While we have indeed been training, the recording and blogging were NOT kept up :-). The learning from this is that video is an invaluable tool to us when we're training alone. A picture truly does paint a thousand words.
After our abysmal trial experience this weekend, I started the day feeling quite discouraged by our progress with getting weave entries, and heck, the weaves in general in a trial situation. Takes all the fun out of a run for everyone when it's clear that something isn't working.
Criteria for the session: Take the first steps to changing up the weaves to make things a bit more challenging. Also, to reinforce the down of the dog who's not working.
Environment: 18 degrees, Sunny, no wind.
Time: 3:45 p.m. Immediately after work, played ball/Frisbee in the front field for about 10 minutes to warm up but maintain energy levels.
Reminders: Just observe what's going on with each of their performances on the weaves.
That lead me to haul the video camera out and really start to look at what I am doing in training vs what I'm doing in a trial.
It was a warm, but not hot day and I set up a small sequence in the side yard. I took the boyz out and warmed them up immediately after coming home from work. They were still full of themselves after a day of lounging and I wanted to capture that initial energy.
For the first session, I set things up to send Bryce through 12 weaves to see what was going on. The idea was to send him over three jumps (he's on my right) to a tunnel, then for him to find and drive through the weaves. I can also see in the video that I look like a seagull about to take flight... what's with all that arm waving?!?! Poor Bryce has a right to be frustrated!!! I need to be clear with my cues, even to the point of it feeling artificial to me, I think.
Now for Mick's turn :-). Mick is obsessed with his Frisbee and cannot focus if it is in sight. So it's out of sight for the first set... Encouraging Mick to do independent weaves is the goal. The first couple of attempts he's checking back which isn't what I want to see. If I reward Mick for doing just one pole, he gets stuck there very easily so I've found that doing fewer poles but doing them all works much better in the long run :-).
Then, just for fun, I pushed the limits a bit and carried the toy... He hesitated but then did them! Good boy!!!
For Bryce's second session, I positioned the weaves at a 90 degree angle to the preceding jump with me on his right. When I could see the frustration building, I cut and sent him through the tunnel. I moved the weaves to a 90 degree angle from the tunnel, but at a softer angle from the jump and he was fine. Out of the frame of the video, to the left, there are two jumps and the second set of 6 poles at a 45 degree angle. He drove to, and then right through them. Good boy!!!
Lastly, I tried Mick through all 12 weaves just to see what's going on... Previously, Mick would charge the weaves and then get higher and higher as he progressed through the poles, even to the point where he scales the last pole :-). He got did fairly well on those counts, but I can see by his fancy footwork that he's not really comfortable yet. I think we need to go right back to the basics with offset weaves to get some consistency in stride. One session after dinner with the offsets had him flying through on a recall SINGLE STEPPING! I'm going to stick to this plan with Mick.
When I went back to pick up Mick's Frisbee, I looked back at the setup and wondered what Bryce would do if I did the same sequence with the weaves at a 90 degree angle from the preceding jump, but this time stayed on his left... Again, the video doesn't lie :-)