Friday, August 30, 2013

More Techno Geek Stuff

I've been running international courses for a year or two now.  Since I can't set a course without my surveyors tape and wheel, I spend a lot of time converting photos of metric course maps to feet in CRCD.  I finally decided to try and overlay a grid marked in feet over a metric course map.

The course map I used was in .PNG format, so I converted it to the more common JPEG format in PhotoShop to see if this would work with a JPEG image.
Next I created a 40 meter x 20 meter grid in CRCD.
Then I switched off metric in the view menu and had a blank course map marked off in feet.  I saved it in .PNG format so that I would have a transparent background when I removed the white areas.
Then I opened my grid in PhotoShop.  In order to work with the image, you have to change from indexed color to RGB and convert the background to a layer.  Then you can use the magic wand tool and remove all the white.
Next select Inverse and paint the lines and numbers red to make it easier to see them when you overlay this image on the original course map.  Select the entire image and copy.
Paste it over the original course map and voila.
Since I am working in layers, I decided I might as well move the foot grid to the right so that the course fits within an 80x100 foot grid.
Here's my finished course map:



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Little Distance Goes a Long Way

After enjoying several weeks of below normal temps, Mother Nature turned on us and it is hot, hot, hot!  In case I've never mentioned it before, I don't particularly care for hot weather.  I set up a course last week and then I lost interest in moving the equipment around for a new course.  I finally found a course that motivated me to get up early to beat the heat.  Here's the course:

The course is from the Buenos Aires Regionals and was designed by Rodrigo P. Balsells.  I thought it presented enough challenges to make setting it up worthwhile, plus I can see other courses embedded in it so I can leave it up for a while.

I made a mistake in walking the course and planned for #5 in the wrong direction.  However, even taking it from the wrong side, you have to make sure your dog is committed to the correct end of the tunnel before you can take off for the backside at #8.  I assumed #13 was to be taken from the numbered side which produces two threadles. 

I anticipated that getting Belle to the backside of #8 and #20 would be my biggest challenges.  However,  I was totally blindsided by the difficulties we encountered turning from #14 to the long jump!  After muddling through that using a number of different commands, I decided to try running 12-16 using some distance.  It certainly couldn't be any worse.  Remaining somewhat removed from the obstacles would remove the acceleration cues I was inadvertently giving while trying to get to the obstacles.  It would also allow me to stand in a spot where Belle could see me as she exited the #14 tunnel, and it would enable me to be further downstream for the run to the backside of #20.

Tomorrow, we'll give this course another go with the following changes:
  • take #5 from the side indicated
  • run 12-14 as a serpentine
  • add an extra loop (14,18,14) to see if Belle is pattern trained in regard to the turn to the long jump
First Day:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gate Circle

Yesterday, I set up a gate circle using my six gates and six hoops.  I was pleased with how well Willie did.  This evening we went out and played around with it some more, and he did even better, although he still doesn't quite get the concept of a rear cross.  Here's video from yesterday.


While we were out in the field, I came up with this set-up to work on send distance.  Obstacle 3 is a traffic cone, and as Willie becomes more comfortable driving out and around it, I will move it further away from 2 and 4 while I remain behind the line.

This setup also lets me work on leading out and cuing Willie to come to my left or right side when released.  I can also practice a front cross between 4 and 5.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Time Flies

I can't believe more than a month has gone by since my last post.  Since the weather has been very nice, I've been spending gobs of time working on my flower beds.  I did post some videos during that time, but I didn't write any posts to go with them.

Willie was 17 weeks old on Monday.  His legs have grown so very long, and  I noticed four adult teeth last Friday.   His training is coming along nicely.  So far we've worked on:
  • sit
  • down
  • stand
  • stay
  • sit pretty
  • wave (left and right paws)
  • high five (left and right paws)
  • celebrate (high five with both paws at the same time)
  • bow
  • crawl
  • put four feet in a relatively small box
  • balance disc
  • retrieving (very much a work in progress)
  • Buja board
  • heel
  • side
  • front
  • behind (switch from one side of me to the other by moving in back of me)
  • around (both me and other objects)
  • spin and twirl (clockwise and counter-clockwise, respectively)
  • recall
  • nail clipping
  • touch
  • putting names to objects (we've got a long way to go on this one)
  • waiting patiently at the back door
  • waiting to be released from his crate
  • tugging
  • front cross
  • rear cross (definitely the more difficult cross for Willie to understand)
  • travel plank (for the 2o2o contact I'm hoping for on the dog walk)
  • hoops and gates
I try to work with Willie at every meal so that we have at least three short sessions each day.  The wonderful thing about working with a puppy is that there is no time pressure to accomplish anything.  After all, he's a puppy!  We can't compete until he's 18 months old.  Therefore, I can take my time and lay a solid foundation and let him mature physically and mentally.

Willie was offering too much handler focus when we were working with hoops.  He was actually running into some of them!  I decided to see if using a few gates would help him focus on where he was going.