Monday, June 2, 2008

The Innocent One

I'm finally in a good enough mood to blog about yesterday's disastrous agility practice. Coulee had no brain and she frustrated me. A lot. To the point of wondering if I should continue. The point is to have fun. I did not have fun.

Where should I start?

How about her start lines. She must have broken her stay 4-5 times at the start of every exercise and every time I thought to myself, "That is it, one more and you are going in your crate," she stayed. Typical.

Weave Poles. Huh? I'm supposed to weave in and out? Aren't I supposed to push those pesky gates aside and run up the side? It was like we had never practiced weaving before. The practice before she was acting like she could almost do it without gates! Yesterday she couldn't even weave with all the gates up.

Lead out pivots. Not only could she not comprehend it from where I was supposed to stand, she couldn't even get it when it was made simpler and there was someone at the end of the first jump with a goodie container.

This is supposed to be fun right?


Anonymous said...

technically it is supposed to be fun but you also have to realistic.

your dog spent 6 days at daycare. she may not have shown you physically that she was tired, but mentally she did.

your dog is just learning weave poles. it is normal to regress. patience, is important.

start lines have been ongoing problems with her- again, this is something you need to train not just on the field but in real life. test her limits at home with toys, food, play with lacey in front of her. there are lots of things you can do to improve her start lines. again, you have be realistic about what she can give you.

lead out pivots. Has she ever done one before? no. she can't stay very well so it is not surprising you struggled with LOP. Sarah showed you how to train that with pylons. we are doing that in class this week. she will improve- but again she has to know how to stay and how to take what is in front of her.

you will find that the more agility you do the more frustrated you get as it takes A LOT of repetition and training for a dog like coulee. She is a great dog, and you are a great handler- you just need to meet in the middle and train more.

there are WEEKS where Wicca frustrated me to the point where you are now. but always- it came back to me. i changed my attitude, and training practices and we have improved greatly. it is a learning curve for both dog, and handler....

that is just my opinion....


Sarah said...

Been there. done that.

And that was last week. Ask Amanda.

Start Lines: You should not be saying one more time and ..., you should be saying "you break your start line ONCE you go your crate - or whatever the consequence is", game over, try again!!! You'll fix this QUICKLY if you stuck to your guns. Everything needs to black and white with her, or she will interpret them her own way. You are telling her it is OK to break when she breaks and gets to do equipment. To get WHAT SHE WANTS, she has to do WhAT YOU WANT!!!!

Unfortunately (WINK) Coulee is a smart dog, which means you have to outthink her and find ways to give her the right information and have set criteria.

As far as it not being fun, things always get frustrating: remember your panning blog! I'm sure Marlin frustrates you LOL, but you learned something from yesterday, even if it wasn't the positive outtcome you were wanting.

Remember take her back to the last time she was successful, your are REALY challenging her and your skills now, so there will be failures but the lightbulb moment will be worth it!!!!

Wait until you start trialing, your worst training day will be nothing compared to your worst trial day!!

Remember, if Agility was easy, it would be called Obedience (my favourite saying)

It'll all come together for you!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well I don't have advice or anything, but I just wanted to tell you that I'm really enjoying your pictures! You mentioned that you were taking a class - where are you taking it? Love the first pic of Coulee and really, really, really love the one of the baby with his arm stretched out!


Kim said...

Oh, don't give up! I think that agility is supposed to be frustrating; it makes the successes all more meaningful. There was a time that I seriously thought of quitting agility - it seemed like Maggie and I were not getting anywhere. I still have days that make me wonder why I keep going, but then I have those great days that make me forget about all the frustrations. Coulee is such a good dog and she is a great jumper!

Anonymous said...

i dont know anything about agility training, but i do know something about dog portraits and i loooove this photo of coulee! gosh that face! and lovely depth of field.

Paws on the Run said...

Don't worry, I won't give up. I was just frustrated and needed to vent.

I took a photography course through Henriette Plas. She has a private studio and puts on a fabulous course! She doesn't have a website (at least that I can find) otherwise I'd link to it.

Anonymous said...

That's who I took my beginner course through too. I'm excited to take the next level . . . although I'm still quite busy practicing everything I learned in the first one! I agree - great course!