Thursday, June 30, 2011

Opposite Day

We had a great class last night. It was possibly our last indoor class on the sand since the new turf surface is to be installed sometime in the next 2 weeks. No more orange shoes and sand in the car! There was a new dog, Lily, a Clumber Spaniel, in class which gave Henry and Gilda a bit of a challenge but overall, everyone did well.

Gilda had a great class. She was attentive and focused and did everything I asked of her. We started class with some shadow handling exercises including some Front Crosses on the Flat (FCOTF) and Rear Crosses on the Flat (RCOTF). I can see now why these have always seemed so confusing! There were 4 of us in class and it looked like we were doing completely different things when in fact, we were all still doing RCOTFs:

Gilda & I were practicing a RCOTF with a 180 degree turn cued with an outside hand. (See video example here courtesy of Jessica & Style)
Marilyn & Henry were working on a 'zigzag' RCOTF which has alternating 90 degree turns. (See example here courtesy of AgilityNerd.com)
Lina & Jax were working on cueing a 180 degree turn with the inside hand.
{Funny Face on the A-Frame}

Next we worked on a simple Pinwheel sequence with our dogs on our left: Table, Jump, A-Frame (RC), Tunnel. On the first attempt, I was ahead of Gilda at the bottom of the A-Frame and attempted to use my right had to cue her into the tunnel. In the process, I ended up behind the Tunnel entrance instead of moving toward the Tunnel exit to pick up Gilda. On the second attempt, as Gilda was descending the A-Frame, Linda said, "Slow Down"  and like magic, I was able to step behind Gilda as she came off of the A-Frame while cueing Tunnel with my left hand and moving across to the Tunnel exit! It was a light bulb moment for sure. It was so simple and yet I'm still not to the stage of handling where I can think to make such adjustments without some coaching.
The funny part is, this is the first time I've ever heard Linda instruct me to slow down. It's usually "Don't wait!" or "Go! Go!"

Later, we were were doing a sequence in which the dogs were on our left. At the bottom of the A-Frame, we were to perform a FCOTF to send our dog to the Table off of our right. When Gilda hit the Table, Linda said, "Good. But you don't need to raise your outside arm so high".  This cracked me up because usually it's "Arm up!". Thus, I dubbed it 'Opposite Day'.

It's always great to leave class feeling like you've improved on something and that's the way I felt last night. I'm pretty sure Gilda felt the same way...

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