August 21, 2010

catching up

On Wednesday, we had our first open shaping class.  The students get to pick what they want to work on. I'm mostly taking the class to work on getting response to cues at a distance without him creeping toward me, paying attention to me as other dogs retrieve dumbells, polish his heeling and work on his retrieve.  It's also good to practice at the club with 4 other classes going on! Lots of distractions.  I think it will be a fun and productive class.

On Thursday, Dazzle and I went to a new place for Agility practice- Agility Unleashed.  It was a fun and relaxed atmosphere and they had two courses set up (one for novice dogs and one for more advanced dogs). These were "nested" so the equipment was all the same, but how you moved from one obstacle to the next was different. They also played a soundtrack of dog show noises during the runs, so it sounded like a trial. We ran the novice course twice (bar dropping still his biggest issue) and then I had another handler run him. 

He was having fun and a few times with me he created his own course (even starting without me once and doing the first three obstacles (in the correct order!)  Agility would certainly be easier if I could just show him the course map and he would run it! LOL  He did well with the other handler and only got off course and dropped a bar once each that I recall. 

On Friday, we went to the lake and did some dock diving practice.  I took the new "rig" I made to help him learn to do the different kind of jumping called "extreme vertical". For that, the toy is suspended off the end of the dock and is moved higher and higher for each jump until the dog misses. 

I tried it before, but going from a moving/thrown toy to going for a stationary one was too big of a leap in understanding.  So I have been practicing with him at home just grabbing the toy hanging from my homemade rig.  Then yesterday I had him get it while remaining on the dock.  Then I had him get it so that after he grabbed it, his momentum took him off the dock into the water.  It wasn't long before I was able to have it pretty high and out away from the end of the dock.  I'm looking forward to going back to the official dock and rig to see if he can do that now! I also plan to get some video of our practice the next time we go to the lake.  I'm kicking myself for not having the camera with me yesterday!

Today, I did a presentation for CART and Dazzle accompanied me.  He was very good and mostly just laid by my feet.  He has learned that if I stay in one place for awhile, he probably ought to just lay down because it's going to be boring :-)  He did really well with the long train that went rumbling by, blowing it's whistle and shaking things in the room, literally 15' from the glass doors of the meeting room! I'm really surprized that building the new structure was allowed to be that close to active tracks! But several of the older buildings are that close too.

Now he's bugging me to play, so we will likely go out in the yard so he can play fetch.  I am SO thankful to whomever created the "Chuck-it" and Ultraballs!!