Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday night: agility skills class

It's not my usual night to be out teaching, but Lori wasn't feeling well so I covered her classes tonight. I planned to create four jumper sequences out of this layout - starting with a couple of speed circles, then getting into trickier stuff! I haven't spent much time with these groups - so I hoped that we'd be able to work through everything, I wasn't sure how much we'd get through.

A (at Left): There's nothing like a good speed circle to get both dogs and handlers warmed up for the evening. It gets dogs and handlers tuned in and it gets that initial "OMG we're in class YAY" excitement down a notch. So I had the teams walk the speed circle, all of them naturally stayed on the inside of #5 and #6. Then I introduced the concept of a blind cross between #4 and #5 (finishing on the outside of #5 and #6).

Tonight I worked both Murphy and Teller - one of the things I need to make a better effort about is getting mental stimulation in for both dogs on nights that I'm out teaching. Otherwise it's like WWF (the wrestling not the pandas) when I get home at night - and all I want to do is to nuke something for dinner and think about my head hitting the pillow!

B (on Right): This is the same exercise the other direction. To save time on dog and jump height transitions, I had each team do two reps of A (one speed circle and one with the blind cross) and then two reps of B.

For both Murphy and Teller I was able to layer the #5 jump  for the blind cross - and even layer and blind cross on  #6-#1-#2 (and 2-1-6). I don't do a lot of blind crosses with my guys - I don't trust myself to get there in competition where Teller is so much faster. I'm also pretty sure that if I got in his way he'd take me out at the knees - and well, someones got to drive home and Teller has a lead foot.

C (on Left): Now that everyone is all warmed up things get a little trickier! My challenge for the group was to somewhere on course use a front cross, a rear cross and a blind cross. Their added criteria was to stop and reward their dogs approximately halfway through the course - but I didn't give them an exact place to break off and treat.  

When I setup these sequences before class I actually swapped out the middle jump for twelve 20" weave poles. It actually made things pretty tight - which was an added challenge. 

D (on Right): Ever the optimist. I had planned a fourth sequence - this one a mirror image of "C" - but we just ran out of time.  The best laid plans of mice and Erica :-)
The good news is that the ankle I rolled yesterday evening while I was out walking with the dogs was sore, but stretched out of soreness. If it's good tomorrow I think its just a strain and it'll be fine. I just need to remember to stretch it out a couple times a day

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