Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Brilliant Scandal :-)

Scandal was AWESOME at Dave's today. I can't ever remember being SO pleased about how a lesson went! Her go-ons have improved massively, got to work lots on her powering out of left and right wing wraps, but her attitude was completely different to how it has been, I don't know if it made any difference that I was uber hyper and maybe that made Scandal hyper too? But it was so lovely that she actually really wanted to do it and I didn't have to use endless "ready ready" before we started.

Her running dog walk was a bit of a disaster - she hit the contact every time but did what she started doing last week and BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE across it... her second stride that she was putting her in was sending her rocketing up the 'up' contact and continuing "up" along the middle plank, so she was landing virtually on the down plank, which was scary. Had a chat with Dave and if it's not something I can resolve I will revert to 2o2o dog walk as she will hurt herself if she does that and falls off. After she calmed down she did do some perfect ones which I was really pleased with.

Laura and Be, and Imogen and Honey were also great, so all in all, a really fab lesson. Dave also got Nala out so he could show us what he meant about Scandal and Be looping after some turns, and how they should do a lovely neat turn and power back, or to a jump in a straight line. Think I've got a months worth of homework to do.

Dave also got Boss out and he is just scrummy, I want him! Lovely and leggy and the nicest attitude, ahhh makes me want a pup all over again!

I am so thrilled my puppy is now looking like she's really keen and wants to do agility. It's like a big circle... she wants to do agility... so I'm happy. So she really wants to do agility... and I'm really really happy :D what a good girl, woop!

Love lessons with Dave, come away with so much to train and practise, but feel its all do-able, and Scandal's improved so much since last time, so hopefully when we go again in April, she will have made even more progress :D


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Naughty Scandal

Met up with Laura and did some training yesterday. Did 5 minutes today too and she was great. But to start with today she was Naughty-I-Want-To-Stalk-The-Pony-Scandal who can't concentrate on anything else except stalk the pony. However, after her initial stalk, she got over it and worked really nicely, which is I think one of the first times she's managed to work through the distraction of pony-at-the-gate and remain as focussed as she did - what we generally get is 80% agility, 20% thinking of eating the pony, however I think today it was much more agility.

Yesterday we worked on lefts, rights and cross behinds, and also on the dog picking up speed and then turning. Scandal got faster and faster as the session went on, and got wider and wider and then started pinging over the wrong jumps. And what did I do? I shouted at her! WHAT A MORON!! I was frustrated that all of a sudden she couldn't possibly go the way my shoulders were pointing and so shouted, and then Scandal slowed up. Not much, but enough to give me a massive slap on the wrist. I think I am going to wear an e-collar and give Laura the remote, so she can zap me if I get cross! So I had to train today because although we finished on a positive yesterday, I was still annoyed that I told her off for going fast. So we had a very short but productive session today where Scandal was lovely and fast.

I do think I'm better just doing 5-10 minutes with her, but just feel because I can't train 3-4 times a week @ 5-10 mins, when I do once-twice I should do half an hour or so to make it worthwhile. But we are both much better on shorter sessions. Ahhhhh cant cope with a pup!

She is also in season (maybe thats why shes been faster?!?!) and has been extra grumpy, especially with Tia, who, on Sunday evening stood on "Scandal's Step" (ie the patio doorstep) and Scandal then proceeded to tell Tia that under no circumstances should she stand on Scandal's Step. Bad brat puppy.

I've handed in another assignment, so just have dissertation and one other assignment to hand in now. Woop. Looking forward to our training sesh with Dave tomorrow. Hope Scandal can concentrate for that long!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Training too much?

One of the things that has got me thinking is - how much training is too much?

With Scandal, from a young age she was running a plank twice a week, and we were doing things like wing wraps, practising 2o2o FP, putting paws on a seesaw 2" off the ground, and then the things like balance board, wobble cushion etc.

I've been watching a few vids recently as wanted to see what Scandal was like compared to these dogs age wise.

Now, one of them (not in this country) is about the same age as Scandal. She's just introduced it to channel weaves. In one of its 3 weave sessions in oen day, it did over 40 reps on the channel weaves. The channels were probably about 6" apart. So even though the poles weren't fully closed, I still think that's a lot of reps.

Then, the running contacts. My theory with Scandal was to do it from a younger age but then don't have to do it every day, so her muscles/joints/shoulders get rest days. Again, watching vids recently, dogs of Scandals age who've only been doing running contacts for a couple of months, are doing RC pretty much every day 10-20 reps. Some of them also include the dog jumping on to a table which the plank is on, at speed, so the dog is onto something hard, 20" heigh, 20 times a day, and lets say 5 days a week. And that's not including anything else such as jumping.

I am glad that now, I've done most of the dogwalk training with Scandal and we're still only doing it twice a week (if that). There've been times when we've trained 3 times or 4 times a week, but generally it's twice. I think it's better than waiting till the dog is 12 months and then hammering the dog almost every day.

I also think it's hard as many agility competitors/trainers take 1 of 2 views:

If your dog comes out at 18 months perfectly, ultra fast, and wins everything, it's because you did too much from too young an age.

If your dog comes out slightly steadier at 18 months, nice and consistent, with lots of room to speed up as it gets older, then you're a cr** trainer for not getting the dog speedy enough before it comes out.

That's my view anyway. Scandal's still jumping medium now at 14.5 months. She does some jumps at the height above medium (I think it's 2" higher).

Planning on going to 22" at 15 months and then full height between 16 and 17 months. I don't know what Scandal thinks of my plans though, so maybe it will be different??

Monday, 15 February 2010

UKA Valentines weekend

Had an interesting time at the UKA show on the weekend. Tia did the agility and jumping on Saturday and had a pole in each, but ran nicely, extended on most of the jumps. But I was stupid and ran her contacts, coz 1st place got a chocolate heart and I wanted one. Then Tia knocked the 2nd to last pole grrr, serves me right for being stupid!!!

Imogen and Honey had a great time winning Beginners Jumping and 2 steeplechases. Honey's starting to run more like she does in training now which is great.

Jess and Copper had a stunning run in the Beginners Jumping on Sat, but sadly not clear as naughty Cop broke his wait and Jess put him back (yay!) he seems to get faster every time I watch him run.

Yesterday was a bit of a disaster, there was a car boot sale so we had a walk round it for half hour, I took Scandal, as always good for socialisation, I love taking her anywhere with me as away from agility she is so chilled out and sweet, a little girl who must've been about 2 or 3 had her arms round her and was stroking her, didn't want to let go, Scandal loved her and when the little girl stopped stroking her Scandal leaned on her and nestled into her, it was an "ahhhhhh cute" moment!

So, Scandal was walking round, on her headcollar, all lovely and relaxed. Bought a couple of blankets for the dogs kennel, and then heading back and walked past a stall/lorry thing selling lamb chops. OH MY GOD, Scandal completely flipped. Imogen was walking her, I turned round to see Scandal leaping in the air, like a wild pony that had just had a headcollar put on for the first time and was trying to get away. I took the lead from Imogen and backed off a bit, but Scandal was still going absolutely bananas, then I thought she was going to back out of her headcollar, so went to hold her collar but she scratched my arms in her panic and I dropped the lead, thought she'd be off but luckily she only ran a few metres away before cowering down, poor girl. Got her sweeties out and she took a couple before deciding she didn't want any more. I didn't have very many sweeties left so couldn't do any de-sensitizing work as didn't have enough to work through. Once we got past the main crowds (Scandal still with her tail tucked so far under her legs it touched her belly) I let her off the lead so she could trot in front and check that scary-meat-man wasn't chasing her and she calmed down a lot.

I don't know whether it was the fact that there were lamb chops hanging from the lorry, that the butcher guy was cutting them up, that they were using a microphone that was fuzzing in the wind, or a combination of all three that freaked her out, but she NEVER freaks out and has never done it before. I took her into the UKA venue later on and we did a couple of jumps on the practise jump which she loved, then when we were waiting for Imogen's prize giving there were a couple of bangs from people moving stuff and she had a couple of wuffs, but calmed down soon after. Have noooo idea what was going on in her head, a couple of people have said it may have been the smell of meat, but I assumed as she's had raw bones which she goes crazy for, that she'd like that smell. Perhaps I'm very misguided! Oh dear, the stress of having a young dog. I'm evidently paranoid now that this may reappear, but not sure what to do, whether to walk her past some butchers in our town, or what. Poor Scandaluna, what a traumatic time for her.

Her only agility last week consisted of 10 minutes on Friday, we did a sequence that we'd been doing at Daves when she was 10 months old, but built on it a bit more. She was fabbidosee. But no contacts, weaves, or anything else. Ahhhhhhh. Must get training this week!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Training in a new venue

One of Scandals 'dislikes' is training in a new venue. Ok I'll rephrase - she's happy to train in a venue, providing she's not doing agility. She'll happily do heelwork (or our version of it :-)) or tricks, and she'll happily watch other dogs running, but doesn't have much interest in doing it herself. Last night I trained at Bincknoll and took Scandal in whilst we were setting up. Usually when I am setting up sequences/courses at home she'll be running round with the toy in her mouth like a mad thing, but yesterday all she wanted to do was sniff and try and find morsels of horse poo. Grrrr! Once everything was up, we did a couple of short sequences and Scandal was lovely - careful, but lovely. Then afterward we'd finished training Ann built a steeplechase course and Scandal got to have 2 go's at it :-) I broke it down into 3 sections as at the moment, especially in a new venue, I want to reward as much as poss, give her less chance to get anything wrong, and reward the great bits. Scandal was great and at the start of the course both times put herself into a sit without any commands from me, I'm really pleased with this as it's transferred nicely into agility from all our training around being a pet, ie sit before your lead comes off, sit before dinner, sit before you go through the door etc. She did lovely waits, 2 lovely cross behinds, responded really well to turning on my shoulders, and did a big go on round the arena and I layered most of it but she still went on really well, so I was dead chuffed :-)

I'm not expecting her to come out all guns blazing at 16/18 months, she's a lot stronger training at home, but anywhere else she is more careful, maybe because it's a different surface (last night was the first time she'd trained indoors) or because it's different equipment. Hopefully training in a few different places over the next few months will help. I can't wait for her to be out now, it is lovely working such a biddable and honest girlie :-)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Scandaluna and training

We've been on the Mendips for the last 4 days, the dogs have been great, Scandal hasn't run off at all which is even more great :D and watched a rabbit running away yest but evidently decided it was too far away and wasn't worth chasing :-)

Her training has been going really well, wing wraps seem to have clicked (take 2) this morning I put the wing wrap jump up to medium and no matter how close I put it to other jumps she was just doing the one jump so perhaps she's starting to learn that cik/brake does not mean do all the jumps in the vicinity :) her running dog walk was 100% on the 3 we did, aframe getting there, and today we did stopped dog walk and she was oodles better, starting to power a little bit more, very independant contact she will go down and nose touch no matter what I'm doing.

Here are her running contacts for those that want to see them

Imogen and Honey are coming on really well, Honey really enjoying her agility and Imogen getting tons more confident :-)

Scandal's brothers and sisters at their birthday party in December

Get a bit carried away with the vids as Garth has a great vid cam programme which is sooo much quicker than mine and in the time it takes me to upload 1 vid at home I could upload 100s on theres, despite them having the slowest internet in the world!

Tia is now a bit lame, we had a fab training sesh this morn, she was jumping 20", we were practising "go rounds" (outs) and she decided rather than go "out" she'd try and cut in and take the jump from the side nearest me, only she didnt have any room at all so I think somehow took the wing of the jump and brought the whole thing crashing down, I think she has just bruised it as she is really not very lame at all, but evidently after her history I am uber paranoid! Lots of stretches and massage for the next couple of weeks, will do a couple of cycle runs with her at a trot to make sure she is using her leg properly again and not short tracking on it. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I was only saying to someone last week, as I was training T, that I had finally put her old injuries behind us, and was now training her with more confidence that she wasn't going to break again. And then she does brake. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Poor Tia, she's so accident prone.

Had fun house sitting, Tia got to watch the ferret all weekend, although again this morning I nearly drove off without her as packed the van up, turned the engine on, reversed out the drive and then out of the corner of my eye saw Tia still sat by the ferrets run! Oops. Scandal pounced on one of their chickens on sat, I shouted at her to let go which she did, and as she walked away, one of the other chickens chased her, soooo funny, Scandal flew out the gate with her tail between her legs, and then when I let them out on sunday she didn't want to come in the field with me, what a woos! So she just obsesses with the ferret too now.

Only a couple of weeks till Laura and I go for a lesson with munnings, really looking forward to it,seems like I havent had a lesson in ages, think we need it!