We first practiced some Jump Recalls to Heel including the Foundation Recall, the Extension Recall and the Serpentine Recall. The interesting thing here was that on the Foundation Recall, Gilda was fantastic when I recalled her to my right side and very weak when I recalled her to my left side. I can't say I was surprised as I favor my right side, but it was reinforcement of the need to work both sides during practice!
I had heard the term 'Jungle Gym Teeter' before but thought that it was just another name for the Teeter/Seesaw. In fact, Jungle Gym Teeter actually refers to a training exercise...who knew?
In Jungle Gym Teeter, the dog is encouraged to interact with the Teeter. Dogs can be encouraged to push the high side down with their paws or to pounce on the high side for a treat. Tonight, Gilda's goal was to walk up the Teeter until she pushed the high side down onto the Table. The interactions are designed to make the dog more comfortable with the scary, noisy Teeter and to make them feel more in control of the equipment. Pretty cool huh?
Next we did a Dogwalk exercise. I was confused because I thought that Gilda had a pretty good Dogwalk already. Turns out, she does but there's more to it...
For this exercise, Linda took one of the Dogwalk ramps and attached it to a Table. Gilda's goal here was to jump onto the table and run fast down the ramp to the end. Apparently, many dogs while training the Dogwalk, become very tenative about the down ramp because of their Contact training. Since you want good speed during an agility run, you don't want your dog slowing down to perform their 2o/2o or slowing down to make sure they hit the contact area. This also teaches the dog to run the entire ramp and discourages them from coming off the ramp too early. Amazing the things these Agility folks think up! Gilda cooperated and performed this very nicely.
Next we worked on Gilda's A-Frame. Again, even though her A-Frame is fairly solid at this point, there is more to A-Frame training...
Specifically we were aiming to get her to run straight down the backside and continue in a straight line with good speed. Gilda continues to have a beautiful natural A-Frame and we will continue to work on her running straight ahead.
Last we worked a few Pinwheel Jump exercises. We started with a simple 3 Jump Pinwheel ending with a Recall to Heel which Gilda performed well. Next we did 2 Jumps with a Front Cross on the Flat to get Gilda used to seeing the cue and to get me used to performing the Front Cross!
Gilda had a few distractions but overall I think she's really starting to 'get' the whole Agility thing and the fact that she needs to stay with me. There is no doubt in my mind that she loves performing the obstacles and that in itself is fun to witness!
Next practice is Friday morning and we have our work cut out for us!