Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Griffin at Agility Class: Week 2

Last week was a bit of a disaster in a few ways.  

During the week we worked did a few things to help us:

  • Almost daily contact training sessions to prep for the dogwalk.  I moved the board taller and taller with a very high success rate. Last night after teaching, I ran him on the real one...it didn't go well. We tried to do training on it...and still had too many misses.  We stopped and will do more work at home.
  • Weave pole work: Running through the steps and filling in the training gaps (addition of the second set of six).  Did about 4 sessions with the weave poles this week.
  • Recalls and focus:  Extra large amount of work.
  • Handling exercises: Practicing what didn't go well in class and recreating some of those embarrassing moments.
And right before or during class, I did a few specific things:
  • Extra exercise.  Some dogs do better without exercise...he needs some right before class.
  • Good treats:  Last week I had hamburger and ham and kibble stored with meat.    This week I took kibble and cheese as my low value and the NaturalBalance rolls as my high value. He LOVES those.  I HATE buying them...they're ridiculously expensive per pound and while the quality isn't bad, it's not the same as just feeding him meat.   I was given a few of the sample sized rolls when judging last weekend....so we were able to use that. Might have to go buy more for class.
  • Training while waiting: Last week I just tried to get him to settle and did some hand touches and head on floor.   This week, we did that along with duration touches, stand-sit-down work in front of me and some other small-space tricks.
The results?  Griffin was really great.   He didn't run off to visit.  He had less barking than last week. He only missed one obstacle the whole class. We maintained criteria.  

For next week, we're doing exercises specific to class, more weave pole and dogwalk work, and I will remember to bring a kong for our waiting time.  If I could park closer, I would crate him until he needed to run...it's really tight quarters in the waiting area.  Due to his voice.....we get more than our fair share of space. He did a lot of growling today which was scaring people.... it's hard for me to say "don't worry about it" when it's a deep and long growl.   When Griffin is trying not to bark, he muffles it into a scary sounding growl.

I can't wait to see what happens next week!  In some ways we're beginner dogs in the group...some of the classmates have done the class before, many are already competing,  but we're still holding up pretty well in the environment!


Kirby @ Dog.Nerd.101 said...

Love Griffin's name! (I have a Griff :) Great post, really like the specificity with regards to the training plan. I too find I have to be really detail oriented in figuring out what makes my guy tick, and what gets the best performances in class settings.

Kristen said...

Griff(ins) ARE the best!

Thanks for the comments. I try and teach my students to have specifics from each class...and so I need to set a good example and follow my own advice.

It's so easy (and fun) in agility to just run big sequences...but that's not really the solution to improvement in most training sessions.