Thursday, March 5, 2009

Agility Class with Luna

Luna and I go to an agility class every week. She is really enjoying it even if she thinks the trials aren't so fun. Tonight we started with a novice course, which was quite a surprise as the last time Luna and I have done a course was at a trial in November. In class and at home we've been doing sequencing, handling and obstacle training. After our first time through the course, I was able to make quite a list of the things we need to work on. Most of these aren't new:
1) Obstacle fluency to decrease overall stress.
2) Trust my dog... if I leave her in a stay she really will stay. I just don't always believe it!
3) Wear warm socks on cool nights.
4) Run more.... after that short time running I was very out of breath!

And a new thought... she generally has trouble after the contact obstacles. My current theory now is that while she is stopped, I reinforce that, and then she is left wondering what to do next... I'm left unsure how to transition from that stop to movement again and so my handling is less than ideal.

This held true, on our second time through the course I only reinforced her one one of the contacts...on the others I would release her after I was happy with the duration of her stop. When I did reinforce her, after feeding her I asked for a stay, took a few steps away, and then continued. And it went much better. I can't wait to see how well this theory holds up next week. At home we'll work on stays and releases.

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