The really FANTASTIC part of yesterday is I got to do a private lesson with Elicia Calhoun, and I had a BLAST. The bad part is that made me want to have a working spot in the seminar she is putting on here....and it made me want to be able to do things like the private a lot more.....unfortunately... my pocket book is not up to that longing. I am sorry for such a LONG entry, but if you read the first two paragraphs it gives all the info that I really wanted to say, and the rest is so that I remember, and in case others are interested in the contact work we did, so feel free to read the first two paragraphs and stop-I promise I won't be offended ;-).
I had been signed up for a working spot for the Elicia Calhoun seminar that is going to be held today and tomorrow at our local agility yard. When Breeze was hurt I had to give up my working spot and was just going to audit ;-(. I was really disappointed but after talking to my instructor on Thursday after class I decided that maybe I could take a private lesson-address the issues I wanted to work on and still not have Breeze working all day which might be a lot for her-esp. if it was really cold.
I wanted to work on being able to get where we need to on course when the course calls for me to travel a good amount of distance and then still cue the next sequence correctly. I do great in tight sequences when we are working in one area. We had a fantastic private and just really worked on one sequence for a good part of the lesson. Elicia kept asking if I would like to work on that sequence or get a new sequence but this sequence had several elements that I had trouble with, so it was sort of neat to be able to just really work on the timing and getting those challenges so I could feel how it felt to do it really well. It made me feel so good when Elicia kept saying that she thought Breeze has such a terrific foundation, and she says you have so much to work with, and she kept saying that she really liked Breeze. Breeze is so amazing and I hope one day I can do the handling that will let me really show how good she really is.
It really is a pretty short easy sequence, and I do not have the course to true scale, but it had an area I had to send Breeze from jump 2-3 while traveling the opposite way to the end of the tunnel to get there in time, and then a wicked turn and send over that double, then a serp followed by a treadle and a forward send to the #9 jump, while backing up and keeping her with me so I did not send her out over the #8 jump and sending her over #10 from behind and keeping her from taking that double. Well, of course I sent her over the double several times. The last time we ran it Elicia said it was VERY smooth and I could have held a Marguerita running through and I would not have spilled, LOL. The other big thing that she said I need to work on is that she says because I have boobs I tend to physically feel more comfortable when I lean forward and that will be a big challenge for me to try to work on.....that has always been a thing that has always gotten in my way.
Elicia has done a lot of work with the four on the floor method of contacts so we worked quite a bit on Breeze's Aframe to figure out what has been going on with that. She feels that the channels I am using are not teaching Breeze where to look, and she gave me some good ideas of how to reward her most effectively, and she felt I should help Breeze to learn to target where she needs to go. She felt that right now her striding over the Aframe looks good, so she gave me some really good strategies to work on with Breeze. All in all she felt Breeze was doing pretty good on her aframe and did not think her performance was hurting her physically because she has never slowed down or avoided it in any way.
Next we moved on to Cricket, I did not bring Cricket out, but we talked about teaching her the running contact. Elicia said she felt it was important to realize there is no one way to teach anything that is good for all dogs. She said she teaches her dogs to target to a mat, to foot target to a hit it board, a contact board that is just the size of her dog from hip to shoulder and to target to the pvc box and she even teaches her dogs to target to something like an alley-oop, so that there are always a lot of options to use if at any time the method you are using is not making sense to your dog. She encouraged me not to really get too stuck in any one way to do things and said I shouldn't be afraid to watch my dog and really listen to what they are telling you about what makes sense for them and what feels good for their body. Always a good thing to be reminded how important it is to listen to YOUR dog so that what you are training is something that is going to work for them. Elicia said to not be afraid you will ruin your dog if you play around with things....you can try a lot of things until your dog has the big light bulbs and really understands a behavior. So it was GREAT to get some pointers for our running Aframe and she did say she could do email/video consults if I felt like I was running into any trouble.
I am doing my 2020 based on her ON THE BOARD method that I saw her talk about in another seminar and read about in her Clean Run article, so she gave me some good tips about how to put that behavior onto the dog walk with Cricket and how to negotiate with her on the end behavior that will be the most comfortable for her so she will like it and how to proof it as we are putting it on the obstacle, so that was really helpful. Yippie. I really loved her approach.
Now I am all excited about agility and I want to go to the yard and PLAY. Of course the yard is closed for practice for two days now because of the seminar, and I soooo wish I could be at the seminar....guess I will have to set up something in the back yard