Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Agility class 2.3

I forgot to write up class 2.1, and I couldn't attend last week. We've done introductions to tunnels now, although Chimera's been running through my TDAA-sized tunnel for a few months already. He knows he should just zoom through to get his reward! The instructor had us do circle work around a tunnel, incorporating front crosses and pulls, and switch that up with doing a front cross that sent the dog into the tunnel entrance. This teaches the dogs to pay attention to our cues rather than just getting sucked into the tunnel.

She has the class do circle work all together in a big circle every week. Today was the first time that I joined the circle with Chimera. Because he was super distracted by close proximity to other dogs during our first couple of weeks of class, I had been doing circle work in our own space, steadily getting closer to the other dogs. He was ready for it today, and focused quite well for most of the exercise. I worked in little pace changes and circles in place as well, to keep it interesting for him. He needs heeling/circle work to include lots of "doodling" to stay in the game.

We did crate games, and the instructor had me pay attention to a new detail of it: requiring Cai to turn toward me once he's entered the crate and is turning to face the front (in other words, turn to his left if I'm on his left, and right if I'm on his right). He was only going to the left at first, but with the help of smart reward placement, he caught on to the idea.

Another piece of the puzzle is adding lateral distance, which is a weakness of ours due to limited training area in the apartment.

We did a little ladder work, focusing on rewarding the dog when he's looking ahead rather than up at us. Cai's been doing a lot of pole/cavaletti stuff over the past month.

The instructor set up a super wobble board that had a cement-filled cone going through the middle, which raised the entire board up into the air. Chimera has had enough wobble board training that he jumped right onto it, and wasn't bothered by the extreme movement! Super puppy! I got one of my classmates to video it. This was our second go at it, and he's actually slower because he's getting tired.

The instructor showed us how to construct little towers of items for our dogs to knock over, a la Agility Right From the Start. I had practiced this a lot with Dragon, but hadn't gotten around to it with Chimera. I don't think he'll have a problem with it, haha. It's a great exercise for teaching the dog to be confidence creating movement and noise, which is foundation for teeter training, but also a good life skill.

The last thing we did was introduce speeding up as a cue for acceleration, another weakness of mine due to limited space. We ran forward, then sped up while throwing a toy forward. After some repetition, speed up first and then throw the toy as a reward for the dog moving ahead in anticipation.

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