ST Foundations: Assignment 1

Lu’s serious face and posture when you say “Ready…. ready….!” with
a ball in hand… 


So Assignment 1 for Silvia Trkman’s foundation class is up, and in a way I’m dreading it a bit because it’s the thing we’re really not that great at, which is sends to wraps.

I watch other people’s videos and their dogs dive into the wrap, whip around it, and dive out of it, full speed. I’m lucky if I get a lolling canter into it and around, and usually a sprint out. I can get more speed if I send her from a tunnel but that’s not what we’re meant to do.
So I’m thinking maybe she’s a dog that just does things, but doesn’t put 110% effort in… I know she’s not a BC, I’m not going to get those low to the ground sprints, but SOME kind of enthusiasm would be nice. Maybe that will come with maturity? I hope so, because I’m feeling very lacklustre right now.
And I shouldn’t judge her on this morning- she’d already been zooming around with Mal, she crashed into a wooden fence and hurt herself earlier, and I took her to a new park where we’d never worked before (very sniffy), so of course she’s not going to be her best, and I HAVE been getting some better drives into a wrap with a plastic bottle, or the hose or something, but only ever once or twice.

She just doesn’t seem to get enthusiastic. Like… when I get Mal out, I say “ready… ready….” and he’s dancing on his feet, tensed up, ready to do… whatever! If I say ready to Lu (and we’ve done plenty of practise with that cue!) she tenses and looks serious, but isn’t ready to burst out of her skin to do whatever’s about to happen. I wonder if that’s experience- she doesn’t 100% trust that she knows what to do next so she has to take it easy to figure it out. I know in new situations sometimes she’ll stop, observe, walk.. stop, observe, walk… She’s a thinker. I think all the thinking is slowing her down.

We’re also going to be doing some more tunnel work- I’ve been curving it gradually over the past couple of tries and I’m thinking the speed is still pretty good (as with her, it could always be better I think – which doesn’t bode well for running contacts, but that’s another story entirely) so then when she’s blasting through, I’ll start doing call to hand and turns, and maybe some obstacle discrimination with all my tunnels (fun tunnel-land!).

I just think Lu is so quick and so smart that she should really excel in agility… but I’m just not seeing the best from her right now.
We’ll try again tomorrow.

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7 thoughts on “ST Foundations: Assignment 1

  1. Hello, Em! I think Lumen is about the same age now as when Des and I began ST Foundations…about 7 months? Des began slowly as well. Just keep at it, the speed will come, and the class is fantastic. There are people in there who are taking it for the 2nd and 3rd time, so don’t worry too much about what the other dogs are doing, MANY have been doing it for much longer! πŸ™‚ Lumen is a beauty!

    • Em says:

      Thank you so much for your reply!!! It certainly gives me hope to hear that Des sped up as you went. Yes Lumen is 7 months – today!
      Did you do the RC class as well?
      Thanks again for your reassurance, I really think Lu has the potential to be speedy AND responsive, just sometimes I’m not seeing the speed! We’ll keep playing and training πŸ˜€

      • The foundations class kept us BUSY, but all the little skills build on each other, and really taught Des to love to run fast! πŸ™‚ If it helps, those skills are meant to be worked over many more months than the class lasts, so don’t worry that you don’t master them all! We’ve also done the RC class twice. I went slowly (and was thankful I wasn’t trying to do both classes at the same time) but he’s got a great understanding of how to hit and adjust. I’m sure you’ll have a great time with Lumen!

      • Em says:

        So I’d just written this reply and WP goes and randomly deletes it. I was a bit stalker-y and found your YouTube and I’m amazed by the difference in Des between your Lesson 1 Video 1 video, and Lesson 2, or even video 2 of lesson 1… And I’m wondering if there was something you did to help him run fast and get the game, or if you have any tips, because I’ve done everything with Lu- I’ve been practicing for ages with her, all different toys, balls, chasing, ropes, restraining, revving her up, luring her like Silvia suggests and yet she still just plods over to the wing if I try and start from a restrain… I can see an uncertainty in Des’ first video that I think Lumen has, but then by the 2nd one he’s almost a different dog! Any advice!?

  2. I’m sorry that I just saw this! But then I just watched your most video from a few days ago running with her around the trees? Fantastic! She LOVES chasing after you, it looks like you found something that lets her stop thinking and just run and play! She seems to be thinking a lot about the cones and wings, but when it’s a tree, she flies. There was a lot I didn’t video when just starting the class, but I was working with Des every day (he came to work with me…best work-breaks ever) and we looped around trees for months. I’m sure the people in the office wondered what the heck I was doing! Some dogs seem a lot more sensitive to being restrained, but most I’ve seen do eventually get it. Same with the cones and standards, some take a bit longer, but she can run, and she really loves chasing you! πŸ™‚

    • Em says:

      That’s ok! I saw on your blog about your surgery so I wasn’t sure if things were hectic in life or if it just didn’t show up as a reply.
      She seems to like running around the trees but I need to be careful not to run too far ahead of her, therefore having to stop to send her around the tree – I need to be running flat out too!! πŸ˜‰ You’re so right about her thinking about the cones and jump – she’s a serious little thinker, my girl. I have been working with her every day so I’m glad you were doing that too, and we’ve been trying to do heaps of trees now. Lu also comes to work (school) with me but we don’t get time to play, it’s more about her coming on yard duty and licking kids in the face. πŸ˜‰ Maybe I’ll start taking her down to the bottom of the oval and running her around. I’m sure I’ll have an audience of kids in no time!!
      Thanks for your lovely comment, I sometimes just feel like we’re not making any progress (or going backwards) and get so disheartened. Lots more tree running to come I think. πŸ˜‰

      • Just keep going, try not to get down about it. She will progress! And if you plan to do running contacts, prepare for UP one day and DOWN the next. It’s a huge learning curve, but a time will come when the successes outweigh the other days, and it’s SO worth it! πŸ™‚

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