Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mika, flying A-frame dog

For probably the first time ever, we went to the field twice today. Once at 7:00am, once at 4:00pm. The first time we went, Mika and Wall-e worked on the A-frame, on-side weave entries, and dog walk/tunnel discrimination (all stuff that Wall-e needs for his class).

But it was our afternoon session that completely amazed me.

Mika trained first this time. I ran her over the DW a couple times first. (Well, she ran over it by herself the first time!) Then it was on to the AF. The first rep wasn't a true running AF, so I rewarded her quickly and then went back to do it again. I held her by her stifles (back knees) to rev her up like I often do, saying my usual "Reeaadyy...settt...GO!!" She took off like a bullet. And WOW. WOW. Can I say it again? WOW. She zoooomed over to the AF, strided up, and FLEW down. FLEW. What I remember most is her back legs straight out behind her as she soared through the air. And then I remember seeing her back paws hit the yellow at the top slat of the contact zone. Mika. did. a. flying. A-frame.

We must have looked like crazy people to the cars passing by. I screamed out, "GOOD GIRL, GOOD GIRL!!" to a hyperactive Mika who soaked up my approval eagerly, but who really just wanted me to throw that darn food tube. Which I did. I threw it and threw it and rewarded her until it was empty.

A one-hit AF probably isn't a performance that'd be safe long-term, but I'm sure that Mika won't be doing it again. I'm perfectly happy with a 2-hit running AF with a nice jump over the apex (not a ginormous, soaring Superman impersonation like she did today). I'm just so thrilled (and shocked!) that she did it today because I've been wanting a jump over the apex for years, and what did she do? She exceeded my expectations, as she's done countless time. Ohhh yes, she gave me a jump, but she gave me a BIG jump!

(Mika, by the way, is only 12.75" tall. I swear to God. Can you say -gasp-?)


  1. Nat, you must be so proud!! Well done to Mika!
    I think all that hard work of yours pays off so well, you keep getting surprises from your dogs!

  2. What a character, was she wearing her superman cape today? LOL

  3. Way to go, Mika! That is super exciting!

  4. Wow - that is totally amazing!!!! Mika flying over the apex and halfway down the other side! I know if I did that, Mom would still be jumping up and down and clapping and yelling good boy! Training is so much fun, isn't it?

  5. I have been thinking about your question as to how I taught Ricky to "hold it". It was very difficult. I started out sort of like you did and tried to force him to hold a dumbbell. That was no good. Then for months I just tried different things. But backchaining seemed to finally work the best - this post kind of explained it -

    He got the pick up the ball out of the container and hold onto it part. The only thing now is that somehow he equates "hold it" with back up. So I am having a terrible time getting him to bring stuff to me. He always wants to drop it first.

    With the next dog, I will try to shape the concept I guess. I just didn't know anything when I got Ricky and we have been learning as we go along.


  6. Making me smile and I don't even know Mika! :)