Saturday, January 28, 2012

First Agility Seminar

Today Tessa and I attended her first Agility seminar!  It was at Dandy Dog Training which is where we normally train.  The presenter was Bridget McKnight.  She was excellent and Tessa and I both enjoyed the seminar.

It was geared toward Novice dogs, so it was right at our level.  The first run was pretty straightforward.  A jump to a curved tunnel to the A-Frame and then another tunnel to two jumps, the second of which required a wrap.  Then two more jumps back to the original tunnel, which required an off-side send into the tunnel.  Tessa did awesome!!  She ran around the first jump the first time, but got it after that.  The suggestion that Bridget made was to start using a smaller target on her A-Frame contact and to start moving out away from her after rewarding and release after moving a bit.  That's a nice simple thing that we can start to focus on.

We got to run twice.  Tessa was excited.  She was starting to caper around and really show that she was loving being out on the floor!  I love seeing her so relaxed and intent on having her head in the game!!

The second run had a very complicated opening.  Well, complicated for us!  It required a lateral lead out into a front cross past the second jump.  Interestingly, our instructor had just introduced the lateral lead out to us in class on Thursday, so it fit right in with what we have been working on.  We had to try it a few times, and a few ways before we got it.  Mostly I just need to work with Tessa on that lateral concept.  I've done a lot of work, both with her and Dean, sending them out around cones and posts and things, but I've never set them up to take it when I am standing a distance away from both dog and cone/post.  That is something we can work on in the living room.  There isn't a lot of space, but enough to get started.

Another challenge that Tessa ran into on the second course was the double jump.  She has done the double jump before - many times.  But not since she actually started running her courses.  She wasn't sure how to handle it from a run!  By the end of the day she had the idea.  I was glad to have a chance to work on it.

The last course was my favorite.  The "Rally Move" was in it, and so was a rear cross.  It may seem strange to hear me say that having a rear cross in the course was one of my favorite parts of the day, but that also fit right in with what we have been working on, and it felt good to actually get it to work!  It was a rear cross on the flat just before the second to last jump.  We got it the first time (yay!), missed it the second time, and then got it again!!

So, I'm coming out of the seminar with several very concrete things to work on:
  • Start to move out from contacts before releasing
  • Work on lateral distance when sending to something (a cone, post, or hoop will work at home)
  • Continue rear cross work, starting to incorporate equipment into the picture
The presenter said that Tessa is a really nice jumper and that was a compliment that I really appreciated.  Maybe she learned a lot more in jump class last summer than I had realized.  She does love jumping and she does it beautifully.

I give Tessa an A+ for her first seminar.  I can't believe we are already going to things like this and spending our time working on Agility skills!

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