Monday, February 11, 2008

Bi-Polar Agility & Broad Jump Proofs

Zoomies on the agility field have plagued us for years. And like the fruit of the month club, it's the gift that keeps on giving. Just when I think that we are actually becoming a team, Teddy likes to keep me grounded by showing me he still knows how to zoom.

We had our first agility class this weekend in quite a while, due to the weather and illness, etc. I knew Teddy would be excited to get back on the field, and he did not disappoint. He surprised me by perfectly doing the jump chutes. I don't know that we have ever done the jumps at that height, that close together. I relaxed a little too early, as we all lined up to individually run over the teeter. He did it once, just fine. But when I took him back to do it one more time, I guess he stressed over having to redo it, and started zooming. It was a particular bad one, where I had to hide, while others eventually corraled my dog and put him in his pop-up crate.

After his break in his crate, the class lined up to run over the dog walk before we were to run the entire course. I was going to sit this one out, but I really wanted to make sure that Teddy was somewhat under control before attempting the entire course. He did fine with the one obstacle, so we decided to give the course a try, a very strange 21 obstacle course with a multitude of challenges. Our instructor prides herself on making very difficult courses to prepare us for the ring. She says that she wants us to feel confident that if we can run her courses, we can run anything. I love her classes! I would much rather work on a skill level above ours because it pushes us to be better, and I try things that I would never try on my own. That being said, I was very proud of Teddy. He ran great and was connected to me, and we ran the whole course without interruption. We go from one extreme to the other.

Yesterday was a similar story. Several of my fellow club members got together to run the nested course from the most recent Clean Run magazine. We ran the novice course just fine. Of course, all of the mistakes were mine where I pushed him around an obstacle or was late in giving him a command, but we were working together. Then it was time for the open level. We only got through about half of the course, and it was game over. Not to give Teddy too many excuses, but it was unusually hot (upper 60's) and he was tired from a long, full weekend. I think he was just done, maybe I pushed him too hard. Don't really know, but it amazes me how we can work in sync one run, and then in the next, it's all about whatever Teddy wants to do or the other way around. It's hard to know which poodle I'm taking up to the start line.

Now for a little obedience. We've been working on proofing the broad jump recently, after it's been giving us some trouble. My instructor had me leave Teddy in front of the jump, and instead of looking at him when I give him the "over" command, look straight ahead. I don't know why, but it has seemed to help. I guess when I look at him, it's confusing him as to when he needs to take off. I'm assuming that he is trying to read my body language as opposed to going from my verbal command. I'll see how this holds up over time.

So, that is the bulk of our crazy weekend, minus the freestyle work we did as well. Freestyle will be discussed in a post to come.

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