Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2x2 Weave Pole Entrance (No Video...Dang It!)

I took Gilda to AU today for her makeup class (since we've all agreed to let Dr. Randall have a nice Thanksgiving and gave her Wednesday off from Agility) and while I remembered to take my camera along... I left the memory card in the computer!
I was really hoping to take a few more brief videos as I find them to be so helpful...
Jessica worked on Gilda's stays (which beginners can work on during daily walks and spare moments at home) and on Gilda's jumping and Jump Recalls. Gilda has often been a somewhat reluctant jumper so it was pretty exciting to see her actually wanting to jump today!
 [Beginners Note: One of the issues that I and many new students find frustrating is that their dog will often perform a solid stay and/or recall at home 99.9% of the time only to seem unable to perform the same commands in class at all! Rest assured that you are not alone in this. Gilda seems to find the Agility arena to be an exciting place full of new smells, other dogs and lots of fun equipment and this overstimulation seems to make it hard for her to concentrate on me. She reminds me of a small child still learning impulse control. Know that your instructor understands this phenomena! Hang in there and celebrate the small gains!]
Jessica worked some more with Gilda on her 2o2o and 'upped the ante' by giving the "Two" command while she was running. In the previous session, Jessica was standing next to Gilda when she issued the command. For Gilda (and most Agility dogs) movement creates excitement so Jessica is working to teach Gilda how to focus and work with all sorts of movement and distractions.
Jessica also worked more on Gilda's 2x2 Weave Pole Entrance (which is the exercise I really wanted to video!). This exercise is geared towards teaching the dog how to enter the weave poles. In Agility, dogs must ALWAYS enter the Weave Poles with their left shoulder to the right of the first pole. (This is difficult for humans to read and understand so you can imagine that it's tricky to train a dog to get this concept!)
For the exercise, 2 poles set 24" apart are used. Gilda is not lured or cued. Jessica waits for her to offer the behavior of going between the two poles with her her left shoulder to the right of the first pole at which time she gives a C/T. Once Gilda performs this reliably, Jessica then uses a tug-toy as a remote reward tossing it forward in the direction Gilda is moving. This action is not only a reward for Gilda ("a toy came from the sky when I went through those poles!") but it also engages her prey drive and keeps her driving forward. She will use this forward drive later when we introduce more Weave Poles. (There's that recurring theme about creating good agility foundations again! Fascinating stuff).
Once Gilda has a good success rate of entering the poles from one point, Jessica begins moving the starting point slightly. Gilda needs to learn that no matter where the excercise begins, she must always find that first pole and enter with her left shoulder to the right of it.
I really hope to get a short video of this as it makes so much more sense when you can watch the process. Maybe Santa will bring us a spare memory card...

No comments: