Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's that time again......

I just got a reminder email about upcoming agility workshops :)

Sooooooooo excited.... I signed up for a Foundation Handling Skills in June w/ Susan Garrett...and just about to put in an order from Clean run.

I've taken a few agility classes before where you pretty much treat/reward the dog after each obstacle at first.  Perfect intro to someone who didn't know anything about agility. It made things easy and you got to do the sexy stuff...all the equipment. Here's a video of me n George in our second class at Dogsmart where we're just learning the equipment. I love his wagging tail and dancing front paws. We absolutely had a ball! We've even enjoy Fun Runs and sure entertained everyone!

Then we moved to Squamish...and I found an agility class out here! Maren introduced me to Christine (she teaches it), Marika and Sherry (teaches too). I'm so not anywhere in their caliber but man ...I had fun. They use target plates, toys and food prompts, working on one obstacle at a time. They also compete.

Last year I found Sylvia Trkman & Susan Garrett's work (Maren introduced me to Susan Garrett & Pawsitive Steps Outreach) and have been hooked ever since. They use more shaping, games and toy work going into foundation handling skills before you zip around on a course. It actually has made a big difference in the away work. We're still newbies.

Last year Darrell helped to build home made equipment so I could have fun in the yard with the dogs, and practice our foundation skills. Life keeps gettting in the way, so this is a way that I can slowly work on it when I can carve out time.

Plus this way I don't have to go to a class where my guys have to wait their turn in a class. The downside of having multiple much as I'd love to...I can't work with them all at once...unless I'm using the others as distractions (which is one of the things you need to do ... after they've learned the cue).

Both of their methods are awesome. I find Susan Garrett's very easy to build from one exercise on to the next. Both have clicker backgrounds, Susan is just more accessible to me, living in Canada & also having dvd's and books out.

One of the things I love most is that there are no corrections, not even a huff, or evil eye is acceptable behaviour from YOU. A harsh word can get you kicked out of Susan's workshop :) I love it!

It's amazing how many games they've come up with that teach the dog how to read your body language on the fly which translates to the dog looking as if they're reading your mind.


Last year my friend Maren ordered tunnel and jump equipment from Clean run and we met in fields to practice. Light weight equipment made setting up quick and simple.

I'm leaning more towards getting a tunnel from Schaunenberg Industries, something I'll be able to take on the road, or use in the yard in wet weather, it'll be heavier and more durable. Plus now with Keegan, the diameter of Ikea tunnels are too small :(

I just checked shipping costs and I'd be saving $ shipping alone. So I think I"m going to shop Canadian :)

Done. 7 days....can't wait! My guys LOVE tunnels!

I love the fact that I'll be able to take this equipment (well my jumps, tunnel and plank( working on short one w/foundation skills) on the road to different parks & fields...GLOBALizing your cues in different locations is key...even in agility!

I just need 4 more jumps to do some double box work, and I'm set.

I started with 2 on 2 off method for contacts but I'm switching to Sylvia Trkman's running contacts. So far my guys have been hitting the ends and it feels natural, so we're going to see how far we get. I'm not a fan of the nose touches until I release them, but definitely do understand the importance of the dog's head needs to be down when running off contacts to ensure they don't end up with neck injuries. Both Daizy and Keegan run the contact with head down so I think I'm safe for now. Daizy and Keegan both have the potential to let their adrenalin get the best of them and if I ask for a repetitive motion, I've noticed that it just ramps them up = they are no longer in their calm concentrated state of being.

Daizy learned weaves using the channel method as in George's video where eventually those two rows of weavepoles will move closer and closer together.

I started on 2 x 2 weaves w/Keegan but haven't practiced since our workshop last year. I didn't want to screw up. He's so quick to catch on that I need to know what I'm doing and have my timing down before we start. We had so much foundation work to concentrate on first anyways so this year we're finally in a good place to start.

Some women have a weakness for clothes, shoes or handbags ...mine is dog stuff :P

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