22 July 2008

Holy Handling Maneuvers Batman!

Yesterday I got DJ to help me dig our hold 2nd-hand see-saw out of the garage. Drifter is determined to run every trial see-saw like it's the National Finals now, and that's not really what he's supposed to be doing. It's certainly not what the AKC judges want him to do! So I did a few sequences that had a see-saw or two and a dogwalk or two, to clarify that dogwalk=run and see-saw=STOP. (he has trouble on the table, too, imagine that!). He actually did quite well on the see-saw, only came off once, and that was after it hit the ground and I ran past him, so still nowhere near a flyoff.
The issue I discovered is another handling hole. Eeeee gads there's more than I thought! And here I was excited that he was handling so well this year. Well, really, he's never handled poorly but sometimes he just pushes the limits, you know? I ask him to turn tight and he turns "almost tight", stuff like that. But he's been pretty spot-on most of this year, with only a few goofy runs where his brain checked out on me. But I have stuff to work on. For instance, I'm aware that if I ask for a tight shoulder turn and then move off in the other direction, he will turn tightly enough, but once I start re-accelerating he wants to swing out wide away from me, rather than aiming for the obstacle that is the same as the one I'm aiming for. Now, I can compensate for that at trials if I have to, but I shouldn't have to. So that's Skill #1 we're working on right now, getting rid of unnecessary false turns (RFPs). I do use them, but I don't want to be using them all the time or in that particular situation.

The issue I discovered was in a threadle I asked him to do. There were weaves beyond it (he loooves weaves), which he actually turned away from in a reasonably decent manner. The issue seemed to be more in the angle of the jumps we were threadling. We were approaching the jump on the right, and they slanted away and left, so that when I pulled through, the next jump was a little farther away, and little harder turn then he was expecting. He kind of said "huh?!" a couple times before he figured it out. So angled threadles near weaves it is!

I also found the other day that he is a little too obsessed with his red squeaky jolly ball. If I set it 15ft past a jump and asked for a tight shoulder turn or wrap away from it he had a LOT of trouble jumping the jump while focusing on me and not the ball, which meant his turn was wide, every time. Yikes! You'd think I would have trained that before!

So that's 3 things already to work on. That's OK. Wouldn't want me to think I was TOO perfect, right?

Oh, and DJ bought tickets online so we are going to see Dark Knight in IMAX today:-)

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