Thursday, March 8, 2012

Verbal and Physical Cues

On Monday Riff and I made it out to the AARF field for some practice time.  What a beautiful morning!

We worked on rear crosses for a bit, but concentrated on discriminations.  I'm using verbal "Out" and "Here" cues, along with a flat palm up for "out" and a modified RFP for "here."  It seems to be effective...Riff has been hitting the requested obstacle well over 90%.

Speaking of Verbals:  I also decided to try "Round" for sending him to the backside of a jump.  That verbal cue is still very rocky...I'm concentrating on the physical cue so much I often forget to say it! 

In the long run, my goal is to be in good enough shape to run my dog with physical cues only...but in the short run (and you know it may turn into the long run) I'm thinking some verbal help is needed. 

NOTE:  I believe that body language trumps verbal cues any and every time.  My physical presence either needs to be clearly helpful, or neutral...I think. 

Our Tuesday agility class was fun, although that last long diagonal run across the field absolutely took my breath away.  Jump - Jump - Jump - long straight Tunnel under the A-frame, through a jump box and - Jump.   Riff loved it...the faster he gets to run and jump, the better.  But I fell well behind him, right away, and had to veer to the left, running around the A-frame.  He took the left-side jump in the box.  So I tried again, without the veering.  I decided I needed to stay on a parallel, lateral path. 

Early in the sequence I was able to cut corners by layering a jump, but I still couldn't catch up to Riff, for the life of me, even on the lateral path.  And Riff still took the left-side jump.  Didn't he hear me saying "Go on"?  Doesn't he know that means "go to the next obstacle straight in front of you"?   Is this a good example of the physical outweighing the verbal?  Well, we obviously need to practice a bit more box work anyway.   I had to set him up in front of the tunnel and take a lead-out to get him through the box and over that last jump.  (He also becomes patterned rather easily...)

Adding "going through a box" work to the list!

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