Here is video of Strafe's first 2 runs in Excellent Standard. Neither was a Q but he handled really well, continuing to act and run like a much older dog than 17 months. He only knocked 1 bar out of 5 runs all weekend too, which is phenomenal for such a youngster, in my opinion. And I'm starting to run harder and not baby him as much, although I'm clearly not pushing him yet. I'd like to let him run without a lot of pressure yet, just have fun and make sure he's listening nicely.
Although I usually don't like to train my dogs the day after a trial, I did work some contacts today with Kiba and Strafe because it is due to rain tomorrow and that means I won't be able to do it then. I didn't do any jumping - Kiba just ran around a standard and then up the frame, and Strafe worked with a bar on the ground and a u-shaped tunnel after the dogwalk. Strafe's session was telling - his mental state is a bit different now than when I first worked his dogwalks several months ago, and suddenly pulling in to the near side of the U-shaped tunnel is difficult. So we worked on that a bit, with a small stride regulator in place to prevent him from doing silly things on the downramp while he was focusing on the tunnel handling behavior. He did great and I know it needs more work, since I definitely got some failed responses at the beginning of the session (wrong end of the tunnel paired with funny dogwalk striding, exactly what he did at the trial).
Poor Kiba is undergoing aframe work, again. She was originally trained with a running aframe, it failed, so I did 4-on-the-floor, she hates doing it at trials so I tried to retrain running and then reverted back to 4otf several times during her career. She's now 7 years old, and while her retrained 4otf dogwalk is actually going pretty well at trials, she still refuses to stop on the aframe. And the weight shifting she's doing while thinking about stopping is messing up her striding. So once again, with even more experience under my belt as a trainer, and with her being in probably the best shape of her life along with having a better mental state while training (better able to deal with failure, as she could not do when she was young), we are trying again.
One of the problems I have with her is that she just doesn't do a very nice rotary gallop. She bunny hops in the rear a bit, coupled with swinging her back feet out and away on every stride. Generally her back feet hit the ground (or board) very close together when she pushes off - she doesn't do "split feet" in the back very well at all. This is just a weird structural flaw with her, and I've known about it for a while; it doesn't affect her most times but it DOES make running contacts harder. She runs off her forehand, and tends to want to balance the downramp almost exclusively with her front feet and shoulders rather than gathering her rear end under her properly. Anyway, here's a video of our work from today, in case you're interested. Overall I was pretty happy, and we will probably work with the regulator on for the next session to see if that helps her understand to use her rear end a little more and put a full stride on the down ramp. For a 26lb, 18" tall dog, she has the odd tendency to go sailing through the air and only hit once on the downramp. usually right above the contact...
And I filled out the entry form for Seri's re-re-redebut in agility. She's running in USDAA at CH 22. I will attempt to garner a GP and STP Q for her. We'll see. She may not be able to work that well after so long away from trialing, but it's worth a shot, and we definitely need to test out her shoulder under the more exciting environment of a trial. I'm limiting her to 3 runs over 2 days and I will keep a very sharp eye on her to see how she does.