Thursday, December 5, 2013

Teachable Moments

I was looking for a sequence with a minimal amount of setup work since it is always windy out in the field this time of year.  Brrrr.  I chose this simple exercise from Linda Mecklenberg's Feb., 2013 column in Clean Run.  Never in my wildest dreams did I realize it would give us so many different things to work on with Willie.

First, there is the backside of #4.  We've done a little bit of backside work, but not a whole lot because I don't want him to default to the backside of a jump too easily.  The object of this sequence is to handle #4 in at least three different ways.  I tried pushing Willie to the back of #4 around the wing closer to the tunnel and then pushing into the gap between 4/5.  This proved to be somewhat difficult for Willie because he still doesn't understand collection.

Then I tried pushing him to the backside of #4 around the wing closer to #5.  Much to my surprise, this was made getting to #5 easier for him since he was forced to slow down (collect) for the wrap.  Unfortunately, I couldn't think of a third way to handle 4/5 yesterday.  But I think it might be possible for the handler to get to the take of side of #4 and handle from that side.

Because of his speed and size, Willie defaulted to the correct side of #2.  So I was really shocked when this turned into a major sticking point for Belle--she defaulted to my side of the jump.  Hmm.  I spent several minutes showing Belle the difference in my signals when I wanted her to take the jump going away from me and when I wanted her to take it coming toward me.  Then I brought Willie out and worked on showing him what it looked like when I wanted him to take #2 from my side of the jump.  There's that hard to grasp concept again, collection.  Once he got the idea of coming to my side of the jump, I started asking him to wrap it and go back into the tunnel.  Surprise!  He took the jump first, which gave us another skill to work on.

We quit for the day at this point, but in addition to wrapping to the tunnel, there are several other choices:
  • the other end of the tunnel
  • either side of #4
  • either side of #5
  • the gap between 4/5

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