training frames

Agility training takes on a new aspect when the handler can’t run and walks at turtle speed. I haven’t seen a foot doctor yet to diagnose my inability to properly use my right foot, but suspect I have torn something at least slightly important in the business of locomotion. I was hoping I would be better after some days of icing, nsaids, and not running. I see  the local agility podiatrist on Thursday, hopefully she will give me some shortcut to recovery! I haven’t stopped training but the focus on how I am training has certainly changed.

The e-frame training is pretty easy as over the last week Scoop has gotten much more enthusiastic at being able to send independently  to a jump or tunnel 30 feet away so I can have a different e-frame approach, while walking or standing still in a perfect position to see Scoop hit the contact. In fact Scoop’s independence at sending to obstacles was getting a little TOO easy, so I am also reinforcing lots of lineups at my side and perfect stays before I send. I don’t want him to anticipate that each time he returns with the toy he is going to get to tear away from me to a distant obstacle.

I don’t really want him to anticipate anything other than that he should be waiting nicely for my directions at my side. I decided I needed to add more obstacles to send him to, so now I have a table, a couple jumps and 2 tunnels. Scoop gets rewarded for frame performance with a toy, then he returns to me to tug. I ask for the toy and line him up straightly on whichever side will facilitate a straight send to an obstacle. I walk  a step forward while sending him, so I have a little bit of forward motion on each send. If he does not line up straight on my side and wait for a release I just start over, ask again for CLOSE (line up on my left) or SIDE (line up on my right) and either release him to tug, give him a cookie, or send him out to the obstacle and on to the e-frame. This of course works for any kind of independent obstacle performance I might want to work on with a moving approach to an obstacle from another obstacle. I have also been doing a bit of teeter and weave work this way as well using the stationed obstacles. Since I want an independent performance on all my contacts and weaves, this is valuable training. However I like to mix it all up and move around as well when I am training these obstacles. Right now I can walk slowly to a new position, but I can’t get there fast.

I filmed some of Scoop’s frames yesterday, and I almost look like I was trotting, though I thought I was barely walking. I didn’t film the stays and lineups, makes for too long of a video. I have the beep turned off for the moment, and I have a stride regulator in the middle. The bump is at the edge of the contact zone, and if Scoop hits it instead of the zone, it applies pressure and he gets a beep which I don’t want. So no sound right now.

I have been playing around with placing the toy 15 to 20 feet from the bottom of the frame, or tossing a toy as Scoop comes over the top of the frame.  Today I liked the toy tossing better than stationary placement. I felt like it made him dig in and drive over the top better. The bump is on the frame in all these reps, I am going to do some more tomorrow with the bump placed on the frame randomly and the beep on the E-frame on. I only recently added the bump to the middle. When Scoop did his flatwork it was without a bump. I felt like I needed a visual aid for both of us after I put the frame to 5.6, hence the little bump.

Today I am pretty happy with where the frame training is going.  Hope you are as happy with your pups A-frame training as I am with mine.

NJG