Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday's class

Mom says thanks to all of you for leaving such supportive comments about my horrible trial day on Saturday. We appreciate all of the advice and support and love so much.

Today at class Jenn was sick and we had a classmate as the substitute instructor. He did a great job! Only three other dogs/people were there (no barking dogs either). So it was nice and quiet and we got to run more sequences than usual and move at a faster pace. Maybe all of this contributed to making me feel like a completely different dog than I did on Saturday!

I got to warm up on tricks, jumps and a tunnel. More warm-up time than usual. I was flying into and out of the tunnel. Our sequences had a lot of really tough 270s. We got some of them but not all of them. Mom had to really push me around to the back of the second jump in order to keep me from coming through the gap. But during the class I did some really fast weaving, a super fast dogwalk (mom moved laterally away from me and layered the chute while I was on the DW) and it made me go so fast! I had very little trouble jumping (but there were no spreads today) but I did skip the aframe once (I just wanted to stay right next to mom). One of mom's favorite moments was when she messed up and had her shoulders pointing toward the tunnel (instead of a jump) and I flew past her and into the tunnel!

Any way mom signed us up for the next class session since I enjoyed today so much. Jenn is adding another building for classes which will have matting and the current agility building is going to be redone with turf! So now I will finally have a chance to practice on the same kind of surface that I see at most of my trials. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to get comfortable with it.

For now we are not doing any more trials though. We're going to try to enjoy classes and maybe get to some run-throughs and keep trying to get better on the things we can improve - drive, speed, focus. Jenn still claims that I have ETS (early take-off syndrome) and that it won't get better and that there really isn't anything we can do about it. It's hard to not worry about this and to stay positive and keep going with the training BUT I feel good right now and that makes mom happy. We'll just have to see....

Gotta zoom!



Diana said...

Im sooooo glad you had a great class!!!! I just wouldnt worry about the ETS stuff either. Just have fun!! Maybe you can find some B-matches to go to that are close or some Time 2 Beat matches that are still going on until July. Plus USDAA just announced that they are are starting this new thing where in a begining class you can run just for exhibition. Like a training run. So that may help.

We are doing the happy dance for you guys!!

Sara said...

I'm so glad that you had a fun class today! I admire you for making a tough decision in the best interest of your dog.

You and Ricky are going to have an awesome summer...learning, playing, stressfree!

Amber-Mae said...

Ricky, I know you perform really well when treats are involved. I've watched your training videos & you perform beautifully. I think when treats are no longer involved especially during a trial, you lose interest in it & do not see the need to perform properly like you usually would when your mom uses treats to entice you to go over the obstacles during training.

When I watched your trial video again, you seemed lost & confused. Your mom wasn't using any treats to lure you because obviously she wasn't allowed to use any in the ring & this could be the reason why you were going very, very slowly & refusing to do some of the obstacles.

We are having this problem too. We all have been trained so much on treats & toys that hoomie Melissa has not really weaned them out properly. She often uses them to get the best performance out of us. When they're no longer involved, that's when we start getting sluggish in our performance especially during OB.

I think what your mom could do is slowly wean out those treats & start training you using another type of motivator/reward such as your leash. When hoomie Melissa realized that she cannot use treats & tennis balls during the trials, she taught me to like my leash. She plays tug with me before the run to get me riled up & ready to go. After the run is completed, she plays tug with me again with the leash as a reward. And I like it!

This is just a humble suggestion for your mom. She can try this out & see if it works but for now, it'll be good if you take a short break from trials & just continue with your training. The most important thing is that you're having fun! No point doing something you do not enjoy doing. When you're not ready for trials, you're not ready. When you're ready, you & your mom will know it.

Have a splendid day!

Sophie said...

I'm glad you both had a fun class! Maybe stopping doing trials for now will take the pressure off and let you both just enjoy agility again :) You can polish up your skills (and try to calm down your ETS!) in a less stressful environment.

It'll be great for you to practice on turf too! I bet a lot of dogs have trouble going from the agility room they train in to the turf trial area.

Morganne said...

Sounds like a great class! Ricky, how would you feel about 8" jumps (as in the prefered class). Lot's of dogs gained their confidence in the preferred class. In fact, I may debut in USDAA performance so that I can jump 12" (not 16") for confidence and ring experience.


Sagira said...

So glad to hear that you had a good day at training today.

We heard about the turf and new classes they are going to be offering. Can't wait to see how it looks.

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Glad woo had some FUN again!


Reilly / Bree said...

I bet having a good class made you feel so much better !!! It will definitely help being able to practice on the same kind of surface too - people often forget how sensitive our feet can be sometimes. You have fun Ricky !!!

Sam said...

Sorry I missed your Saturday post, Ricky. I just went back to watch the videos.

I really don't think the Standard run was all that bad. Yes, you were slow, but I saw some definite moments of brilliance and excitement. The fact that you went in to the chute on the second try says a great deal!

I think that Mom's making a good choice to step back from trials for a while. Keep playing drive-building games and going to various places to practice and I think that you guys will be OK. I know how frustrating it can be, but just remember, it's supposed to be for fun - if both the dog and the handler aren't having fun, then there's definitely a problem.

Priscilla said...

Glad to hear about what a great class you had. Anything you do with your dog should be fun for both you and the dog.

Hope you enjoy your next class just as much!

Kathy said...

It sounds like class was just what you needed! Glad you had a good one. I would not worry about ETS, if it is ETS there is nothing you can do about it and if not....well,then it would be a waste of some valuable time to worry and think it was. That is the bad thing about labels is they can limit....heck sounds like you are willing to just go and see where this journey takes you and that seems super smart to me. the idea about going to the performance jump height, seems like something to think about-I could think of a lot of advantages to doing that.

Marie said...

I'm glad you're going to continue with your Tuesday Classes, you always seem to have so much fun with them, and we always look forward to hearing the recap and watching your demos of the new maneuvers!

Dawn said...

That's good news Ricky! Katie and I have fun (mostly) in school and we probably will never trial, certainly not in agility! LOL! For us it's all about getting used to different places and having different experiences. And of course having fun!

Kathy said...

I was just wondering do you see any signs of the ETS at home, like miss judging the edge of the bed or couch jumping up on things like that? I knew a dog that had ETS diagnosed and you could see it really well at home too. Do you notice a difference in how Ricky performs as far as jumping ability if the light is dim or better lighting since you do alot of indoor trials? I know I put Chloe down a height and into performance when she was having motivation problems and we NEVER corrected anything, if we missed a jump we never went back to fix it and she spent a lot of time just walking past a lot of jumps, people in our classes who are all into competing with each other thought we were nuts....but Chloe ended up really fast. YOu could always do a few classes at 8 inches and just see how it looks to you, video it if you can and just see how Ricky looks, does it make him look a little more at ease, does it increase his speed, does it make his jumping look messier, does he do the spread jummps easier? I think jump heights is just one of those things you can only try and see how it works. It might really help him or it might do nothing but it seems like it would not hurt to play around with it.

Johann The Dog said...

So glad you had fun Ricky....You remember the time that Mum signed us up for trials when we were already into Exec B and made up her own courses..people thought we were nuts, but doing that a couple of trials really helped me get over whatever I was getting over...Cost money, but hey, we still had fun :) Do what you gotta do...fun is the answer :)

Morganne said...

In reponse to your question on my blog-
I would definitely drop down to 8" preferred. Sometime even if the ETS is mild, it's enough that some dogs start to lose confidence in jumping. Making the jumping effort easier for Ricky might be just what he needs to gain back his confidence. There are several dogs in my area with ETS and the head dropping, stutter stepping, and early takeoff are quite obvious with these dogs. Ricky is showing very mild signs and some of it may just be lack of confidence in jumping.
I highly recommend MEB's dvd set. There are a lot of motivation games that Ricky would enjoy playing and the transfer to running agility.

Amy Wood said...

I'm happy to hear you had a good class. That is great news! When you can relax and have fun with something, it makes the hard work worth it!