Saturday, February 7, 2009

Trial today

Well, the trial has come and gone. It was an opportunity to see where we are with utility training. My expectation was not very high since we have been having problems lately with signals and articles. So, I was not too surprised when things went south. There were highs and lows - more lows than highs unfortunately. The high points were the directed retrieve exercise and the moving stand, both of which went well. He was given the #3 glove and his pivot and retrieve were good. The moving stand was also good. I had expected these to be his most solid exercises and was happy with his performance on these.

Now for the 'lows.' There were not a lot of distractions, except for people standing around. They were finished in the other rings, so there was no ring activity. However, he went into his avoidance routine for the signal exercise. He just would not look at me, so missed the signals. The articles were also a problem for him. He started circling the pile. The judge gave him a long time to work the pile, so eventually he picked up the correct metal article. Not so successful with the leather. He worked the pile for quite awhile, then came back empty handed. I was actually quite amazed that the judge let him work the pile for as long as she did. - A very nice judge :-)

The last exercise, the directed jumping had problems also. There were no sits on the go-outs, so I gave the second sit command. Then he didn't pick up enough speed for the bar jump and stopped short in front of it. I'm thinking back to our training here, and for quite awhile I was jumping him low because of some lameness issues, so I don't think he was in the habit of picking up enough speed for the 24" jumps. He did make it over the high jump without a problem, once he got going.

Now, to assess where we are in training and what we need to work on. Overall, his demeanor in the ring was again - one of being very worried and distracted. We need to somehow figure out a way to overcome his inability to work well under stress. I think the other things will follow if we can just figure this one out. So for now, we will keep practicing and building confidence in his ability to do the exercises and when the weather breaks this spring, we will try to get out a lot more to new places to practice. And, I think we'll hold off entering any more trials until we can see some progress when working with distractions and at fun matches.



The PR Gang said...

Congratulations on the trial. You sound very objective on your analysis of his performance. You have a good plan for continued training too. It sounds like you practice a LOT. Do you think he could be getting bored with it? Just asking, please don't take offense.
In the video clip, his performance is lovely!

Kathie R said...

Hey, thanks for the comments. I've wondered myself sometimes if I am overtraining. Now that the trial is behind us, I think I will decrease the amount of time spent at the club doing formal training. And, when I do train, I'll work to make it more fun for him. I do think he enjoys training - just doesn't like trials :)

Jennifer H. said...

Hi Kathy! I'm so excited that I found your blog. I'm Jennifer, Falkor's Mom, (8 month old fawn mantle boy)I met you at the club when I had Falkor there for puppy class and we've been big fans of Jackson for a long time. I hope to do agility and obedience with Falkor so I'll be following your blog. :) Loved the video from the trial!! And I'm so happy that you had a nice judge that gave Jackson time to really work the pile.

Kathie R said...

Hey Jennifer, happy to hear from you. And, thanks for the comments. Glad to hear you are planning to do obedience with Falkor. Us Great Dane obedience people got to stick together - there aren't very many of us! There's a Great Dane Club meeting in Des Moines this Saturday. Let me know if you're interested and I can send you the details :-)

Jennifer H. said...

Hi Kathie! Yes we definitely need to stick together!!! Falkor looks up to Jackson. :) Oh I would LOVE to come to the meeting this weekend. Is the info on the club's website? If not that would be great if you could send it to me. My email is

Thanks so much Kathie!

Jennifer H. said...

It's me again. LOL I found the info for the meeting on the club's website. I will be there! Is there anything special I need to bring with me?

Thank you!

Kathie R said...

Nope, don't need to bring anything special to the meeting. We're a small group, but hoping to build more interest with Dane owners in the Des Moines area - especially people interested in performance with Danes :)

Jennifer H. said...

Sounds wonderful! I'll be there! :)