Class was fun today - only three of us showed up so it was almost a private lesson! We are nearing the end of this session so we did longer sequences. I was really into sniffing the floor and looking for food and swiveling my head this way and that while I was running just to make sure I didn't miss something on the floor. Jenn says mom needs to practice with me on that - putting stuff on the floor and getting me to ignore it. Great - take all the fun out of it for me!! LOL! Mom actually had to give up on the handling and run some crazy outside lines to get me to focus at all! The best news of this morning however is that I did the CHUTE every time! (Mom says why today and not all weekend?)
The class was specifically about how to turn at nonturning obstacles - weaves, contacts, curved tunnels. Lateral distance does not cue a turn and lateral motion in and of itself does not cue a turn - the handler uses deceleration or body language (like shoulder turn) and/or verbal commands including the dog's name if necessary. For instance, if the sequence is dogwalk, straight to the tire, and then left end of a curved tunnel (with the right end of the tunnel straight in line with the tire), handlers will try to just run with more lateral distance from the dog when the dog is doing the DW and tire and expect the dog to go into the left end of the tunnel. But their forward motion is cueing extension and it just propels the dog into the right end (straight in front of them after the tire). So the handler should run closer to the dog on the DW and then begin lateral motion away as the dog goes to the tire and then can use exaggerated shoulder movement to help show the dog the left end of the tunnel. We also talked about how the handler's motion should not affect the dog while they are doing a nonturning obstacle - so if the handler does move laterally away from the weaves for example, the dog should stay in the weaves and complete them before turning away. We practiced deceleration at the chute to get the dog to turn back to the handler (rather than running with complete forward motion which should suggest to the dog that the next obstacle is straight ahead).
Jenn says that my performance of obstacles has gotten faster - like my DW and weaves - but that I need to get my ground speed to be faster. Anybody have any ideas about that? I am a fast dog when I choose to be!
Dawn wanted to know how my cousin Wilson was this weekend. He was bored because he had to stay at home while we were at the trial! And then on Friday when we got home, it rained and we couldn't play outside. Plus I was tired! Other than that, I guess he was good! :)
Some thoughts from the trial though - it was our first overnight trial experience and even though we didn't stay in a hotel, mom was really happy with how I dealt with it all. I rested well at Wilson's ( usually I don't), I didn't get any stress-related IBS, and I was happy and relaxed at the trial venue - I did tricks and even tugged on my leash a little bit. Definitely Q rate is not what it's all about!! (Although we don't mind Q's at all)!