Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Day Training

Sorry, Secret. Thanksgiving is hosted by my aunt & uncle each year, which means you don't get to go along and there are no leftovers for me to bring home to share with you. Bummer, I know. I'm sure you would have loved the sweet potatoes and the chocolate pecan pie. I know I did! :o)

Thanksgiving day was absolutely lovely. I worked at the shelter in the morning and my parents were nice enough to go pick up the dogs and take them to their house so that I wouldn't have to rush home for anything. The puppers always enjoy a field trip to Grandma & Grandpa's house, I know.

We got home around 3:30 or so and it was 50-some degrees and sunny outside. I felt like a bloated tick from gorging on sweet potatoes (forget turkey & pie, I seriously think sweet potatoes are the bomb), but I knew I just couldn't let the day pass without doing SOMETHING agility related with the dogs. As we all know, we are going on borrowed time with the nice weather here. It could literally snow at any moment (okay, not really -- the weather guessers have promised we are still good for a bit).

Even so, I was so unmotivated to... well, even move at that point. lol So I sat down and dug through my messy pile of courses to try to find something inspiring. I stumbled upon this Masters Jumpers course that I printed out from Bud Houston's blog ages ago. I thought it looked like a lot of fun and offered interesting challenges -- I couldn't tell you why I have failed to do anything with it until now!

I replaced the 7-9 sequence with a set of 12 weave poles. Numbers 10, 11, 3, 4, 14 & 15 were hoops because I was feeling lazy and felt like getting a minimal number of jumps off my deck (where I am storing everything IN CASE it snows).

It was an interesting, fun & educational course. Secret did really great!

For the opening sequence I played around with running with her and sending her laterally to number three while I got in place to front cross at four. This was successful, as was leading out to number four and calling her through.

I anticipated more of an issue with the serpentine sequence, but all three dogs managed to get through it without sucking into the tunnel. I stayed between four & five and then rear crossed the jump into the weave poles. It could be that this sequence would cause more problems if using jumps vs. hoops, as I can see the momentum of the jump landing them right in the tunnel if you aren't careful. With the hoops I was able to create a far more shallow line since there is no worry of knocking a bar at number four.

Secret's weaves were super, so yay for that! I still plan on having her see the chiro before the next trial just to make sure everything is hunky dory. There was a goodly amount of distance between the weave poles and the number 10 hoop, so I left Secret in the poles to get into place to support 10 -- If I didn't, it was very easy for her to cut in early on me.

I expected there to be more of a tunnel sucking force between 12 & 13 and was surprised to have Secret spin back at me in this section. Lesson learned, support the obstacles! It's hard when you are waddling from a full belly, though. Thankfully she was able to find the hoops at the top on her own while I waited between 16 & 17.

The end proved trickier than I thought. Wrapping the hoop at 18 was not an issue at all (again, a different challenge with a jump!), but the last obstacle was proving to be nearly impossible if I stayed on the left side of the tunnel. I just couldn't beat her to the end for a push, so instead I had to do a front cross at the wrap to end up on the right, which would naturally pull her to the last obstacle. I would have totally failed this challenge at a trial because it took a while for the light bulb to click on for this epiphany.

But you know what's super cool? I brought Secret back out for a second go-round because we still had a little bit of light left -- The jumps were all still down at 8" (all four of them...), but she was actually FASTER in her second outing than her first! Yahoo for not shutting down on session two, baby dog. I just ran her through in once and since she ran it clean we stopped there and I just played with her for a bit with her bumper.

The rest of the holiday weekend was pretty boring for the dogs. My parents let them out for me Friday & Saturday, which involved play dates with Lexi. Bethany took care of them yesterday, so hopefully that means Rascal came over to visit. It is quite dark by the time I get home from the shelter, so all we are able to do is play frisbee or ball by porch light -- although I'm pretty positive the dogs don't mind this at all!

I have to move the dog walk into the garage soon. I keep putting it off, but I know I have to get it done before we get dumped on with a foot of snow. I'm hoping to work the dogs tonight, so we'll see. Maybe Wednesday. I'll just keep procrastinating until there is actually snow in the forecast, I'm sure. :o) It's almost December and we are still running agility outside! Yay!

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