Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Training with Lee Windeatt

No show this weekend, but instead we attended a training day with Lee Windeatt.  We got a lot more out of the day than we would do at a show.  Lee has a lot of good tips and was very good at explaining everything to the group.  We took Zazu to the 1-3 session and Shadow to the 4-7 session.

Shadow waiting to train
Unfortunately for Zazu, the weather in the morning was miserable.  At times I had to drag him out from the shelter so that he could run.  I wasn't too fussed about this as the day was more about learning new training techniques than perfecting our runs.  We can see that the main thing we need to work on is dog independence from the handler.  This applies to all areas of the course, jumps, weaves, contact equipment. It's about the dog being able to do whatever you ask regardless of where you and and how you're moving.  It's quite easy to train, but takes a long time to build up and keep the dog confident.  Another good training technique was how to encourage the dog to look at the poles to jump rather than looking at the wings.  Try setting up three jumps in a row, but instead of putting the poles on the jump cups, put them on cones at a random distance between the jump wings and you'll see what I mean.

Zazu's training was more learning how to train the dog better, Shadow's was how to train the handler better.  We spent a lot of time talking about the dog's lead leg on bends and over jumps, and how to encourage the dog to be on the correct leg before it needs to turn.  Being on the wrong leg over a jump will cause a wider or slower turn as the dog corrects itself.  Generally speaking, crossing in front of the dog will encourage a change of lead leg as the dog comes past.  The other thing we learnt about was cueing the dog to turn, again generally require you to be ahead of your.  The dog ideally needs to know a couple of metres before take-off where it is going so that it can jump longer or shorter as required.  If you can't get ahead of your dog for the turns, then you need to look at the 1-3 session for how to encourage the dog to work away better!

We both thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and have a lot to go away and work on with all our dogs.  If anyone gets the opportunity to attend a Lee Windeatt training day or session, I would definitely recommend it.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Poodle DTC Agility Show

This weekend we were at the Poodle DTC Agility Show held at Ockley, Surrey.  It was a limited show for poodles only.  We have been once before and it's great fun seeing poodles of all sizes running around like lunatics!  We were running all four dogs with Winnie running at medium height.

Zazu waiting (not so) patiently for his turn
Zazu started the day off this time running at his full height, medium, with me.  He has been getting much more confident at training and that showed in the ring.  The first class was the 1-7 agility.  He worked away very nicely and was listening for the most part.  He was very interested in sniffing the weaves which is most unlike him.  All got all of his contacts as well.  We were pleased with run, if not disappointed with the weaves. Next was pairs, he was running with Winnie.  We were impressed at how well he focused considering +Susi Cooper and Winnie were both in the ring.  He picked up the dog walk next to the A-frame nicely.  He again was more interested in sniffing the weaves so we carried on.  Next was 1-7 jumping.  We decided to avoid the weaves completely this time.  He was running well until about halfway when he decided to run full pelt across the ring and out!  He came back and finished though.  He was getting a bit tired for his last run, 1-7 helterskelter.  This is the most he has had to do before so we were pleased he was still going.  He was running a bit slower but still listening.  We missed a jump when he got a bit distracted but it was still a better round than before.  We have a lot to do with Zazu, mainly ring experience to get him used to the environment and keep enjoying himself.

Winnie was running at medium height to help build her confidence more.  She started really well and was enjoying herself a lot.  She flew round the 1-7 agility course, turning nicely and driving forwards.  It's the first time we've seen that drive in her at a show.  Susi ran her in the pairs.  She missed the weaves but they were very tight entries.  She still focused well with me and Zazu in the ring.  Next was 1-7 jumping.  She was a little slower this time and took longer to get going.  The tunnels do a good job of winding her up and she was flying out.  This was Winnie's last run as we didn't want to push it and her not enjoy her runs.

Shadow started the agility well.  I was using the time for a bit of training and was trying to get her to weave with me being further away than usual.  she came into me the first time because I was too slow in telling her to weave.  She then drove off and round, the second time picked the weaves up much better although I was still too slow in telling her to weave.  The pairs left some room for improvement as she was not really listening much, she missed the weaves and ran in the completely wrong end of the tunnel.  Sorry Susi and Doople!  The 1-7 jumping was a better round, but she looked like she was running a bit steady and not stretching fully like she can do.  The times showed and we finished fourth.  The final run, 1-7 helterskelter, was much better and she was really pushing forwards the whole way round.  We were much closer this time and managed second place.

Susi tried a similar tactic with the weaves as me, seeing if she'd pick them up better.  Doople also missed them for the same reasons, too slow at telling her.  It was good practice though and it's more about us getting it right.  Doople was let down in the pairs by her mad silver partner, but she ran nicely and was driving round the short course.  I ran Doople in the 1-7 jumping to see if she would drive better.  We started well and she barking for the first part.  Her speed tailed off a bit towards end so she needs to get a bit fitter.  She ran nicely in the 1-7 helterskelter for Susi, turning well where needed and following the lines.

We both enjoyed our day.  It's great watching all the mad poodles, especially the standards as they are all just mad but enjoying themselves all the while!  We look forward to next year hopefully having better functioning dogs.
Shadow earned her dinner for the week