Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Agility class round up.

So my agility class finished up last night. To celebrate we were able to run a mock course a few times. Adrian was kind enough to come along and was able to record some of our work. I'm really happy to have a recording of Cohen's and my runs since I lose track of things pretty quickly when I'm out there on the course.

I'm quite happy with the progress that I've been able to make (Cohen's making progress too... but it's my two left feet that are the biggest problem). Of course there are huge opportunities for improvement, so in the spirit of constructive criticism, here I go. If you're reading this, feel free to offer some advice too.

First, holy crap I need to stop using the names of the next obstacle as a release from a contact. What a rookie mistake. I will say break I will say break I will say break...

Lately Cohen has been having trouble with good tunnels if the entry is in the least bit confusing, so I've made a mental note to reward them more thoroughly (which you see a bit here... while I drop a treat and everything). I think tunnels, being so simple, are easy for a handler to overlook for rewards.

Holy moly we're slow! I think I'm going to have to start running flat out to encourage a bit more speed. But I'm also going to have to get in better shape. The excitement paired with the mild exertion have a bigger effect on my body than I care to admit.

I will stand up straighter, I will stand up straighter, I will stand up straighter.

I won't cue a "back up" to re-get a broken contact. I'll focus more on getting a nose touch on the contact -- right now she's 50/50.

I want to see if I can get Cohen's teeter and walk speeds higher. She has a pretty good a-frame performance -- I'm told she just sails over the peak. I think it's a matter of revving her up more and moving faster myself.

With all that said, these are things I like:

I like Cohen's focus forward at the start line. She's doing it when cued. I've not yet gotten into the habit of pairing the verbal with a gesture, but I'll work on that soon.

I'm feeling more confident in my ability to control her on a course. I'm starting to learn more handling techniques through the class. Hopefully I'll be able to increase Cohen's already-pretty-good impulse control via the e-course I'm taking. Previously I'd thought that competition wouldn't be in the cards for another year or so, but I might revise that and say we'll be ready in a few months.

I'm re-taking this course (ahh, the benefits of working at the place you're schooling...) and next time I hope to use more tug rewards to build that drive and energy. Cohen's tugging has come along really nicely recently, so I'm hoping she'll respond to it as a reward in Agility from time to time.

With all that said, I'm really having a blast. It's been a lot of fun for me to learn, and I'm really enjoying the challenge. I just need to work on my flatwork more often at home.


  1. Cohen looks great! She isn't super speedy, but there's definitely drive there. How long have you two been working agility now?

  2. Hah. "Not super speedy" is putting it lightly. I just hope I'll be able to capitalize on her drive before my agility instructor goes away to compete for the summer.

    I'm not sure how long we've been doing it now -- we probably had our first foundation course 6 months ago now, but only really focusing on it the last 3 months or so.

  3. Speed is the last thing to come in agility, from what I've seen - there's no point in having your dog whip around the course if it just shoots past the obstacles! As she gets more confident, she'll get faster; three-six months isn't long, and she's doing great.

    I guess that's what happens when you have a dog as intelligent as Cohen though.