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.
Here is the small course I have been using with Ice to train his weave entries. We start by taking each jump in flow to the weaves. For each jump I work Ice on both my left and right hand sides. I’ve also been doing the occasional rear cross whilst Ice is weaving.
For fun I have also been running the numbered sequence so we can practice serpentine’s.
Ice loves this sequence and has no trouble running it or finding the correct weave entry.