Saturday, July 2, 2011


Riff and I need distance training!  Hopefully we'll come up with a good plan during this coming week.

Keeper pointed this out to me during our practice session yesterday.  Keeps is not the fastest dog on the block, but makes up for it by being efficient.  I would describe her style as Quick and Tight.  (Except she's not very fast in the weaves, where she's always held her head high and kept her front feet together, no matter what kind of training we tried.  I think that weave style is due to her being straight in the shoulder, so I let it go.) 

Keeps is basically retired now, due to having a physical structure that can't hold up to the rigors of tall-dog masters-level agility.  (You might point out that I could learn something from that, too...but, whatever.)   I took her to the field precisely to see what we could do on a 20-obstacle jumper's course.   I kept the jumps at 12" and we stayed away from the contact obstacles.  She was SO happy to be there!   It's been many months since we've played, but for these dogs - these wonderful dogs - getting back to the field is like getting back on a bicycle.  They don't forget! 

With a lead-out to the fourth obstacle, and did my best to stay well-ahead of her on course.  We were golden, until we hit that long fast line just after the weaves...a triple, double, single, right-side-of-the-tunnel run all the way across the field.  Even though I could get well-away from her while she finished the weaves, and position myself between the triple and double, she had a strong tendency to pull up after the single jump and turn back to find out where to go next.  I couldn't keep up to save my life....certainly not enough to get her into the correct end of the tunnel.  Tried running (, no, no...not yet), then did a bit of "go-on!" training.  In the end, it worked best when I walked briskly (which currently means a bit faster than a shuffle) across the course, cutting all corners, straight to a better position as she approached the tunnel.  'Course by then she knew the course pretty, duh.  

Can you teach on old dog new tricks?  Perhaps we need a verbal "left" and "right" after all.  I've always resisted this idea, because - bummer - I barely know the difference. 

Keeper was a super good Gambler, in her day, because her lateral and distance work is quite nice.   Now I need to remember how she learned it, and come up with a few exercises that will help Riff figure it out...

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