Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Baby Got Back

 I was sooooo tired last night.  Words cannot express how much I wanted to sit on the couch watching movies and eating ice cream all night.  It was a lovely evening, though, and the dogs hadn't gotten to do much of anything lately due to all the rain we've been getting (I heard on the news this morning that we apparently went 10 days in a row with measurable precipitation -- no wonder it seemed like it rained every day, lol).  I had grabbed my video camera off my desk on a whim as I left work, so I decided to go ahead and make myself set something.

Now that I'm back on the Clean Run subscription trane, I figured the Backyard Dogs drill from the most recent (May 2012) issue was as good as anything.  I briefly considered setting one of the International style Jumpers courses I've been sitting on for a while, but that would have been WAY too much work.  ;o)  This particular Backyard Dogs set only required seven jumps and that worked for me.  I had fun using my course setting skills for this one (there were no related distances anywhere) and think I got it set pretty nicely.

The focus of this set was entirely on finding the backside of the jump.  Some of the drills were super screwy and didn't appeal to me at all.  I'm all for pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning new skills, but I thought a few of the exercises would just be very demotivating -- particularly for Kaiser.  I chose to work on exercises three, four and five.  There was no way my brain was going to be able to retain more than that.  As it was, I almost decided to just learn one at a time because I was struggling so much.  The dogs seem to do better getting everything done at once (vs. coming out three times), so I just plugged away and somehow managed to learn all three drills.  I think I even got the courses right this time and didn't take any jumps from the wrong side.  I think... No promises because I get so confused by these things!  :o)

I went in order this time, although I hardly found any of the drills from this set "easy."  That considered, the dogs really did a nice job.  We haven't done a ton of work on sending to the back sides of jumps, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I know that this style of work is up Secret's alley.  I more worried that it would completely blow Kaiser's mind, but he held it together and did very well.

I handled the opening of Drill 3 the same way in both runs, starting with the dog on my left and then a front cross after three, before five and after six.  Still with me?  lol  I know, it's hard to follow.  I handled the close of 7-8-9 in two different ways, first using a post turn to keep me on the inside of 7-8 and then a bit of a combo front cross wrap followed by a rear cross at eight.  Honestly I expected the second maneuver to work better due to my dogs' general dislike of post turns, but both dogs drove through the turn much better using the post turn.  Go figure.

I chose drill four because I know that this set-up (the backside of number two) is very difficult for us.  We have not had a lot of success in the past with this configuration!  Really, aside from that it's just a bunch of push-throughs and Secret is pretty comfortable with those, assuming I'm actually in position.  Kaiser is getting better with them, but still handles them better than threadles.

Secret surprised me and didn't have any issues whatsoever with finding number two.  I did completely fail to support the third jump on our first try; probably because I was still marveling over her success at the second jump.  lol  I did better on the second try, but then I forgot that I was planning to do more of a send from six to seven to allow me to be in a better position to support the push through from eight to nine -- so that was a little awkward.  I did better the next time.

On Kaiser's first shot he went over jump eight instead of two.  Not surprising.  He did come to heel when released the second time, but we had a little discussion over what side of the jump to take.  After that he seemed to figure out really well and did a great job.  He did totally blow off my "come" from seven to eight the first time through there, but that's pretty typical for him.  I exaggerated my rotation after that and he got it, although his first push through was pretty herky-jerky since I was more or less in his way.

Any issues we experienced in the third run were entirely because my brain was fried.  lol  I REALLY struggled to commit this one to memory, to the point where I almost bagged it.  I think I edited out over two minutes on video of me standing there during Secret's turn, trying to figure out what the third one was again.  She happily gnawed away at her Udder Tug the entire time.

Again, this drill worked on more of the same skills.  Two to three was a nice 270 followed by a push through to four.  I did a front cross, an inside wrap and a rear cross wrap in the 5-6-7 sequence and undeniably the front cross worked the best.  I was able to blind cross between eight and nine for Secret, but I don't tend to like to use those with Kaiser (seems like any time I take my eyes off the little fart he runs off to the hinter lands for an off course obstacle).  For Secret I was able to stay on the inside for 9-10-11, but Kaiser was very prone to taking the back side of 11 (an issue probably made more likely by the evening's exercises), so it worked best for him to put in a front cross between 10 and 11.  I hadn't even tried that in Secret's run since it was a non-issue for her, but in a trial situation the front cross is surely the safer option.

 After everyone was done, I let Secret do her favorite thing -- Sprawl out in frog-dog style and chew on her Jolly Ball.  She's like a crack addict with that thing lately.  I've almost given up on trying to keep her from stealing it out of the garage.  They are all becoming naughty little thieves -- Kaiser likes to take Luke's red Jolly Ball out of the box to chew on and torment Luke.  Poor Luke.

By the way, I did attempt these exercises with Luke and it went as well as I thought it would.  I thought of making a video showing all the reasons why Luke will NOT be playing in USDAA, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.  lol  He tries so hard, bless him, but this stuff is just not for him.

 I set all of Kaiser's jumps at 12" last night and the little fart did great.  He was a good little jumper, even with these "stressful" type courses.  I guess one can hope that if we keep working on this type of stuff at home, maybe he won't find USDAA courses stressful and thus, might jump better at trials?  Who knows.  As frustrating as the situation is, I am happy to see that he CAN, in fact, jump quite nicely at home.

Like I mentioned earlier, I got video!  And like all Backyard Dogs drills, the bonus is that it all fits nicely into a smaller space for good stationary video footage.  :o)



Hopefully your internet speed is faster than mine today.....  But oh!  I am having internet installed at home on Friday that is about 100x faster than at the office.  I look forward to blogging from home in the near future!  I'm a little more apprehensive about video production since I've gotten so comfortable with my system at work (seriously, I can bang these suckers out super fast!).  The new computer comes with Windows Movie Maker, but it's a much different version than what I'm used to.  I just hope all of the equipment is compatible.  My dad said that he can't get his phone to connect with his Windows 7 software.  :o(  That would suck, considering that's where all of my pictures come from!

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