Shape Up – musings, reflections, thoughts.

So we’re back from the weekend of learning stuff.

I sort of… don’t know how I feel about how it all went. Maybe I need to make some lists. Lists are good.

  • Lumen was great. Mostly. The first morning she was awful – she was so slow and disinterested I thought it was going to be a complete waste of my time. By the afternoon she’d perked right up and was running a bit slower than ‘at home’ speed. The next 2 days sort of fluctuated unpredictably between her being “on” and her being slow. By the afternoons she’d perk up and then crash, and there didn’t seem to be any consistency in when she would be happy or not based on what I did or didn’t do before a run, whether she had more or less time out of the crate.
  • I actually found a reward/toy that she really seemed to like – it’s a lotus ball that I put a piece of cooked sausage or something in, and she could tug it to open it up and eat the food. I want to focus at home with her on just playing with that ball, away from agility, to make it super awesome funtimes.
  • I really liked refining my handling and getting to play with cool moves like threadle-rears, German turns, reverse spins, etc. I was really enjoying those twisty courses and think it would be even more fun with a Loki.
  • It was cool to see what Lu could do even when I didn’t know she could do it cos we haven’t really trained it, at all. Like finding the hidden end of a tunnel, or calling past a bunch of tunnels without me really having to call her, she just didn’t worry about them. Which is Lu, I guess.
  • I learnt very quickly that the best thing to do for Lu was anything that would keep her in motion – for that reason we really, really like German Turns. 😉
  • There were no dogwalks, and because she hadn’t been weaving, they were ok for her to not weave, and there were 2 other 500-height dogs jumping at 300mm so I jumped Lu on 300mm too.

Ok… and then..

  • I have trouble in my brain finding the seminar valuable because although it was really fun to do 100 backsides and threadles and discriminations, I know that we’re never going to see courses like that here. Maybe not “never”, but not now anyway. We were thinking that maybe someone should bring UKI down here. Maybe I can do that. Y’know, with all the spare time I have. In the meantime we have these huge open big courses with stupid discriminations that you can’t handle cos you can’t get there… So it’s really nice that Lu can do a threadle-rear now but am I going to use it? Uh, not sure.
  • I felt a big conflict, in a way, between what I’d learnt during the OMD seminar and this one. In a way. Some of it was fine, like finding your dog’s line but there was certainly less emphasis on supporting, showing, and guiding that line. And more on “do this handling option here because we want you to” (which was us learning handling moves, that’s fine) or “Do this move here because it’s faster” rather than “How can I best show my dog where it’s going next ahead of time?” which is how I want to think. So I suppose in a way I need to take it all as more of a ‘training exercise’ rather than learning how to cue and decide the moves based on how it will best support showing my dog the line. I think there was some of this sort of discussion (As in, “Well, you COULD do this move on that bar, but then your dog would come all the way out here and it would be slower), but I felt also that they were ok with, say, running their dogs at a tunnel and using their ‘flappy tappy’ to stop them going in it and go over a jump instead, rather than giving the dogs confidence and speed by not letting their noses point at that tunnel (if possible) by doing some other move to help them. And I think for Lu, that confidence that yes, THAT is the way I want you to go, there are no questions, is something she needs. And I guess the more you trained ‘flappy tappy’ the less they’d have that question in their mind but I just… I don’t know – it didn’t sit so well with me to run at a tunnel (basically) but actually want them to come and do a jump next to it.

So… plenty to think about, but maybe not as much as the OMD seminar. I don’t want to compare the two, I know they’re different and maybe the focus was different, but I took pages and pages and pages of notes for OMD, and for this one, I drew 2 little diagrams of some setups I want to make at home.

I think now it’s time to sign up for OMD premium membership to start working through some of their exercises, turns and courses with Loki (and Lu), and building his Foundation skills using their method (and Shape Up as well, it can’t hurt to have more tools than less)… it’s time to keep working on their dogwalks (and we had a great session with Loki yesterday with a couple of leaps to differentiate between leaping and JPing), to work on proofing Lumen’s weaves and her entries. I’m thinking that maybe instead of teaching Lu the hard turns Silvia’s way, I might teach her a sort of 2o2o kind of thing which I read on Polona’s blog, as maybe that will be clearer for her – a STOP vs. a sort of run slower and turn type thing. And if I get a stop and a flick away then that will take care of those turns and she won’t have to question if it’s a collected stride & turn vs a run, it’ll either be RUN RUN or STOP in position. I think maybe that will be better.

… Maybe.


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