Category Archives: Training

Training Information

2011 Winter Scraps Agility Class K9 Campus

Week 1 – 2011-01-21

This is week 1 of our second round of classes with Scraps at K9 Campus with Linda as a teacher.  This 8-week class we are euphamistically calling remedial intermediate agility.  It’s super cold Friday night in January with a lot of snow outside.  It is warm in the k9 Campus but it is 20 after 8 and we haven’t started class yet.  With only 3 dogs in class we still should get plenty of good practice in.
First run is a simple loop to get going with an emphasis on ” go tunnel” with a tight walk-jump-weave combo to finish.  We did 2 runs and he had some hesitancy with going into the tunnels but the 3-part combo at then end was executed really well.  Scraps’ weaves were really fast considering he probably hasn’t weaved in weeks.

Second set of runs we are practicing “out” versus a “go” to get them out and over a jump.  Scraps is doing it well and has excellent focus and speed tonight.  It is some good practice ofr him. We ended with some teeter practice, not going over it but just having fun banging on it.

Week 2 of 8 – 2011/01/28

Week 2 of class found us once again in a very cold and snowy environment but this week was different.  Maybe Kathy’s back was weak from all the shoveling because she tweaked it earlier in the day.  This meant I was to run with Scraps instead of Kathy.  With the messy winter mix outside I was running in my hiking boots but that didn’t stop Scraps and I from running really fast through the practice drills Linda set up for us.  It was pretty exhilarating running at such fast speeds with Scraps yet learning the techniques on how to run a course in such a controlled  manner.

Week 3 of 8 – 2011/02/04

Week 3 of this class is starting with learning to jump varied jumps with respect to distance between each and jumps being at angles.  Additionally, we are learning Linda’s front cross technique where you have the dog go over a jump and the front cross turns him 180 degrees by a virtual grab of the collar while you pivot away fro  the jump indicating to the dog that we are turning.   On our first run Scraps jumped with a nice rhythmic bounce in a good way as he is a good jumper.  Kathy didn’t really catch up enough with Scrpas exiting the tunnel to try to even attempt the front- cross.  On the second run, Kathy got the front cross but still needs to run faster and slower indicating to Scraps her intentions through this acceleration / deceleration technique.

Next a nice little course was set up to run, no teeter, but everything else. The first run was great and entering the weaves on our comfort side made going through 2 set of 6 a snap.  The second time through the course was even faster but trying to get Scraps through the weaves on our bad side proved to be a disaster.  Linda suggested we work at home with a set of 4 weave poles

week 4 of 8 – 2011/02/11

It was another cold clear night outside but the K9 campus was warm inside which helped Scraps’ warm-up nicely before  the runs. First run includes a series of 6 jumps in a row a varied distances.  Linda wants to mix up the jump distances and heights so the dogs can judge how high and far they have to jump, this way their jumps are efficient and they don’t jump higher and harder than they need to.  At the beginning of a a run never start them to close to the jump where they don’t get a few comfortable strides before they jump.  Some people learn their dog’s optimum distance before a jump and count off the steps like a field goal kicker and place their dog at the proper starting distance.

The first run with Scraps was under control and virtually flawless; speedy yet relaxed.   On the way in reverse it was also well done.  Scraps missed a tunnel entrance and also hit a bar on the series of jumps to close the run.
Now we are running it with the jumps at both 8″ and 12″ heights to make it a bit more challenging in its variety.  Scraps did really well on this run and adjusted like a thinking mammal between the varied jump heights.

The third run we are using the tunnel to work on the “go” command to get them to go do the tunnel.  She is encouraging us to say “go,” “go,” “go” to send the dog over two jumps and to the tunnel. Scraps would “go” over jumps but would turn around to look for confirmation and abort a solid entry into the tunnel.  He never really practiced  “go” recently, so I guess we couldn’t expect too much.  We worked on more “go” with jumps and a toy as a lure to get them to go.  It worked really well for Scraps as he was focused on his toy.

The exciting conclusion to week 4 is that Linda gave me permission to have Rags join the class.  I hope I don’t get kicked out during the first week but it is exciting to have Linda teach the two of us.  Stay tuned!

2010-2011 Winter – Rags In Advanced Beginners Agility Class

Over December and January 2010 and 2011 respectively, Rags the Dog completed her advanced beginners agility class held indoors at St. Huberts in Madison.  Being winter, it has been cold and snowy outside and inside in the class it has been crowded with our teacher Tom trying to teach up to 9 dogs at various capabilities simultaneously.  At times, the class seems agonizingly slow but Rags got better and better every week.  Her contacts are great and she still has a bit of trouble getting excited about running over and through jumps and tunnels.

With the exception of the weave poles, Rags is virtually ready to run in competition this summer.  I’m not saying I expect her to qualify as her focus on me through 20 obstacle may be asking for a lot but I think I will have hope for her.  Below are several of the videos taken during weeks 2 through 6 of the class the class so one day we can look back on Rags to see where she came from.

Week 2 of 8 – 12-5-2010

Week 3 of 8 – 12-12-2010

Week 4 of 8 – 12-19-2010

Week 5 of 8 – 1-9-2011

Week 6 of 8 – 1-16-2011

2010-12-03 Scraps Advanced Beginners Agility Class at K9 Campus week 2

After a week off for Thanksgiving Scraps continued his advanced beginner agility class at K9 Campus. It’s a cold night outside bid cozy in the big open agility room. Lots of tunnels were set up tonight with hoops.

Like last week, the objective of this class will be to untrain Scraps from running to an extended hand and finger as he follows Kathy though the course, but rather, follow her entire body and its angular direction. This will enable us to eventually use arm and hand gestures for other directives to Scraps. It’s a bit frustrating to watch because you know they can do better, but if we succeed at this technique it should really help our control and speed. It will hopefully keep him from getting distracted by sniffing at smells because he is running quickly. It is a win-win situation if you can get it.

For the second run of the night we added a few contacts in the mix to see how well we can run. It has a lot of S-tunnels so we will have to see how that goes. The run ended up pretty good as Scraps did a nice easy run, only once distracted by my presence.

We ended the night with a little free form practice on the teeter. A good week of practice which really drives home the hope that running on the course is the goal, not just completing obstacles. Until next Friday for Scraps but we have Sunday with Rags back at St. Huberts, so check in then.

2010-11-21 Rags Advanced Beginners Agility Class -Week 1

Rags is starting her second agility class of her life closely on the heals on the beginners class she took in the fall.  Her new class is also being taught by Tom who taught her first class.  Due to the weather the class is being held in St. Huberts indoor ring in Madison, NJ.  While being indoors keeps us warm and dry, it precludes me from taking any pictures so video are all I will get from this class, but it is better than nothing.

In week one we were just getting used to the indoor class, the tight quarters and the equipment.  We started with some tunnel practice which Rags still had problems with especially when it came to entries at an angle.  I need to get her more enthusiastic about going into a tunnel like she get going on a contact obstacle.   We then did figure-8s over jumps and that she did well.  We closed with plank work and she is okay at that also.  Does a nice target.  A cute thing about this week was the fact that the agility training ring has a moving wall that can separate the room into 2 and it was partially unfolded to the point that it made you feel like you were on the Dating Game.  Both sides were not able to see the dogs waiting on the other side of the wall while each side  could watch what was going on in the middle of the ring.  It was a weird perspective.

This 8-week class will hopefully get Rags prepared to begin to compete in 2011’s season of agility competitions.  I think Rags will be ready to at least enter these competitions but probably not ready to qualify in any event.  Time will tell with it, but unless we do some more practice, Rags ain’t gonna do squat, but squat.

2010-11-19 Scraps Advanced Beginners Agility Class at K9 Campus

The class is a 4-week beginners agility class at K9 Campus in Randolph as they classify it. This is our first class at this place so it’s a good short series to see how we like it. Linda is our teacher and we have 4 dogs in this class. You would think that Scraps would be beyond advanced beginners, but he had an evaluation last week with Linda and we decided to check out this class.

We start with sequencing because the little Shetland is noise sensitive as is Scraps. These are little handling exercises. Starting with a sequence involving a series of undulating crosses over jumps and the A-frame.

On our first run wen learned a lot about how to use and not use our arms to direct and more importantly, not using our arms and fingers but relying on our body motion and lines through the course. Linda also suggests not using commands unless needed, it is all about body position. The first run was also a mess because Scraps’ nose was too the ground seeking out treats.

The second run showed marked improvement. First of all, Scraps was focused and didn’t sniff around the course so when they ran together it was quick and smooth. Teaching the word and concept of switch is very useful. Additionally, we should also only use the arms to push the dog out to an obstacle, and use body position to get him through the obstacles which are close to you.

Next the dogs worked at stations addressing issues they have. Our’s was teeter and getting used to the noise. Scraps for the most part ate treats as another dog played on the teeter and made noise with it. He eventually began playing with the end of the teeter slowly getting used to making it make noise. There’s hope he may learn the teeter through this class.

As a first class it was very promising as we are learning new techniques that should make everything easier, faster and more fun. As is with everything else, time will tell with it, but week 1 was a good start. We will have next week off due to it being Black Friday and then run 3 Fridays in a row in December.

2010-10-31 Graduation from Beginners Agility Class

It was a nice brisk Sunday morning for week 8 of 8 of our beginners agility class. Each dog, including Rags, showed marked improvement from week 1 of class and each dog graduated from class and should be ready to pickup where we left .  Advanced beginners class should start in mid-November which gives us 2 weeks to practice what we learned before that class begins.  Unfortunately, this class will start at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays so I am going to have to make sure my DVR will be recording the Giant games I will be missing.

This week we worked on doing a jump at a distance with a wait, OK, jump, tunnel combo.  Rags rocked on her first attempt but trying the second time, Rags forgot what the concept of tunnel is and jumped on top of the tunnel instead of running through it. While cute, it’s not good.  We then practiced contacts with the A-frame and dog walk.  Rags did really well on these two obstacles. while a couple of dogs had slightly scary falls off the dog walk.  While Rags is fearless and loves being on top of things.

We closed out the class by seeing how the dogs are progressing through the first set of poles in a 2×2 weave pole training.  Rags is still a bit oblivious to the whole concept so we will have to work on that over the next two weeks.  Finally, we finished with introduction to the teeter.  First trying on a slightly pivoting board and then progressing to a lowered teeter.  Everyone seemed to handle the lowered teeter well so Tom raised it an inch using a wooden board.  Everyone still did that well so hopefully we can progress on the teeter quickly in the next class.

Everyone received their diploma and a biscuit for their efforts and off we went.  I didn’t quite take as many photos from this week as previous, but I did take a few so check them out.

50% of Profits From Sale of Photos Will Be Donated To St. Huberts – To view a slideshow of the photos taken or to purchase downloads ($0.99/download), prints or other items go to my SmugMug photo gallery links below.  Fifty percent (50%) of all profit made from the sale of any items off of SmugMug will be donated to St Huberts, so get great photos of your dog and support St. Huberts.

2010-10-30 Agility Run-Throughs at St. Huberts

St. Huberts used this nice Saturday afternoon to conduct some agility run-throughs as a means to raise money for St. Huberts as well as giving us some practice before the winter lull in trials rolls in.  There were about 30 dogs or so who ran in 2 minute intervals between 1:00  and 4:00.  The run-throughs  were running behind or there were more dogs than anticipated so we only go 2 runs in per dog by the time we had to leave at 4:00 p.m.  for a dinner engagement.

The novice course which I ran with Rags had 14 obstacles in it which included a teeter and weaves which I avoided with Rags.  There was also a turn-around tunnel which Rags refused to do in the first run-through, so I didn’t attempt it in our second run through.  Rags did the chute well, jumps and tires she took fine and her contacts at the A-Frame and dog walk were great.  She loves those obstacles.   Considering she will be graduating beginners agility class tomorrow morning at the same St. Huberts practice field, I’m proud of her effort and abilities.  Her only real problem was getting her nose lost in the treat ridden grass, but she wasn’t as bad as Scraps from that perspective.

Scraps was distracted because his nose was also lost in the grass way too often.  He did do the 12-pole weaves well and only had some issues going up the A-frame.  In the end it’s great to get a little practice in with the 2 dogs and to get Rags used to hanging out to experience what a day of agility competition will be like.  It also gave me a great opportunity to photograph the other dogs running.  For most of the day I had good sunlight and got some good photos, so check them out.

50% of Profits From Sale of Photos Will Be Donated To St. Huberts – To view a slideshow of the photos taken or to purchase downloads ($0.99/download), prints or other items go to my SmugMug photo gallery links below.  Fifty percent (50%) of all profit made from the sale of any items off of SmugMug will be donated to St Huberts, so get great photos of your dog and support St. Huberts.