Friday, October 24, 2008

Really Prepping for Nationals

SUMMARY: Trying to clean up the small list of things that it's good to review.

This week's training focus has been on things that I can work on in the yard, that review issues that we've had problems with lately, and just a broad spectrum of things that we might encounter at Scottsdale.

Because Tika was sore last week/weekend, I don't want to do much with her to jar her neck, but since she's enthusiastically running and playing tug with no signs of pain this week, I'm doing some training but being selective about it.

Last night I took only Boost to class. For the second week in a row, we've been doing only Jumpers work (by popular demand... how'd we get a class with no contact worries but lots of jumping issues?! Didn't the world used to be the other way around? Like Tika, for example...) And, wow, where did I get a dog who can DO JUMPERS COURSES?! We did not have a single refusal all evening, and the only runout was one where others had trouble, too. She's still knocking a lot of bars, but, man, she was flying! And even doing rear crosses! And serps! And wayyy lateral lead-outs! And everything! What fun!

  • Boost: Assorted exercises to get her to focus on obstacles ahead of her instead of on me.
  • Boost: Lots of jumping long rows of jumps (well... what I can fit in my yard). Thanks to a friendly reminder from an online friend, I dug out my Susan Salo notes from wayyyy back--which is how I worked with Boost when we first started-- and set up some sequences. It's very interesting to see how rough she really is over these things, but how very quickly she figures it out and starts bounce-jumping everything without knocking the bars. But every little change I make is almost like starting over. For example, on one sequence (about 6', 8', 10', 11', and 12' apart with various low heights on the bars), after she had run it smoothly 4 times, I went through and bumped the distance about 2 inches between everything--and she was back to double-striding and knocking bars the first couple of times. But she very quickly got back to bounce-jumping cleanly. Clearly I haven't done enough of this kind of work with her. Silly me. But based on class last night, I think that this plus the focus exercises are making a big difference. Keeping my fingers crossed!
  • Boost: Tires. I hauled the tire out from behind the shed, because at 2 of the last 3 trials she ran under a tire. Incorporating it into sequences, running ahead of her and behind her, approaching from different angles, turning afterwards, and so on.
  • Boost: Broad jump. Because we haven't done many of them (although there was one in class last night on a slight angle) and I know they're going to show up in a tough place again at Nationals.
  • Boost: Table. Still working on the staying down and not doing the hydraulic elbow-lift thing. Although I think the best solution is still to work on it right before we go into the ring.
  • Tika: Because her contacts have become so iffy, I'm just trying to do a ton of dogwalks and Aframes every day. More on the dogwalk, since it's not so hard on the neck and shoulders. I figure that if she has 100 good contacts in her memory when we get to Scottsdale, that she'll think more about doing them right while we're there.
  • Tika: Low-stress jumping, and not much of it. Using a couple of Susan Salo-type drills, with the bars mostly at 8" and 12" with some 16". Just so she stays in the groove and gets in a relaxed jumping mindset.
  • Tika: Snooker and Gamblers kind of moves, with tunnels, very low jumps, and occasional 6-pole weaves.
  • Boost: Start-line stays. Because she broke hers a couple of times last weekend. I used to try to be sure to reward staying at least 25-35% of the time, but I've slacked off because she's been so good. Never give up, never give up!

2 comments:

  1. If you can afford it and get on the list, you should have Ria or David Acciani (canine PTs and massage therapists from NJ) give Tika a massage the 1st day you are at Scottsdale. They both have great hands and they may be able to give her the relief she needs to get through 4 days. And they have that laser things too, that many people swear by. My Ray loves to get worked over by David. It's worth the $50 (1/2 hour) for the dog's comfort.

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  2. Thanks for the suggestion.

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