As I primarily train alone, I try to take a lot of videos of our training sessions. Sometimes I forget or our training is spontaneous, but yesterday I remembered to haul out the camera and tripod to the back yard before setting up some exercises.
This session I specifically went into it wanting to work on a certain start line set up with Zora where I am behind her to start. I’ve noticed she can be very ‘sticky’ in such a set up for lack of a better word and have difficulty driving to the first obstacle and beyond. She has a tendency in this type of set up to go around the first obstacle or if I happen to be layering come off the obstacle I’ve set her up in front of to move to the obstacle I’m closest to. Or as she did in the fist rep of yesterday’s practice, move off the 2nd obstacle. I’ve realized a large part of this is when I start behind her, after cuing the 1st obstacle, I tend to stop forward motion. And being the good attentive dog she is, she then stops, slows or turns off the path I would like her to take.
In the video I did exactly that the 1st 2 reps, then remembered ‘oh yea, you need to indicate some movement here Katrin’ and so changed where I was starting to further back so I could then drive forward further without passing the imaginary line I’d set for myself.
And then she struggled with the weave entry, so we worked on that sequence: start line with me behind, jump, jump, hit the weave entry correctly from distance.
As the weave entry had been so difficult for her, after she got it correctly and rewarded, I wanted to work further on the course so started her at obstacle # 4 the jump. My original plan had been made assuming she would have no issues with the weave entry and be jump, jump, weave, switch, to the out jump then the far loop. But, as weaves were a challenge, I didn’t want to beat a dead horse after she worked those well.
Starting at the jump gave us a whole different set of challenges. Mainly my footwork. When I watched the video, I realized how much my feet were angled and that explained better why she was on the right lead going over the jump instead of her left. I was overall pleased though with her commitment to the jump hoop loop once on the correct left lead with me at such a far distance and layering the weave poles.
And finally we worked the serpentine. Which she and I have been practicing most of this week. In earlier training sessions this week she really struggled with the switch to the 3rd obstacle (hoop) in the serpentine. I was very pleased to see her grasping that piece readily. Instead today she struggled with the final hoop, out of camera view what she kept going wide on the ‘out’ cue to was the pause box which happened to be there. Watching the video, I can see what I felt when doing it: that I was watching her and not strongly enough looking at and cuing the final hoop with my feet.