Today we continued training on the same course that we used yesterday. There were two major differences on today’s session compared to yesterdays.
I recorded the session and posted it below.
I used a squeaky toy as a reward, more on this below.
The squeaky toy did two things. It speed up Ice’s overall performance and this led to really nice Dog Walk performance. The faster Ice runs the better he seems to be hitting the yellow contact zone the way I want him to.
The other effect was to cause him to either come off the teeter early or stop short, in the yellow, but too high for my liking.
Tomorrow I’ll go back to a tug toy as a reward and play a few rounds of the bang game. Hopefully that will be sufficient to get him running all the way to the end of the Teeter again.
Today’s training course had 3 different mini courses all designed to test Ice’s contact criteria. The course map is shown below.
We alternated between running the White and Black courses. The purpose of this was to proof Ice’s understanding that the Teeter is different and requires different performance (4 feet on stopped) to the Dog Walk (running through). Ice did pretty well at this, he clearly understands the difference between the two obstacles now and is performing the Teeter quickly and more importantly, safely,
I’m still a little concerned with his Dog Walk performance when there is an obstacle next rather than the Manners Minder. He’s making the contact 100% but most of the hits are a little higher than I’d like and probably would miss a USDAA dog walk.
Tomorrow I’m going to introduce the grey course and also start doing some FX’s at the end of the Dog Walk.
Just had a great training session with Ice. Here is the course we ran. I started with a warm up exercise (not numbered) which was tunnel over the Dog Walk to the Manners Minder which was placed adjacent to the #1 jump. Ice did great at this which was good as this is a pretty easy challenge for him now.
Next we ran the sequence #1 through #3, this is a lot harder for Ice as he likes the tunnel so much he will often forget his Dog Walk criteria in his urgency to get to the tunnel. We did 3 reps of this and Ice aced the contact on all 3 runs. I marked the contact hit with “yes” and rewarded him with a thrown tug toy after he exited the tunnel.
We then moved on to the Teeter, which is at full height but I put 3 plastic blocks under the “up” end which raised the up end 9 inches and subsequently lowered the “down” end by the same amount. I sent Ice into the #3 tunnel and cued the Teeter. The first time Ice slide off the end of the Teeter, he knew he had to stop but forgot to control his rear end and momentum carried him forward. The next 2 runs were perfect, Ice waited in position with all 4 feet on the Teeter. I rewarded him with cookies for remaining in position and then released him over jump #5 to a thrown tug toy,
Observations on the session
Ice was very enthusiastic to go to the training field, he ran across the grass and bounced up and down by the field gate. This may have been because I was carrying the manners minder which he loves.
Once on the field Ice remained very focused on me, he didn’t lose interest and go off sniffing like he does sometimes.
He loved the warm up exercise over the Dog Walk to the manners minder and he liked it even more when we ran the Dog Walk the other direction and he got to go in the tunnel.
Finally I was very pleased with his performance on the Teeter, he clearly knew the Teeter was not the Dog Walk even on the first run when he couldn’t quite control his rear end enough to stop on the board. Ice was also very keen to chase the tug toy again which is a relief as this is my primary motivator.
Overall I was very pleased with his efforts today.
This evening Ice had his second “Fun Run” at Argus Ranch. This time we ran both Standard and Jumpers courses although I did bypass the Teeter on the Standard course because I’m not confident yet of Ice’s performance on this obstacle when taken in flow – he sometimes confuses it with the Dog Walk.
Both courses were way beyond anything he would encounter on an AKC Novice course. The Jumpers course having a “Threadle” and the Standard course having the weaves go right into a wall.
Things that I liked about the runs were:
Ice did all 12 poles on both courses including the challenging weaves into the wall.
Ice has happy with me performing a front cross after weaves on the Jumpers course.
Ice did a really nice wrap at the end of the Jumpers course, his foundation flat work really paid off here.
Ice was focused and he stayed connected to me on both runs.
His A-Frame was nice.
Things that could have gone better were:
I really did not like his Dog Walk performance that much – he was slow and although I was pretty sure he made the contact on course I’m not so sure after reviewing the video closely.
I did a poor job cuing the weaves on the Standard course and that is why Ice missed the entrance.
He was not moving as quickly as I would like, I didn’t rev him up with a toy prior to the runs, maybe that was the reason, Also, there weren’t many people or dogs present and their presence usually gets Ice more excited.
In conclusion, if these were Novices courses at a trial Ice would have Q’ed on both of them. He stayed on course, didn’t knock and bars and I’m pretty sure he made the contacts.
Another training session that didn’t quite go to plan.
First the environment, the grass was dry, it was overcast and relatively cool but a little more humid than previous days.
Ice was excited to see his new toy, but he would not follow me to the training ground entrance like he has done in previous days, so I picked him up and carried him. This should have been the first sign that he was not his usual happy self. I threw his new toy for him a couple of times but he started to lose interest in it and ran over to the table that’s supporting the Teeter and went into a down.
I then proceeded to run Ice along the Teeter rewarding him for remaining in position at the end of the board. He’s doing the behavior fine – not as speedy as I would want but he clearly knows what the task is that I’m asking him to do, but his enthusiasm to play with the toy is waning all the time.
This is now a major concern, Ice loves chasing his toy (at least he did until a few days ago). Normally after a few retrieves of the toy he’d be excited enough to tug with it and then be totally focused on the toy and me. So clearly something is not right. I wonder if I’ve spent too long working on a single obstacle? Anyway, the Teeter is going away and I’m going to spend a few sessions doing things that I know Ice likes – basically tunnels and jumps and maybe the odd Dog Walk.
On the plus side when I brought him back in the house he didn’t start licking his feet like he normally does, of course I’ve no idea if this is connected or not.
We had an OK but not great training session this morning.
As Ice was worked pretty hard in class on Monday evening he got Tuesday off, lots of play and walks but no agility. So this morning was his first training session after class.
Here are the things that didn’t go so well.
For the past 4 to 6 weeks the grass has been bone dry in the mornings at training time and Ice has been very happy to run on it. The past few mornings dew has settled on the grass overnight and the sun has not yet burnt it off before we started training. Previously Icy has been very sensitive to the wet grass, frankly he doesn’t like it that much and prefers not to have to go on it. I’d thought (hoped) he had forgotten about his “wet grass” fear but no such luck, he’s still prepared to run on the grass but I could see his enthusiasm had waned.
I have been working my way through the “Sizzling SeeSaw” DVD from Clean Run. We have been playing the Bang! game and today was the first time Ice got to run the length of the Teeter with it banging onto the ground. He did this fine, ran all the way to the end and waited with 4 feet on the board just like I’d trained him – what a good boy!. He got several cookies for staying in position and then I released him – “break!”. Ice remained on the board, he didn’t budge. I threw the toy for him and still stayed on the board. I picked him up, placed him on the ground and tried to get him excited about the toy, throwing it for him. He retrieved the toy ran back towards me but stopped short and jumped on the table in a down dropping the toy. OK I thought no problem, you obviously understand the automatic down on the table, good boy here’s another cookie.
So I repeated the Teeter and exactly the same thing happened only this Ice didn’t chase after the toy he ran straight to the table and went into a down.
The training session ended at this point. Looks like I’m going to have to spend some time counter conditioning whatever the fear is that Ice has for the wet grass. This is very frustrating but as the grass is going to be wet pretty much 24×7 for the rest of the year and beyond so I have no option but to do this even though I’d much sooner be spending time actually training agility.
He made his DW contacts this week, but the next obstacle was a jump not a tunnel. We have done a lot of work this week running the DW into a tunnel but Ice is not 100% consistent hitting the contact with this setup yet.
Ice is way quicker through the tunnels than Sky and I’m struggling to get my tunnel timing right. This resulted in an almost crash as Ice emerged from the tunnel sooner than I was expecting.
On the first recorded run Ice seemed to think the Down on the table was optional. He did much better on the second run.
I’m also late cuing some of my FX’s resulting in Ice taking jumps in extension when I wanted partial collection. This can be seen clearly on the jump after the DW in the video.
For the first time ever at “Dogs World” Ice brought the tug toy back to me after I threw it. This should speed things up a lot. He always brings the toy back at home I wonder why it took him so long to do it in class.
We haven’t practiced weaves all week but it didn’t matter, Ice found his entry first time, drove through all 12 poles and correctly read my push after the last pole. He’s really moving through the weaves now, hard to see him going any quicker (although he’s not as quick as Sky – but Sky can single step the weaves Ice can’t).
Ice did two beautiful running A-Frames completely independently of me. Its so nice to be able to cue the A-Frame and leave, I really wish I had trained Sky to do this. Actually Sky can do it but he always misses the contact in his haste to catch up to me.
Things to work on for next week.
We haven’t done the Tyre or Panel Jumps for some time, as Ice will definitely see these in his first AKC trial I should resume training them.
Continue his Teeter training. He’s very close to performing the Teeter how I want him too, but I think we will need another 2 weeks of work before I’ll be happy running the Teeter in sequence.
I’m still not 100% happy with his Dog Walk performance. Dog Walk to the Manners Minder is 100%. Dog Walk to a jump or the weaves is high 80% maybe even 90%. But Dog Walk to tunnel is pretty much 100% fail on his first run and the 50 to 60% success on subsequent runs.
Ice was very motivated, moving quickly and really driving over the obstacles.
He weave pole performance was great, he had no trouble finding the entries, he stayed in and did all 12 poles and he really pushed himself through the poles.
Ice clearly understands push through threadles, he did lots of them last night and all were good.
He understands FX on the flat too, I took him past the plane of a jump did a FX on the flat, cued the jump which he sliced nicely and then did another FX followed by a forward send to the weaves. Ice handled all this like a pro.
Ice had a really nice running AF, he’s totally independent of me and gets his feet (all 4 of them) deep into the yellow.
Things that need some work
Ice did the DW 3 times last night and missed the down contact on all 3 attempts. This had Sarah and me a little confused as he’s been doing the DW flawlessly recently. Turns out the next obstacle was a tunnel which was straight inline with the down ramp of the DW. Ice loves tunnels and his eagerness to get to the tunnel was causing him to not adjust his stride to hit the yellow like he normally does.
Ice had a great time in class last night, he ran a USDAA Masters Challenge Standard course and other than missing obstacles #1 and #2 because he’s not taking the Teeter in flow at the moment he actually ran the course clean!!
Here is Ice’s weave pole challenge for the week. I’d like Ice to be able to run this in either ascending or descending order with a running Dog Walk and A-Frame. Meanwhile Ice continues to do well on his Teeter re-train. So far he’s not showing any hesitation on the drop – which is the problem I’m trying to overcome.