Thursday, September 1, 2011

Less IS more

I may be a slow learner sometimes, but I am learning! I've always known that less is more where Secret is concerned, but I often get greedy and push too hard/too much. She can be so very brilliant at times and it's an awesome feeling when we have that connection. At times it can be hard to back off from that high.

But I'm getting there. We hadn't done a lick of agility since the trial on Saturday. We've had some gorgeous weather that would have been great for some agility practice, but instead we've filled our time with walking/running and playing in the yard. I decided taking several days off would be good for all of us.

A fellow blogger posted some Chances courses that were used at the trial in Iowa over the weekend. I thought they looked fun and totally doable, so I printed them out and took them home to set up last night.

I brought home maps for both the Open line:

And the Elite line:

Knowing, of course, that I still only have two tunnels, my course ended with the hoop. I also left all jumps at 8" for all dogs, which no doubt never hurts to increase the "fun factor" for Secret, as it requires less "work" for her. lol I often think I have the laziest border collie on the planet...

I have to admit I was concerned when I first brought her out. She was kind like, "Meh, toy." I warmed her up with a few single obstacles (hoop/weaves/tunnel) and she wasn't behaving in a particularly inspired fashion.

Luckily the light came on in her eyes when I set her up at the start of the course. I tried not to pay too much attention to the "line" the first time through. Secret did go way wide on the turn to the tunnel and I had to step in to assist, but good heavens was she a happy girl and she zipped right through the finish.

After playing with her & the Wubba for a bit, I set her up for a second try, this time making a point to observe the Open level line. I used an early/quick release on the a-frame to keep her moving ahead of me and she nailed it, including a much better turn into the tunnel. Happy dance, good girl!

Quite honestly, I debated ending her session right there. I warned myself of the perils of being greedy. So maybe I haven't come as far as I thought, because I did decide to try it one more time.

I decided to go for the Elite line with her this time, figuring I could easily step in for the save if I needed it. But wouldn't you know, she didn't need me to help her at all! Granted, some of this could have been pattern training by now, but she drove eagerly ahead of me and really showed no hesitation at all. I threw a big party for her and we played with the Wubba for a bit before I took her back in the house to give the boys their turn.

I figured there was no point in messing with her any more after that, so instead of working more agility with her on her "second turn," we just played frisbee. Happy day for Secret!

Heading into Champs, my game plan is to train twice per week. We'll see if I maintain that goal as it gets closer and I start to feel more pressure. lol It's made a little easier by the fact that I'm really working to improve my own fitness right now, so training sessions are being replaced by runs -- Which the dogs love!

Six weeks to go!


  1. Cute pics! Do you think she is mixed with something, and if so do you have any idea what?

  2. Her mother (was Duet, now Kerry) was dumped at a shelter in KY with three puppies. Kerry is very much a "bred on the farm" type border collie. The assumption is that dad is the same, although probably a smooth coat. For reasons simply that we cannot peg what else dad could possibly be, we all just call the puppies border collies. When Secret was younger I did a side-by-side comparison with a Saluki for giggles -- But how many sighthounds do you figure are running around the backwoods of Kentucky impregnating farm dogs?

    We assume that being altered around 10 weeks of age is likely what contributed to the "stilts" look. Mom is a fairly tall girl, though, around 22" or so.

  3. I didn't get a chance to play at this at our normal Tuesday practice so I think I'm going to set this up tonight :) This looks like such a fun course! Thanks for sharing your experience and I'm so glad Ms Secret was ready to play agility for you!