Archive for June, 2010

Plan vs Implementation

June 3, 2010

Okay I’ve already made adaptations to my Around the Clock Weave Pole drill. Nevermind that yesterday my clock was actually running in the wrong direction; I found that setting four jumps with a 20′ radius from the first pole at intervals dictated by the clock actually put the jumps too close together for flow approaches (unless I was doing teacup or something… but then the radius should be less than 20′. Eh?)

Anyhow I’m pleading heat-stroke from the last two days. I stood out in a fairly blazing sun for three days down in North Carolina. And you must know that the judge is the only one who has to suffer the sun in that way. Everybody else sits in the shade for the greater part of the day.

This is what I actually put up on the field. You’ll note that the set of jumps on the dismount of the weave poles, on either end, provide the “allure” enticement for breaking the performance early. I’m willing to accept that right now because it allows me to give my terrible correction (not praising or giving a reward) to make a training point. Kory is very clever about figuring out what he has to do to earn the reward.

The two jumps at the bottom center of the drawing represent different clock-face approaches to the weave poles depending on which side you are making the approach; give or take 15 minutes.

The spacing of the jumps becomes important when I begin practicing my weave pole approaches out of sequence work. There are a variety of possibilities in this set of equipment. The obvious thing is the serpentine as demonstrated here. But I also might work on threadles and pull-throughs.

Note that distance work for an independent performance is implicit in all work I do with the weave poles. In general I will avoid working in the soft bit of real estate between the weave poles and the curl of jumps.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

This fellow co-starred in an eponymous hit show in the 1960’s. He also was the star of a short-lived television show in the late 1950’s about a boy who lived in a circus whose parents had died in a trapeze accident (sometimes I think I’m the only one in the world who actually remembers that show).

This is a three-part question. Who is he? What were his stage names for both series I’ve mentioned? What are two series?

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the June Jokers Notebook.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – April 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special04” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

Around the Clock Weave Poles

June 1, 2010

Fundamentally my approach to dog training is reward based. If my dog gives me the desired performance he earns a reward. If he fails… I withhold the reward. I was perhaps blasé about weave pole training in the early going. But now with my boy Kory eligible for play in August I’ll be intensifying my training efforts. To tell you the truth I had no interest in inflicting the weave poles on this leggy dog before he was a year old. That’s just me.

Two things I see right now deserve the most attention. First of all Kory doesn’t really understand his entry… not really; and mostly from the right side. From the left he is apt to wrap the first pole and make a correct entry. The other problem is the “allure” of obstacles in close proximity to the dismount. He’s keen to go on working. I like that. But I’d also like for him to finish the poles before he “goes on working.”

This week I’ll be setting up the Around the Clock Weave Pole drill.

The Around the Clock Weave Pole drill initially is just a “sending” exercise. The jumps set in clock-face positions establish flow to the weave poles and determine the angle of approach. The illustration above shows approaches from the off-side.

On the first day I’ll probably work three sessions with only five or six reps per session. I  will begin at 6 o’clock and will not move on to 7 o’clock until we’ve managed a couple sessions without fault.

It will probably take me a whole week (maybe more?) to work all the way through the Around the Clock weave pole drill from the off-side. Then I’ll change the set to work from the entry side.

Spacing Notes: I’m using 24″ interval weave poles. The distance from any jump to the entry pole is 20′.

I’m showing the entry-side Around the Clock configuration with the gates to the weave poles wired. I may also wire the first drill from the off-side. The entry side, however, is the most problematic for most dogs. So I’ll want the wires just to reinforce the entry.

Again, the first day I’ll probably work three sessions with only five or six reps per session beginning at 5 o’clock and stepping back to 4 o’clock after we’ve managed a couple sessions without fault. After we’ve mastered the approach from all four clock positions I’ll no doubt remove the wires and start the whole thing over again without trainer wheels.

Oh… you’ll note the red “X” in the drawing. This is my target reward area. I’ll be training with a Frisbee and I’ll be aiming at that spot when my boy makes a correct dismount of the poles.

Other Notes

It’s not clear by looking at the drawing… but in our work with the weave poles I fully intend to be working 20′ or more away from Kory while he weaves. My desire for an “independent performance” of the weave poles demands that I pretty much get myself out of the picture of presentation or performance.

These are the beginning exercises. I’ve designed a suite of exercises that escalate the criteria and introduce considerable inertia of movement. Mostly these more advanced exercises will show up in the Jokers Notebook; some of them in June, and more in July as I report back on the successes and failures of the exercises.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

What is the part of the U.S. Constitution that protects a citizen’s freedom of religion, speech, assembly, or petition?

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the June Jokers Notebook.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – April 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special04” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.