Wednesday, May 30, 2012

20-pt Bonus Line Practice

I set up this course yesterday for some more bonus-line practice.  I decided we'd try this one from the 20-pt line since the handler is more visible to the dog from behind the 20-pt line.  I thought getting the turn from 13 to 14 would be the most difficult part for us, but as it turned out, that wasn't really a problem.  By and large the bobbles occurred when Belle was fairly close to me.

Yesterday evening, I tried the course in reverse.  Since Belle was heading away from me on the A-frame, I didn't really think we'd be able to do it successfully, but she surprised me and did the A-frame quite well.  Our biggest problem was turning from 15 to 14--Belle wanted to drive into the tunnel under the A-frame.  The other problem we had was entering the correct tunnel after the A-frame.  This morning we had one more go at the course in reverse, and to my utter amazement, we nailed it!

Here's video of our efforts on Rd 1 of the course:


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Parcours des Monats - Mai

Belle and I have been working on Bonus Lines for a couple of weeks, and I was looking for a change of pace.  Tanja Bauer emailed me the  agility courses of the month that her group is doing for May.  This month's were designed by Dorothee Reinalter.  (To see how various European handlers tackled the sequences, click here.)  

Here is the first exercise, which posed several challenges for me.

1.  Belle and I needed a refresher course in coming to hand when I chose to lead out just past the right standard of #2 and call her to me before sending her over the jump.

2. I discovered that if I went with Belle to the entrance of the #6 tunnel, I get to the exit in time to direct her to the #7 jump.  I found I could either go half way or stay by the tunnel exit.  Neither solution really felt "right," but they did work.

3.  I also discovered I couldn't beat Belle to the exit of the #9 tunnel in order to direct her to the correct side of #10.  I could not come up with anything more creative than calling her to me as she exited the tunnel and then turning her to #10, and even this did not work until I remembered to show deceleration on my way to the tunnel.

4.  Lastly, I found that if I were at all ambivalent in keeping pressure on the line from the #4 tunnel to the weaves, Belle ended up taking the #9 tunnel.

For those that are interested here's some video of the rough spots:

The second exercise was much easier for us.  (Which isn't to say we sailed through it every time ;-)  However, for some reason after nailing the weave entry the first three or four times, Belle began going around the first pole and entering from the wrong side.  I finally had to resort to using a barrier in order to prevent her from rounding the first pole and entering on the wrong side.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Getting There

I set up a Regular course this morning while it was still relatively cool.

I found it rather odd that there was a 15-pt bonus line on this course since once you move up beyond the 40-foot line, the A-frame impedes your ability to move from one side of the course to the other.  So I chose to try this one from the 20-pt line, and I was pleased with how well Belle and I did.

I made two mistakes.  First, I said tunnel as Belle was taking #3.  Well, duh, the tunnel under the A-frame was a lot more obvious to her than the one under the dog walk.  Second, I failed to give Belle a directional command as she exited the tunnel under the A-frame.  I realized the difficulty of getting from the tunnel to jump #10, but I had hoped that saying her name as she exited, coupled with my position at about (22,62) would be sufficient to achieve the turn in the correct direction.  WRONG.  Even on our second attempt, Belle paused momentarily facing left before turning to take the correct jump.

I think I also crossed the 20-pt line while Belle was doing the 14-18 sequence.  But I didn't cross it by much, and if there had been a line on the ground, I think I would have been able to stay on my side of it.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Saying the Right Thing

Over the winter, I worked with Belle on "left" and "right."  Much to my surprise, she now has a pretty good response to those commands despite my moments of dyslexia.  I set up this regular course so that we could do some bonus line work.

Belle and I attempted this one from the 15-pt bonus line at a trial last month.  I thought the #12 tunnel would be the hardest part of the course since the handler's view of the tunnel opening is blocked by the A-frame.  I also thought the turn from 10 to 11 would be difficult because of the #4 jump.  I chose to say "switch" for the turn, and unfortunately, Belle turned left instead of right.  Going from 19 to 20, "switch" caused Belle to turn right.  Go figure.

My original plan was to work on Belle's understanding of "switch" when I set this course up.  However, I soon discovered that "left" and "right" yielded much better results.

This afternoon, I after running the course as above, I decided to see how far we'd get if the course were reversed.  We didn't make it all the way through, but I was very pleased that we were able to make the left turn from 3 to 10 on our second try.  We might have even been able to complete the course if I had used "right" instead of "get out" to get Belle from 19 to 4.  ("Get out" caused her to move out to the off-course #20 tunnel.)