Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Motivating Lucky's Weave Performance

Lucky weaves at home, me with her Chuck-It in my hand.
Lucky's performance at the Port Allen Trial is perplexing.  Almost embarassing.  0 Q's, and all way over course time.  She was lethargic and would barely run all weekend. I couldn't get her attention in or out of the ring. She even ignored her favorite treats (shrimp and hot dogs). She wouldn't tug much. There were flies about, which she was focused on and snapped at.  She only had 1 clean run out of 6, but all of them were way over course time and once she missed so many obstacles I excused us from the ring. She knocked a bar, very rare for her. Tracey, who has run her successfully before, ran her Saturday afternoon as my hip was hurting, but Lucky would not focus. Kept looking for me. That was a disaster. Another run she saw Daddy videoing her from the sidelines and ran over to him. The rest of the weekend I got someone else to do Lucky's videos.

I was so miffed, I got home Sunday evening, took her in the back yard to see if maybe she was injured.  But no, she ran her weaves and sailed over jumps like a champion and didn't want to quit. Of course, I had her Chuck-It in my hand.  I am disappointed other competitors can't see her at her best, so full of enthusiasm and focus.

Next day, I videoed her doing her weaves the way she does them at home and in class, and post it here to PROVE that she can do them.  I want others to know I wouldn't DARE bring a dog into the competition ring that couldn't do all the obstacles, run and follow directions well, or didn't enjoy the activity.  She wouldn't have earned her AX and AXJ titles in a year if she was as incompetent as she was this weekend.

By comparison, here is the Port Allen Trial composite video below.

Very discouraging, but three different people came up and said they enjoyed watching her run and not to give up. I needed to hear that. I was most impressed at the applause Tracey got for not giving up on Lucky.  The big cheer was for her, not Lucky.  See, it's not just about the dog!

Lucky's speed is what concerns me. Yesterday I ran her at our training field through the same standard course that Tracey ran her at the trial, and she flew through it with only one mistake - knocked bars at the tripple.  SCT 64 seconds, she ran it in 53 seconds.  Plenty of time. 1st place winner ran it in 48.24, only 5 seconds faster!  And, since it wasn't a real trial run, I left her on the table an extra 6 seconds to catch my breath.  Subtracting that wasted time, her time would have been 47 seconds!  Here is that run:

I will continue to try to figure out how to motivate her in the ring.  SHE CAN DO THIS!

Upwards and onward!


Rose said...

Hi, Michele:

I read your post yesterday and started to comment upon it, but changed my mind. However, today I watched a new video from Susan Garrett, and it made me think of you and Lucky.

I think you are looking at the problem from the wrong perspective. It is not so much that you have to figure out how to motivate Lucky in a trial setting as you have to figure out how to get her to run with enthusiasm in training when the toy is not on offer. As Susan puts it, you have to transfer the value of the toy to working with you.

I'm not positive, but I think the only way to access the video is through the Susan's newsletter.

Anonymous said...

Funny that I read this entry right after reading this:

I also think the problem might be a little different than what you're thinking now, but it's so difficult when we're close to the situation.

Good luck and thanks for posting, I love reading about your experiences. :)