Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can you handle it? Yes we can! :o)

Last week Steve over at AgilityNerd.com posted the above course that was recently used in one of his handling seminars. He also included a video in which he went through the course section by section and described a few different handling options. I felt there were a few things that he didn't cover, and since the course looked like lots of fun I was looking forward to giving it a try.

Unfortunately I tried setting the camera all around the yard and simply could not find a spot that would manage to cover the entire course (or anything even close, really). Note to self, don't set courses sideways the length of the yard if you want to have any shot at getting video.... With the dog walk at the end of the yard, though, I felt it was my best/only real option. So yeah, I know these posts are horribly boring without video...

I was short a couple of jumps, so jump 14 was a hoop, as was obstacle 1/20. Hindsight being what it is, I probably should have made 12 the hoop and left 14 as a jump to better capture the difficulty of the wrap. Oh well, it worked well enough.

Working with Steve's suggestions, I really focused on trying multiple ways to handle the various sequences. I just realized that I never did do the rear cross from 4-5 with any dog (or any rear cross for that matter), but I did lead out, run with, front cross on the landing side of 3 and go up and front cross the takeoff side of 3. I also threw in a front cross between 4-5 a couple of times to handle the weaves from the left.

The next part probably offered the most variety for us. Handling the weaves, jump, tunnel as a serpentine from the right was probably the most efficient. We also did a front/blind cross before six with either another front cross or a blended front cross into the tunnel. One option that Steve didn't present in his video was to serpentine from the left, pushing the dog over 6, pulling into the tunnel from the backside and picking them up on their left at the exit. I would fathom that I would never try that at a trial on this setup, but it's good practice!

For the wrap at 8, Secret seemed to do better going to the right (kept up more speed than with a front cross out of the tunnel followed by a front cross wrap -- all of those fronts just killed her momentum). Kaiser did better wrapping to the left because it removed the likelihood of taking the off course 18 jump.

From there it was pretty basic. I thought flipping the wrap at 14 would be prettier than it was, but it turned out that wrapping to the inside was definitely for the best (again, it would have been nice to have a bar jump here vs a hoop). No matter which way we wrapped they didn't have a problem getting to the tunnel.

For the closing, Kaiser seemed to do best with a rear cross behind 19 unless I was way ahead of him to beat him through that slight turn -- that was hard to do, though, because he kept sensing me pulling away and would have a refusal at the tunnel. No such issue with Secret, though. Her problem was that she came blasting out of the tunnel so stinking fast that she went way wide to the side of 19. I was able to hustle enough to get in a blind cross between 18-19 and this seemed to take care of it.

Everyone was wired tonight! Secret's jump work was fantastic (24"), but her weaves were not too speedy. She has a chiropractor appointment on Thursday, so hopefully that makes for a happy Secret this weekend at the AKC trial. Kaiser was sassing at me, so you know he's having fun when that's going on. Luke played, too, but he was slipping a lot on the dead grass so we took it fairly easy.

Kizzy got to play afterwards! I used the tuggy for her jump work -- still as crazy as ever. She is definitely more focused with food, but she has made improvement with the tug. We seem to be figuring out a release cue, but unfortunately (for me) she seems to think it's, "Let go, scream & bite." But again, it's getting better and she doesn't usually bite too hard.  ;o)  I bumped the teeter up in height a bit tonight and while Kizzy was a little thrown off at first she quickly got over it.

Tomorrow is a blog action day on aging dogs. I have lots of thoughts on that subject, so be sure to check in to see if I figure out how to put it all together.

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