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.