Fun with dogs

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weekly agility classes

Tuesday night with Harry Potter was another session on grass.  We were working discriminations (ie use your Threadle arm!).  Per the website AgilityNerd, a threadle is:

"Threadle describes the dog's path through two or more obstacles when the dog performs obstacles in the sequence in the same direction. The dog is "pulled through" (between) adjacent obstacles in order to take the next obstacle in the same direction as the previous obstacle. The entrance and exit paths may or may not wrap the respective jumps.
The obstacles are often jumps and are also often arranged in an almost straight line. Although the spacing, rotation, and arrangement of the obstacles can vary significantly. The key feature is the dog's taking the sequence of obstacles in the same direction. As best I can tell the name of the sequence refers to the way the dog's path looks as though it is "sewn" or "threaded" through the plane of the obstacles."

Two Jump and Three Jump Threadles

Threadle Sequence
Thanks to AgilityNerd for the definition and illustration.

We had a course set up that had a row of 4 jumps with a right angle into the weaves, then two jumps to an A-frame tunnel discrimination.  After the jump you use your body language to cue the dog to come in to you, then send them to the tunnel because it was closest.  The first pass was rough, with some grass eating, and then he picked the A-frame instead of the tunnel that I had cued.  I have a suspicion that I was late cuing the tunnel though, as I was trying to manage his grass eating.  Our instructor says that we need to reward the dog coming in for the threadle cue 70% of the time, as threadles are difficult for the dog.  So we restarted and he managed to get the threadle cue, then tunnel cue. 

We also worked on a sequence that required the dog to drive over then wrap around the jump to come back with the handler for the next jump.  I was worried about backjumping (where the dog goes over a jump then turns around and jumps back over it), which is a big no-no in agility.  HP actually had more trouble with eating the grass than the backjumping.  It seems like as long as I am working hard and focused on him he can ignore the grass.  However, the minute I pause to think through something or restart a sequence, he resorts to grass eating.  I guess we'll just have to continue with out clicker/reward training on grass.  Kathy gave me homework, working on collar grabs, so that when I have to grab him when he's eating grass he doesn't see it as a punishment, he sees it as an amp up to work.

Lexi's Thursday night class

Wow,  What an AWESOME class we had tonight.  Lexi was a ROCKSTAR.  Our first set up was a tunnel-jump-jump, front cross, jump-jump-tunnel.  Running start, no sit stays, just amped up running.  Lexi LOVED it.  She was driving ahead, I just had to try to get the commands out fast enough.  When she does get ahead or off course, she's whipping around back to me when I call her.  It was AWESOME.   We did our first full height dogwalk tonight as well.  She had very little trouble (after the first bail off) with it, and by the end of class was driving forward quite well, and even doing 2on2off (they are supposed to land with their hind legs on the board, front legs off) at the end.  We did some teeter work, with a little more bang than last week, and then took a look at their striding over the A-frame, which was fabulous.  Again, awesome 2on2off on the A-frame!  What a GREAT class!

Looking forward to an awesome AKC agility weekend at Ridgefield this weekend!

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