Thursday, April 16, 2009
Class Course - April 15, 2009
This course is courtesy of someone, unfortunately I don't know who! Except for a few minor details, this was the setup when I arrived on Wednesday evening, so I used it. : )
While the course wasn't hard, it did point out a few training holes for some of my students. Most notably was the serpentine at the start. I think part of the challenge was the lack of momentum starting this sequence and the handler's urge to move & run prematurely.
Several handlers attempted to start this sequence on the landing side of #1, but facing the #2 jump. They were surprised when their dog failed to take the first jump and moved in between #1 & #2. This was easily resolved by having the handler shift their hips so they were facing #1 and drawing the dog onto the correct path.
Another issue that occurred was that handlers began to move too soon and the dog's came over the first jump, but went between jump #1 & 2 as the handler turned toward their left to run down the line and get to the landing side of #3. This was another easy fix where the handler's shoulders stayed facing the 3 jumps.
Several handlers were stuck in a pattern of repeating the same mistakes mentioned above and so that signaled me it was time to change things up a bit to get them thinking differently. These handlers needed assistance to understand how their body language cues their dog and so, I had each handler run #1 - 7 with either their hands to their side or behind their back. It's amazing how taking away the swinging arms forced handlers to concentrate on their shoulders and hips to relay information to their dogs.
This worked out beautifully and also made the teams successful. For the heck of it, why not try this yourself? It's and eye opener!
On a personal note, I ran Ru for a few minutes last night and was VERY pleased with her enthusiasm. As she gets more confident, her speed is increasing and last night I finally got a glimpse at what I'll be working with. As hoped, she's going to be a fast little thing and I'm going to have to start working a bit of distance now. I also need to go back and work my contacts. While she wasn't blowing them, I'm hell bent to be very specific about my criteria and that's what I need to hold myself accountable to.
The next few days are supposed to be nice out so I'm hoping to get some more practice time in with her.