Disco Day 7 Straight up 12 Poles 1-10-09

Ok so I am just a little bit nuts. Today it is snowing outside. There is still a nice ice base in the yard and we are suppose to get anywhere from 3 to 10” of new snow. But I am training the dogs; three in tracking and two with weaves. Again I am going to have to be a little creative to continue to challenge and to train him since I am unable to move the equipment to follow along with the system. I can move a little better outside with the snow covering the ice so my goal today is to get Disco moving a little faster through the poles and get a little distance away from him. I am also going to watch the DVD again this evening in hopes of coming up with a suitable game plan for the next few days. Even with the less than ideal conditions and less training session a day than I had hoped for I am really impressed with the improvement and understanding that Disco is showing. I am still hopeful that he will be able to handle the weaves without issue at our trial in just two weeks. I have gotten a second set of six poles out of the garage and added to Disco’s training area. Since he did rolling sixes at class on Wednesday I will try to do these as a full competition set.                                              
Disco is pretty silly playing in the snow we head down to start off. It is too slippery to play tug, but Disco has adopted a stick as his new favorite toy so we will use that as his reward toy. We start off much like we did in the last training session taking the jumps off both sides and then adding the front cross. As soon as we start working he really settles in and focuses on his job. He is moving a lot faster today forcing him to really work the entrances. He is also driving through the weaves much better. It is impressive to see the improvement from the end of one training day to the start of the next. I will only be showing one side in the blog for now on but in training we are of course working all exercises off both sides.


Now that he is warmed up and focused on his work I will add some difficulty to the sequences. I am going to start having him slice the jumps, turn and approach the weaves from a greater distance and with more speed. It will be good for Disco to learn to take jumps at different angles as one of the issues we had at the trial was his lack of commitment to the jumps, he had a tendacy to run past jumps. I am hoping all of the work we are now doiong with jumps in our weave training will help solve that problem. He has no problem with the jump or the weaves at the new angle. Because the sequence is giving him a longer approach it is adding even more speed to his approach and it is very kewl to see him work to get those tough entries. He is also gaining confidence keeping his head lower and pushing to the end of the poles.

I will add a rear cross on the entry side of the poles. When adding the rear cross with a set of 2 X 2’s I would have opened the second set of poles to help the dog stay in the poles. But in this case I decided I would just drop the rear cross if he struggled with the poles. If successful I will then start staying much closer to the line of the jump getting more distance between myself and the dog. It takes a couple of tries for hime to figure out that he needs to stay in the poles as I cross behind, but he does it after a few mistakes. It is nice to see him bouncing back from mistakes without and stress. This is an exercise I will work on next time I have the real 2 X 2 poles out just to make sure he learn to coleect and then drive forward while I am crossing.

The challenge for today is adding some distance to those weave poles. The long term goal is of course to have a dog that will weave regardless of where I am and how far away from the poles I am when I send my dog. I want him to be just as comfortable doing weaves far away from me as he is working very close. For today I am going to keep it simple staying just on the inside of the jump, putting the weaves no more than ten feet from me. I am also going to try to stay ahead of Disco so he can see me and will be tempted to come out of the poles and to me.

He is already very use to finding the entry on his own so that part does not give us any problems with the distance. He does pop out a couple of times on each side but I am not sure if it is due to temptation or just a matter of slipping in the snow. At any rate he again makes adjustments and learns to stay in with the new distance. This seems like a very good place to end for today. Disco and I go off to play in the snow for a bit before going in to watch the DVD and make plans for our next session. Hopefully the snow will go away and we will be able to train again real soon.