Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good Gilda Shows Up for Practice

We had our final Jess Session this morning and thankfully Gilda brought her good side along (mostly because there were no other dogs present). Gilda has been making great strides with her Rear Cross On the Flat (RCOTF) using my outside hand (with treat) held low. The RCOFT is a side-change maneuver which can be performed on the flat or on the Agility Course. Now that Gilda has high accuracy with a treat, I felt it was time to start moving her to a hand cue and fading the treat. I wanted to see what the 'final product' should look like and the beautiful Style was happy to show me:

Style starts in the heel position on Jessica's left side. When Jessica cues with her outside (right) hand, Style turns away from Jessica. As Style begins her turn, Jessica turns toward her dog and the change of side is complete with Style now in the heel position on Jessica's right side. Great Job Style!!

After Jessica and Style demoed some Jump Recalls for me, we brought Gilda out to perform some recalls.  We practiced Foundation Recall, Serpentine Recall, 270 Recall and Jessica introduced us to the Back Up Recall which we had previously only done On the Flat.

We also worked on Gilda's troublesome Start Line Stays (SLS).  Much to my relief, Jessica reports that SLS issues are very common and usually stem from the dog being eager to 'play the game' of Agility. This greatly eased my mind as it's one area that I never expected to have an issue with as her Stay has always been so solid when we are away from Agility School. Gilda was doing much better by the end of session. It's just going to take a lot of consistency and practice.

Next, we introduced Gilda to the Forward Send on the 2nd Jump of a 3-Jump Pinwheel. Gilda didn't quite understand this new cue which was consisted of me aiming my hand at the standard (side) of the second jump (usually my  hand cues are aimed more toward the bar). She also wanted to stop because I was stopping. Interesting how those dog brains work. During one Jump, she knocked the bar down and then refused to take the Jump at all. (See how the Patience and Humility is a running theme?) When she finally got a successful Jump in, we ended the Pinwheel session and moved to the Weave Poles.

Today Gilda really seemed to have a light bulb moment. Even with the Channels closed further than ever, she was willing and able to complete all 6 poles pretty reliably AND in both directions! It was very exciting. She is going to miss the 'Jessica Weave Pole' game terribly but will hopefully find another fun way to learn to Weave.

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