Sept. 20th, 2013
Time flies when one is training dogs and at the same time training to become a Rally judge.
Kitkat now knows the grade III Obedience excercises. Winning her DKLPCH title must be the proof :o) Distant control having been the last hurdle, Peter has helped greatly - acting as a "ring steward" who moves in rather too close. It worked a treat. Directed retrieve we trained with the d'bells hidden. Also that has been a hit in giving Kitkat confidence.
Now the next challenge will be to teach the dogs the new Rally excercises. But we have an entire winter to paly with.
Pandra seems to slow down a fraction - or is it just the fact that she just can't get into season, because she wants Kitkat to be first.? And Kitkat is wainting for Pandra? If this is going on much longer, I am moving out and leave them to deal with their hormones :o)
Next challenge will be both girls in Advanced in Rally next week. Watch this space!
Kitkat doing Rally training
And here comes Pandra
June 21st, 2013
Training is on track - though opportunities to train together with others a bit difficult to find. My LP group is mostly in Hedensted now and in a new hall where I am not a member. Rally competition training once a months. The rest happens on our plot. Obviously Kitkats positional changes in Obedience want more work. They were beautiful but at present she does not like them very much. A bit worried about others standing closer to her than me and a bit in doubt what I really want from stand to sit and from stand to down. I can understand her worries and will help her as best as I can. Kitkats Rally training goes like a song.
Pandra is concentrating mostly on Rally now. She had a break from champion grade training, since she seemed off focus a bit. It turned out she had a false pregnancy and cought a nasty tummy bug on top of that. The bug is a thing of the past though. It lasted for one long scary weekend plus a day or two. We took up champion grade training today again at Pandra worked super. Right-angle turns to the right a bit dodgy still and a bit more routine generally is needed - but we are getting there. The mirror-imaged excercises really stretched her imagination! Lovely to see her working it out :o))
March 23rd, 2013
Pandra's Rally training goes from strength to strenght. She has now mastered steppping backwards in front of me without stopping and coming forward again. Breakthrough! This was the only remaining Champion excercise that was not completely learned. Not is it just training more difficult combinations and shorter intervals betwen the excercises. Staying at the cone after the sendaway needs a bit of work - just practice - no major changes needed. Right-hand handling looks better and better. Pandra is definitely getting the hang of it, coming closer and straightening out. Pandras confidence is much improved. This had a very positiv effect on our teamwork and on Pandra's general happyness. She did great at the John Eklöf course we attended last weekend. Just being taken out in the intervals she performed confidently and joyfully. If I compare this to the first time she actually performed at a Jonte-course she has moved on no end.
We still train obedience but I cut Pandra quite a bit of slack. What I'm asking for has to be done propperly but I ask mostly for grade III things now. The jump has been reduced to 20 cm.
Kitkat is doing great. Slacked a little during the period when both girls strained their equilibrium waiting for each other to come into season. But in return she worked - and works - well when actually in season. It was her who eventually came first into season (Pandra powered that one through :o)
On the course my focus for Kitkat was on:
- More fluid movements in heelwork
- No squeaking in the step-excercises
- A more dramatic stop in recall with stop
- Improved calmness in the end-phase of sit-stay and downstay.
The original plan was , also to have John take a look at the distant control - but on the second day I decided not to open "another big can". It seems to have been the right decision :o)
The heelwork-issue was fixed on the day. We found the right speed at which Kitkat can tale the turns with ease and at which she positively floats in motion. I am just so happy about this. The whole thing feels like dancing, now.
The squeak-issue was also solved on the spot. In "two steps to the left" the sequence got changed to "first step cross-over with right foot". In "two steps to the right" the sequence is now: " right foot away, left foot dragging in - and the same again". No turn of the body. Jonte also wanted me to do the about-turn in a scissor-like movement, which is easy to do, but I feel Kitkat does not stay parallel. She throws her bum out, because she has to turn so quickly.
Next training day I felt an even greater improvement in these two issues.
The recall-issue will take a little longer to solve. Here the problem is that I did not communicate clearly enough what exactly I want to see. The grey-area is to big and Kitkat is a little uncertain. Now we try and go for the "all breaks-out" stops rather than the more "controlled" ones. However I already sow improvement last Thursday. The trick will be to turn it into a game. Now that I had a go at improving this issue I simultaneously see improvement in the distant controll issue. Here the same thing was the problem: Me not communicating absolutely accurately "black and white" The grey-area was to wide. But it is on the way of being faded out :o)
The sit-stay and downstay issue did not arise on the course. Kitkat was totally poised - although under pressure from Jonte. His verdict was that more experience in competing will automatically take care of this issue. I agree with him.
I can not say it often enough: I enjoy training both girls - and with both girls - so much! I can not recall ever having had better times with my dogs :o)
This afternoon is Relly competition training with the Rally girls (two-legged) and in two weeks time it's Grade III for Kitkat first time and - if the timetable allows this - Rally Advanced for Pandra at Christiansfeld. Hope, the snow will be gone by then!
Kitkat is doing very well. Grade III excercises are looking good. We had a small confidence dip, just after everything had fallen beautifully into place. Did a lot of play-excercises and split the excercises into bits. Some got sneaked in between Rally excercises. This seemed to have done the trick. If hormones had something to do with this confidence dip, it is odd that it should hit her weeks before coming into season. My experience is, that confidence is at its best then. Anyway, her groove is back now, a week or so before she should come into season.
On my improvement wish-list are: somewhat faster returns in the directed retrieve (low priority), more flexibility in the slalom left--bends (medium priority), a cooler approach to distant control transitions (high priority). The squeaks during heelwork are much, much reduced. Kitkat is trying really hard to do well!. Very, very touching:o)
Pandra amazes me. She is litterally playing her way through the Expert and Champion excercises. We are working full power on the right hand handling. Pandra enjoys it tremendously and sticks with endlessly. Unbelievable for a dog of her age. She will be 10 at the end of this months. Her performance at new venues with new dogs has improved. She is much better to get going right from the start. We are now working on doing the excercises with somewhat smaller gaps in between - something that can be a bit of a challenge for a dog her size. In this cold weather I notice that she needs warming up a little more thoroughly. The very first left-turns are a bit wide. I guess she does not completely trust her left shoulder, trying to save it a bit. Bug generally her flexibility is amazing. Is Pandra secretely doing yoga at night? It almost lookes like it:o)
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