Saturday, February 5, 2011

We're Making Progress!

I have no maps to share today because I didn't pick any up. Since the plan wasn't to actually run a full course, grabbing the course maps seemed a little pointless. I had a plan going into the day, I stuck with it, and it paid off.:) Here goes the synopsis:

First run of the day was Novice FAST. Since yesterday was all about zoomies and a start line break down, we needed to build back up from the basics. I put Bess into a sit stay (which I will now be employing with her from here on out), walked out to the "intended" jump, stopped and looked back at her like I was about to release her, and then went back to her and praised her for staying. I walked out just a couple of steps ahead of her, thanked the judge, and went back and told her what a good girl she was for staying. Then we had a great time and left the ring on a very good note.:0) It was short, but thankfully sweet. Prior to going into the ring, I warmed her up like I normally did and we played our normal heeling games and focus games. This time, though, we threw in a little "proofing" of the stay command. It's something that I haven't done a ton of with her because her stays are usually pretty stinkin' rock solid, but it was recommended to me that I try it. While I won't say that it's the sole reason things worked today, I think it definitely helped. We were basically doing the whole dog stays while I gently pull on the leash and she gets praised for holding her stay. Simple, but worth while.

Next up was Open Jumpers. Since our plan for FAST was successful, our next goal was to make it over just one jump together and then leave. I warned the gate steward and the dog running behind us about our plan. I got a very quizzical look from the handler who asked me "you're not going to run the whole course?" Nope! I again did a little more of the fake lead out and then coming back and praising Bess (without touching her because that would have ended our "run") for staying. Then we took the first jump together and that was that. Another successful start! She was thrilled to go play more tug.

The final run of the day was Open Standard. What to do for this run. I had a dog who was sticking with me and was acting a lot more calmer in the ring than the previous day. Where should I decide our stopping point was? Before even looking at the course I thought I would take two jumps and then stop there. Except this was Standard and there are a lot more options for obstacles than there are in JWW. The start ended up being a tire to a tunnel to a dog walk. All very doable if I could keep her under control. However, we did have a potential problem with the tunnel. The tunnel has the uncanny ability to amp her up and send her shooting out of it like a bat out of hell. Hmmmmmm......after some discussion, I came up with a few different options depending on whether the crazy light switched on in Bess. If she was nutty coming out of the tunnel, I would collect her and we'd leave after that. If I could keep her under control then we'd do the dog walk. If she held her contact at the end, then I would continue on to the jump that followed. This is where I was undecided. I was given the advice that it might be a good idea to end on a contact obstacle so that she not only sticks her contacts, but it's something that should naturally slow her down any way. After the jump there was a teeter. The quandary was whether or not I could keep her with me to the teeter. If she wasn't crazy coming off the dog walk and wasn't crazy over the jump, then the final decision was to end on the teeter and then go have our little party. I am very proud to say that we made it all the way to the teeter with Bess nailing both of her down contacts better than she ever has in a trial setting!! She came to a complete stop and waited for her release!! There was a slightly harry moment when it looked like she wanted to zoom after the jump prior to the teeter, but she kept it together and went on to the teeter. Yay Bess!! And yay for progress!

What tomorrow will hold, I'm not entirely sure. I don't really have a game plan as of yet, but want to wait to see what the courses look like. The plan is still not to do a full course, I just need to figure out where the best spots are to end the run on a high note. Fingers crossed that we have more successes tomorrow!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That is fantastic!!! I am so glad you're making progress with her and sticking to your plans! I hope that tomorrow goes just as well for you. And remember you don't have to follow the numbers in order either if a different plan makes more sense for Bess.

Jennifer H. said...

Woo-Hoo Lindsay and Bess!!! Sounds like yesterday was progress indeed. Hope that today goes well too!

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

That's awesome! I really like your plans, and I admire your forethought to take her off the course. I took Layla off the course on Saturday in our Standard run, because I knew there was no chance in hell of her coming under control, and she'd just keep reinforcing herself. That was more of a made-in-the-moment decision though; I admit, I was just pissed! Her contacts were pretty crappy the whole weekend. They're good in class, but at the trial she just doesn't even attempt to slow down. Maybe we can find some correlation between the moon phase and our intact bitches acting crazy in agility trials?