Well! On Monday evening we popped down to our new agility field and got set up. The lights are amazing, with good visiblity even when the sun had gone down. YES! My winter worries are now over! Hurrah!
I started Lumen off doing a bit of pre-serpentine work.
We’re up to number 2-3 in this diagram. Tonight I angled the jumps just slightly more than 2, but not all the way to 3. She’s taken to this amazingly well… and… what’s more, I had the three jumps into a curved tunnel and my girl was flying. I don’t know what happened but something has clicked and she’s gone: Ohhhhh… you wanted me to go FAST?! And… she’s blitzing. Before, I could outrun her to about the second or third jump before she’d overtake me and run leisurely into the curved tunnel… Tonight, she overtook me halfway between the first and second jumps AND BLITZED INTO THE TUNNEL. She’s not been a huge fan of a curved tunnel but tonight… it was amazing. I just wanted to do it again and again but I didn’t, I stopped so I didn’t overdo it! I wish I had it on video, it felt that good. In the last week or two, she just seems to be getting better and better, and faster and faster. Now to figure out how to deal with all that speed!!
The problem I’m now having is setting the jumps in a straight line into the tunnel for extension/collection exercises, she completely ignored my cik/tok because she was so intent on the tunnel!!! And because she’s now actually got some speed happening, she’s not turning as nicely as she was… So I might do a jump-wrap-thrown toy type exercise, as she runs fast in a line of straight jumps so the first jump should get her speed and the second will be a fast wrap… There’s no point practising from a stand-still because the speed is so dramatically different if I send her from stationary vs. her running in from a jump. It’s amazing though because I’m calling the cik/tok command as she’s going over the jump before the wrap to give her enough time!!! Jeez my handling is going to have to be spot-on with this girl.
We worked on some weave entries, too, but I find they’re difficult. I’ve gone back to starting her closer on the angle she finds difficult, and then moving her backwards gradually, before I make the angle more difficult. Hopefully this will help as we’re at a bit of a wall. Silvia Trkman says that finding entries becomes easier for them as the channel narrows so I don’t know how much work to do on entries with a wider (80cm) channel, vs. closing the channel more and then doing harder entries.
On Tuesday nights we’re going to a small-group class for foundation skills, more wraps around noodles, shaping, crate games etc… All of this is more beneficial though for teaching her to focus on me even with exciting things going on around her. And I’ll tell you what, apart from if we’re just standing still waiting for our turn through the tunnel or something, she doesn’t get distracted at all. What a stellar pup.
As far as tricks go, I’ve been teaching her to back up up the stairs outside our house. I was hoping it would help her with the double-foot hopping motion she needs to do a handstand but so far it’s one back foot then the other.