A big weekend just passed: it was a public holiday Monday and so we headed off for a more regional trial. The day before, however, we met up with Penny and her crew and drove around some hills looking for campsites. Everything was muddy, wet and boggy, and very full of motorbiking people, so we went south into the Strezleki Ranges area, almost got bogged, towed Penny’s van up a slippery hill, and came to stop and set up camp at a great little spot about 30 minutes from the trial. Prime. Wishing we’d brought more alcohol post-towing-adventure, we built a campfire, tied Lumen up and ate bananas and chocolate and other sweet things until we felt ill.
Next morning was the trial, so we were up bright and early, snagged ourselves a good spot and began. Lu’s first run was excellent jumping – a course that had HEAPS of tunnel discriminations and threadle-arms into tunnels… I haven’t included the video of that one in the compilation below because something happened at the startline and she stood up, turned around and sniffed. This is so unusual for her- either she smelled Penny, or a dog had peed there recently (and being hormonal, this could be a high likelihood)… but anyway, when she looked back up, I released her and she crashed into the first bar and maybe hurt her toe or something, so the whole run was a bit off (though she did the tricky bits just fine) and not at ‘competition speed’… It was much more back to her old ‘training speed’ before Polona’s class.
Then we pulled out some really cool agility runs.
Some things I’ve noticed:
- I need to get much better at cuing a pinwheel turn earlier for her. Send and go!!! I’m still lingering too long to make sure she takes the bar but I suppose it’s a balancing act between pulling her off (being a baby dog) and giving her enough information.
- I need to do lots of just straight-exit RCs because her stride has shortened a LOT… And look, it’s probably competition, too, I know she needs to get up her confidence and that her striding will come with time and confidence and more trialling, but I also feel that she’s lost some of her reach and confidence because of the turns we were doing. I think that just doing straight exits for the next few sessions will help though, too.
- Unfortunately I really set back my calf healing process during the last run of the day (if you watch me closely on the last run you’ll see me hobbling) so we both get a bit of a break unless I can convince Anne (whose field I use to train on) to help me… somehow. I just don’t want to have to do RC with me being static, I think she needs to know that if I’m stopped, it’s a deceleration cue and she shouldn’t ignore that and drive forward to the tunnel without me. So training RC with me standing isn’t the best idea.
- I still need to work out my timing with front-crosses. There’s one on the video where I crowded her and all she could do was come over to the wrong side of me because she was confused. Poor Bean.
- Need to do more weave practise. For some reasons he got a bit tangled up in the weaves during open agility which cost her a pass and considering how broken I was that was so annoying – I thought she went through clear. I don’t think it was necessarily because I did anything, I think it’s because she’s only been weaving for what, 2 months? And just got a bit tangled. On another agility course she was finding it tricky to get her rhythm so definitely seems like something to practise.
- I have a lot of work to do to be able to predict her speed and timing of my turns- rear-crosses in particular. One rear-cross I did really badly because I forgot that I’m usually more ahead of her than I think I will be… and I’d planned to rear-cross her into weaves but said (out loud, too!) that if I had beaten her to the weaves, that I would cross her at the top instead, I wasn’t going to stand at the weaves and wait for her and then cross. Sure enough, I got there first so resorted to my backup plan. Need to remember to do that for all times I plan a rear-cross because I’m often ahead of her.
- I need to go back to doing multi wraps and sends to cik/cap. She seems to have lost a lot of her turning ability since we took the Foundations class for the 2nd time OR since she had her long break after the surgery (or both). She seems to want to slice the jump and then turn, not turn in the air, even when we’re just doing little things at home and I’m making sure I’m being SUPER obvious with my cues. I’ve put a little sequence of pictures just below to show you what I mean. It’s a good example, I think, because in OMD world, I would be saying “we’re going back over there!” and I don’t know if I could have cued it earlier… Maybe I could have! Maybe she’s just forgotten how to wrap.
Otherwise, I was so pleased with her. Given I thought that we’d be going home after the agility run if she was running like she did in the very first go, she picked up and ran beautifully. Her A-frame contacts are so awesome now, I just love being able to trust her to just do them and I can’t wait for her dog walk to ‘settle’ into a routine, to get back to the long and low striding.. I miss being able to trust her to just do them. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how much is ‘trial stuff’ and how much is ‘having done turns training’ stuff.
And now for the video