Here is the video I captured from Wednesday’s class. Unfortunately, I think I missed some of the best runs, and only got one run from each of you before my phone battery died. I’ll try to get some more video in a future class, because as much as I hate to see myself on video, I have learned a lot from watching it back. I don’t have agility video of myself and Quattro, but lots of nose work video, and watching it back several times in slow motion can give you a lot of information.
When you watch your videos back (you’ll see it in real time, and then in slow motion) watch what your hands, feet, hips and shoulders are doing, and how your dog is responding. Look at the obstacles that went smoothly – most times, you were focused partially on your dog and partially on the next obstacle, and your body language was clear to the dog. On the obstacles where your dog bobbled, what was your body language saying to your dog, and where was your gaze? Most times, your hands were too high or were ambiguous in direction, and your gaze was either leaving the dog behind, or focused too much on your dog.
There were also several dogs who took a wide turn from the first blue jump to the tire. That wide turn had their path in a C shape, so when they landed from the tire, they almost had to turn to their left to get the tunnel entrance. They either crashed into the handler, or missed the entrance. How could you get them to do a straighter line from blue jump to tire? I think lining them up at the left jump post, rather than right in the middle of the jump would help. And, giving them an earlier signal to do the tire, so they have time to adjust and straighten their line. They are constantly adjusting their stride from obstacle to obstacle, and sometimes their stride and footing just doesn’t make the turn! It’s not so much that they are refusing an obstacle, it’s more that they just couldn’t get their feet under them in time to make it.
Also look to see where you are in relation to your dog. Are you behind, ahead, or even with your dog? What worked best? Were you aware of where your dog was? You want to be sure your dog has committed to an obstacle before taking off ahead of them. In my first run with Quattro at our very first trial, I assumed he was committed to the tunnel, and I turned my back on him to get in position for when he came out. However, he never went in! He caught me turning away from him, and pulled off the tunnel to follow me. You can see this at the poles on a few dogs… just take your time to be sure your dog has committed to the entrance, then pace yourself to your dog as they go thru.
There were some really pretty moves in these videos! You all did a beautiful job going from poles to blue jump back to the poles. Remember that move from Beginner Agility, the first night, where I had you send your dog around a jump post? Send with your left, pick up with your right? That’s the move! It’s fun to see you all work it so naturally and smoothly, when that was the most challenging thing I think you’ve had to do.
A few things that stood out to me:
- Pico’s great weaves! For a dog who struggled with the poles a few months ago, he is super smooth, and on his 2nd pass, you can see him adjust his stride to get into the poles and “make the entry”, which really shows that he understands he needs to go thru all 6. Note where Andrea sends Pico after the poles – he “misses” the tunnel entrance, but look at Andrea’s shoulders and hips – directing him into the side of the tunnel, rather than the opening – oops! I think focusing on the opening until he commits will help.
- River’s best moves were when Jolene was gesturing AND looking forward. You see River charge forward from the first jump to tire, and on the 2nd pass into the poles. If Jolene was looking down at River, vs ahead of River, River jumps up on Jolene. The set up at the start was perfect – River was so smooth from the jump to the tire. There is no way Jolene can get ahead of River, so an earlier verbal cue should prevent the spin after the tire. In the earlier run, that I didn’t get on video, Jolene used the names of the obstacles, and that seemed to work really well for River.
- Diane and Songo – another great run in the poles! And I love how when Songo goes behind the tunnel, Diane does a beautiful move to collect Songo with her left hand, rotate, and send him into the tunnel – so smooth! From the blue jump to the poles, note the straight line Diane took – causing Songo to miss the first pole. If Diane had come towards me, before sending Songo into the poles, he would have had a better line up to the entrance of the poles (see Andrea and Jolene). Nice timing and hand signals overall.
- Scout had lost a little oomph by the time I pulled out the phone to video, but has a strong finish! From the blue jump back to the poles, and on down the rest of the course, she was right on it. Nice job to Kathleen for measuring her pace to Scouts – enough to keep her moving forward, but not taking off on her, either. I think we need to isolate the poles from a course, and get her more solid on the poles, but her 2nd pass thru them was much better.
- Piper – Unfortunately, I cut Debbie’s head off at the start, because I’d be curious to know where her gaze was. The hand signal looked pretty clear to me – do the blue jump – but Piper takes off and skips the jump twice. But after that, everything looks really smooth – beautiful poles! On the turn back into the poles, I think Piper just picked up speed and missed the entrance, and Debbie didn’t pause, so Piper kept up – missing the poles altogether. But Debbie’s gaze, hand signal and focus all looked really good thru out.
- Rocky – nice speed! Really nice job with your pace, not too fast to leave him behind, but moving along together. Rocky, like Scout, could use some pole practice outside of a course to get him stronger on them, but even so, these were the closest I’ve seen him to making them, and the most charge at them he’s shown. I think he’s close to a break thru on them… he’s not avoiding them like in the past. Nice turn from blue to poles. Although it wasn’t true to the course, Rocky and Diana had a great flow, Diana brought Rocky from the poles to the back side of the blue jump, then back to the poles. It was a really nice turn (doing the jump back to front, rather than front to back!)
So, clink the link in blue above ( Class video ) and enjoy! If the music is distracting, just turn down the volume. I had some time on the snowy Friday afternoon to play around, and that’s what you got! Enjoy!