Monday, January 24, 2011

Gilda the Good Dog

{a little Agility at the Akron Children's Fun Run!}
We had another good practice session with Jessica today. I love the fact that Jessica was there on our very first day of Agility and she has been with us through our starts and stops and therefore can really see just how far Gilda has come. Jessica also intimately understands Gilda as she too rescued a timid Agility girl.

I am feeling like Gilda and I are really getting caught up and are almost where we should be as a novice handler/novice dog team in our currently weekly class. Here is what today's practice looked like:

After a Shadow Handling warm-up we worked on the Jungle Gym Teeter. Gilda seems to be most nervous about the noise of the Teeter so we did some click/treat work just for tolerating the noise of the Teeter slamming to the ground. I see much more Teeter work in our future!

We then did some Weave Pole work using the Channel Weaves and a treat placed on a Target. At this point in training, Jessica holds Gilda on one side of 6 Weave Poles while I give the 'Weave' command from the other side. We started to vary my position and movement as well as varying the Channels. It quickly became a fun game for Gilda to start with Jessica, Weave to me, get her treat if earned, and then run back to Jessica.
We can see that Gilda is starting to understand that she must weave ALL of the poles to get a reward. Like the Teeter, there is lots of Weave Pole practice ahead for us too!

Next we did a few Serpentine Jump Recalls which is a new skill for both of us. At this point, the hardest part is getting Gilda to hold her Stay so that we can begin the exercise! Otherwise, she seems remarkably in tune with my body position and is willing to slice the jump. [We also need to work on her stopping position on all of our Recalls now that I understand that all Recalls end with a stop at my side!]

Lastly, Jessica laid out a 7 Obstacle course and walked through once with me. After 2 walk throughs on my own, we brought Gilda out to try: Jump, Plank with 2o/2o (front cross), Jump, Tunnel (front cross), 6 Weave Poles, Jump, A-Frame.

There are of course areas to work on: Start Line Stay (!), walking the entire plank instead of jumping on mid-board, my Front Crosses, and my ability to judge Gilda's A-Frame to name a few. Jessica reports that our Sends to the Tunnel are looking good as well as Gilda's ability to follow a Forward Send over the Jump! Yay us!

 I just can't express how much fun it is to run along with your dog while they follow your lead all the while having just as much fun as you are!

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