keskiviikko 17. elokuuta 2011

Training with joy

This is fantastic:

perjantai 12. elokuuta 2011

Importance of planning

Planning training sessions is essential if you really want to progress with each training session. But with a dog, you can't just run through as planned. You have to be able during a session to analyze dog's behaviour and adjust a plan accordingly. On the go. This isn't easy. Some sessions are just perfect, and you reach clear results. In many cases there is something that influence training. A plan was not realistic, temperature was too high for planned activities, you were tired and could not focus, environment was too distracting, your instructor is not thinking the same way and offered opposite advice to your plans, or training time is limited. Just to mention some...

Without a plan training is likely to be just repeating same old stuff. For the dog this doesn't matter, he is likely to have just as much fun repeating familiar skills and tricks if those are rewarded. But for the handler a target of continuous development requires lots of thinking and planning. Where are we know? What's the next step and criteria? Should I move to the next level now? How can I test this skill? This problem I didn't expect, what to do now?

It has been great to follow how amazingly Kumma is responding to training. How fast he is learning, and how well he is using learned skills in other more distracting environments. He has a lot of potential, and it depends mainly on my skills as a trainer how much he will learn in agility world as well as in everyday life.

Back to this week's training. We had a good jumping training the other day, well planned and well applied. Extremely good results.

Basig grid with doubles, 3 reps. One without handler movement, two with running. Prior to third one I turned on Kumma's engine by whispering "Where is the toy?" and taking take off position myself. Excellent jumping even with high drive!

Landing exercise with a 40cm double jump, 3 reps like with the basic grid. Again excellent jumping with good bouncing.

Set point with a 6ft distance, 4 reps. 45-50-55-40cm. Nice jumps. This was the 2nd time Kumma jumped 55cm, and it looked really good. Could start using higher jumps in handling training, I have used max 45cm so far.

keskiviikko 10. elokuuta 2011

Super boy

Agility class yesterday with Kumma. What a super boy he is!

Full set of 12 weave poles, three repetitions. #1: good start but mistake at the end of the poles. No reward, redirecting and new try. #2: successful weaving, a bit slow but he was thinking :) Toy reward. #3: successful weaving, good speed, and good rhythm!!! Toy reward and lots of play. There was an extra distraction of water puddles under the poles.

Low teeter: Kumma slammed a low teeter down confidently. Combination of teeter movement and 2o2o needs practising. I need to add a cue for this (and decide which word to use).

Reminders for myself: need to practice lateral distance in lead outs, and start working on lead out pivots. Need to plan teeter training sessions properly, not just to go and try what happens...

maanantai 8. elokuuta 2011

August stories

Enjoying warm rays of sun
Last week in our agility class I worked on Kumma's 2-on-2-off on the A-frame. He did great, with a tunnel ahead as a distraction, and with a front cross. Then we performed a little test. A long straight tunnel in front of the A-frame and what happened? Beautiful jump right onto the edge of the contact zone. One more 2o2o without any speed, and he didn't touch the upside contact zone at all. I wanted to believe that A-frame wouldn't be a problem, only the dogwalk, but evidence is there. Disappointing, but not surprising. Kumma is a big boy with a strong engine. Now I have put A-frame and dogwalk training on hold, there is no point to reinforce wrong performance until I have told Kumma what to do with upside contact zones.

We have started working on this at home, using first a wooden frame, and now a taped frame on the floor. I plan to transfer that onto the training board, then to real obstacles.

Taking a nap in the greenhouse

I haven't done too much weave training lately with Kumma, some reps with 6 poles every now and then with or without a jump in front. A week ago I introduced full 12 poles for the first time. He did them twice, but rather slowly. Yesterday evening, when temperature was a bit lower, I started a training session with 6 poles. Just two repetitions, and Kumma's speed and rhythm was fantastic! I have only 6 poles on the backyard, so training a full set requires going somewhere else.

We also visited Vappu recently with aussie friends Rinna and Sara. Kumma got some new jumping exercises in front of him.He started with a basic grid, but instead of standard 5 jumps there were 9 jumps. First he run through without good body management, then he started thinking and trying. Second exercise was a combination of landing (with a 40cm double jump), bending (5 jumps), and progressive grid. I have videos, try to add them later. Comments and homework:
  • Kumma works and uses his body well, but needs challenges to keep him interested and focused. I need to keep him motivated and in high arousal zone with play and games. "Racing to a toy" is a game that can be used with jumping exercises occasionally to add fun and speed.
  • Basic grid with double jumps, height 20-25cm.
  • Landing exercise (spaces 6-9-9).
  • Mix and match exercises, adding handler movement.
Today Kummajainen enjoyed running in the woods with a havanese friend Vili. Neeo was also with us, but he didn't appreciate children's rough play. No wonder, Neeo will be 12 in two weeks! Hoppu got his own walk later in the evening. My daughter cycled and we needed to run a little to keep up with her. Running with a blind dog, something I haven't tried before... Hoppu was a happy little hurricane, he trusts me as his guide human :)

Sweet Hoppu 12.5 years
Neeo in summer cottage