Every month or so I'm going to write an update on how we're doing with our training to get ready for Regionals (and just to improve in agility in general). This is mostly for myself to help me stay on track, but I'll post it nevertheless.
1. MY HANDLING! -- I think it's going well! My front crosses have improved SO much! I still mess up occasionally, but I handle better more often than not! I'd still like to improve so that good handling becomes second nature, and so that eventually I won't have to think about it anymore.
2. more control of Mika -- Um...not really. We haven't worked on this at all.
3. build Mika's independence -- Definitely! She's becoming a lot more of an off-course type of dog. (For me, that's a good thing because it means that she's gaining confidence, as I can usually prevent her from going off course with a good strong "Come!" and proper handling. Although improper handling is what causes the off-courses in the first place.)
4. no weave popping, great entries -- The weave popping thing is going great! I can't remember the last time she popped out. Her entries need a lot more work, though. She often enters on the left side.
5. use PVC hoop to encourage running through contact on dog walk and A-frame -- This isn't something that we have to work on, just something I have to do whenever we practice.
6. train rear crosses -- YES! I'm proud to say that Mika has an excellent response to rear crosses now, although we have yet to use the improved rear crosses in sequences or courses (only in exercises in the basement with a couple of jumps). I also taught her left & right, which might help.
7. correct tunnel entrances -- Haven't worked on this yet. Hopefully, this will improve because of my improved handling. I'll still try to work on it anyway.
8. focus at all times -- Haven't worked on this yet. I'll see how Mika's focus is at our March trial (first time competing on both days: 1 Advanced Gamblers on Saturday, 2 Masters Standard and 1 Masters Jumpers and Sunday). If she keeps her focus at this trial, especially during the last run on Sunday where she'll likely be pretty tired, then I'll consider this goal done. After all, she has great focus, so we have more important things to work on.
9. Mika's conditioning -- Mika's been doing balance exercises (tricks, turning in circles, etc.)on the Theraball (exercise ball) regularly, 4 to 5 times a week. So, this goal is going great! I would take her for walks, but she hates going outside when it's -30 degrees Celsius, or even if it's less than that...so I'm going to wait until it starts getting warmer. When it does get warmer, we'll start the daily 30 min. to 2 hour walks. But we do go for the occasional walk at the park when it's warm enough. (In other words, cold, but not completely FREEZING.)
10. Always remember to continue on when Mika makes a mistake on course, and reward the off courses in training -- I've been doing great with this. I don't think I've forgotton at all this winter. I'm pretty pleased with that!
So, the main things we have to work on now:
- my handling
- more control of Mika
- great weave entries
- correct tunnel entrances