Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just doing it, getting it right and rhythm baby!

Since the shows of the year are drawing to an end, I have a ton of time on my hands to work on new dog projects... Always fun.  The bunch will all get a break in November, so I can prepare for the SA Champs and World Team Try-Outs trials that will start in January, but for now I want to work on rhythm baby!

First of all, I have to say that I am not biased.  I don't have a preference between two-step and sidestep actions.  They can be equally quick and efficient provided the dog has a proper posture, striding and rhythm throughout twelve weaves.

I see so many young dogs coming out that can DO 12 weave poles, but even though they are 'doing all 12' they are just not getting it right.  Some people like training weave poles and others (like me), just don't, but that is no excuse to neglect it or rush it.  I made the latter mistake with Chaos, well kind of.  The first part of weave pole training I spent a lot of time on, I had endless time on my hand, I was renting a cottage on a massive property, it was goooood. Then competition time started drawing near and me (=areshole) rushed through the last 4cm of channel training.  Now I have a dog, that will do poles and while he is not the slowest dog out there, his poles aer VERY lacking.  In straight poles he struggles finding decent rhythm, he doesn't extend his front quarters and shoulders and often ends up crossing his front paws while doing the poles.  That he hasn't tripped or crashed his nose head first into poles is a miracle.  His entries are pretty good and his independence is okay, although that could also be better.  Chaos has 3 second poles (well not quite, his average is between 2.8 and 3 seconds).  So he loses 0.4-0.6 seconds to world class dogs JUST in the poles, eish.  Since I am busy doing weave pole training with Volt, why don't I try to improve Chaos's poles?  I know it is a bit late in the game, but I have to try!  Personally, looking at Chaos, I think he would probably be most comfortable doing a sidestep through the poles, however with his lack of rhythm, he mixes it up between two-step and sidestep.  Shame I think the poor boy has two left feet.

Quake, as those who have seen him compete can agree with, does not do stellar poles in a show environment, in fact, Quake is not to fond of the show environment as a whole.  But here is the prove that this little dog (meaning huge giant Border Collie) really does enjoy his training at home, which is fine, I might give him another few tries to see if he starts coping with it, otherwise I am quite happy to have a dog that is a 'home only agility' dog.  Anyhow, I figured that I could work on some entries with him anyway, he has fun.  Quake has a phenomenal action through the poles,

Now you will also remember from a previous post that I said I would wait for Volt rhythm and striding to improve before closing the poles again and it happened.  You will see that he had started getting a weave action on 6cm, before I closed the poles another 2cm.  And, man, was it worth the wait, you will see that he had almost no problems adapting to the poles that are now 2cm closer together.  I train poles with a very easy step-by-step wash, rinse, repeat method.

1.  Channel consistency and rhythm, striding and posture.  Get the channel RIGHT.
2.  Channel independence.  Back crosses, front crosses, tapering and distractions.
3.  Entries.  Channel entries from different angles and obstacles.

Once those three are good and consistent, move channel closer, wash, rinse and repeat.

So me and Volt are officially at step 1 with a 4cm channel.  Woot.

I urge everyone training poles though NOT to neglect the actual performance on the poles, just doing 12 poles, doesn't mean you are getting it right.

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