I decided to take the next step forward with Guinness’ training and booked onto a weave and contact workshop with Kathryn Stickney. Afterall weaves and contacts are one of the issues we have in the ring.
I haven’t been able to train him much recently so I got the weaves out in the garden to give him a few goes and then went along to the Dig It Club Competition on Friday so that he got to see some contacts before today’s workshop.
I had such a laugh on Friday, it was so good to catch up with good friends and the Friday club comp atmosphere is really chilled and encouraging. Plus everyone says thank you at the end! Imagine that!
I blasted Guinness round the outside of the Agility course then did a bit more work in the second run, then I entered Jumping for competition. As usual the wait we had so confidently in the NFC runs vanished in the competition run and Katie said I was different! I’ve decided I’ve got to get back into regular competitions now to really work on our show behaviour, mine more than Guinness’.
Despite a few faults we were given a lovely 5th place rosette, our first agility rosette of 2015!
This was our second run. Despite the mess at the tunnel I was really pleased! Guinness is looking much fitter and stronger and our turns were fairly good. It’s nice to see that all of the strength and foundation work I’ve been putting in is starting to pay off.
Then this mornings session with Kathryn Stickney was brilliant. She’s a lovely instructor and gave loads of feedback and ideas! We worked on a variety of weave exercises that could be tweeked and changed 100+ different ways. Then we looked at everyones individual contacts and either worked on issues or pushed to proof the contacts.
The biggest thing I took away from todays session though was Kathryn’s advice for bridging the gap between training and competition. She said if you’re doing NFC runs at competitions treat them as competition runs but then reward what you liked. If you’ve been struggling for contacts and you get a great one then get out of the ring and reward or have your toy hidden so that you (and therefore your dog) don’t treat the run differently.
This is absolutely key for me! As we saw just on Friday night I treat a competition run so differently and therefore so does Guinness. I’ve done so many NFC runs in the past but I always go into them as “training” sessions, which is productive but then doesn’t actually help our competition runs.
My aim now is to use the upcoming Dig It Shows and find some local pay on the day shows and get in there for a NFC, but competitive attitude!