Friday, December 4, 2015

Agility and obedience practice

It's been tough to find opportunities to practice agility outside of classes or private lessons. Fortunately Jump'n Java scheduled 4 fun matches around the holidays, and we were able to attend the one after Thanksgiving, plus we'll be at the upcoming one on Boxing Day.

Cai and I are totally out of practice. This was a new location, outdoors on grass. Despite these things, Cai did super well! He was focused the entire time we were out on the field, other than one time he couldn't resist the allure of the tall grass along a fence line. But no staring off at barking or running dogs, like when we did a fun match a year ago. The power of fresh-cooked rabbit meat helped, but he's definitely gained maturity and focus.

On the Jumpers side, we did a Novice course. The first time I got lost, but the second time went smoothly. I actually heard a few "oooh"s as we finished up. We also did some on-the-fly sequences.

On the Standard side, we mostly practiced the weave poles. We have 10th pole syndrome. I'm going to take some more time to heavily reward the completed poles, and put him back in if he pops out early. If that doesn't make a difference, I'll have to schedule private lessons to help us figure it out.

The best part was that he was eager and fast on the teeter! I babied him and lowered it just a tad slowly the first 2 reps. Then I let it fall normally. He slowed down briefly at the tipping point (which was almost at the end of the board, since he's so fast), then quickly moved up to the edge. The next time, he leaned back when it tipped but was at the end as it hit the ground. WOW!! Then I had to focus on rewarding him for staying at the end, to prevent fly-offs in the future. So proud of my little guy.

On Wednesday we returned to the drop in obedience practice at SLDTC. There were only two other dogs this time. We practiced playing, heeling with tricks, recalls, stays, dumbbell retrieves, and the broad jump. No one bothered to ask why Cai didn't sit on the halts and fronts. (It's because rally-free and freestyle are higher priority than obedience.) We also practiced crating with me 10 feet away or briefly out of sight. He's slowly improving on that front - no barking this time, but a little scratching at the crate door.

Stays with a Yorkie and Sheltie.

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