We had our weekly agility lessons last night, and as usual, had a great time. With Hannah I worked on weave poles. We’ve been working on weaves for nearly 2 years now, so it’s time to get them under our belt. So far we are still doing the two-by-two training method developed by Susan Garrett, and are doing two sets of these, or four poles. And we don’t even have them fully lined up yet! Apparently you should be able to train weaves in a few weeks, not years, so we are very behind. That said, there’s really been no pressure because we’re not ready to trial in a standards course anyway – we still haven’t done any contact equipment! My instructor is very big on step-by-step training, and not rushing a dog. We don’t do A-frames, the dog walk or the teeter until the dog has bomb-proof contacts. But we are almost there – Hannah’s contacts are becoming really quite good, so we will be moving along soon I’m sure.
We’d of course move faster if I actually did more training! Mostly I am focusing on herding right now and that takes up most of my time. I want to take advantage of all this access to sheep, which may not last. If they get another guardian dog (the flock guardian died a few months ago), that may be it for me. The last guardian dog wouldn’t let me in the field, and if they get another one I may be restricted again to only training when my trainer is there.
Next weekend Hannah and I will be doing some jumpers courses in an agility demo put on to give budding photographers the chance to do action shots. With any luck, I may get some pics of Hannah to post. It will be a good experience for both of us to do agility in more of a trial setting as well.
Mira actually is coming along nicely as well. My goal with her is to get her where Hannah is now by next summer. They are one year apart in age almost exactly, so that is probably realistic. Mira is such a different dog from Hannah that running both of them will present some interesting challenges. In herding Mira has no problem breaking balance, for example, whereas Hannah is obsessed with maintaining it. In agility, Mira is incredibly fast and has no fear on equipment, while Hannah is slow and thoughtful. I can run along side Hannah through a tunnel, but there’s no way I can keep up with Mira. She’s going to be much more of a handful to run than Hannah, but should also be a lot of fun. One of those super quick and agile little dogs. Her build is much more conducive to this sort of thing as she is smaller and shorter. Hannah is very square in her build, while Mira makes more of a rectangle. I like both structures for different reasons, but I have to admire Mira’s nimbleness. Despite being a full third smaller, she is as fast as Hannah at least in a sprint.
Mira and I, however, don’t work as a team yet. I have done much, much less work with her and it shows. Hannah practically reads my mind, at least in agility, and all I have to do is think about what the next obstacle is and she will take it flawlessly. I am sure this comes from how much work we’ve done together, and with time hopefully Mira and I will get there too. I’m starting to spend more 1 on 1 time with her, something I’ve never did as a puppy. That was a mistake, but there’s only so much I can do. Glad to see I still seem to have time to make up for it. With every passing week, of late, Mira is improving. So we’ll get there I’m now quite sure.