a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Bar Knocking, Weaves, and Oldness

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bar Knocking, Weaves, and Oldness

SUMMARY: Boost training update, Tika aging update.
In class last night, on the first exercise, which I wasn't sure I could get through, Boost and I did great. Except that she knocked 2 bars.

Our instructor complimented Boost's run and said that she's ready to help me go back to working on bar knocking any time I'm ready. I said, OK.

We started on this a couple of times in the past and then decided that getting Boost to actually do obstacles was the bigger issue. This issue hasn't gone away, but she *does* look really nice in class a lot of the time these days. Did it take her turning 7 to start getting the idea of what's going on?

So the first step is that I need to stop her (in training or class) as soon as she ticks or knocks a bar. This is harder than it sounds--I'm so busy trying to figure out whether I can actually do the body work for a serpentine-to-rear-cross that the fact that she's ticked a bar is invisible to me. Or so busy trying my darnedest to get 3 obstacles ahead so I can do a deceleration for a threadle that the fact that she's knocked a bar is not high on my radar. But I think I was doing better by the end of class.

I also need to count--all the bars that she attempts, and all the bars that she ticks or knocks. That was hard just in class! If we stopped partway through an exercise, and restarted some other part of the way through, repeat 3 or 4 times, jeez, how many bars did we actually attempt?

I have not been doing tons of agility work at home.

About the only things I've been practicing with either dog are table-downs with Tika and weave entries with Boost, who appears to have decided recently that a weave entry, instead of being an entry with the first pole to her left shoulder, is one of:
* Enter between the first two poles, but starting from whtever direction she's coming.
* Enter between the second and third pole, starting from whatever direction she's coming.

It's insane. We've been working on weaves for almost 7 years and she's still not figured out the real rules. Or, at least, she gets it for a while, then somehow decides that that's not what it is after all.

Anyhoo--we've been practicing weave entries.

Homework from class this week is assorted moves-to-rear cross: threadle to rear, serpentine to rear, front to rear. After all these years of agility, I am still not coordinated!

Tika, meanwhile, I swear is still getting deafer. Yesterday in the quiet kitchen, she was lying facing away from me, and I had to say her name 3 times, louder each time, before she turned her head to look at me, but in a "did I hear something?" fashion rather than "my name is being called in the kitchen! yay!" which would be normal.

Her energy level does seem lower lately. She still runs after her ball full-tilt, but might chase it only 2 or 3 times before rushing into the shrubberies to continue excavation on her tunnel to China. She doesn't bother getting up off her bed often now when I'm doing something with Boost.

We're planning on hiking several miles this weekend, and none of us have done much hiking or walking lately, just too busy & distracted. Hope things go well for all of us on the trail.


  1. maybe it's the season -Brody seems to be blinder than usual too this week

    enjoy the hikes and good luck with your homework!

    1. Oh, right--here it is Saturday and I already forgot about the homework! Doh! OK, tomorrow evening I'll do some.

  2. I think bar knocking is one of the mysteries of the universe. Why some dogs knock and some don't. I know that many times it is the handler (for me every knocked bar comes back to me. But some dogs just knock. Good luck, I am very interested in what she has you doing.

    1. I have to dig out my notes about the at-home bar-knocking drills. We did so many, you'd think I'd remember the details, but nope, gone like the wind as soon as we stopped. I'll try to post some about it.

  3. Oh my -- trying to keep track of not only the dropped bars, but the ticked ones too? Eeps!

    Hope you're enjoying your hike. The homework can wait! ;)

    1. Thanks. So tired after hike, I think the homework can wait even longer. The idea behind the ticks also is that touching the bar at all is a bad thing; easier to delineate touching vs nontouching, not so easy to delineate "don't touch so hard that it falls off".