Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Lesson

Riff and I had fun catching up with our missed Tuesday lesson at LeapDog yesterday.  It was so warm, we started out the afternoon in shirtsleeves!  But don't get too upset, the time the lesson was over and the sun was low on the horizon, we were all shivering in our thick coats.  (Secretly, I'm wishing it would rain rain rain.  It's DRY around here.) 

We worked quite a few weaves, going through the courses.  Some of the weaves had odd entry angles.  Riff hit well-over half of the entries, which wasn't too bad, considering.  I was happy with him!  (Nevertheless, I bought some more fence poles to stick in the ground at local parks.  We're going to try "back to 2x2 basics" right after Christmas.  It would be grrreat to have consistent weave entries.) 

Riff and I are still trying to work out our communication regarding which jump to take.  Try as I might, I can't seem to predict whether he's going to go wide around the outside of a jump and take one further away, or come in too close and go off-course that way.  Is he paying attention to me?  Our instructor says he definitely is...but he's still getting used to me being so far away.  I know he's ultra-willing, and that he tries really hard to do his best.  Hells bells, I'm still working out the cues and their timing, too.  It's not easy.  There are days when I feel completely discouraged....but yesterday was not one of them.  I kept noticing how beautifully Riff jumps, and it made me smile.  (When you're some distance from your dog on course, you get to notice stuff like that.)  I think he has a great jumping style. 

But the best part of the lesson occurred during one of our attempts at the second-half of a course.  It included a jump / teeter into a somewhat distant 180 entry on the weaves, then an angle-away toward a jump / tunnel and back around another tricky angle to the last two jumps.  I had to "escort" him to the weave entry...which he finally got  after two false starts...then I had to beat him in the weaves to that angled jump-into-the-tunnel, so I could front-cross there, and front-cross again right after the tunnel.  Riff is a lot faster than I am, even when he's weaving...but I decided to try it anyway.  All that to say:  We made it!  Our instructor said, "Wow!  You were really moving by those weaves!"  And so my BIG CELEBRATION is two-fold:  I got ahead of Riff in the weaves without him popping out, AND I got ahead of Riff in the weaves.  I actually really ran for a few strides!   And my back is only a bit tweaky/creaky today.


PS.  Riff was good on the startline, even though I purposefully hustled him out there whenever I could while classmates were still walking the course.  (Hopefully he will get re-acquainted with "action" around the startline.)  AND he hit all of his 2o2o contacts. 

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