Last night Molly and I dropped into the local training club for week three of a 6-week agility seminar on Crosses with judge Clyde Closson. Molly and I need all the help we can get, and I had the evening free, so why not?
Firstly, I went totally fancy and downloaded a trial version of "Course Designer 4" from Clean Run. It sure does beat my hand drawn creations. These are absolutely off of my memory.
That was the first course. The format of the class was very much like our regular agility classes, but with trickier courses and a lot of hands-on instruction and custom advice. Molly and I definitely got the attention that we needed.
I want to say that though this was a seminar on Crosses, I am still not good with explaining what exactly Happened Out There and what particular cross I used. Disclaimer.
At first I thought I would keep Molly on my right until the tunnel. Clyde suggested a lead out and pick her up on my left side, so that was what I did. It worked pretty well...for the first three obstacles. Following that Molly zoooooooooomed past the tunnel entrance and...outside to sniff a bag of mulch. This girl tests my patience like you would not believe.
We set up again and Clyde told me to really push her into the tunnel entrance, so I did. That worked much better. Following that I really don't remember much, and I think that is because it went well and uneventfully. I know for sure that the last 4 obstacles she did perfectly for me, which shocked me. That was tricky!
I feel like an utter failure at describing What We Did because isn't that the purpose of attending a seminar?
This one I remember much better because it was the last course, and it was shorter.
I led out from 1, and sent her into the chute. Front crossed and picked her up on the other side of the 3 jump with my right hand. Serpentine (or threadle? See this is why I am hopeless at agility.) for 4 and 5 and then... "Post turn" at 5 in order to get her running towards 6. This was a new term that I learned just last night! When Clyde asked me what my plan was I told him I was going to do a "spin thing". "You mean post turn?" Why yes. Yes I do.
So. Back to Molly and I. We actually ran all that clean. Amazing! And just when I am sprinting and panting and thinking, "My god we are actually DOING this." ... disaster struck. After the 6 jump, though I was running and gesturing for the 7-jump Molly was more like, "I'm going to just run straight out and jump out of the ring and steal that lady's snacks that she is holding." And that is very near what she did. Clyde said that after the 6 jump I needed to collect her better, because she needs that. So I sent her over the jump, clapping to Molly but she just barreled towards the Snack Lady again.
Brought her back...set her up... This time we made it over 6, and all into the 8 tunnel. I rear-crossed and got on the other side of the 9 jump to pick her up with my left hand. She was over the 9! Over the 10! And then...just when I thought we might make it... She dead stopped to sniff and lick some dog hair on the ground. I left the ring, got a meatball. Fed it to her in small bits. Then we restarted at the 8 tunnel and ran the course just fine.
Clyde said that Molly sometimes needs lots of space to be collected, and then sometimes she needs to be pushed into things.
And then sometimes she just wants to go eat some mulch. Or visit people. I do wonder if Molly will ever have the motivation to be rewarded by just doing agility. But then Molly's agility photo prints came in the mail, and I reorganized her little brag wall. It's a start. Molly is a dog that makes me work extra hard to handle her. She is fast, has her head in the clouds (or in the treat bags, whatever.) and runs wherever my handler error directs her in a split second. I am not afforded any mistakes at all. We will get there...one day at a time.