Wow, I have been very lax about posting!!! But here are some highlights of our agility training:
* Slider is continuing to become more and more responsive to acceleration / deceleration, which is giving me much better control over him. But I need to work on when and at what point to decelerate. I have gotten into the habit of being consistently "powered up".... in my effort to try to keep up with Slider, which causes me to loose control of him and will make him be more obstacle focused. Fortunately, my instructor Robert is out on the field along with me calling out to remind me when to power down .... hmmm wonder if I can bring Robert out onto the field when we start to compete again!!! :-)
* Couple weeks ago we had a Jumpers course set up to run. While walking the course, I just knew this was not a Novice course. On our run, we did fantastic on the 1st half of the course but then I got lost and pushed Slider into an off course. This caused me to get flustered which in turn pushed Slider into his "avoidance behavior". I got him back and continued on to finish the course. On my 2nd run on this course, I tried to break it up into 2 sections and reward Slider in between. This helped keep the pressure down for both of us. Well, at the end of the class we were told we had just accomplished running a USDAA Master's Jumpers course with a few modifications.
* Last week was our introduction to AKC's FAST game. What fun!!! This was the first time Slider and I ran a course that required us to work at a distance. And my boy pulled it off!!! Looks like we do not have a problem of him being a Velcro Dog! Since, this was my first time with FAST, I probably did not maximize our potential for points and time. On our 2nd run Slider was running fast and responsive, so I decided to run "my course" 2 times and keep him up / running fast and smoothly and having fun. I believe they said we had 70 points in 48 seconds.... but I need to work on how I choose to run the course. Robert told me that I made the right decision for my dog ... keep him fast and having fun... as learning the games will come. The focus right now is for Slider and I to have fun and encourage his confidence and speed.
What I have learned over the past few weeks:
* Slider will slip into "avoidance mode" if I show stress or I am not clear on my communication.
* I am slow at my communication to him and need to work on thinking fast and on my feet
* If a course is above our level - I need to break it down into sections and reward Slider for his performance and keep him successful.
* Give total focus on Slider after his runs and reward / reward / reward and ask questions about my run later. I need to stay connected to him
* Keep reminding myself that we have been away for 18 months from training and have just been back for 11 weeks!
* Slider's technical ability in performing the obstacles is very strong but we need to become a team now.
* And to have FUN with him and remind myself of my mantra "Happy, Happy, Happy" when training... thanks Christina for reminding me of this!!!