Saturday, April 7, 2012

Zazzy's A frame

I originally trained Zazzy to have a running A frame, but had all sorts of problems when Zazzy had her terrible hormone problems. She was so flat and depressed that she did not 'attack' the A frame with any 'oomph', so her stride got shorter and therefore she was not striding into the contact area. If I did not reward her and asked her to try again she went flatter and her stride got even shorter. If I tried to get her to run faster, she leapt from higher (leaping off is the easiest way for the dog to go faster). I learnt a lot, but her A frame performance deteriorated!! I decided to teach her a two on, two off (stop) contact, this suited her better because the criteria was clearer, and she could be rewarded (and have a rest!) at the bottom, just like on her dog walk or see-saw. I wish I had had her spayed sooner, but I had no idea at that time that a dog could suffer so terribly with hormones. It was like the worst PMT I have ever suffered, but it lasted not only through her season, but all through her following phantom pregnancys (so 10 weeks or so). She was depressed and couldn't cope with the slightest problems. She only got a few weeks where she started to 'come back up' before the whole cycle started again. Poor Zazzy. Since the op she gradually got happier and happier, even though it took the best part of a year (my vet said it might take that long). So we had a good year last year, Zazzy was happy which made me happy, which made her happy.... so we had a lovely positive feedback loop. By the end of last year I had a happy, more 'robust' dog, and decided that after her post-agility competition season rest, during the 6 weeks of getting her back to fitness before Olympia, I would see if I could get a running A frame again. So here we are at the beginning of this season with a running or stop A frame on cue. In this clip you can see that I first told her to 'go' which she did perfectly, although I had actually meant 'go left'! (I have been working on verbal cues recently, especially on 'go' meaning go in a straight line!) My mistake, we carried straight on, and you can see that mistakes don't knock her any more, horray! I was also trying out a front cross to see if that would affect her running A frame.

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