Thursday, April 14, 2016

Back to Freestyle . . . . ????

Although I do work with Tessa, sometimes, on skills from other sports, our focus has been about 80% Agility; 10% Fitness.  This has been a good choice for us.  Ever since I stopped putting any real focus on other sports, Tessa's Agility skills have skyrocketed.

But . . . it was never my intention to only do Agility with her forever.  I do enjoy other activities, and I'd like to enjoy them with her!

So, last night we had a few minutes at the building after I taught class and I played around with her with some heeling/Freestyle stuff.

Freestyle.  Not Tessa's favorite thing.  She doesn't hate it.  But she has never really developed a true love for it.  Our experience in Freestyle has been fits and starts.  And although she has done a few really nice performances, and we actually have our Intermediate WCFO title (which is a huge deal!), I still have never felt that Tessa is a "Freestyle Dog".

Yesterday I took a completely different approach to a bit of Freestyle training.

I had some chicken on me and I started to wander around the room.  Tessa sniffed around a bit, then took a passing interest in me, and then finally drove up into heel with a look on her face like, "whaddayadoin'?"  At that moment, I went "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, TESSA!!!"

Oh, she likes that!!  She preened a bit and continued to move along, holding perfect position, with a nice little bounce to her pretty trot.

Hmmm . . .

I tossed a treat and she broke away and meandered around the room again.  I did the same thing.  Again, when she drove up into position, I went, "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, TESSA!!!"  She glowed!!

I started to delay a bit before giving her that bit of cheering.  I was also giving her chicken, but never for coming up into position - always for moving for a bit of duration first.

We worked it a bit in center position, too.  Moving toward me in center has always been a weak point of hers.  Darned if she didn't get a little trot going there, too!!

I am going to play around with this more.  The really exciting thing is that in the DCD Challenge, we can overlay the music over the video, so even if I am going "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, TESSA!!!", that will go away when I make that edit!

Maybe Tessa has a future in Freestyle yet . . . !  In any case, it's worth exploring.
Tessa's ribbon for one of her Freestyle titles

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