Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bumper Weaves!

Okay, so I've been a slacker. Big time. I was home all weekend and we did almost no training whatsoever. What a bum I am.... So really, I don't have any big news to share that Secret is now a super huge expert on a set of 12 poles. ;o)

What I *can* share, though, is that we have achieved success in using a TOY to reward for the weaves and it is resulting in SO MUCH MORE SPEED! Accuracy? Yeah... That one kind of went down the toilet, but it is getting better and Secret is learning to think a bit more. Weaving while jazzed up for a toy definitely requires more concentration from her than jumping while jazzed up for a toy.

We have been working just on the set of six 2 x 2's and I have them opened up a bit to encourage her to find her footwork. It's starting to work, as yesterday I caught her single-stepping a few times!

So what miraculous toy has brought about this single-stepping monster, you might wonder? It's a BUMPER!

Secret is loony-tunes over sticks and I have considered on numerous occasions that I should buy her one of those silly toys that resembles a run-of-the-mill stick. Unfortunately, I have not been successful in finding one locally, nor have I placed any orders online recently (sorry, not going to make a special order for a plastic stick!).

Our swimming escapades have also led me to desiring a floating toy for Secret -- One that is more desirable to her than balls (which she lets float down the river...). I recalled that she showed interest in Ailie's bumper this spring during our very first trip to the beach, and I figured they were about as "stick-like" as general toys come.

I stopped at Petco last week to pick up a bag of food (side note: We are trying Wellness Core for the first time and it's a hit!) and searched long and hard to find a bumper -- ANY bumper -- amongst their toys. My goodness, apparently they aren't a popular toy in this area. I scanned the area about four times before I finally found this one hiding:

It's a Chuckit! Amphibious Bumper toy and it was a hit from the moment I showed it to Secret! We haven't yet had the opportunity to take it to the river -- And to be quite honest, I am hesitant to do so without making sure she is highly emotionally attached to the toy. I am not keen on watching $12 float down the river only days after buying it.

So in the mean time, I've been just playing with Secret & the bumper in the back yard. She loves to fetch it and tug it -- It's not often that she gets so enthusiastic about something that doesn't even squeak (or have fur on it!). I more or less decided to try using it with the weaves on a whim and was pleasantly surprised at how well it works. So we'll keep at it and hope the streak continues!

I have been slacking on Secret's jump work since we started the weave training, so last night I set up an "S" shaped sequence using about seven jumps. I brought out her Wubba this time, so as not to over-push the bumper and lose any of its appeal. All jumps were set at 16" and she flew through the sequences! I'm very happy with how her jump commitment is growing -- There were a couple of times when I totally failed to support her line on the curves and she went out and found the jump on her own. This is an area where she previously would have cut in to follow my motion, so I'm very proud of her for this. Her rear crosses & speed were fantastic and she was great. We need to start focusing on more jump sequences and drills in the coming weeks. Winter will be here before we know it. :o(

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