Monday, September 10, 2012

The least motivating course ever?

First of all, holy cow, I actually set a course and trained the dogs tonight!  That seems to happen once in a blue moon these days.  Perhaps I'm motivated by the beautiful stretch of weather we've been blessed with recently?  I'm on day two of testing the waters of giving up caffeine, so surely THAT can't be motivation. lol  If anything, that might be part of the reason I ended up getting so frustrated (with myself).

I don't get completely skunked on a Chances course all that often.  Usually I'll get lucky with at least one of the dogs, so the course at our most recent NADAC trial really threw me for a loop.  As I mentioned in that post, all three dogs faulted in a different part of the course, so it was a deceptively difficult course.  Namely because of the "box of doom."

I set the course at home tonight, minus the a-frame at the beginning.  Yes, my contacts still haven't made it out of the garage this year (I'm not seeing much point now) and since nobody faulted the discrimination at the start I wasn't going to worry about it.  The rest of the course was going to be enough...

Secret's first problem area was exactly where it was at the trial -- getting the furthest "out" jump before the 180 turn.  As she did at the trial, I was able to redirect her over the jump, which left us no room to send to the tunnel.  Even when I thought I was able to shape the turn better, it still was next to impossible to get the send to the tunnel -- even Kaiser, my tunnel sucker extraordinaire (to the point where he will jump in tunnels that I'm carrying!), struggled mightily with that part.  Oh, and of course he also did exactly what he did at the trial and ran straight into the off course tunnel after the first turn.

I know Secret doesn't have 8 million repetitions in her and I could feel her shutting down every time we screwed up.  I was frustrated with myself and then I got frustrated because Secret was giving up on me.  At one point I just walked away and she stood and watched me (which I felt bad for doing, obviously).  We tried once more after that and I decided to just run with her the whole way.  Still, though, when we reached that evil box where she had been corrected too many times she just stopped.  So I did, too.  I put her away and worked the boys.

When I finished up with Luke, Secret acted like she still wanted to play, so I brought her out to try again.  I switched toys from the rubber stick to a squeaky Wubba and she seemed a bit more jazzed.  On the first go-round I didn't worry so much about the line and just ran with her to keep her happy.  During our first session we'd never even made it to the weaves at the end of the course, so that was the main goal.  :o)

She was much happier this time and I pushed for a bit more distance on each subsequent run.  After a few tries we were hitting the Elite distance from the trial.  I would hoot and holler every time Secret got the send to the tunnel, which really jazzed her up and made her weave fast. lol  It also built up her confidence so that she was less hesitant through the box.

There is no doubt, this course really uncovered our weaknesses.  This is one, even without a dog walk, that I don't know that I'd care to try again at a trial.  It was just so demotivating for all of the dogs.  Even Luke, though he got it fairly quickly tonight, just didn't seem to be a fan.

I got all three dogs on video, but only Secret's has been edited thus far.  If I get around to the boys' video I'll add it later.

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