Saturday, December 3, 2016

Honing Our Long Jump Skills - Part 1

I joined Justine Davenport and Jessica Patterson's Shape Up or Ship Out group.  I was able to set up some of the courses from the first two lessons, but as winter settles in, I will have to content myself with just working some of the drills and skills when weather permits.  On the bright side, I'll have no shortage of courses to choose from come spring.

On the first course I set, Will had problems with the long jump.  The sequence was such that he ended up slicing it just a bit too much.  I decided to haul out my long jump today and work on some angled approaches and a right angle exit line.  Here's what I came up with:

We worked through the top set of sequences today.  (The bottom
set is simply the mirror image for us to work when weather permits.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tackling A Championship Course

I set up Tamas Traj's FCI Agility World Championships 2016 Team Agility Large and gave it a go with Willie.  As part of the Bad Dog Agility VIP program, Sarah Fernandezlopez analyzed Susan Garrett's handling of this course, and I felt it was something we could take a stab at.  Click here to see Susan's run.

Notes on Our Attemps:

I tried to run this as Susan Garrett did.  I didn’t know if Willie could handle the long LO, but he had no problem with it.  However, my timing for the teeter was late every time.  The first time I was so late, Willie ended up in the #14 tunnel.  I re-watched Susan’s run and discovered that I needed to place my BC after the teeter not before.  That will allow me to take less of a LO and draw a better line to the teeter.

#7 requires support as I run by or Willie will just come with me and take #8.

I wasn’t really expecting the turn out of the weaves to the tunnel to be a big deal.  Unfortunately, I only said “tunnel” on our first attempt.  (I would have sworn I said “switch, tunnel,” but the video clearly shows I didn’t.)  A directional is needed here since the tunnel is not in Willie's line of sight.

I thought getting to the other side of the DW after #12 would be a real foot race, but it was actually not hard.  (Susan had to resort to a RC at the #14 tunnel, I was able to do a BC.  If my #13 had been a wall instead of a panel jump, I might well have had to hang back to ensure Will took the wall and then use a RC at the #14 tunnel.)

The second time through, I tried to push for a BC between 20/21 and failed big time.  Should have just used a RC like I did the first time.  (SG managed to do a FC!!!)

P.S.  We ran this again later in the day so I could try blind crossing the teeter exit.  Much to my surprise that proved to be a little slower for us.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Contact Practice and a Little More

Because contact equipment is so heavy, I absolutely hate setting up standard courses.  However, I did want to spend some training time this year on improving Willie's A frame and dog walk performances.  The other day, we ran a course that had two challenges we couldn't meet with my limited mobility.  The first challenge was AF to the tire, and the second was table to the weaves.  Here's a photo of the section of course in question.

The approach to the AF is from the left, and it is a fast approach from a chute.  I layered the jump and table and stopped between the table and the tire before releasing Will to the tire.  Despite out-stretched arm and foot, Will took the table.  The only way I could get him to take the tire was to actually take a step toward it as I released him, but I'd really like him to also be able to take it with a verbal and my static body cues.

The second problem was the weave poles after the table.  I wanted to layer the tire so I could get a head start on the DW which is off-screen to the right.  What I got was a lot of barking and spinning. I was really, really surprised by this, since I thought Willie's weave entrances were pretty much rock solid.  Apparently, this is a little varation we will have to work on.

I designed this course for working on these two issues, plus our contact performances.

I ended up adding a couple of jumps so that we could go from AF to DW.  The teeter is rather a dead end, but since its not really as big a problem for us as the DW and AF, I'm okay with that.  I suppose if the teeter were a bigger issue, I could put it where the AF is on this course.  Here's one sequence we ran this morning.

Note Taking

Over the years, I have taken reams of notes and analyzed hours of video often with either written comments or voice over.  The big problem is that I almost never go back and review my notes.  For a short time I even tried two different spreadsheets for tackling the problem.  One spreadsheet was for categorizing types of errors (contacts, failing to support an obstacle until Will was committed, late cues, etc.).  The other was an attempt to make comments on different types of exercises we tackled.  The second spreadsheet turned into way too big a project and was basically no better than taking notes and storing them in the computer.

I also took a stab at creating my own flashcards to serve as reminder notes.  For example:

The process of creating the flashcards was kind of tedious though, and I wasn't real good about keeping them up.

A couple of months ago, I came up with a solution that was somewhat similar to the flash cards, but seemed to be a little more useable for me.  I create a Word document that includes a course map and a few notes, and, often times, my handling path.  I then save it as a PDF file and make my annotations and comments using the comment and text capabilities of the free Adobe PDF Reader.  Here's an example:

  Once I made my notes, I save the file with the original title plus "annotated."  By adding the same word, "annotated," I can do a document search and review all the notes I've made or copy them to my Nexus so I can review them when I have a spare moment.

What I really like about the comment markers is that you can place them at the key points on the course, but you don't obscure the course with the written word.