Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Adventures in agility

The other day Teller and I ventured down to visit Katie Trachte (HyCaliber Agility) in Southern VT for an agility lesson - mostly a handling lesson for me! It was an amazing lesson! Katie pushed on all of our weaknesses and I left feeling like we had some super progress and steps towards getting ourselves to Lexington, VA next year. It's the tip of the iceberg- but gosh we can get there!

Katie's property is agility paradise - set in what I'm reasonably sure is one of the most beautiful parts of this country. Next time I make the trip down I'm going to bring a camera to capture the beauty of the journey.

As far as Teller, training and agility: We're reworking the running contact on the A-Frame with Teller. Too much focus on the box and not enough focus on jumping the apex of the frame. The new goal is to get Teller to extend over the apex and therefore land lower down onto the frame on that first hit - but high enough that he'll have room for another stride into the contact. The goal is to get him into a natural stride over the apex and then into the contact. I have this feeling that I'm really going to have to push it and trust him in trial to run and just get it. Trust is not always something I'm good at on so many levels - obviously it's one more thing to work on!

Handling stuff...Mostly getting Teller to read my motions better and not be quite as independent and committed to lines - particularly lines that have tunnels at the end of them (GRIN). To that end we're going to work on moving tunnels closer and closer to the landing side of the jumps - more and more inviting - to get the tunnel we must give up the tunnel. I'm in charge of paying more attention to my motion cues as well - using turns, acceleration, deceleration. There was one sequence where I botched a front-cross. I was late in my cues and poor Teller fell on his head  - he was working well and I was sending him all these forward cues when in reality I wanted him to turn. He didn't miss a beat, picked himself up and finished the sequence. Good dog. Good dog. It is a good dog who forgives the mistakes of his handler.

After our lesson, Katie invited us to take a walk with her pack down to the river that passes through her property - both boys had their first swim of the season - Teller found a spot that with the current he essentially got to tread water - though I think that the shelties and border collies were a little confused at the concept of swimming for swimmings sake. Such happy goldens - agility and SWIMMIES on the same day!

Our homework for the week:

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