Friday, December 21, 2012

Agility update

Third lesson in our new agility class. We continued doing our own thing, working on foundation. I did some jump work, building value for the jump by tossing a food tube with his new raw food to the other side and sending him over. Also did some practice wrapping around the standard while I stood facing it. I didn't see much drive or love for the jump, which surprised me, since we've done a handful of sessions like this already. But I think it was just the distracting environment that didn't allow him to relax, as this morning we did the same exercises and he was happily hopping over the 2 inch bar, even after I said, "Take a break."

Put him on a tippy board and rewarded him for walking back and forth and on and off.

Crate games, lots and lots and lots of chicken for staying in his crate. Some practice releasing him from the crate while I stood ahead of it (facing away) and rewarding at my side. Sending to crate.

My favorite part of the night was doing flat work with his food bowl. I would send him to the food bowl and drop a treat in when he went to it. He picked up on this immediately since at home he's had lots of practice waiting while I set the bowl down and then being sent to it. After some repetitions of that, I challenged him to follow my handling past the bowl or away from it, and rewarded that either with a treat in my hand or by then turning him around and sending him back to the bowl. He did SO well with this exercise considering it was his first time. That's foundation for you!

I used only food as a reward because he's been less interested in tugging for the past few days. I think it's because he's teething and it's less comfortable. No problem, I'll just give him a break until he's ready to play.

I decided to stop practicing stays except when on his mat or in his crate or on a another target. He needs to learn the concept and self-control in those easier contexts.

I vowed to practice more flatwork utilizing his crate and mat. Getting him fluent with the front and rear crosses, post turns, sends, acceleration, and deceleration can all be done without obstacles adding extra distractions and criteria. I learned this from the awesome book Agility Right From the Start. This brings up the question of whether I should continue with this agility class, which is quite a way ahead of us and we're just doing our own exercises anyway. There are only two more lessons in the session I paid for, so I'll go to those and then will probably take a break and wait for a more appropriate class to come along.

This morning Chimera got his whole breakfast via the food tube, doing jump foundation and flatwork. I was able to integrate some circle work into the jump practice. We could start doing the "Bermuda Triangle" exercise with jumps, which is from the book. Did lots of matwork and got him driving to the mat from a short distance, then coming to my side, following my handling to go next to the mat or send to it. It was great fun!


  1. The only thing that ever stopped me from buying that book was the price. Cannot believe how expensive it was... though I'd imagine it'd be pretty invaluable.

    Speaking of Crate Games, I moved Elli's crate to the opposite side of the room for the first time in a year and she kept going to the corner where it was before. She's only just now realizing that kennel means kennel, haha.

    1. I luckily got it as a gift. I probably wouldn't have bought it on my own because of the price, without being able to look at it first. But since I've finished reading it and now have the opportunity to put it to practice, I highly recommend it!

      Hee! Funny how they can end up learning something quite different from what we thought we were teaching!