Friday, June 19, 2009

Test Driving the Weaves

I've been meaning to update the blog with Reason's weave entry results from last weekend's trial. We had a two day local AKC agility trial here in Minnesota and it's been a couple weeks since I started Reason's weave retraining with Susan Garrett's 2x2 method. I realized that it was a very short time between our retraining and the real thing, but I've also seen a huge improvement in Reason's thoughfulness as well as true understanding of entries as I have been doing a lot of proofing and pushing in our twice a day training sessions. During these sessions, I usually use only four or six weave poles to minimize all the weaving he is doing during the week in these sessions (afterall, he will be 10 years old on Monday).
I can't tell you how pleased I was with his weave entry performances during those four classes. The grass in the rings was very dry from the extreme lack of rain we have had this spring (and from the use of it for trials and classes) and it was quite slippery for the dogs and that added to the complexity of the weave entries.
Reason succeeded with three out of the four weave entries and he never jammed his right shoulder onto the second pole as he had previously done. Since he has a history of many years of driving hard into the weaves, I knew that I was never going to change the fact that he doesn't slow down and collect himself. But as I watched the videos from the trials and stepped through the frames on his entries, he has definitely made a change in that he is ever so slightly rocking back as he enters. He is making his own physical changes becaue of his mental changes as he figures this out for himself. And that is a huge step in the right direction.
The one entry that he missed was a very difficult entry - and the slippery grass only added to it. It was a very fast start from the double to the Aframe and then over a wing jump to the weaves. That wing jump blocked the view of the weaves and Reason drove very hard over that jump, which carried his momentum to the left side of the weaves. He had to drive hard to the right to get to the poles and by then, he was past the first pole and entered incorrectly.
This incorrect entry led me to a lot of very creative exercises this week trying to drive Reason hard past that first pole on the left side of the weaves to get him to have to work hard to pull back to the right to get the entry.
I know that if I would not have done the retraining with the 2x2 method, that Reason would have probably missed three out of those four entries and possibly all of them, due to the slippery surface. For those that he actually made, he probably would have still slammed his shoulder hard into the second pole.
I made a short video of Reason's weave entries from this past weekend. Good luck to all of you that get to go to the ACTS USDAA trial this coming weekend. I wish I could be in two places at the same time as there is local herding trial that we will be competing in this weekend.
Here's the video of Reason's weaves (thanks Jacque for video taping us).

1 comment:

  1. Nancy that's so cool to see the progress over such a short time. I always thought that Fable had good entries but I think Topic actually "thinks" about it more which I attribute to his 2 x 2 teaching.