUS about other dogs' average times.  Nobody has ever mentioned their stats to me, but I am sure some people keep track.  Else, why would AKC bother giving us the data?  Does AKC study this info to help them set realistic standards?  What's the average SCT for our fastest dogs (border collies, goldens)?  Is it 4.5, 5.5, what?  I have no idea.
The difference in yardage between small and large dogs is considerable, too. The judge adds between 8-12 more yards for larger dogs.  I'm told it's because larger dogs are assumed to make wider turns, although I haven't observed this to be the case.  Little dogs make mighty wide turns!

Obviously, the system is not entirely objective.  Each judge wheels courses in their own way.  At one trial I attended the yardage was the same for both large and small dogs in each class.  Some judges are generous with time, others not so much.  One should know going in, it's subjective.  Some people make a study of judges, and only go to trials where they think their dog has a good chance to Q based on the difficulty of a particular judge's course designs and tendency to wheel extra yardage and give extra time.  Oh yes, it gets sophisticated in some regions of the county.

Maxie's Yardage: I don't bother averaging Maxie's yardage, because course time has never been an issue with him. He's among the faster 8" dogs on the course. If he Q's, he usually places. If I ever decide to compete with him on a serious level, I'll probably need this information, which will be very easy to calculate using my aforementioned Excel program.
I'll keep a record of Lucky's time averages posted here for awhile until I figure out a better place to put them.

Upwards and onward!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Blind Cross - Part II

I see the Blind Cross more and more often at agility trials and I've come to like it a lot myself, yet the controversy still rages. So here's my 2 cents.

The Blind Cross violates two cardinal rules of agility: 
  1. Never take your eyes off your dog.
  2. Never let your dog cut around behind you.
I will never forget my first Blind Cross.  It was a complete accident.  I was running considerably ahead of Maxie across a 25' space between obstacles (in class), realized I needed to be on the other side, had no time for a front cross, so I cut across Maxie's projected path to the other side, switched arms and tried to find him in vain.  He had tried to follow my feet and gotten totally confused when I switched arms.  I had to jumpstart him to complete the sequence.  We both felt weird and disoriented afterwards.    I could have tripped over him, hurt him, fallen myself. I almost cried. The instructor wasted no time pointing out to me that this is why the Blind Cross is taboo.  For the next year, I agreed.

But there are times on course when the Blind Cross is the easiest way to handle.  It saves time, wear and tear on knees and ankles, and once your team is used to it, it's fun to do. I wrote an earlier post on The Blind Cross, which now that I do it regularly, and teach it, I can see how much I've learned since I wrote that. 

So here are examples of when I think the Blind Cross is perfectly acceptable.
When D is in the tunnel, you can't see your dog anyway.  And your dog can't see you. So, so long as you have crossed their projected path and have turned so you can see them by the time they exit, all is well. Some handlers, however, fear their dog will collide with them on exit, and this could be a real concern if your dog is lightning fast, or you are slow and  can't get across the path in time. (This can also be said of the Front Cross, though, and I have seen some crazy antics with H and D stumbling around to avoid each other, despite their being able to see each other the whole time.)

Slower dogs may also take awhile to scramble up the A-frame or See-Saw, giving the handler time to blind cross in front of the down side.  Distance handlers can cut more caty-corner to the A-frame on their send (green),  and have time to BC before even faster dogs gets to the down contact.

Dogs on the dog walk can hardly choose to veer off path, so H can afford to run ahead and turn their back for a second before D reaches the down contact.  At least in theory.  I've never tried this.

The hardest part of the Blind Cross is mastering it.  It feels weird, disorienting, perhaps at first sinful, to turn your back on your dog.  It's like a broken connection.  But you soon master the art of quickly turning your head and shoulders towards the dog's projected path.  You are only disconnected for a second.  It feels much like a ballet move -- the pirouette!  Turn your head, your body follows.  Here's a diagram of the blind cross.

The blind cross isn't for very many situations, and may not be for some handlers.  But I'm seeing more and more advanced handlers doing it routinely, and it looks elegant when well executed.

Training the Blind Cross:
Start with Flatwork. 
  1. Whenever you take your dog for a walk, on leash, and they happen to fall behind you, cross over in front of them without turning to face them.  Pass the leash behind your back to your other hand.  This naturally desensitizes both you and the dog to the maneuver.
  2. Put them in a sit/stay or stand/stay.  Cross over in front of them with your back to the dog.  If they stay put, click/treat out of the hand nearest the dog.  Vary it up by walking circles around the dog, clockwise, then counterclockwise, always facing forward such that sometimes you'll be walking backwards.

So the Blind Cross is coming back into favor.  Dont' be shy.  Give it a try!  If nothing else, it's great practice being out of your comfort zone, and "thinking out of the box".

Upwards and onward!

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Dog Club Duties

L to R: Michele, Puddin, Sheryl holding
a box of brochures.  Charlie was off with Wayne.
Publicity Committee:  This year my club duties will be expanded thanks to our new Publicity Committee, which I chair, getting the funding I asked for.  Yippee!  We now have a paid for booth including 10' x 10' canopy that the club will own (instead of borrowing mine), which means I can paint our logo around the edges!  We can afford to laminate posters and place them in vets offices, and maybe start accumulating a set of demo equipment.  My enthusiasm took a huge leap now that I know the club supports it.

I designed these brochures last year as the Publicity
Committee's first effort.  Hot gluing the Pup Corn treats
to the top was a real attention getter!
Krewe Of Mutts Parade: We didn't get our funding in time to sign up for a booth space at this annual event, so last Sunday Sheryl Mc' and I wore our Red Stick Agility T-shirts and just passed out club brochures to passers-by who looked like they might want to train their dogs.  She walked her Boston, Charlie, and I walked Joy's boxer, Puddin. Most people had never heard of LCCOC, though our club's been around for nearly 50 years. We're well known as a training club in competition circles, but not by the general public. Clearly, we have a PR problem -- which I aim to rectify by our 50th anniversary in 2013.

The LSU Veterinary School Open House next weekend is a big affair drawing huge crowds, and I'm coordinating our booth volunteers for that, despite the fact that I'll be at a trial in Mobile that weekend.  We have a bunch of great volunteers lined up.  Crowds of around 5,000 are expected. I just learned this is the only Vet school in Louisiana, one of only 28 in the nation, and one of the largest and best funded.

I'm keeping up the duties as LCCOC Webmaster and Membership Coordinator this year too, also serving on the Agility Committee and teaching agility classes once or twice weekly.  I'm offering my first Saturday class, Handling Fundamentals, but there are only 2 students enrolled.  I would have thought Saturday would be more convenient to some people than weeknights.  No matter.  It gets me out there training my own dogs every Saturday!

I also volunteered John and myself to coordinate the Summer Crawfish Boil (same as last year (2011)  and the year before that (2010), using our own equipment to boil 100 lbs of crawfish.  Nedra volunteered her yard again, everybody brought a dish, and last year we had over 40 people attend.  This is up from 12 when we used to hold the event at our agility field which has no water, no electricity and no bathroom.  I was successful in getting the Crawfish Boil budget increased by $50 this year because, even though we boil them ourselves now, the raw sacks are going up in cost and there are so many more gluttons like myself gobbling them up.  Crawfish here in Louisiana are a big, big deal.

John and I are also helping our new Field Maintenance guy, Ken, with whatever he needs.  We started by chopping down 2 scrub trees a few weeks back that blocked our night lighting, and are about to tackle 2 pesky china ball trees behind our fence that keep us forever raking one corner of our field to keep the spiky balls from injuring our dogs' paws.  We're also intent on cleaning up debris along the fences and making our field look neater.

Agility Trial: John has scheduled 2 vacation days to assist our course builder at our agility trial over Easter weekend, and this year John and I will be in charge of loading the U-Haul with equipment, getting it to the trial and safely back.  I'm also shadowing the Trial Secretary to learn more about handling the paperwork.

With all that scheduled, I won't be able to volunteer for much else!  I'll be out of town for the Obedience and Tracking trials, and focused on my dogs at our Agility trial.  I might be able to make the Herding trial.

It's going to be a busy year of volunteering.  Hopefully it will be grand fun and very educational!  Alas, my floors go increasingly un-mopped, my furniture undusted, my porches unswept, and the pile of dishes incessantly gathering in the sink will continue to disturb me.  HELLO.  A reliable housekeeper should go on my list of goals for 2012.  A nice, quiet, unobtrusive live-in maid who needed a free bedroom with a desk and wi-fi in exchange for some routine housework, and loved my dogs, would be wonderful.

Upwards and onward!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Pull Through Handling Maneuver

The Pull Through is one of my favorite handling maneuvers. It is easy to perform, easy to train, very useful, fun, and I've found it to be very reliable.  Dogs and handlers both seem to understand it.  Here's the diagram:

It's basically 2 fish hooks facing each other. Immediately at or after the jump, H turns into D while changing arms, D turns into H, and they run off together going in the opposite direction. H is basically pulling D through a narrow space between H and the wing.

Of course, the pull through can be used at any obstacle to elicit a 180. It is sometimes referred to as a "tight wrap".

This maneuver is often referred to as a "front cross", but to my mind it is NOT a front cross at all because the dog's and handler's paths never cross. It is a "side switch" and a "change of direction", yes, because the dog who used to be on your left is now on your right, and you do switch arms, but it is not a cross.

This maneuver can achieve some really tight turns, provided you signal collection and a turn just as D takes off, or before.  You signal this by your own decelleration to just past the plane of the jump, and I generally bend over forward just a bit as I turn inward, almost "scooping" my dog's nose into the hand closest to D.

TRAINING THE PULL THROUGH:  Easy.  Start with flatwork, indoors or out.  5 treats in each hand.  Walk along with D in heel position, turn 180 in towards your dog "on a dime", that is without stepping "into" their path, and deliver a treat into their upturned mouth as they complete their turn in to you.  Walk along some more.  Turn in again and when D turns the full 180 into you, deliver a treat from the closest hand. Keep walking the whole time, making 10 turns in all.  Repeat several times a day.  You can do this with a young dog on leash, switching the leash from hand to hand as you make your 180 turns, which trains the handler how to switch arms.
Introduce a wingless jump.  Sit D behind a low jump, about 10 feet back.  Walk along as above, give your JUMP command, and when D lands, turn in and make your 180.  Treat.  They will turn into you just as above.   Slowly begin making your turn while they are still in the air, and eventually just as they take off, and finally, before they take off so they'll know what's coming.  Randomize treat delivery, eventually eliminating the treats altogether.  End in a rousing game of chase or tug.

NOTE:  At no time in this exercise (or ever) should you let your dog cross behind you*. If they do, continue your turn inward (don't chase them), DON'T TREAT, reset them and start over. After they turn, the idea is to keep D in between you and the obstacle.

*Some folks consider a blind cross as encouraging your dog to cross behind you, and refuse to do that maneuver.  Others have figured out how to execute that cross in such a way that the dog isn't crossing behind, but the handler is crossing in front.  A significant but subtle difference. More on the Blind Cross later.
Introduce 2 wingless jumps, and eventually add wings.  Same as above, but take the 1st jump, pull through and make a 180 back to the second jump, then pull through and head back to Jump 1,  then back to Jump 2, etc, 10 cycles of this will give you 10 reps on each side.  Have a big party.

This gets both my dogs revved up until we're executing at a fast pace.  They love doing this, and the more we do it, the better they become at collection and tight turns.

Try it.  Enjoy it.

Upwards and onward,