Monday, August 13, 2012
You want me to run fast And jump AND turn?!
Yes, I have remained hardcore in my persistence to bring Secret's speed (which I *know* she has when chasing after frisbees and balls) into her agility life. In doing so, one thing has become abundantly clear. Secret doesn't know how to make her body do these things at speed. It's practically like starting at square one.
The other night the exercise was simple -- A lightly curved tunnel leading into a straight line of two jumps set at 22" and spaced roughly 15' or so. At extension, it was an easy bounce for Secret, if not slightly cramped. In addition, the first jump was located only about 15'-17' from the tunnel, so she had to be aware and on her toes when she came blasting out looking for her ball.
That second jump in the bounce required a fair bit of effort and oomph to snap up in time -- So much so that Secret quite frequently tried the option of running past it. We worked through this issue, but it reared its ugly head the next night when I decided to throw TURNS into the equation. I set up a jump on a ninety-degree turn into the set of two jumps and you would have thought keeping her line to the last jump was darn near impossible for as many tries as it took. The absolute last thing I wanted to do was to slow her down to get it, but after enough repetitions she began to throw in a short stride between the jumps anyhow. But still today, this whole turning and jumping while running fast is obviously pretty new stuff for her. Training Fail.
Today I also dragged all 12 weaves out into the yard to focus on good speed and footwork through the long set. We had a little less single stepping than we experienced with the six poles, but she was still driving nicely through (only leaving early once). I am trying very, very hard to keep play sessions short so that I don't have to resort to rewarding less than speedy performances. Today we went out twice -- Once for her (now broken) Jolly Ball and the second time for her frisbee. I imagine tomorrow will be more of the same, although I will alter the set-up some to focus on this turning issue.
She has knocked a few bars in her rush, but I believe this to be a GOOD THING. Historically, knocking a bar horrifies Secret and sets her back on her butt, slowing her down even more. At this stage of things, I wouldn't mind a few knocked bars here and there if it was for the greater good. I have no delusions of Secret turning into the next Zing (a *super* fast border collie that is pretty darn amazing), but I sure would be happy to see her run in true extension at a trial every now and then.