Friday, August 29, 2008

Today's 'gility training

Went to the field today to train. My mom took lots of photos! We worked on 90 degree turns after the A-frame, and practicing the dog walk and A-frame individually (like we always do).

Mika has a moving contact on the A-frame. You might ask, what is a moving contact? Well, it's when the dog has an extended stride going up the A-frame but collects her stride going down the A-frame. Kind of like a two on/two off but without stopping, if that makes any sense. I would have liked training a true running contact on the A-frame, but Mika has had confidence problems on the A-frame, so I'll just leave it at a moving contact. I'm really happy with it actually! Mika has an average time of 1.6 seconds on a full height A-frame. :)

So because Mika has a moving A-frame and doesn't stop at the bottom, she always flies off high in the contact zone (yes, often missing it!) and zooms straight ahead. That's why we really have to work on turns after the A-frame. Today there was a tire about 10 feet away on the right side of the A-frame at a 90 degree angle, as well as a jump 20 feet in front of the A-frame.

With Mika on my left, I directed her over the jump and then sent her ahead to the A-frame. She raced over it, touched the contact, then leaped off the A-frame and raced ahead. She then noticed me standing beside the tire. I could just imagine her thinking to herself "OH!" and she raced back over to me, stopping at heel.

I rotated my body in a circle and she ran next to me, and I drew a nice line for her to jump through the tire. She got it, and I rewarded her by throwing her "precious" food tube!

After we finished with that, we headed over to the dog walk. I had placed a jump bar 30" away from the edge of the down contact. That's how I originally trained Mika's running contact, which worked BEAUTIFULLY! The point of the bar is to get the dog to hit the contact with all four paws, hit the grass with all four paws, and then jump the bar. The pole builds the muscle memory. I know that it's not the best way to teach a running contact, but it's worked for Mika! I still use the pole from time to time to refresh her memory, which is why I had the pole there today.

Her dog walk was AWESOME! She blasted across it like there was no tomorrow. There's no video, so I can't be sure, but it was probably either just above or just below 2 seconds! Her average is 2.35 seconds. :D

After that we practiced the A-frame individually again. She jumped the apex, yessss! Really fast too! She's been jumping over the apex a lot lately. She learned how to jump it on her own, what a smart little girl!

We're running part of a Starters Gamblers course tomorrow.


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