So... Here is the plan. As agility is easier to show as to explain, you'll be getting your homeworks in video form. You'll always get some new assignments, but you need to keep practicing the old ones too - we'll be checking back on those here and there, so don't forget to keep working on those!
This class program is very extensive and after discussing it with 1st class students, I decided to give you some more time for last three lessons: first three you'll get every 2 weeks and last three every 3 weeks and we'll also make a 2-week break somewhere in between to let you catch up. As always, taking things slowly is always better and takes you to the goal faster as rushing things up, that's why I'm giving you more time for your homeworks.
1. restrained send to cik/cap - the purpose of this exercise is to play a nice chasing game, while teaching great sends, distance work and commitment - see how early I can start running in the other direction when sending Le to the jump.
Things to pay attention to:
- height: If you only did cik&cap on other objects so far, start with a jump stanchion now, but without the bar first: and then put the bar VERY low - max. 5cm (2 inches) for smaller dogs, 10cm (4 inches) for BC size and bigger. You can then add some height every 5 sessions: 3cm up for small dogs, 5cm for bigger dogs - SLOWER with young dogs! If you already did cik&cap with more height, do this exercise on your normal height, send a video and I will tell you if it's o.k. or you need to make it lower.
- distance: Start the dog very close to the jump first and then further&further every next try to slowly add distance. If the dog turns back to you (as Le does once in my video) or waits for you, start closer again and add distance more gradually.
- angle: Note from which angle I bring Le to the jump and in which direction I run away to reward. The purpose is to teach them to jump close to the stanchion, NOT in the middle of the bar! That's why I always do this side approach FIRST and do lots of it before trying any straight approaches. Check the angle again as it's not the best angle to see and many people do it coming to the jump facing it and then running parallel to it away and then the dogs are back-jumping the jump. You want to come to the jump from the side (nearing the stanchion/wing first) and then run away perpendicular to it.
- speed: You can't expect much speed with multi-warps, but you definitely want it now. Restrain the dog, wait for a good pull, let him go and run away for them to chase you&the toy. Make sure the dog is rewarded when still moving - don't stop and reward: run and reward! 🙂
2. If the first part goes well, you can also do some figure 8s + chase it game: it's the same game, only that you use two jumps now and run from one to another, sometimes still rewarding the first wrap, sometimes 4th, sometimes 2nd, sometimes 5th, sometimes 3rd... Note the angle of the jumps (side approach again!) and the distance between them: you want BIG distance to get good speed - something like 10m/33'. Again, you want the jumps under this angle to make sure the dog is jumping close to the stanchion, not in the middle of the bar. DON'T do figure 8s on one jump, it teaches the dog to jump in the middle!
3. restrained send to a tunnel (obstacle discrimination!) + come to hand vs. go game
Restrain the dog very close to the tunnel, as he is pulling towards it, say "tunnel, tunnel" to them: pulling in the direction of that thing is what you want when you say "tunnel" - and then let them go. Slowly add distance. Later on, you can add more obstacles (jumps&contact) close to the tunnel to make the discrimination harder: only say "tunnel" when the dog is pulling in the right direction, you can feel it if you hold him. You do the same with jumps: call cik&cap and release to the jump that is first the only thing around and then add tunnels closer&closer. The goal is teaching obstacle discrimination AND actively pulling towards obstacles you call (as opposed to hanging with you, waiting for you to take them all the way to each obstacle).
To train even more things at the time, when the dog is out of the tunnel, either call to hand and when he is at your side, either do a front cross or a shoulder pull (see the video) and reward for closeness - OR say your magic "run FAST" word and throw a toy ahead when the dog is catching up with you - meaning that you're moving in both situations, do NOT stand still when you send!
To make it even more challenging and train three things at the time 🙂 you can also add more tunnels and jumps around, like this:
Try to change it some every time, like bringing the other tunnel closer, or curving it sometimes, or using a jump instead, and also try running by it (to the other entry maybe) while calling to hand so that the dog needs to stay with you even when you’re actually moving towards the tunnel/jump and similar.
4. independent weaves
If you haven't started weaves yet, set 12 poles in two rows (left row must always be 60cm/24inches closer to you when you stand in front of the channel in order to teach them correct entries), at least 1m apart, restrain the dog at least 3m before the channel, throw the toy through and release. As the dog is running to his toy, sometimes just stand back, sometimes run after him, on both sides, sometimes far, sometimes close, sometimes run and stop, sometimes run and turn etc. The purpose is to teach the dog to ignore your body language when in the weaves and complete the task. Slowly switch to a static toy 4m after the channel, bringing the two rows closer&closer as you practise independent performance (I'm using bowls with treats with Le as she isn't too excited about dead toys... - but I quickly switched to a toy, thrown after she is out then to get more speed). See the video for some ideas on what to do when the dog is in a channel. If the dog already knows the weaves, send the video of how independent it is. If it's not, go back to the channel. With puppies, you can start the channel work, but only play with it max. twice a week, to not progress too fast as you don't want to close it to the point that requires real weaving before the dog is fully grown. But you can do a lot of work on independence and entries without doing any real weaving.
From watching the other videos, I think I’m taking off before he’s fully committed. I have problems deciding when to take off, and when to wait a second to ensure he’s committed.
It’s no problem if he pulls off sometimes: just redo. That’s how he will learn to commit even with you are leaving already. You want to challenge his commitment to make it better! 🙂
Although I taped most of my training with Djessy and we train a few times a week, I could not find time to create a video to upload. But finally you can see how far we have come until now. Djessy is now 7 moth so still too young to jump too high.
First I would like to hear if I can go on and do the figure 8 with 2 jumps or still do more practices on one jump.
On the first and second video the bar is on 10 cm.
I’ve noticed that I use the same arm when I train on multi wraps, so I think this will cause some problems for Djessy to understand what I want.
Tik and Tak (instead of Cik and Cap) 11/5 and on 10 cm
Tik and Tak 12/5 on 15cm. I don’t know why she made those big turns on the Tik (Cik) side. I’m not sure if the plank for running contacts was still laying there. If so, it was on a big distance.
Did something wrong.
Yes, certainly no need to raise the bars, but instead focus on tightness. Those ciks on the last video were of course not ciks at all, I wouldn’t be rewarding that, but redoing it and also lower the bar if necessary. Also in videos before, her ciks are wider as caps, so work on ciks some more and select for the tightest ones, meaning don’t reward the wide ones. You can do figure 8s and sequences too, but keep redoing the wide ones and reward the best ones so that she learns it’s important.
At this moment I train more on the ciks, because they are wider, but yes I still reward her for the ones which are not tight, that’s true. She is clever enough to figure that out! without a bar she makes the turns much better, but still her Cik is weaker that the Cap.
To start Djessy on running contacts I use and old seesaw board. To help her understand she had to run over this board my husband helped me and used her toy on a rope. As soon as she started running he puled on the rope so she would run fast to chase her toy. It was very difficult to transfer this to trowing a ball. I’m still not so far that she will run ahead without looking back if I’m not trowing her toy or ball before she is of the board.
She is not running in full extension since she is waiting for a toy to be thrown. You need to throw first and release after, but ideally, start her in a tunnel or with a wrap and then throw immediately. You can put some fences or wings around the plank to make it easier for her to find it and stay on. Wider board or two boards side to side would be even better. Or go to a wide carpet if you don’t have two boards.
I tried throwing an ball fist, but than she would not always stay on the board. I don’t have two boards so I will go to get a carpet instead. Should the carpet be longer than the board? or is the board size long enough?
She starts to understand that she has to do stuff with the board. When we start training she will run to the board and do some running around on the plank, but not the speedy ones 🙂
So I will start with the carpet and in combination with a tunnel or wrap.
I guess I would take somewhat longer carpet yes, longer is always better as shorter. I think it will be easier, staying on that narrow board on the floor really doesn’t make much sense to them 🙂 But as you add height, the problem goes away.
Djessy loves the channel weaves. Last weeks we did most of the training starting Djessy restrained. Starting this way, there is not much time left in changing direction and deliver the ball in time 🙂 So I just do the running with her and standing still and sending her.
Great, very nice understanding of entries already! No hurry with the weaves though as she is still so young, but it can’t hurt if you do the channel once a week or so. Add more distractions once it’s more narrow, you’ll have more time for doing weird stuff then 🙂 But do some different things already now.
Between once and two times a week we do some training on the weaves. I will start to do different things. Less training on weaves means more time left for training on the other things. In a few day’s I will upload the video about how far we are on tunnel training. Great to see the video on this pages with two tunnels. We also used the tunnel in combination with the weaves. That works well too.
I returned from Holland after 14 days and my notes from before says that our SLALOM is out of order:o). I don´t know how to continue, so I have no videos. If there is a toy behind a chanel (or a helper holds it), she run through (with only a small angle, we work on it but she doesn´t help me a lot:o))). If I keep the toy and try to throw it, she looks at me and goes out of the chanel. She is able to run 6 sometimes 8 poles but then she runs out… The width of our chanel is now one feet. I had to put off her harness because she hits the first two poles (inner sides) with her sides of chest and I think it hurts her little bit or knocks her out of the way at least. I would need some concrete tasks. Should I still use a helper with toy? Shouldn´t I shorten the chanel to make her successfull? Time to time I tried to do normal SLALOM and she is able to find the entrance pretty good. I tought her as one of our tricks to run through between two poles (something like Sussan Garrett but I didn´t hear about her until few months ago) so she likes to run thourgh these two poles in the good direction… Would it hepls her to find the entrance better if I put the two first poles in a row and then I prepared a chanel from the rest of poles? She “can do” SLALOM but with no independance…
Maybe try setting a tunnel after the weaves and having a helper after a tunnel. You should run with her too and carry a ball and sometimes you throw yours and sometimes a helper throws his. Once she is starting to expect a toy after a tunnel, she will drive forward better and then you can fade the helper. For entrances, I never trained it that way, but you can try if first two poles straight make more sense to her…