And he didn't knock as many bars as I thought he might. LOTS of bars on Saturday when he was fully hyped to be there and we were doing little 3-bar 1-tunnel things... many less bars when shit got real. ;) (and real technical)

OMD times

So, Loki’s first seminar. Gosh he’s a little champion. He ran his heart out, and only at the very end he refused a Jaako or two because he was all: “really? I have to?”

We both learnt a lot – possibly me more than him (isn’t that always the way?). I improved my techniques on a lot of the turns immeasurably and you can see it in some of the moves on the video – the first attempt often worked ok but the last attempt was way better. I didn’t include all the fails on the video of course.

The sequence was good too and showed some definite places for us to work on (*coureversespinsgh*) – as in those situations Loki gets patterned so quickly and so begins to predict that despite my spin we’re still actually going forward. He also found Forced Front Crosses really difficult even though we’ve done plenty that have included a Jaako – take away that 2nd part and he wouldn’t take the bar. Cheeky. And, any front cross where I was up near the bar & he’d bring it down – if I was far from the bar it was ok. Obviously need to get him ok with me ‘crowding’ him a bit and still keeping it up. I still need to work on his commitment in German turns, not for the push part, but for the ‘come back over the bar’ part. I had a lot more success once I started using my off arm like they do in OMD but I liked Justine & Jessica’s rule of keeping that for ‘take the non-obvious side of the obstacle and flick back’. We were discussing this the other day in our little group of friends and didn’t come to any conclusion – some of us thought it would “muddy the waters” and dull down the signal when used for a threadle, but we also wondered if the dogs weren’t smart enough to differentiate between one and the other cue given that the situations and the rest of your body language is going to be very different.

He got to run 3 dog walks – the first one he didn’t hit because he was looking for the wrong exit, and he doesn’t usually hit the first time on a “new” dog walk. The 2nd had a backfoot JUST in, and the 3rd one was picture perfect and got a big reward right away. He even did seesaws! And, we started the weekend with no stay behaviour really, and by the end I could pretty confidently leave him and he wouldn’t pop up. That was lovely, but obviously still requires some work. But I think I found a way to practise it and reward him that seemed to work over the weekend so I’ll keep that up at home.

The only bad part of the weekend wasn’t part of the weekend at all – a friend told me that a lady (who is a dog/horse/human physio-type person) said to her that she suspected Loki was sore in the rear end. So Loki is getting the week off – personally, I’m not so sure – he wasn’t knocking bars or showing any signs at all to me. In general he has a sort of weird gait sometimes but so do his brothers so I’m thinking that’s genetic. I’ve had him checked over by vets and muscle people multiple times about his back legs in the past but he was given the all clear, told he had great muscletone, etc… he was very tired by Sunday but that’s to be expected… I guess that put a damper on the weekend for me – I don’t know why I feel like I’ve taken it personally, even though I don’t think it’s any kind of reflection on me, but an observation… It’s just made me feel tense, I think.

The photos aren’t wanting to upload from school so here’s a video for now instead. 🙂

I love this photo very much. I made an effort over the weekend to pretty much reward Loki no matter what. I knew that most of the time, his mistakes were a result of my mistakes, or him being a baby. Here we've just stuffed something up but I love that you wouldn't know it by looking at the photo. So much happiness. :)

sneak

I have one very, very sleepy Border Collie snoozing near the couch. Yesterday after the seminar he came home and wanted to chase Lumen and wrestle. No such wrestling tonight.

I don’t have the energy to debrief the whole thing right now and I’m trying to find some mad EDM music for the video (everything is too pretty and dreamy – I want fast and frantic, like how I felt running Loki). Once I have the perfect music, I’ll set it to upload overnight because our internet uploads at less than .4 mbps, it apparently shouldn’t take THAT long but trust me, it’ll take about 5 hours. Not kidding. Unless I upload it from school. Might do that, hey?

In the meantime here are a couple of sneak-peak photos that Nic took while I was out there madly trying to get from one place to the next. By the end Loki felt less frantic (tired) and therefore I felt less frantic. Watching the video though, I don’t know how it felt slower. This dog doesn’t do slow.

A very nice little backside-going collie, letting me get some distance on him for a second. ;)

A very nice little backside-going collie, letting me get some distance on him for a second. 😉

I love this photo very much. I made an effort over the weekend to pretty much reward Loki no matter what. I knew that most of the time, his mistakes were a result of my mistakes, or him being a baby. Here we've just stuffed something up but I love that you wouldn't know it by looking at the photo. So much happiness. :)

I love this photo very much. I made an effort over the weekend to pretty much reward Loki no matter what. I knew that most of the time, his mistakes were a result of my mistakes, or him being a baby. Here we’ve just stuffed something up but I love that you wouldn’t know it by looking at the photo. So much happiness. 🙂

And he didn't knock as many bars as I thought he might. LOTS of bars on Saturday when he was fully hyped to be there and we were doing little 3-bar 1-tunnel things... many less bars when shit got real. ;) (and real technical)

And he didn’t knock as many bars as I thought he might. LOTS of bars on Saturday when he was fully hyped to be there and we were doing little 3-bar 1-tunnel things… many less bars when shit got real. 😉 (and real technical)

Such a speedy little guy

full

This photo has nothing to do with the post, it's just adorable and Penny must have taken it secretly when we were at the beach last time because it just appeared on my phone.

This photo has nothing to do with the post, it’s just adorable and Penny must have taken it secretly when we were at the beach last time because it just appeared on my phone.

 

My head is full right now. Full of ideas and things and training plans. It feels as though I have a swarm of those little midgeflies all telling me lots of things. Good things, but lots of them.

I’m at the OneMind dogs seminar in Sydney right now, and last night we had our introductory lecture. It was a lot of information packed into about 5 hours. Lucky I took notes. I’m also beginning this play class with Polona, which should be really interesting, except for the fact that she recommends you stop all training for 6 weeks. And also there’s some compression jump grid/speed circle stuff I’d really like to try with Lu, and meanwhile I still need to close the weaves, and get her dogwalk back (I think I’ll back-chain this again, so start from a point on the top plank where she’s happy and I’m getting full speed and work my way back. At club the other day she had real issues with running up the up plank, until the first apex. So it’s like she’s afraid of the first plank, or of what’s going to happen after the apex. If I work backwards I should be able to get her back to the start without her realizing what I’ve done), and at some point find an adjustable A-frame so she can learn that, too.

In fact, I have so much information in my head right now that I’m not even sure where to begin writing about it. My thoughts are jumping here, there and everywhere. Maybe a list would help.

  • Play class with Polona: starting with food play. Pretty good at this already, I think. Not too concerned here. Missing a week anyway. Couple of things to try but not stressing over it.
  • Speaking of which, Noora from OMD had been talking about skills you can practice at home for agility, so I asked her later about whether there was a good way to reward recalls that tied in to agility training (I thought this was a fairly legitimate question) but she didn’t seem to have much of an answer other than to tell me don’t stress. Uhh… Yeah, no. And actually, I wasn’t stressing, for once, I was simply curious if we’re on the topic of ‘stuff you can do at home that will tie in to agility’, surely recalls can be a part of that too? Maybe my face was stressed.
  • Need to teach Lu sends better. Lots of this handling seems dependent on being able to send and go. Her sends to wraps were pretty good so it should be ok.
  • There is no such thing as a wrong obstacle. I think I’ve said this before but I’m saying it again so I remember. There were some great examples of the dog being pointed at a particular (‘wrong’) obstacles, and of course doing them. I really want to be ok with Lu doing the obstacles in front of her- I think this will do wonders for her speed and confidence, but to do that, I can never stop her for going ‘off course’ – I need to find the next closest obstacle (in training) and do that then reward her, or, just keep going and try again next time, or try and loop my way back to where the mistake was. This last option will be difficult- I’m not that good at thinking on my feet.
  • There were a couple of little jumping/bar/body awareness things I want to try with Lu, and some proofing exercises I want to do as well. These should be easy in the backyard. The great thing about all the handling moves we’ve learnt about in the seminar is that I can do them with just one bar, or at most, a bar and a tunnel. They have an interesting way of teaching a wrap that might appeal to the Lu, so I’ll be wanting to train this at home, especially since she’s forgotten how to do it.
  • The value and importance of reward placement, and rewarding on the dog’s line rather than from the hand. I realize that this would be better with a dog who drove to a static toy but I might have some luck with her food pouch tug. Or even just a plate with food on it.
  • That I haven’t been supporting Lu’s weave entries very well sometimes, in terms of where my ‘laserpoint’ is and just expecting her to do it, which is sort of ok because she should be able to do it independently but also sort of unfair in how I was doing it. I’m not going to baby her but I think I can provide clearer directions even while she’s still being independent.
  • Thinking of how to combine OneMind dogs, Justine Davenport, Silvia Trkman and Polona’s play class all into one glorious mess. This, I think, is what’s filling up my brain most of all. There’s so many ideas. So many. How do I choose what will work, be good, be what I need, and what I should leave behind?

 

I’m really enjoying a lot of what OMD has to say- the importance of showing your dog where you’re going very early so they know where they’re going! Of making sure their nose is turned in the right direction before they land! Of having very independent obstacle performance and great commitment (which I know Silvia says too, but theirs is said differently for me) so you can cue something and move on and know that your dog will complete it that way without you so that you’re then set up for showing them where to go next.  It’s actually been really nice seeing Noora use food with the dogs all day, like it’s ok to reward that way. In fact she says she teaches a lot more using food before she uses toys and only does toys later, and when the dog is eating its reward from the ground (because its rewarded on its line!), she gets people to move off, so the dog is performing the obstacle independently and not reacting to the handler’s motion so much. It sounds so counter intuitive, like teaching them to ignore the handler’s movement, which frightens me a lot, but it makes sense. I think. Maybe. Like, you should be able to cue “take this bar” and move off parallel to it as the dog has committed and know it will take it regardless of your movement after that point. I think it makes sense. My head is having a hard time with it but I think I like it.

 

My handling diagrams have gone downhill RAPIDLY. This is a prime example. It was meant to be a dog, doing a ... German turn... I think. I could open my notes and check but that would require effort.

My handling diagrams have gone downhill RAPIDLY. This is a prime example. It was meant to be a dog, doing a … German turn… I think. I could open my notes and check but that would require effort. Also the stick man on the left looks like he’s up to no good…

 

handling

Ok, I’ve been thinking about this a bit, particularly in relation to how my handling affects Lu’s jumping…

And I’ve decided that I’m not that great at it. Somehow whatever I did worked with Mal, but it’s not going to cut it with Lu. For example, the little sequence I did on the video the other day? Half the time I wasn’t telling her where to go. Jeez I’m glad I rewarded her one time when she knocked a bar and went and did that tunnel because sure enough, that’s what I was telling her to do.

So I need some help here…

One option would be a Silvia handling class, and I love Silvia, we all know that, but sometimes her handling feels a bit frantic, I guess?

But, woah… hey…  I was just looking for videos from Janita from One Mind Dogs, and I found this one:

Ok it’s really dark but…there were jumps in there that had Lumen landings (almost 4 legs at once). Yay!

So, that’s my other option, would be to poke around OMD’s website… I don’t like their lame sales video but I do like how their handling looks like a dance, how they focus on the dog’s path and take-off point, how they have lots of different moves you can use based on your dog’s strengths and the situation you’re faced with… It seems like everyone who does OMD is a huge believer in what they do, which has to say something…

Urgg, so I don’t know.
See, this lady does OMD handling on US-style courses and it looks quite nice…

 

Ok since I wrote this, I’ve bitten the bullet and we’re heading to Sydney for an OMD seminar in April. It surely can’t hurt to learn some stuff, even if I don’t buy into their marketing. Good thing Nic wants to do the touristy thing in Sydney anyway. 😉

(And Penny, I’m sorry if you want to disown me or something for doing the One Mind Dogs thing, but I have to do something! 😛 )