Friday, September 30, 2011

'Stupid' Videos, Another Comparison and Google nearly broke my blog

Actually I will start off with the first one... Hatty of the hatness... This morning I decided to try out Google's new and improved blog lay-out.  All fine and well right? WRONG.  Widgets gone missing, previews not the same as real views.  Some of the concepts look very nice, but until Google sorts outs those bugs, I will just stick to my original look.  Haha, I suppose not even Google is perfect.  I like the new dashboard and post lay-outs though.

So I finally got off my lazy arse and went SOMEWHERE ELSE to train, can you believe it?  I was invited to train at another agility handler's (very nice) grounds and I actually made an effort.  He was very surprised when I set up the video camera.  And when I told him I video'd ALL my training sessions, he go the typical 'are you insane?' look.  Honestly though my 'stupid' videos has been the biggest influence on improving my show performance.  Ja, I am somewhat anal, analysing  all my vids, doing frame-by-frames, timing splits.  But if you train on your own, how else do you do it, I ask you with tears in my baby blue eyes?  This same person has been having some SEVERE issues and he doesn't know why or how to fix them?  So isn't that the solution?  I have also gotten many queries from students saying 'yes, but he does this/that/whatever when I train and I don't know why'.  My stupid videos that clog my hard drive (all our hard drives in fact) have been the key to solving so many of my issues.  As  you can see from the below video, a stationary camera on a tripod doesn't really suffice when you are trying to film training on a 30mx40m arena though... so we will call this 'training at a distance'.  Yes that little spec on the camera is Spaz, promise.  As for the Steiner-Meister, I am super impressed.  It was the very first time he went training 'somewhere else' and to top it all off, the other guy's bitch (just a few meters away in the kennel run) was in season.  I set up a very basic 2 jump tunnel exercise and Volt coped very well, he wasn't distracted, he didn't lack confidence.  Even though his turns weren't perfect, he was definitely in working mode, he called off the other dogs to come and work.  A good start and a good confidence booster.  My confidence of course.  He of course needs a TON more of this before he starts competing, but all in all I am a happy chappie.

And yet another example of my stupid videos... I always try and explain this to my students (and very few REALLY understand) obstacle performance is NOT, no NEVER just about the dog 'doing the obstacle'.  Yes your dog can 'do the dog walk' touching, both contacts... BUT is he doing it at full speed, is his striding ideal, is performing the criteria etc etc.  This is especially applicable to the poles... Yes a lot of dogs can do the poles, but a lot of dogs are NOT performing them at optimum level, because people do not bother to LOOK at what their dog is doing and try and do it correctly.  Volt is doing the channel... in fact he is 'getting his entries', he is driving ahead and doing the channel on his own and this is brilliant, but he is still figuring out his striding... now I know that he is 'doing the channel', but he is not performing anywhere near optimum, so what is the point in closing them more.  I am patient and from the video you can see that he is starting to have moments where he is getting the striding, I am more than happy to wait for some more consistency before I proceed with the ever frustrating process of Weave Pole Training.  But without my 'stupid videos' how the hell would I monitor this specific factor?  Seriously I am not superman with the whole x-ray vision thing and I don't have an eidetic memory (unfortunately).

I also did another comparison between Volt and Chaos... now given that Spaz has a ton more experience and training, I have ALWAYS had one problem with him.  He is a tall dog, no, in fact he is a giant at 57.5 cm (22.6 inches), which I like, I LOVE my tall BC's.  However, Chaos has a ton of ground speed, but struggles with acceleration, he is a 'front wheel drive' model.  So on a course, where jumps are set between 5m and 7m appart, he never gets to use his full speed.  Volt is a tiny little boy at 33.5cm (13 inches), but with a ton of acceleration, super all-wheel drive.  So today I set up an tight pin wheel.  Chaos has a ton of experience and familiarity with this set up and HAS to work damn hard to control his stride, which results in him appearing very slow in the exercise but very tight for a dog of his size.  Volt gets to use a lot more of his speed, but his inexperience causes him to be fast, but wide... wider than Chaos!  Not that I am unhappy with Volt, he is doing quite well for a 13 month old and the mistakes where I pull him through gaps are MINE, but it is interesting to note.  The other interesting thing was and you will see, that I kicked a wing on one of the pin wheels and Volt ran around the jump, very concerned about the noise.  Once again a confidence thing.

I actually have the weekend off shows, can you believe it?  I am really looking forward to it, but at the same time I KNOW that I will end up being bored out of my skull...  Wish me (and the hubby) luck... I am crabby when I am bored...

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