Today I took Lu down to our dog club – we were jumping into the ‘intermediate’ class, since that was all that was on. Penny went, too.
We did a bit of running DW- still not getting full speed, suspect I need to set mine up somewhere so I can do it 2-3 times a week instead of once. I suspect it’s a mixture of lack of fitness (need to do some more hill running and getting back into the bush) and confidence (high thing + narrow thing, and she’s forgotten that it’s all ok).
Then we tried this great little course that had a couple of serp-type bits, one twisty back-on-yourself-and-around type bit. You know, I might just draw a map for you.
There we go. So the funnerest parts were 4-6 and 10-14. (#1 is a tyre. I couldn’t remember the symbol for it)
As we walked, we figured there had to be an OMD kind of way to run it, I just didn’t know what it was. Luckily Penny thought of something. I have no idea what the move is technically called, but basically, I did a serp 1-4 and as she came over 3, I used my off-arm to get her in and flick her over that bar, meanwhile turning that same arm around back in the direction of 5, then as she was coming around to do 5 as indicated, I did a blind cross and moved toward 6. It actually worked really, really nicely for Lu and seemed to flow much better than any other option we could think of. I completely forgot my verbals but I was focusing so much on giving her the info of where to go and she seemed to get it. I was VERY impressed that she worked out 4-5 because that was a weird turn that we haven’t really ever done.
Then, 10-11-12 I tried doing nice open shoulder-pull type moves that we practised the other day and they worked ok too except that I didn’t pull her in enough for the serp part at 12 the first try.
In all, my little girl did a fantastic job. She’s not speedy but she’s steady and she seems to read me well (like when we did 13-tunnel, because I didn’t indicate the jump well. My bad)… but, what I’m wondering now in regards to OMD methodology is the importance of the connection with your dog and how this impacts giving timely information.
For example, on those two sections I mentioned, and 10-11-12 in particular, I felt like I had very little ‘connection’ with Lu- I was very much giving her early info (and possibly too early!) but not watching her. I find I’m all or nothing- I either stare at her and that impacts the line I’m trying to show her, OR, I’m COMPLETELY focused on the line (and therefore pretty much using my eyes as laserbeams at the ground (and I know OMD has their ‘chest laser point’ but I need my eyes to be doing it right now or they’re staring at Lu)) and not at all on Lu. Is it just with experience on my behalf that I can coordinate all these things? Am I focusing so much on being able to show her where to go and using my body correctly that I can’t fit another thing in my head? (Possibly) I’m hoping it’s just a time and experience deal, because I can barely remember what she looked like during this course, even from the corner of my eye. I think I was very involved with how to execute what I wanted to do. It certainly felt nice to be able to guide her nicely and move off and trust that she was committed. The two times she pulled off/didn’t do the bar were because I didn’t indicate them, not, as the instructor said, because I left too early.
She was a very good girl and it was very warm down there, and I was very restrained and only did the course with her once. She did it so nicely that I didn’t see any point going through again, there was nothing I felt desperate to work on, so, I didn’t. I played with her with the water spray bottle, and did a few too many DWs (sigh) but I didn’t overdo it at all. If she could just give me full speed DWs again I wouldn’t feel the need to keep doing them all the time, either.