Sebastian - Agility - Next Level
All home agility equipment purchased from AffordableAgility
January 14, 2008
First class in 6 weeks and Sebastian was very excited, wooing in the crate while Cinnabar's class went on. "No vocals" did shut him up for the most part, but he was unusually vocal.
We're in a Foundation class, with an instructor named Darryl who's been in agility since 1991. I was skeptical initially if this was for us, but was very pleased as the class went on. Sebastian LOVES Darryl. Darryl accomplished this with the highest happiest voice I've heard a man use, along with (drum roll) treats. He was leaning into Darryl, Darryl was pounding on his side and got leaned into more.
Right now there's about 12 dogs in the class and they're working on splitting it into two, which will be very good. The breeds range from Burmese Mountain Dog, Goldens, collies, terriers to some of which I've never heard.
We started out with the pause table (the lowest one, about 4" off the ground). Each in turn, we got them onto the table facing Darryl. This was Sebastian's first exposure to the happy voice and treats from Darryl. On our second time through, the leaning began. I was very impressed.
Our next exercise was teaching "out" - signaling with our arms & voice for the dog to go away from us. We each sat in front of a gate with the dog on our left. Signalled with our left arm while saying "out" for them to go around the gate, turn ourselves to be parallel with them as they come around, treating with the right hand (essentially a front cross). This is something we can work on at home, getting them to go "out" from both sides, using a chair.
Our next exercise was teaching left/right. We do this by having the dog sit facing us. With our right hand holding a treat, we lead them to circle left and treat them for that. We do it opposite for the right. This is another exercise we can do at home, easily. I think because they're sled dogs, we'll use gee/haw instead of right/left for the commands.
Darry doesn't use "table" as a command, he uses "down". His reason being in one organization, either a sit or down is used on the pause table, in another organization it's always a down. He says you can lose competitions by seconds, and you're wasting time with 2 commands "table" "down". He wants us to be able to do a quick down on the table. He says that many people lose competitions because it can take up to 13 seconds for them to get the dog in a down on the table and then they've got to be in the down for 5 seconds. We've got work to do on this because I've always done a sit first, then a down. Sebastian is so long that when he sits in the middle of the table, he's way out of position to go down easily. It took some time, but we got him in a down on the short table. Quicker the next time, but my work is to get quick downs at home.
We also did wobble boards. Multiple were setup. For the first time ever, Sebastian got all four feet on them (for some reason he prefers the circular one, but did it with the square one as well). When I spoke with Bev after, she said because of multiple dogs in the class he's distracted from focusing on himself.
Then a review of the quick down on the table. We'd done quick downs all week, but on the floor or ground. It's almost translating to the table (which was the lowest one). Then the big dogs switched to the medium table. Sebastian got on it the first few times. This table is wobbly (wooden legs), and in his excitement to get into a down on it he moved the thing about 8 inches and he jumped off, putting his nose to the ground, butt up in the air. As we only got him onto that table twice more, next week we'll use the metal table for him, much more sturdy.
An expanding gate was laid flat on the ground and they each had to go over it. This helps them coordinate their footing. It's a variation of the ladder exercise. Sebastian did great, Darryl said it's obvious he's done this stuff before. He's always loved the ladder.
Then we did the wobble boards. He barely got 4 feet on, but did once walking across it. He was twitchy after the wobbly table. Then of course he plunged onto it one time with his right front paw and brought it down on his left front paw. I'm proud of him that he continued to try after that, but he did keep walking across it.
Then we each had a little gate in front of us and reviewed the out/here that we worked on last week. Sit in front of the gate with them on our left, send them "out" with our left arm, they come around the gate, we turned around so that they end up on our right and "here" (with a treat) when they reach the other side of the gate. This is essentially a front cross. For next week, we work doing this exercise in the opposite direction.
Then we had them sit next to the gate on our right. We sent them around the gate with our right arm saying "back", when they get around the gate and to us, we've turned so they end up on our left. The human always turns toward the gate on either exercise. This is essentially a back cross.
Then we did an exercise where 6 gates were setup in a circle facing center, with one gate in the center. We'd start from the center to an outer gate with them on our left, sending them out / here, into the center gate with back /here, onto the next outer gate out / here, center gate back / here, until we completed the circle. It was confusing. We went last so I had the benefit of being able to get it into my head what we were doing. We did fine.
I've been using chairs at home for the exercises and will continue.
Our class started with wobble boards. He was raring to go, full of energy, but not for the wobble boards. He got two paws on.
Next, Darryl had a small tire at ground level for them to go through. Sebastian's gone through this little tire before. It's not easy for him because it's narrow and he's got to scrunch down. With coaxing the first time he made it through. Less coaxing subsequently. The big tire, set at a height of 26" is a breeze for him:) . He was still raring to go and do something fun - well that was the next exercise.
Next, a barrel setup to get them used to the tunnel, with a crisscrossed gate laid flat after that for footwork. A breeze for the big boy, especially since Darryl was at the end of the barrel with cookies.
Then we got introduced to Darryl's method for weave poles. Having two setup for each of us (we used the full weaves away from the group, so I stood behind the second pole), we put the dog in a sit slightly to the left of the poles (perpendicular to them). We called them through so that they enter with the first pole to their left. As we practice this, we can move them further to the left of it so they get used to coming around to enter properly. Darryl said this was good practice for us, as Sebastian is so long. I showed him how Sebastian can do the weaves, with me facing him and with my hand motions guiding him through. He said I can use that method modified, so that I turn to his forward motion and then the next back to facing him. This will keep him from trying to blast through getting frustrated because he's so long, part of him is still in one pair of poles while the front of him is in the next. He said he had a long dog and did something similar. As time goes on, he'll get used to it and find his proper pace and I'll won't need to guide him. His goal is for us to be anywhere and not have to run with them while they do the weaves. He demonstrated with his dog.
We ended with a repeat of our gate exercise from last week - gates were setup in a circle facing center, with one gate in the center. We'd start from the center to an outer gate with them on our left, sending them out / here, into the center gate with back /here, onto the next outer gate out / here, center gate back / here, until we completed the circle clockwise.
Then we did the exercise, with them on our left, doing a back / here on the outer gate, coming into the center gate with them on our right, doing an out / here. Repeating it until we completed the circle counter clockwise.
Both exercises were done leash free
We were the last to go on these exercises. Our classmates keep a decent distance from Sebastian who is calming down on his posturing, but does like to let any other dog know verbally if they're too close. He gets corrected every time he starts. He's got the gentle leader on for this class, and that makes the corrections easier for me. The area we are in is blocked off from the obedience class by expanding gates, with a 5 foot section that is not blocked off. I am always aware of this, and keep his focus on me. On our first tour of the gates, leash free was a breeze. He's very focused on me (and the hot dogs in my hands). On our second time through, two men just came through the unblocked section just feet away from us while we're going through. Kind of shocked me people walking into a class like that. I was very wary for the rest of the exercise. We got through the exercise fine, but Darryl said my nervousness extends to the dog and I shouldn't have worried, Sebastian was totally focused on me and came with me at every point. He's not Cinnabar, who's philosophy is a stranger (human or canine) is a friend he hasn''t met yet. Sebastian's philosophy is more complicated. With women, they're all friends. With dogs & men, he's 50/50 on who he likes right off the bat. He's a very big boy and my responsibility in this confined space. I've got to keep him focused on me and keep my nerves like steel :)
We started out with the standard tire for the big dogs, the little tire for the little dogs.
Our next exercise was the barrel, under a gate and through the little tire (all in a straight line). Going under the gate helps them keep their head down and will be used further on after coming off contact obstacles. The barrel is no problem, but the gate and the little tire are challenges for Sebastian as he's got to squish himself down for them. But with treats we got him through, although he tried to cheat and go around to get the treats. No cheating allowed or no treat :)
While we were heading back in line for this, there was a teeter laid flat that had maybe an inch or so movement to it. He walked the full length of it every time and got a big treat for standing on the end of it before continuing. Doesn't sound like much, but for him this is very big doings.
Our next exercise was the tunnel, which everyone did fine. Then, we learned "tight". As the dog approaches the tunnel we say "tight" and meet them at the end of the tunnel to the side facing the direction we came from with a treat in the hand closest to the tunnel. Learning "tight" means the dogs learn to look for us after the obstacle. We did fine with this from both sides.
Then we did the barrel heading into the tunnel, using "tight" at the tunnel. Again we did fine with this from both sides.
Our next exercise was the teeter with tables under each end so that it had about 3 inches play to it. The table we had to have them jump on was the same one he moved about 8 inches last week. To wobbly and he wouldn't jump on it. We worked on the wobble board while the rest of the class did this exercise. He did get all four feet on the wobble board this week, and did decently well walking over it and back over it until he stepped on it and brought it down on his other paw. Shy about it for a few minutes, ran and did the tire right next to the wobble board, came back and then over and back again. Progress.
Our next exercise was weaves, we did well when I stood two poles ahead. Darryl wanted me to stand 3 poles ahead and I got confused on my arm motions and messed him up. Darryl took him through the weaves to show me what he meant. We shared the set of 6 weaves with a Burmese who is great with the weaves, and the rest of the class worked with smaller sets. We ended up doing ok. Darryl commented that Sebastian really likes the weaves, which he does.
Our final exercise was a modified A Frame. It's a small A Frame on one side (about 4 feet long) and tapers into the width of a dog walk on the other. Everyone else did fine, and they cheered for us when Sebastian put one of his back feet on it. That's the extent of our progress on this. We had treats at the tip of the frame for him, he tried to cheat and go to the side to get them, but that wasn't allowed. Darryl said that he's afraid of it, but his tail is wagging while he's attempting it. He recommended we have Bev lower it after class and try that way.
We've got to work on our left/rights during the week as we're going to have a quiz on them next week.
I asked Bev to help us lower the small frame and she and Darryl took a look under. I'm not sure if something was missing, but it couldn't be lowered and be safe. They had a "conference" about Sebastian. There's a 4 foot square platform with steps leading up to it that we placed next to the A frame with the intention that he get on that and then come down the A Frame from there. He goes up and down the deck stairs every day, so this shouldn't be an issue. He wouldn't put his back feet on the platform (and there was plenty of room and it was not wobbly). In my opinion he was being contrary, just because. We put treats on the tip of the A Frame where he'd have to get his back feet on the platform to reach them. He wooed about it and wanted those treats, but not badly enough to get his back feet up there, he just kept them on the top step.
Darryl said he's happy to be patient with him, which is great.
We started out with the gate exercises - gates were setup in a circle facing center, with one gate in the center. We'd start from the center to an outer gate with them on our left, sending them out / here, into the center gate with back /here, onto the next outer gate out / here, center gate back / here, until we completed the circle clockwise.
Then we did the exercise, with them on our left, doing a back / here on the outer gate, coming into the center gate with them on our right, doing an out / here. Repeating it until we completed the circle counter clockwise.
Both exercises were done leash free
Next there was a teeter setup flat across two small tables. Everyone did great going across it, even though it was bouncy, except Sebastian. We've got great classmates, though, they cheered when Sebastian got 3 feet on it before he jumped off, then came back on with two paws. It's progress. We did this multiple times and mutliple times he got 3 feet on it.
Our final exercise was weaves. Darryl helped me get my head straight as to where and which arms I need to be using while facing the sitting Sebastian from behind the 3rd pole. While I say weave, have my left arm extended as he enters, have my right arm extended and only once he's begun his weave of the second pole do I move to be parallel with the weaves to get him going through the rest. Only the Bernese and Sebastian are doing all 6. This is something he really likes and it's taking me awhile to get my head wrapped around Darryl's method (since Sebastian started agility, we've done the weaves straight with me always facing him and guiding him with my hand a never miss method, but not good for time; we've done the weaves that are angled out and he plows right through them; and we've done the channel weaves which he also plows through).
Sebastian is integrating very nicely to the group. He had only one posturing incident last night and that was because the Bernese had the nerve to drink her own water :) He got corrected and settled right down.
Bev had suggested that Darryl and I bring an unused regular A Frame over and lay it flat for Sebastian to work on. We'll do that in the future, there was no where to lay it out last night. He also suggested that I could stay and put up some unused dogwalk sections side-by-side where the flat teeter on the tables was. Thinking that if he gets used to the wider boards he'll lose some fear. I was almost frozen by that time and could only think of getting warm. Even though the building is heated, it's still chilly when it's about 12 degrees outside and I'd been in there for over 2 hours and don't have the coat my boys have:) So that's also for the future.
We worked first on the serpentine, practicing our outs and backs in various places to use front crosses, because you never know on a real course where the serpentine will lay in relation to the next obstacles. Initially we used gates but it was confusing, so we went with the tire and 2 hurdles. I had to get my head around it because I've got the lateral motion serpentine down cold, but got to keep the mind open and believe it's going to come together. We did at least 10 plus runs with this, varying where we did our front cross. Sebastian did fine.
Then, we did the pinwheel, which is jumps set up in a circular way. We used gates for this exercise. On our second run, a GSD & handler from the breed handling class came into our space when Sebastian was at the apex of the pin wheel. I messed up sending him out to the next gate because I dropped my hands essentially calling him to me to avoid the GSD. Darryl said he was very pleased because Sebastian made a very good decision and focused on me. I hadn't realized but my classmates were evidently holding their breath seeing the inherent danger that I didn't see because I was focusing on Sebastian and only saw the GSD at the last second. Because there was an event the day before, the partitioning gates hadn't been setup, but they will be for next week so the breed handling class doesn't go beyond their boundaries. At any rate, Sebastian did make a very good decision. He did well in the rest of the runs as long as I remembered to signal out each time and not leave my arm out there without bringing it in. When I do that, the signal gets ignored.
This ends this set of 6 classes, and our next round begins next week.
We did the serpentine again with 3 winged hurdles, alternating a front cross at the second and a back cross headed to the third. And then we did them the opposite way. I had a head problem with the back cross. Darryl raised the hurdle height for Sebastian which raised his speed which helped clear my head problem :) As Sebastian clears the 2nd hurdle I let him cross in front of me signalling with my outer arm to the third hurdle while behind him I head in the same direction. His size, length and slowness with the low hurdle height were messing up what I was to do in my head. Darryl solved the problem easily.
Sebastian's sit/stays were great and he followed motion well
Then back to the pin wheel, still using gates for them to go around. We used five gates for the exercise. Next week we're supposed to get hurdles to use which will help my understanding more of what we're doing. We send them out around the various gates and then alternated front/back cross on exiting the pinwheel. We did this quite a few times.
Sebastian's sit/stays were unbreakable prior to the exercise and he did everything asked of him.
One posturing incident only. A little French bulldog started it, but I finished it with a tug on the gentle leader and harsh no. The Berner's mom remarked that Sebastian has a sense of humor because his eyes were twinkling and tail wagging after he complied.
The big lug also grabbed himself some hugging time with Darryl.
We started out with the metal table (low level), sending them to it getting a sit for Sebastian, down for others, then release on ok. Darryl was so pleased with Sebastian on a table, he raised it up to medium height and was very happy with the same results. We did try a down with Sebastian, but decided to stick with the success we were having.
Then we added a couple gates before the table, send them out for each of them then to the table, doing our best to stay near the 2nd gate while they went to the table. On our 2nd run, the table had been moved and tipped a little. Sebastian refused it. We moved the table to make sure the legs didn't touch any ridges in the rubber flooring so it was solid. Up he went again.
While the others did various things with the gates and table, Darryl sent me on a hunt for the tall legs for the table. He wanted to go with our success, so that Sebastian and I could work on the table while the others did the modified teeter (table under each end). I found them with Bev's help and we setup the table in the tall version. Again, we had to make sure the legs didn't touch any ridges on the flooring. He was initially shy about it, but then up and getting so much praise and a treat each time he was up he got into the groove. Darryl was with the others at the teeter but sent a few "good boys" to him, so that Sebastian was very happy.
Then we cleared out the obstacles and setup gates for a serpentine into a pinwheel. We wanted to have hurdles this week, but a rally class started right next to us and we don't have the room. We did ok on this, but the fun part was that even though the table was moved away, Sebastian broke his sit/stay to start on the table and then do his run. He really likes impressing Darryl :) It's so much progress, we're rewarding him for it. While others had their turn, he had to be on the table.
At the end of class, he headed toward Darryl who gave him the last of his treats, and had to turn out his pocket when Sebastian didn't believe him. Then the two of them had a love fest with lots of leaning in by Sebastian and back/side rubbing by Darryl. I wandered over to the teeter in normal position with Sebastian just to see what he'd do. He got two feet on the down end of it. Treat, then start again and had him try to walk on, we actually got 3 feet on it with lots of praise, lots of treats. His tail was wagging. Very nice way to end the class
We started with the serpentine with a front cross between 1 and 2, working on our positioning on the front cross and where our shoulders are positioned to point them in the right direction. We each got two runs in that direction, and then did it 3/2/1 with the front cross between 3 and 2.
Then the first hurdle got replaced with the tunnel. On our first runs, we did not lead out, so we needed to be in the non-leadout position shown in the graphic in dark blue. For Sebastian and the Bernese, we needed to have our shoulders squared parallel to the hurdle away from it, so that they came out in that direction, setting us up to then use our right arm to give them the "back" (some use "switch") command so that we could back cross between 2 and 3. Since our dogs are so big, we've got to work at it more. Or as Darryl says, you guys are working with Mac Trucks out here, you've got to adjust so you're not running into your dog or having your dog run into you.
Then we worked on the same exercise, except with a leadout. We've got to have our shoulders facing the hurdle at two in the direction we want them to head, then take our right foot and position toward where they exit the tunnel. As they exit the tunnel we bring that foot into alignment with the direction we're headed. Sebastian has a great sit/stay and did fine with that. After our first attempt, he kept running around the tunnel to me. Darryl stayed with him to get him into the tunnel (this happened with several dogs). However, Sebastian being in love with Darryl, exited the tunnel, flipped me off and headed back to Darryl. He "needed" to do that several times before he got back into the groove. Then we did fine :)
Our last exercise - in bright blue on the graphic - we leadout - shoulders and body parallel to the hurdle, then turned our left foot toward where they exit the tunnel, and called "ok, tunnel". He ran around the tunnel on our first try, but I had him complete the hurdle to get the exercise in my head.
After class, I took him over to the metal table which was seated right next to the wooden one on pvc legs. Up he went - praise and treats followed. Darryl saw him and came over. He pushed the other table within inches of the metal one and said let's try to get him to cross to this one. Lots of coaxing, baiting and finally one paw onto the other table. Lavish praise and treat. Two paws onto the other table. Lavish praise and treats. It took awhile, but he went to the other table all four paws. Tried to get him to turn around on it and come back, but he jumped off, then jumped right back on the wooden table. Coaxing and baiting, again the one paw to test. Then two paws and finally all four. Couldn't get him to turn around on it, but off and then on again, back and forth between the tables. I was really excited, but don't think I matched Darryl's excitement about it. We can work on this and build to get the teeter across the tables and him going across. Just excellent for my very large baby :)
We had a total of 6 in class last night.
Our first run was 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 4, 5, 8 - just the serpentine with the two angled hurdles on the end and back through the serpentine again. We did this several times, working on our "out" "here" "back" (or switch), along with our positioning.
Then we added the tire & table. While Darryl got those in position, there was a bag of cheese on the long table. In front of the table was the 30" table with small steps going up it. I used that bag of cheese as lure to get Sebastian to go up those steps. He still wasn't crazy about those steps, so he went around the side and after sizing it up by getting two paws on it from several angles, just plain jumped on it. I quickly moved the bag of cheese out further and he actually put two paws on the long table. I treated him and praised him. Got him down the steps and then up the steps, several times and he jumped on it again.
Then we did the full run shown in the diagram, again working on our "out", "here", "back". Sebastian started the course from the table because he was very proud of himself and needed to get up on it every time he was near it. I've got to work on, of course, not getting too close to the obstacles. A common theme which I've got to get rid of. He did fine on this course, and is getting good with the "back". I'm still getting that in my head, and the better I do, the better he does. We all did this several times.
After class, we worked more on the table, straight jump up as well as using those little steps. Total table monster by the end of class :)
Before class started, I got Sebastian onto the wobble boards. There was a round one and a square one setup right next to each other. He was walking over one onto the other. Very exciting, and made me feel very good about investing in the one at home.
We started on the dog's left. Our first few runs had us doing a front cross between 5 & 6, with optional front cross between 7 and 8. I got corrected on my position on the first front cross because I angled out too far.
Then our next few runs no front crosses allowed. Technically waiting at 4 for them to come out of the tunnel is a front cross because we switch sides and end up on their right, so coming out of the tunnel we had to make sure we were on their left going to 4 and then back crossing between 4 and 5 to end on their right, with another back cross between 6 and 7 to end up on their left. With the exception of the Berner (who is a dream with the weaves) our main goal was for them to enter the weaves correctly, treat and praise them profusely just for that. For the Berner, her goal was to fade away from the weaves and not run them with her, which she did perfectly.
The table at 3 was the little one and I went for getting Sebastian in a down which is awkward for him because he almost overflows the table with his length, but the big lug came through and got treats and praise. It wasn't an issue after that he did it every time - progress, I love it. After the first run he had to be coaxed into the tunnel, I'm not sure if part was because it was in a corner and another part was an interesting smell on the other side of the tunnel. He was a bad example for the Berner who is usually spot on who started doing the same thing.
We had cramped space because of a rally class going on next to us, so we were all bunched up on chairs on the sidelines within feet of the first 3 obstacles.. One of the little dogs, Alex (a 7 month old puppy), came bounding over to Sebastian when he was supposed to be on the table. I immediately jumped up just in case, but Sebastian just sniffed him and then turned to Darryl for some loving. Good boy! Darryl makes a habit of touching Sebastian any time he's near him. During our first weeks of this class, Sebastian liked Darryl, but became a baby if his back was touched. Now, Darryl can back scratch, side scratch and touch him anywhere. He along with my other classmates commented on how settled down Sebastian is with all the other dogs. In the behavior department the next challenge is to correct him when he's protective of Darryl's attention (as you can imagine, all the dogs love Darryl), which he is starting to become. He always keeps me on my toes - always something more on which to work :)
Sebastian did fine on all the runs and towards the end of class was entering the weaves at the proper place, regardless which side I was on. Whoo, hoo!
Prior to class, Sebastian was going across two wobble boards side by side. Back and forth, back and forth. That set the tone for Darryl to give the go ahead for him to do his best on the teeter.
We started just with the teeter. For Sebastian, Darryl put a gate on either side of it so that he had a definite entrance to it. Darryl and I were on each side of it. The big boy actually made it to the middle (well his front end anyway) with all four feet on it. Woo hoo!! Then he slid off on my side and was so interested in Darryl's treats that he put his front paws on the middle of it and banged it down, spooked himself but stayed and got lots of treats. As the class went on, he would consistently get two paws on it, and sometimes 3, but isn't quite making the decision to get 4 paws on. He was woo wooing at Darryl pretty good, but wasn't getting treats because he wasn't making the big decision. Progress.
Then we did the blue course, a hurdle heading into the serpentine hurdles to the teeter, ending on the wobble boards. A backcross was needed between 3 and 4. We did this several times
Then we turned the teeter around and did the red course, which started with 2 weave poles, just to get them to enter properly. A front cross between 4 and 5 and ending on a 3" high version of a dogwalk without ramps. Sebastian surprised everyone but me with doing it perfectly. It's smaller than the little dog walk at our first class so I knew this wasn't scary to him, but still it's like a little balance beam and the big guy did well. We did this several times.
The we ran the teal course, which added 2 hurdles. We had to front cross between 5 and 6 and use "outs" on the others. We did this several times. On our second to last run Sebastian began to lose interest, which told me how many runs we'd been doing, so I sped up our pace which kept him interested for our last run.
His progress on the wobble boards from before I got one at home is stunning. It's no big deal at all. Progress on the teeter. Darryl thinks he'd do the AFrame before he'll do the teeter, but each week we're seeing him shed some fear of the contact obstacles. Very exciting.
We started outside to work on contact obstacles. Darryl lowered the AFrame quite a bit to start out. Everyone had a turn on it. We went last, not knowing what to expect, but with very little trepidation, Sebastian went right over it and got lots of hugs and kisses from Darryl. Woo hoo! He raised it a bit each time for the next few runs. Sebastian was in his glory and I had to hold him back from running over it before Dancer had even completed it. We did this about 5 times on their left and several times on their right.
Then the 4 foot dogwalk. I continued with Sebastian on the AFrame while everyone else had their first turn. Then Sebastian's turn. Darryl and I on each side and he got all 4 feet on it, but then bailed, still progress. Try again, he's sliding his back feet off. Again, we worked on the AFrame until his turn. Alex's mom volunteered to block him on one side, me blocking on the other while Darryl enticed him from the top of the dogwalk. Still sliding those back feet off.
Back to the AFrame for practice while the others had their turn. He's now an AFrame monster, just loves it. Wow!!!
Darryl put jump wings on either side of the dogwalk for the golden ahead of us, as well as for Sebastian. Well, Sebastian walked right up to the top of the dogwalk, and with treat enticement walked the length of it, then the downside. Hmm, this should be the easy part but he needed treat enticement, and encouragement to get down it. He got a round of applause from our classmates. Well done!!
While waiting our next turn he decided to do the teeter with just his 2 front feet on it. Good, got a treat. Then he tried the teeter with his front feet on the other side and banged it down. He jumped off but didn't spook. More treats.
Kiki's mom said she's noticed he's more into it every week, and is watching what everyone else is doing and learning from that as well.
On our next turn, he went right up and across, but was having none of the going down. We worked hard to get him to make the decision to go down. He finally sat down up there and just surveyed the landscape. Then he stood up, Darryl sat on the contact zone at the bottom calling him and I had treats ahead of him. Indecision and then a burst of speed to the bottom where he rolled Darryl over. He ran right back to Darryl (who was surprised, but unhurt) for some loving.
Darryl said we've got to do some ladder work, because he's forgotten he's got back feet. That's why without the jump wings blocking him he's sliding his back feet off.
Then inside to do a hurdle to table exercise. After initial trepidation, he became a table monster again, AND I was able to get him in a down on it. Excellent.
Major breakthrough - the AFrame AND the dogwalk!!! Woo hoo!! Glad I took extra hotdogs as he ran me out of treats, but he deserved it. Very big doings!!
Prior to Cinnabar's class, I practiced the ladder with Sebastian. He did fine, needed to jump on the table at the one end of it, but that's ok. I like that he's a table monster :)
We were outside last night. Sebastian warmed up on the AFrame and is still loving it. Woo hoo! We started class with the dog walk. Alex and Lorna first, then Sebastian. We had the jump wings framing the upramp so that he had to use his back feet. On our first run through, he went up, slowly went over it and then decision time on the downside. Darryl told me he wasn't going to sit on the end and call him. Just as he finished telling me that, Sebastian put on the burst of speed and went down. Good call Darryl :) On our subsequent turns, he wouldn't finish the upramp and was talky. He's thinking ahead to the down ramp and it scares him, so we rewarded him for all progress he made on the upramp. In between turns I had him do the AFrame.
Then we practiced the serpentine with a hurdle leading into it. The most important part for me is getting into my head why we should be doing a cross (front or back) on any of it. Slowly it's seeping into my brain. I played league softball for years and the basics of that game seem like childplay compared to all that goes into this sport. Patience and an open mind and I believe I'll get it.
Sebastian actually wanted to play with Alex and Lorna. In addition to wanting loving from Darryl, he was up for it from the other mom's too. They all commented on how he's relaxed into everything and that he's a different dog from the one who wanted to posture at everything back when this class started.
We did several iterations of the serpentine. One with an out where the handler fades away to the left, the bogeyman for me because I stay too close. Darryl put a jump wing up so that I couldn't stay too close and Sebastian did just fine. I'm not trusting my dog enough. He said I should be running Cinnabar the same way I do Sebastian. That helped, I'm not doing outs/heres with Cinnabar and I should be.
We ended with the dogwalk. Again, Sebastian would only do a portion of the upramp. Instead of bailing, he's backing down. They said he'd be great in rally because you've got to backup in rally. The interesting thing was that after he'd backup, he'd want to try it again. After class ended, I let him try as often as he wanted, which was about 10 times. Each time a little higher, then he'd back down. I ended doing the Aframe with him several times.
I took some quick snaps of him over the AFrame before class started.
We started out working on the AFrame with Darryl at the end, waiting for the dog. He put them in a sit at the bottom of the AFrame (their butt on the board). Both Alex' and Dancer's moms have trouble keeping up with them, and he wants to give the dogs something to do while they catch up, but it's also another way to target. I've been throwing a treat down for Sebastian at the end while saying target, but for his love Darryl he sat his butt on the frame.
Then we raised the height of the AFrame and did it again several times. No resistance from Sebastian, just up/over/butt down for Darryl.
Then a few quick trips over the dogwalk for practice. Sebastian went last, we had the gates up on either side of the up ramp, he went 3/4 of the way up twice and backed down. The walk was rather wobbly, so Darryl had us practice on the AFrame and the teeter (which was low) saying we'd try the indoor dogwalk after class if it was available (much more sturdy). On the teeter, he's getting 3 feet, sometimes 4 on and gets treated for that. If he makes the board move by touching it with a paw at the other end and doesn't jump away he gets treated.
Then we did our course. We got about 5 runs each, and after Cinnabar's class with only 1 other dog in it, it was very nice to have such a breather in between runs.
Sebastian got treated for all attempts going up the dogwalk and then we went on to the next hurdle. We did well on our serpentines, with Darryl showing me what works best for Sebastian (the same as for Kiki the Berner) because of size. A front cross at 9, a switch (back cross) at 12 with a quick here to get him over 13. We did the weaves several times, but 95% of the time he's entering them correctly which is the really big thing at this point. He got treated for going halfway up the teeter and again if he put a paw on the downside making it move.
After class we went inside and while waiting for Darryl I worked him on the small AFrame that has a dogwalk ramp on one side (with gates blocking the sides of the ramp). He got almost all the way up several times and would back down.
Then we were able to do the sturdy dogwalk. He got almost all the way up it, was wooing pretty good and doing his best to cheat to get the treats (run around the side), but we wouldn't let him cheat. Bev got into the act and the 3 of us worked with him blocking him on the side so that he got his back legs on it, but 3/4 of the way up was the best we got. Still, he keeps going back to it and will get it at some point. He's really doing well.
My classmates gave me a nice complement when we found out that Kiki won't be with us for the summer because her mom's summer schedule won't permit it. We like to let Kiki's mom go first on course's because she's been doing this longer and is very good at determining how to run a course. They decided that I'd go first because I'm getting it. Major coolness, especially following Bev's assessment from Cinnabar's last class.
They also made some very nice complements about Sebastian and how well behaved and relaxed he is. I prognosticated that we'd still have some posturing incidents, but they should be fewer.
We were inside because of the rain and had setup gates to separate us from the obedience class. The advanced agility class took some of the gates to block off where they sit from the obedience course. We stretched our gates out, but they were then only about a foot high.
We did the blue course first. Initially a little ground level tire was setup as #2. I looked at it and commented that Sebastian would be wearing it around his middle through the rest of the course. Kiki's mom said the same for her. When Kiki ran the course, she hurdled that little tire :) It was changed to a hurdle.
Sebastian is entering the weaves correctly every time, which is great. On our first time thru, he went up the little AFrame/dogwalk at 7, started down and bailed. He was getting up on the table, but wouldn't stay there, then became a baby about getting on it, although he did it. We each did this several times. On one of our runs, we were at the weaves and Sebastian took an interest in Chance (Flat Coat - house mate to Kayla), went deaf and went over the gate and started posturing with him. I ran to get him, he was making quite a racket, Bev & Darryl got involved and we got him away from sweet Chance. Darryl said he was only sniffing, but Sebastian made it sound bad. Since the obedience class was done, we took back our gates from the other class, so that there was no chance of this happening again.
Then the red course. He was still being a baby on the big table, wouldn't sit or down on it, just a straight jump off. He got all four feet on the dogwalk upramp at 5 and then bailed. Still entering the weaves properly, and following my direction well on out/here. We did this several times each.
The teeter shown in the course was full length, but in the middle underside it had a 4" metal support so that it was very close to the ground. This was a big draw to the other dogs getting some of them off course. During class when we walked by I treated Sebastian if he put his paws on the up end and banged it down. After class, I had him walking the whole thing. So cool. Darryl setup up 2 wobble boards at the end of it and he did them as well. We did many repetitions of this. A very nice way to end the evening after him being a baby on the table and little AFrame and the posturing incident with sweet Chance.
Before Cinnabar's class I warmed up Sebastian in the main ring on hurdles, tunnels, chutes. The training teeter & wobble boards were setup in the other area and he warmed up on them as well very nicely doing the entire training teeter.
The advanced class worked outdoors so our class got to use the main ring for the first time.
Sebastian was up first. He wouldn't do the AFrame at the big height. Darryl lowered it and he would get 4 paws on get halfway up and bail. He wanted the treats, but didn't earn them so he didn't get them. We finished the rest of the course doing very nicely on the serpentine and the pinwheel. I didn't realise two of my classmates were in the ring and coming out of the tunnel (#15) that's the first thing he saw and not me and headed right to them for some sniffing and a little posturing. Leashed him up and he was fine.
On our second run, he still wouldn't do the AFrame and totally blew me off following Darryl. I got him through the first tunnel and he blew me off again. I crated him for a time out and at Darryl's suggestion got Cinnabar and ran the course with him so that Sebastian would be jealous and work on his next turn. He did get jealous, wooing much of the time that Cinnabar ran the course (perfectly, the sweet boy).
On our third run, Darryl stayed at the outer edge of the ring. Sebastian sat in a perfect sit/stay watching me intently and as soon as I released him with "ok" he turned around and went straight for Darryl. I got him and put him in a sit/stay at the #3 hurdle, way at the other end of the ring from Darryl. Same thing happened. Darryl sent him in a very gruff voice back to me, but he decided to do a little coursework on his own, a tunnel here, hurdle there - just not listening. That was it for him, his night was over.
Been awhile since he's blown me off so completely, he was in total brat mode. Sure didn't get any treats out of it. He was sweet as pie and obedient when we got home, but a little late there buddy.
We're off the next two weeks, coming back for our next 6 week semester June 9th.
Given the heat (high 90s, very humid) we didn't exert them alot.
We worked on gate work - out/tight, out/here, with Sebastian setting the example for the others to follow.
We also did a short course of 4 hurdles, one leading into a serpentine of 3, with a front cross between the first & second. Again, Sebastian was the example. He just stepped through the course. Man, was it hot.
He was very happy to see Darryl after a 3 week layoff.
Before class I took him to the outdoor ring to work on the AFrame he prefers. It was set at the highest angle, but he did get 4 feet on it and halfway up. We went inside and did a few hurdles (at 24"), tunnels, the tire (at 24") and I got him on the 30" wooden presentation table, both using the little steps and jumping straight on it. Darryl saw him on that and said, "hey the big dog's on the table". We also did wobble boards and the very low practice teeter before class. He stayed on the practice teeter all the way even when it banged down.
We were indoors for class. We started with the AFrame lowered. He did get all 4 feet on it, and halfway up, but no further even with me dangling a full hot dog that he wanted badly. All the other dogs went over, including the poodle for whom it was his first time.
Then wobble boards. No big deal.
Then the presentation table. Sebastian decided to flip us off and pretend to be scared. We were both using happy voice, had plenty of treats. Finally, I said to him, "wait, you can't come up here" and he went straight up the steps of it. Darryl said, "this isn't about being scared tonight, he's being contrary". Welcome to Sebastian's world :) Then we worked on the contact trainer after bringing the presentation table next to it. The little dogs didn't use it, but just went up and over the contact trainer. The poodle went up onto the table and then stepped over onto the contact trainer (half mini-AFrame - half dogwalk ramp). He was so proud of himself, and rightly so. Sebastian would get up onto the table, but wouldn't touch the contact trainer.
Then we did tunnels. There were two setup in straight lines, one after the other. We'd done these before class without issue. Socks and the poodle hadn't done tunnels before, so they got extra work and both were doing tunnels in short order. While we were waiting our turn, I had Sebastian doing some of the other tunnels to keep his eyes off the sheep in the pen just outside the building. He had no problems doing tunnels. On about our third turn, he didn't bend down and pulled the tunnel with his body and started wailing and backed out. We straightened the tunnel, and sent him through, but this time he arched his back so that the tunnel came with him and he could be a victim of it and started wailing again. Darryl just shook his head and said, "he's really being contrary tonight". Again, I did other tunnels with him while waiting our turn again without issue.
I don't know if it's the change in classmates and he just needs time to settle in, but he was contrary. He had lots of happy voice from both of us, and the offer of good treats as reward but if he was center stage, he wasn't working. When he wasn't center stage he was working. He did enjoy himself tonight, but with him we might be in the Foundation class for a long time.
Before class we did wobble boards, the practice teeter (all the way to the end), hurdles and tunnels and weaves.
He's still into his intimidating ways as he gets used to the new dogs. Before class even began he got a timeout. We'd been practicing weaves (doing well) and he spotted Jericho and went to sniff him but needed to sound like a bully while doing it. Rocky's mom asked about him in the later class and I described it to her. She said, he was like that in our class at the beginning, too, and settled in nicely after the 4th class or so.
We started class on the AFrame. Sebastian again was getting 4 feet on it, getting maybe halfway up and then bailing. He wasn't afraid, he was being contrary. Darryl held his collar as he was going up, and you would've sworn he was being tortured from the wailing sounds. What a drama queen! He shook his head and said, "I've never had one so stubborn. He knows what we're asking, he knows he can do it, his tail is wagging and he's just being stubborn."
We setup a tunnel full length in front of the A Frame and had him go through and onto the AFrame. Halfway up, he got a treat and then on to the next dog. Next trip 3/4 of the way up, treat and on to the next dog. We setup a tunnel on the other side of the AFrame and did it from that direction. Almost to the tippy top of the AFrame, got a treat and then on to the next dog. On the next trip up and over he went. Big treats, and Sebastian was very happy with himself.
During one of the runs, Duncan, the little sheltie was near him when he was coming off the AFrame and he went to sniff him. Duncan held his ground and there was NO posturing! We setup a little run, two hurdles, the tunnel, the AFrame and the final tunnel. I had his hurdles set at 24" and they were no problem for him. He does love the hurdles. He did the AFrame again during this run, and the next run. His butt was dragging (it was humid) on the final run and he just went 3/4 of the way up, but no treats for that.
We finished up with the weaves. This was new for the others, so Sebastian and I worked on another set using Darryl's method. He was doing fine and got lots of treats for that. I kept progressively moving further away from him on the weaves and he kept doing well. On our last time through I moved even further and when I called "ok, weave" he took off outside the building to check on the other class. No posturing, just sniffing and they caught his leash and handed it to me when I got there. I hate that there's no fencing to keep us contained. We did some more weaves, but I didn't move as far away as before. Duncan's mom couldn't believe how well he does on the weaves. Who could blame her after his drama queen act on the AFrame :) ?
Darryl setup a barrier on the sheep side of the building, and we blocked the other side with jump wings so that we had an enclosed area.
We started out working on weaves. Sebastian worked seperately as he's further ahead than the others. He's doing a fine job with them.
The we did work on front crosses, with several different courses. Early on Sebastian did try to get through the barrier to go after the sheep. The more we wore him out, the less interest he had in the sheep and more in Darryl and in me and my treats :)
On most of our runs, I kept the leash on. He is calming down with this group of dogs, and like last week seems to like Duncan (the sheltie), which is good for Duncan who likes to run up to him and sniff him. Until he's got some energy worn off, though, the leash stays on. His contrariness seems to ebb along with his energy as we go along as well.
I had a little trouble with the front crosses because of the leash, I was thinking differently than I needed to. First time without the leash I did things right, but Sebastian ran straight to Darryl. Heck, he needed to blow me off once. He did better after that.
In fact on one of our runs, Duncan got loose and I guess was trying to herd us (Sebastian was coming out of the tunnel, headed to the AFrame). Sebastian, never ceases to surprise me, he stayed focused on me and came up the AFrame.
Speaking of the AFrame, he did a good job of getting to the peak, but then he bailed. Darryl had it set to the lowest I've ever seen it. Because it was so low it wobbled quite a bit. He wasn't being a drama queen about it this week, he was dealing with the wobbling.
It was a good class for us. In between our runs, he liked to be near Darryl who threw him treats to see if he could catch them. Yup, he's always had great eye/mouth coordination and could've been an outfielder :)
Darryl brought his dogwalk to use inside, in preparation for this weekend's trials. He set it up at the 2 foot level to start. Duncan did great. Jericho had some issues, but was getting there. Sebastian got 3/4 of the way up the ramp, would back down and then try again. When I said that I don't get this backing down stuff, Darryl said, "he's retaining control", we've got to work on that. We did this several times. He wasn't afraid of the walk, just wouldn't go further than close to the top of the ramp.
Darryl set the dogwalk at the 4 foot level for the others and we worked on the AFrame. Darryl said that once he had 4 feet on praise him and say ok. I need to tell him it's ok, BEFORE he jumps off. We'll do it on our terms not his. Extend the time that he's on there, but always say ok before he makes a decision to jump off, so that we're in control and he's not. Well, well, well. That worked just fine. After about the 8th time he went over. Right back at it, but back to games, so back to our games and not his. Again, over he went, and again and again and again. He went over at least 20 times.
While the others had their sequences with the dogwalk, we did the first 8 obstacles from Cinnabar's course last week:
2 runs, flawlessly performed - a little slowly because of the humid heat and the work he'd already put in - but flawless. No hint of a refusal on the AFrame.
We've got his game for now, sure felt good!!!
We did the same course as Cinnabar's class. We started out doing 1 through 8. The jumps were set at 24" from the last class, so Sebastian was up first. His sit/stay was great, but when I said ok, he broke to go see Darryl, the brat. I got myself more interesting by dangling a full hotdog and that worked like a charm. We restarted the weaves only once, he did well. Darryl said take him through the next jump, see how he does on the AFrame at full height. He got all four feet on it and got a treat. Then he ran around to the other end and got all four feet on it again. His jumping at 24" is great, he knocked down just one.
While waiting for our next run, I kept him in either a sit/stay or down/stay working for a treat to keep his focus on me and not all the other dogs.
His next run was again good. Started out with the dangling hot dog, so there wasn't a thought of breaking toward Darryl. Again took him through to the AFrame and again he got all 4 feet on it. The past weeks he's been working on it at a much lower level, so this was new stuff for him.
Then, we all came out on the course to talk about 13 through 20. While that was going on I hung out at the AFrame. Sebastian showed some interest, so I put a treat 2/3 of the way up, but didn't say anything, just hung out. Because of it's height, there was no getting that treat without actually climbing up like he's supposed to, so that's what he did. He came back for more. I had them at 2/3 and then 3/4 of the way up the ramp and just let him make decisions. He kept at it. His buddy Darryl saw what was going on and while he got the rest of the class started running their course, he came over and put some of his yummy salmon treats way up near the top for him on each side of it. He liked working one side of the AFrame better than the other, but did make efforts on the side he didn't like. At no time did I make it a command or chore for him. The treats were just there and it was his choice, and he chose to keep working. He did get one of those tippy top treats. Darryl said that when his Dixie learned the teeter, he just put treats on it while he mowed the lawn. If he saw the treats were gone, he put more on there and kept mowing.
When the others were finished, we got our turn to run. Sally and Maggie were still in the ring and I was reluctant to let him off leash to run despite Darryl's urging, so we waited until they left. Sebastian ran 13 through 20 just fine. I did only ok on my backcross between 17 and 18, but Sebastian did fine. I asked Darryl if I distrust Sebastian more than he does and he said yes. I need to give him a little more freedom and deal with the corrections. When he has gotten away, he's bullied other dogs, but is only sniffing. I have to work on being extremely interesting, and recognize when he is totally focused on me, especially in the second half of the classes, which he is. He said he wouldn't have given Sally or Maggie the time of day, he was totally focused on me and I need to recognize that. He encouraged me that Sebastian has come a long way since he started with him in late January. Good to hear!
We started with the A Frame down at it's lowest level. We all got a shot going over. Sebastian was eager. It got raised after every trip. It's final height was still below competition, but at a nice level. Sebastian was quite eager to go over and good about sitting his butt on the end of it once his front feet hit the ground. Darryl wanted to know who the dog was I was working with because he was sweet and eager :)
Then we did the broad jump. It was very hot and humid and I had to be very excited for him to actually jump it instead of stepping over it. Lots of trips to the water bowl.
Then we did our little course beginning with the tire/jump/dogwalk. In subsequent runs we added the tunnel coming back to the dogwalk, jump, tire. Sebastian got all four feet on the dogwalk and was going between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way up the ramp, getting a treat, but bailing. He wanted to try again, but one chance and out, he's got to play our game. That led to him trying more than he has in the past. Baby steps, but he was working on getting his back feet on the thing, progress.
Only toward the end of class when we were working on the dogwalk did he start to flip me off. Darryl kept asking who the dog was because he was being sweet for most of the class :)
We ended with work on the AFrame again to get them to get two paws on two paws off at the end of the frame. While Darryl was talking about the exercise he was using one of his dogs to demonstrate and there were quite a few woos from Sebastian. Now he's feeling that the AFrame is his and that other dog was hogging the thing. What a character.
An excellent class for him. After Cinnabar's class I took him to the dog walk and again he was getting all four feet on it each time and going up about 3/4. Progress for the big boy.
We did the same course as Cinnabar's class did, so I was familiar with it.
On our first run, with the exception of Duncan, Jericho and Socks we did all 23 obstacles. Tough combining classes of different levels.
Didn't break his sit/stay and I was able to lead out the 2 obstacles with him. At the teeter, Sebastian ran up to it and got 2 paws on it almost 3. Treated him and headed him into the pinwheel. He did his out great at 6 but then ran to the open door at the back of the facility (blocked by a gate). Restarted the pinwheel and got out a hotdog to dangle so he focused on me. Aha, much sharper. He ran the jumps/tunnels well. I backcross better with him and did ok, not great, but ok at 15. He was so-so on the weaves. He ran right up the A Frame and stopped at about 3/4 of the way up. But, it was at competition height, so I was pleased with that.
Darryl's critique was that I need to treat him more for his great jumps because he knows he's good and he's looking for it.
I kept him more in the midst of the other dogs this week. Just a few posturing incidents, but he responded well to correction. Worked on sit/stay and down/stay while awaiting our next run.
On our final run, he was sharp. Again, got 2 feet on the teeter towards the middle of it. Glad that he shows no fear of it, which is an improvement. Was good at the pinwheel. I'm still struggling with the back cross at 15, it was sloppy but we did it.
We were the last dog to run and Darryl suggested working on the A Frame. He put it down just a notch and he went all the way to the tippy top when I put a half hot dog on the peak. Darryl lowered it just a notch again. Treats at the tippy top and over he went. The thing was swaying a little, but Sebastian wasn't thinking about that, just thinking about going up again to get another treat. Got him over again at a decent height. Nice ending to the class.
We warmed up on the A Frame which was just slightly lower than competition height. He went over it from one direction, but not the other, but did go to the tippy top of it. We also warmed up on the dogwalk. Got 4 paws on and partway up the ramp. Glacially slow progress.
We started out with 1 through 6 of the blue course.
I was correct in a leadout at 2, but incorrect with a front cross between 3 and 4. The front cross there indicates to your dog you will be turning right (toward the teeter and off course). A back cross between 4 and 5 eliminates that. If you can lead out at 3, then you eliminate the backcross.
Figuring it out and executing it. They were all being brats in one form or another, so Sebastian was in his glory as king brat. He did a perfect sit/stay and when I called ok, he headed over to check out the other dogs. Three times he did this. He and Duncan had a nice sniff fest. He started to have a nice sniff fest with Jericho, who growled slightly and that started the nasty noise that was nothing but noise. Leashed him up and we ran the course. We did this twice.
Then on to 7 through 12. Front cross between 8 and 9.
I pulled out a full hot dog, had his attention and we did this leash free, including getting him over the A Frame at 8. Finally, a little sanity :)
Then we put it all together, 1 through 12 of the blue course. We did it leash free, with only a very slight leadout, but we did it. Very satisfying. My challenge is to figure out how to be as exciting as the hotdog :)
After Cinnabar's class, I worked him on the A Frame at competition height. Without hesitation he went to the tippy top to retrieve the hot dog treat up there. He didn't go over, but at this height, still very major progress for him!
We worked the same AKC excellent level course as Cinnabar's advanced class.
Having worked the course the class earlier, I was familiar with it. The jumps were already setup at 20" so Sebastian and I went first.
He was excited and had a little trouble settling down for a sit/stay, he wanted to see Darryl. But then he settled down and we were off. I had a full hot dog in my hand that helped him focus. He did everthing I asked, out / here, etc. He did decently at the weaves and got treated. He didn't hesitate at the table (middle height). He didn't hesitate running up the A Frame set at competition height. I had the hot dog dangling at the top and slightly toward the down side. He went all the way to the tippy top, but then bailed and on we went with the rest of the course. At the dog walk, he got all 4 feet on and went part way up, I praised him and then we went on to the tunnel. At the teeter, he got all 4 feet on and I praised him. I was very happy with how he ran the course, his jumping ability and his focus on me (with that hot dog majorly assisting that).
While the rest of the class had their run I had him mingling to a degree with others. He's learning. I headed over to Cinnabar's crate to water him and the presentation table (about 30" with little wooden steps leading up to it) was there and he voluntarily went up it. 2 months ago this was a major issue, and had been since January. The little steps seemed to be the issue because he sure doesn't have a problem with deck steps. Well, he was showing me that he's over that. He did a down on it as well. He alternated between a straight jump up on it and using the steps and was very pleased with himself. I setup some gates near it and worked on out / here / switch with him and then he'd run over to the table to show me that he could do those steps. He was very pleased with himself.
Kayla's mom wanted to get to know him better so she put him in a sit and treated him, then put him in a down and treated him and he was being sweet with her. At one point, Duncan's mom wanted to treat him and I told her to make him work for it, so she put him in a sit. He has an excellent sit when food's at stake. She was hurt when she ran out of treats and he realized it and walked away from her. I told her the malamute heart is cold, isn't it? :)
We were the last run on the second pass and again he was very good, except this time at the weaves he was rushing. He did a better job on our first pass. Again at the A Frame up to the tippy top with no hesitation. The progress is glacial, but it is progress and we're building on it. I'm very pleased with that.
We started off with weave practice, working from the strong side and weak side of the weaves. Sebastian starts off strong on both sides, but skips the last weave on the weak side - weird - more practice needed at home :)
Our course was 1 through 12. The A Frame was setup below competition level.
Sebastian did fine through 5, spotted the A Frame and ran over to it and ran over it. Darryl was at the end of it, but no treat because it wasn't on course. Dangled a hot dog and he was back on track with me. We started back in at 6 and away we went. He did the jumps and the A Frame on course and then got Darryl's salmon treat. At the dogwalk he got 4 feet on, his back legs slipped off and he put them back on! He went about 3/4 of the way up and bailed and we finished the course.
It was hot & humid. He didn't run fast in his first run and even slower in the second, but he did the course for me. Again, 4 feet on the dog walk and about half way up.
After Cinnabar's class I took him out to work on the A Frame at competition height. The first time he went right up to the top and stared down at the hot dog just out of reach on the downside. Then he made the big decision to go over & down! He sat his butt on the end of it looking for his treat. Got his treat turned around and went back up, but not quite ready to do it from that side. Gave it another tentative go and over he went. He was very proud and confident. After he got his treat he ran up and over it with full confidence. We did this about 10 times!
Tried to take advantage of that confidence and took him over to the dogwalk. He never really got all four on, just wasn't into it. So, I took him back to the A Frame to finish out the night with confidence with another 4 successful times over the frame. Woo hoo!
Darryl had Sebastian go through his new tire. This tire is made of styrofoam and breaks apart in the bottom middle & top middle if the dog hits it in a certain way, making it much safer for the dogs than other tires. What is significant for Sebastian is that he became the first dog on the east coast to go through this newly designed tire. Thank you to Darryl for that honor!
On our first run I left the leash on Sebastian. He'd been such a brat over the weekend at weightpull and the double rail fence enclosing this ring is quite easy to escape, I didn't want to give him his head too much. He was still a little full of it as he ran out of the ring after the tunnel to see some classmates' spectators. They grabbed his leash for me and we were back at it. I front crossed between the tunnel and the first hurdle of the serpentine and backcrossed between the 2nd & 3rd hurdle. At the dogwalk he got 3 feet on I believe. At the A Frame (which was very high) he did go to the tippy top.
After the first run we talked about the serpentine and how to run it. Turns out I did it right - woo hoo!! We also talked about our positioning for the tunnel at 8. We all did it wrong. We need to be on their left, let our momentum carry them into the tunnel and then pick them up coming out of the tunnel on our right to head to the dog walk. Each of us had just stood at the entrance to 8 and the dogs weren't going in quickly because we weren't using momentum.
Sebastian settled down very nicely and we ran our next run off leash. I had a full hot dog in my hand to sharpen his focus and I used a deep sharp voice for him. We had to restart the weaves, but he did them. We did our serpentine well. I enhanced our backcross by tossing a treat over the hurdle as I called switch. He got all 4 feet on the dog walk and actually walked up almost 2/3 of it before he bailed, good boy. Up to the tippy top of that very high A Frame again.
After this run, we worked on the serpentine again and Sebastian got to be the good example for how to run it. Doesn't happen often, we gotta soak it in :)
An excellent class for Sebastian, I was very pleased with him and his attitude.
We started off with weave practice. Sebastian is doing great with me on the strong side, and just so-so with me on the weak side.
Next, 6 or 7 hurdles in a straight line to get them thinking about jumping and adjusting while we're running quickly next to them.
Then on to our course
We walked 1 thru 13 of the course. We started out with 1 thru 8. If I had a lead out, I'd be behind 3 to avoid a front cross. I don't have that strong a lead out with him, so I ran with him. My first time thru I did it wrong and didn't front cross, but just directed him into the tunnel. Because of that, he didn't have the motion and I had to keep saying tunnel. We front cross while they're in the tunnel so we're on their left and direct them over 5 & 6 and into the chute and tunnel again. We did this twice, I got my front cross between 3 & 4 on the second one.
Then we did 8 thru 13. I front crossed between 10 & 11, which was correct. I front crossed between 12 and 13 thinking we had a change of direction, but that was incorrect. We did it right on the second run.
What's missing from this description? No mention of being flipped off, perhaps? That's right, my big boy was working with me and doing well. I showed him a full hot dog prior to every run and he was very focused on me. He was off leash for all his runs, and all our other classmates were in the ring with us. A very good class.
We warmed up on weaves and he did a great job with me on either side. He was flying through them with me on the strong side. An improvement for him with me on the weak side, he went through at a decent pace.
There was a twist to our first runs. While we were walking the course, Darryl threw toys and balls all over the course to give us incentive to be more exciting than the toys. We're going to have to deal with distractions at trials, so we need to deal with it. He was also walking around with either a squeaky toy or a clicker.
We were to start with 1 thru 8. The one week I didn't make sure the left side of the building was totally gated off, and of course the big boy took advantage and went flying outside to see the other dogs at the advanced class. He was easy to leash up when I got out there, and he stayed on leash for the run. He had that twinkle in his eye. The cool thing is that he ran half way up the teeter before he knew it (Darryl was waiting for him with a treat), and then jumped off sideways. Aha! He's let us know he can do more!
I front crossed between 4 and 5 so that I was setup for the pin wheel. I asked Darryl about it after and he said no, you're not changing direction, you can back cross 5 & 6. Sebastian ignored all the toys and anything that Darryl threw while we were running and he ended well with the weaves.
I crated him while others had their turn and gated off the left side of the building
We did this twice more, with the final time all the toys removed and no distractions literally being thrown at us. I had Darryl show me the back cross he meant and it didn't compute. He showed me with Sebastian off leash, what he meant but Sebastian cheated and bypassed 6 to get the treat he threw. When he realised he was off leash, he ran to the class, but did come back to me for a happy voice. I'd describe what Darryl did, but because it didn't compute, I'd get it wrong. I did backcross at 6 and that made sense for me.
Then we did 9 through 17. I left the leash on him, but released, of course, at the tunnel and left it that way for the rest of the run. We did well. I'm extremely pleased with his weaves, and his surprise first run up the teeter. I did take him up the dog walk as well, he bailed before he got to the top, but I treated him for getting all four on and making the effort.
While on the sidelines, Sebastian was sucking up to Darryl for a treat, but surprisingly didn't care about the racketball he had. I always have racketballs in addition to tennis balls, because they are so bouncy. If it wasn't food, he just wasn't caring about any distractions ONCE HE WAS ENCLOSED!
Next class in two weeks.
I started out by making sure the left side of the building was totally gated :) We started with warmups on the weaves. Sebastian is really doing well, and we did the set of 12 and he still did great.
He hasn't done the frame in about a month, so I warmed him up on that, too. It was set extremely high, higher than I remember seeing it, but he did go to the tippy top. Darryl brought it down to a novice level and he just kept going over and over it. Good boy. He also wanted to show me that he would put 2 feet on the teeter, but wouldn't get 4 feet on it. He would get 4 feet on the walk, but not go over.
Some of the others in class had not done the chute before, so we practiced the chute prior to our runs. The ones who hadn't done it previously, took to it very nicely.
Our course was 1 through 7. Since Sebastian doesn't go over the walk (just about 3/4 up the ramp), Darryl has me give him the "fix it" command at the end of the walk. This means he jumps onto the end of the walk and comes down so that we have the behavior and position we need going to the next obstacle.
He did well, he was attacking all the obstacles (except the walk) and worked well with me on the front cross at 7.
He was distracted, as was the GSD, by all those lovely sheep in the pen just outside. He was vocal about it, wooing quite a bit, but focused on me once the run began. Good boy!
We were outside for this evening. The weather was cool and the dogs were ramped up because of it. The outdoor ring is enclosed by a split rail fence only.
The AFrame was to the side of the ring and blocked off by jump wings, as it wasn't part of the course. Sebastian was so funny, he tried very hard to get through the jump wings so that he could do the AFrame. Frustrated, he wanted to jump onto it from the side. I called him away from there, but am so very happy that he now loves the AFrame!
We warmed up on weaves. Our first exercise was a hurdle then dogwalk. The dogwalk in the outdoor ring has a smoother painted surface than the one indoors, and the slats are further apart. He did get 4 feet on it several times, but no matter how much he wanted Darryl's treats, he didn't give it an effort to really get those back legs on and get a grip and at least do 2/3 of the ramp. Not even close. I was watching him closely, and at one point he had his back feet straddling the ramp, although more often both back feet are on just one side of it. I think the smoother surface was not agreeing with him. He'll get this one year!
We worked on our pin wheel work. Although the other dogs excel over Sebastian on the dogwalk & teeter, he's really good with the hurdle work. I'd left him on leash for our dogwalk work, and for our first pin wheel run - 1 thru 4. He was settling down more, so I worked him off leash after that, always showing him a full hotdog before our run started.
It was nice to see him work fast, the cool temps are great for that! We did fine on all our runs, which then added 5 & 6. The emphasis was on why front cross - to set yourself up in position for the next obstacle. Also, if you're going to do a front cross, you must send your dog out first so that you have time to be in position, because we're never faster than our dogs.
He did really well and was having alot of fun - that I love to see!
We were early and warmed up on weaves, which were unbelievably perfect. Did a few tunnels, and then gave him a shot at the teeter. All four feet on and half way up the sucker - wow! Ok, on to the dog walk. We spent about 10 minutes on it. Everytime he had those back feet off to the side, we went back and started again. He was getting to the point of grabbing on with his back feet. Gosh that felt good. Then we worked on how far up he was going. Got him 1 slat from the top, by dangling a full hot dog, with little treats spread before that. This is some major progress!! I went through a 1 1/2 hot dogs before class even started, but the success was worth it. I gave him a break and he wanted to go back to it, just the same behavior I saw from him on the A Frame. I'm loving this.
When class officially started, our warmups were on the dog walk. He did ok, not going as high as he did for me, but that was game playing. The good news was that he couldn't wait for the dog ahead of him to be done so that he could attack it, and he was attacking it. I'll take it.
Our next exercise was the teal numbered hurdle, tunnel, hurdle. We did it off leash, perfectly every time. After a few times of that, we did the red numbered hurdle, hurdle, tunnel, hurdle. Perfect again, off leash again.
While others were having their runs, we did weaves. Perfect, and this was a set of 12!
Our next exercise was the wrap command, which is used for contact-to-tunnel or tunnel-to-contact. We were doing dog-walk to tunnel. Since Sebastian is not yet going over, we get him as far up as possible and then run to the downside, get him on it with the "fix it" command to mimick the behavior of coming down the dog walk and then "wrap" getting him right into the tunnel. He did it perfectly every time.
Then we did a tunnel to dog walk wrap. Again, perfect. Who was this dog? :) The temperatures were mild, not cold, not hot, and we have a full moon. Whatever was going on, he had a great night and I couldn't be happier!
We warmed up on A Frame. It was wobbly last night. He went over once. He did get all 4 on the teeter, and all 4 on the dog walk, but wasn't really in a contact mood. Even with Darryl and his salmon treats tempting him, he wouldn't go over. I talked to Darryl about CheeseWiz and he said he uses it all the time, but we can't use it there because these obstacles are used for competition. I had a feeling that would be the answer, but he said the method works great.
Our course was 1 through 10 of the blue course.
On our first time through, I did not lead out, but was on his left and back crossed him at the chute. Did a front cross between 5 and 6, which was correct. I front crossed between 7 and 8 which was incorrect but we got through it. He was great except for the A Frame, he wanted to be on it, but not go over it. The big baby.
The last one to go in the first round was Charlie (Duncan and Socks were quite late). Charlie is a bull terrier. Darryl can't be out on the course when Charlie is out there because he always blows off his mom to run to him (loves his salmon treats), so he was on the side line with us. Charlie still kept running over to Darryl who was not going to treat him. I was on Darryl's left and moved Sebastian away every time he came over. Maddy's mom was sitting on the opposite side of Darryl (about 5 feet away) & commented on what a great build Charlie has. He ran over to her. She had food in her hands for Maddy (GSD), who at that moment got up and Charlie attacked her. He clamped onto her ear from what I could see. I immediately took Sebastian to the far side and worked on sit/stays with him to keep him from getting worked up. Darryl was in the middle of it and being very calm, but both moms were not calm. They tried pulling them apart, which resulted in Maddy losing a tip of an ear and having it ripped. It went on long enough that Bev and some of her class from outside came in. Bev and Darryl were a sea of calm with the dogs and got them apart. They tended to Maddy, and Charlie's mom took him out and put him in the car.
While Darryl and Bev were tending to Maddy, Duncan and Socks showed up. I told them to walk 1 through 10 because that's what we were doing and the first round was already over. Duncan walked it, but Sock's mom didn't want to, she wanted to work on weaves. There were 2 sets of weaves, and she came over to the far side where we were. Socks is also a bull terrier and is quite unpredicatable. Sebastian was still a bit ramped from the fight even though I'd been distracting him and he was being good. I told her, look, walk the course, the dogs are still ramped up. She was very angry with me and told me she wanted to practice weaves. I told her to give me some room so we could get away from there, and she just left. Over the course of this particular class, I've done everything to keep Sebastian away from Socks, but it seems every time I turn around she's got him up his butt no matter how far away from the rest of the class I keep him. Then she heard about the fight and said she could see Socks doing what Charlie did. Oh, great - but my instincts with the dog were justified and we'll continue to stay away.
Charlie will not be coming back. His mom said he had one other incident (with a person), and food was involved. Since we all have treats on us at all times, she's just not going to do it. She apologized to Maddy's mom, and handled herself responsibly.
Maddy's mom took her right to the vet. She came back later during Cinnabar's class and let us know they were stitching up the ear. She and Maddy will be back.
All dogs stayed outside the ring except for the dog performing until the puppy class showed up. Then we all stayed on the far side.
Duncan and Socks did their run of 1 through 10.
Then we each got a 2nd try of the course. Sebastian was off leash as he was during his first run. The puppy class showed up during our run and their was some noise from them which got his attention. He recalled nicely to a happy voice, but got distracted by them again. Recalled nicely again, but I finished the run on leash.
For the rest of the class, we worked on leadout, just doing 1 through 3. Sebastian can do a 5 minute sit/stay, but it's different at class. Although, with a full hot dog in my hand and both my hands raised, and a verbal correction everytime he even thought about popping up, we did it perfectly. That was a good way to end a chaotic class.
The good coming from this is talking about using gates to setup an area where the rest of the class can wait, while one dog is in the ring. This is good, because starting next week, we'll be splitting the indoor ring with the advanced class that is now outdoors. It's going to be interesting.
All dogs not performing had to be outside the ring, and they had it sectioned off nicely so the other classes coming in midway through ours would have their space in the front of the building (a foundation course & a puppy course). This is in response to the fight last week. Maddy is doing very nicely. She lost the tip of her ear, but the rest was stitched up and it looks good. She also had a puncture wound on the back of her neck that's healing very nicely, and she is her incredibly sweet self wanting to be friends with everyone.
Barb & BeeGee were there for a makeup class, so we got to spend time with them, too. What a nice bonus. BeeGee looks great just standing there, (he's filled in so nicely and his coat is at its best) as well as on the course.
We did the teal course first. We did 1 thru 7a (table). Our jumps were at 24". He got 4 feet on the walk, bailed, we did the "fix it" at the end of the walk to set him up for the next jump. I sent him out at 3, front crossed and over 4, and into the tunnel. I crossed behind the tunnel to pick him up and send him over 6 to the table.
Darryl said he wouldn't front cross with him between 3 and 4. I should've sent him out at 3 and picked him up beyond 4. Also, I didn't give myself enough room by going behind the tunnel. It worked, but sloppy. I should've picked him up in front of the tunnel heading toward 6.
Unfortunately, with so many dogs, we didn't get another run at this course.
Then we did the blue course 1 through 10. Darryl told me to bypass him even attempting the teeter (he told while we were coming off the teal course and Sebastian was standing with 2 legs on, up near the mid section - he's such a goofy boy), so that we could just get him flying and not thinking and run right over the A Frame.
We had to restart the beginning a couple times. I led out in front of 1, then an out over 2 and a here over 3. Initially I was too close to him at 2. I didn't have enough confidence with all the goings on to lead out in front of 2.
We did ignore the teeter and he did fly up the A Frame, then he got that look in his eyes - and it was game playing time - he stopped near the top and backed off. He kept wanting to go up it from either side, just to stand on it. Definitely game playing. Got him off there and into the tunnel. I did it wrong the first time, but corrected right away. Once he's in the tunnel at 8, I immediately cross behind 9 to bring him over and then send him over 10.
Again, with so many dogs we only got one run at it.
At the beginning of class while we were waiting for all the lower heights to go, I had Sebastian away from the group near the setup for the foundation class. On his own he kept walking over the wobble boards and jumping on the big wooden table (a tad wobbly versus the metal table). He was looking for treats, of course, but 10 months ago it would've been hard to envision this behavior from him. He was a baby about the wobble boards and an incredible baby about that wobbly table. He was like robo-dog, just going from one wobble board to the next and onto the table, sitting, drooling and looking for a treat. Again, and again and again. The lesson is that it takes him a long time to build a base of confidence in things, and I've got to be patient.
To get everyone into the building for the winter season, class times have switched. The advanced class now starts earlier, and our class starts later. I had pottied both boys and crated them. The crates we use are in a corner and because there was an event over the weekend, empty boxes, and stuff were cluttering the corner (on top of the crates, next to the crates). Darryl suggested that Jericho and Sebastian practice weaves in the area near the crates. I brought Sebastian out after Jerry had gone. Dogs for the foundation class (that takes place near the crates) started filtering in and I crated Sebastian until our class started. Or so I thought. The corner was dark and I thought I latched it, although it's a tricky latch, and I didn't get both latches. I was watching the advanced class when someone said "Sebastian's out". He was coming to see me. Someone was near me with their dog and started panicking as I stepped on Sebastian's leash as he was sniffing the dog. He started posturing when the person started screaming. He sounds awful when that happens. I yanked him away and the person jumped on his dog to protect it. It was a very surreal moment, I thought I missed something. I securely crated Sebastian, double checking both latches, and went to apologize for the commotion. Darryl and Bev were there. The dog was fine, but the person insisted that Sebastian was attempting to bite. They calmed the person down and I had an aside with Darryl and asked him what he saw. I wanted an objective opinion. He saw the same thing I did, the situation was in hand until the person started screaming, then Sebastian made noise, but no intentions of biting, just posturing. I felt awful about the whole thing because the person's panic was real to them. Bev asked me how it happened and I told her. She told me that person was an extremely sensitive person and not to worry. The person's spouse who's been in classes with us also reassured me there was no real problem with me or Sebastian.
We did 1 through 13. 6 through 11 are the tricky parts. I left Sebastian on leash for our first run even though he was fine and listening to me. Kind of tricky running the course that way, but seemed the right thing to do. I did the same on all our runs and afterward Darryl said, it's the right decision tonight because tonight is not about agility, and pointed to the foundation class behind us. It seemed everyone was edgy. The funny thing is that Sebastian was focused on me and doing his best to do an out at 9 while leashed and even got 4 feet on the dogwalk. But, it was about keeping things calm. Also interesting was that during Socks' run and Jerry's run they each got the zoomies and headed over toward Sebastian and he was just super calm.
We're going to get those crates out of that corner so that we can use them without having to go through other classes to get our dogs, and also be in the light a bit more. Better believe I will always triple check those latches.
Before we did course work, we did exercises on a modified teeter - small table under one end, tall table under other, very little play in it. Sebastian was full of energy and would get on the little table and maybe put a foot on the teeter and then off. He was totally unfocused. The others had their turn and we tried again. He was a little more focused, but was more interested in his own agenda at that point - fun. This teeter was setup in the area outside the crates, where the foundation class usually works, but no longer.
The ring had one side blocked off for the foundation class, so while we had our runs, other dogs were behind the gates on the other side of the dogwalk doing their work on hurdles, tire, chute and 3 foot dogwalk.
Our course was blue, and we started with 1 thru 9. While still full of energy, Sebastian did focus, especially on the full hot dog in my hand. I was able to get a nice leadout. He was into head games on the A Frame, and while I was tempting him with a hot dog, I forgot there was a tunnel behind me and went ass over teacups on it :) I didn't forget about the tunnel placement again! I gave him 3 tries on the A Frame and then ran him to the end with fix it. With him, on the A Frame, fixit isn't working yet, he's trying to go up it, but then recalls back down to get on with the course. I was running too close to 7 and not sending him out enough on it. Darryl had us do that one again. Sebastian did very nicely on the out at 7 so I could front cross without getting close to the hurdle. He was actually attacking his jumps and had some speed. Very nice to see.
We did this several times and then walked the rest of the course, and ran 1 through 17 with them. He did get 4 feet on the dogwalk. His weaves are nice, once he gets started he's into finishing all 12 of them. I'm very pleased with that. We did all runs off leash.
While waiting our turn, we were out of the ring and he offered to work on the modified teeter. He did get all 4 feet on multiple times until head games kicked in.
After Cinnabar's class I worked with him on the 3 foot dog walk. I blocked off the sides of the up ramp with gates all the way to the middle plank. He did get all the way to the top and head games kicked in and he backed down. Then he decided to try to get the treats I had lined up from the side and was poking at the gates to get to them. Huh, only one way to get them, so he went up it again, but then got bored with it and wanted to play games. Glacial progress as always :)
We had crates inside the ring for this class. Sebastian ran over to Jerry's crate on his first run and made some posturing noises, but I got him corraled and dangled a full hot dog. That was his last posturing for the night.
We started with 1 thru 3 for the others, 1 thru 4 for Sebastian. The object being pure excitement for everything right. For Sebastian, any attempt to put his feet on the teeter was super praise. He ran right for it each time and got as many as 4 feet on it.
Our next exercise was 5 thru 8, the serpentine. The weaves were a set of 12. Sebastian was excited and raring to go, but started skipping 2 particular weaves in the last 6 of them. Never did get a clean run out of him with the weaves. At 24" I wasn't getting the 2nd jump out of him at 7. At 20", we were able to run that serpentine. I also had to adjust because I was too far ahead of him and he'd skip around 7 and go straight for the chute. When I slowed down for the "here" at 7, he did just fine.
Then we added 9 and 12 for the next couple runs. Then our final runs added 13 / 14 / 15, so that we had another serpentine with a back cross at 14. Sebastian did well and was happy to be there.
We started with the purple course, 1 through 8. On our second run, from 8 we ran them back to 1, essentially doing it all in reverse. I chose to front cross between 2 and 3. It was the correct decision, but I was running out too far, over compensating for a big dog. Sending him out at 2, I need to run closer to 3 and not too far out. That worked nicely. On our reverse run I front crossed between 4 and 3. Again, I had over compensated and need to send him out to 4 while running to 3 and not too far out. Also, I ran too close to the jump at 5 which caused him to knock that down. I've got to give him more room.
After we did that several times, we added 9 thru 13. Sebastian really ran well for me until the jump at 12. All he had on his mind was getting to that A Frame and playing games, so he cut in close to me bypassing 12 heading right for the frame. I took him back and we got it, but he really didn't want to do that jump, the brat. He ran right up to the top of the A Frame for the treat every time, but wouldn't go over. He got praised for what he did do, and we did the "fix it" at the other end of the frame.
He was a very good boy, very excited to have fun and focused on me. There was some commotion over in the foundation class, as they were letting a GSD and a Border Collie play off leash. It was quite distracting, but he stayed with me. On one run, he caught sight of Disco sitting next to Darryl and thought about heading over, but responded very nicely to "here" and kept going. I was very happy with his performance and behavior.
We're off until the beginning of January, but have the DOCNA trial this weekend.
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