Thursday, June 21, 2012
I've noticed a decrease in Secret's speed lately. I was doing my best to blame it on the fact that she desperately needed a chiropractic adjustment (which she did), but I know that I really need to go back to making the game of RUNNING more fun for her again. Her super intense thinking brain has been getting much too focused on the technical aspect of agility and she is starting to get too careful again -- because you never know when a threadle or backside of a jump will be asked for and one must always be prepared you know. Well yes, but you also need to know how to let your hair down and RUN, girl.
This NADAC Jumpers course was posted on the Going the Distance blog a couple of weeks ago and it appealed to me for the nice sweepy lines and the opportunity to get back to bonus line work with Luke. After the changes in Secret's speed of late, I also figured it wouldn't hurt to throw her on this course and work on building up the "fun & run" aspect of agility for her again.
I set the first six obstacles with hoops (don't have enough jumps), figuring it would give the dogs a good opportunity to really dig in and go. Admittedly, while running Secret through this course I really didn't feel like she was moving -- but as is so common with her for whatever reason, when I watched the video back I was pretty happy with what I saw. She was slower through the middle section with jumps and turns, but I like how she ran the hoops. That stride of hers is deceptively long, even if she doesn't get down super low like the really fast border collies.
I had Secret jump her NADAC (Skilled) height of 16" for further motivational assistance. I brought her out a final time when the jumps were still down at 8" and she had fun, which was nice to see. Basically what this evening tells me is that I need to do a better job at balancing out the technical work with the speed work. Just because I'm currently obsessed with USDAA doesn't mean I should throw all of the NADAC foundation work out the window (especially considering we are still trying to finish up those darn NATCHes). I need to be better about setting up fun speed circles and other short exercises that encourage speed without thinking. Secret thinks enough, she needs to just let it go!
On the way to shutting off the camera I decided to do a bit of tunnel work with Secret. I need to throw different stuff at her, so we worked on the back side of the tunnel. After the tunnel meltdown she was having at the last trial, I really wanted to focus on her having fun in the tunnel again and I'm happy to report that she seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. One of these days I'll have to throw a wonky S-shaped tunnel at her since that's what caused the original shutdown.
The boys were SO HAPPY to return to their NADAC roots. Kaiser got to run 8" tonight and he just had a ball. He was glowing as he ran through the course. I swear you can just hear him go, "Wheeeee!" as he sails through the line of hoops. lol
Luke and I realized very quickly that when you stop working on bonus line skills they tend to disappear. That was kind of sad. I can't really blame him, though, since I've been attempting to cram him through the technical courses lately, too. He's very confused! We just played and had a good time and I made a mental note to either start working on this stuff again or to NOT try any bonus lines at the next trial. Luke will definitely appreciate it if I continue to try to find *balance* in our agility training. He says he'll just take off on the technical nights, though. ;o)