Just got back and recovered from an amazing third consecutive year at Leah and Nancy's agility boot camp, maybe we don't necessarily NEED to go every year, but we just learn so much and it is so much fun!! I can't say it is 'relaxing' as that's not the point - but it IS enjoyable, though hard work right from the start, but for all the right reasons, as it brings great rewards from two truly excellent trainers. Thank you both so much, I can't say it enough.
We did have our fair share of exciting things happening at boot camp this year - first of all was the fierce wind turning a gazebo over, thankfully nothing hurt but it was 'all hands on deck' to stop it taking off completely!! The other was the search for a dog that decided a deer was far more interesting than mummy, I won't mention who but a frightening time - thankfully after lots of walking, calling, whistling, 'speak' barking from Kiah (bless) after a worrying hour or so, the naughty reprobate was spotted running back in the distance, such a thankful relief!!
Kiah and I had a 'new' strategy this year to stop her from being quite so worked up - and to stop her getting quite so stressy when getting excited watching others run - which was a soft crate with little fold down sides for her to chill out in, waiting our turn. It worked really well to keep her out of the weather, and more importantly helped us both to not stress and be more calm ready for our next turn. Alex was our resident photographer (585 photos this year!) who got some great shots this year of mine and everyone's dogs, I love this picture of Kiah smiling at me while waiting her turn in her little 'house' crate. He has got some fab shots of little Kiah so I shall try to put some of those up on a separate post :)))
We just learned so much over the three days; simple (but oh so effective) things on the jumping side such as the timing of crosses, layering, Leah showing us different ways of handling for the same sequences that suit each person, and different kinds of turns including the ketschker/spinning blind which works so well when you get it right! On the agility side, we were practising obstacle discrimination, independent contacts, speed in between, and most importantly contact performance.
One of my absolute favourite things was body directionals and how they can be so effective, for Kiah's especially as she is so responsive, a simple call and turn of the shoulders - when I get it right so does she. My other favourite thing was something Nancy raised - the 'white noise' that I give so much to Kiah - ie the waffle and nonsensical information that she just doesn't need to hear hence part of the reason why she likes to tell me off on her touch points!! So... from now on there will be a slight change in our contacts, it isn't anything major but I have started to see the benefits already - it is amazing how the right information, however simple, can help so much.
Kiah is having a well earned rest this weekend, she worked really hard and though she enjoys her agility, I will never push her as it is just fun and a big game for us - yet she still gives to me more than her best, so I think she deserves it!!