Thursday, September 11, 2008

Practice - Discovery!

If I haven't been blogging much about Lucy's agility practices this year it's because, well, we haven't been doing very much of it. I've been really focusing on developing a number of skills with Walter this year so as usual Lucy's agility training has taken a back seat. Taking both dogs to practice at the same time involves digging out the heavy crate from the bottom of the trunk and setting it up and I've just been too lazy this summer. So I take her out with Walter from time to time when it's cool enough and shady enough that the dogs can wait in the car while it's the other dog's turn. We've done simple little sequences but that's about it, haven't worked on skills development at all. Sad but true. (But, she is my main focus in flyball, and I would love to get into rally with her at some point... so hopefully it all evens out in the end?)

Anyway, today I decided to see what would happen if at one of our usual practice fields (BF) I treated it like a trial run: We did our typical warmup exercises and I left our treat bag outside the ring, no treats inside the ring. Then we ran a simple standard course. Well, lo and behold, we had the same issues we have at trials! Where she seemingly tunes out now and then, running around aimlessly for a bit; where she sometimes locks onto obsacles in front of her instead of turning with me; where she runs toward the exit gate.

So, could it be that the issues we've been having simply come down to a lack of practice? Geez when I think about it she gets a heck of a lot more flyball practice time and flyball is the same darn thing again and again and again, none of the complexity and variety that's found in agility.

Looking at it that way, it all makes sense. Too bad it took me to the end of the season to figure it out. Oh and there is still the frame retraining issue which will need to be addressed.

Hopefully next year I'll get back on track with her as Walter has made good progress on his skills development this year (weaves aside, ahem!!) so he can take more of a backseat next green fee season.


Johann The Dog said...

That's great you were able to replicate issues in practice! That will help you so much! Love revelations.

LucyandWalter said...

Yes! I was very glad to find this out. Helps me know what plan to take for the future.