I learned a lot about running Jet in Excellent A Agility last weekend in Blackfoot, Idaho. We cruised through Novice and Open so fast that I forgot how extremely difficult it is to run clean in Excellent. We only got 1 Q out of 8 runs in Excellent A. (He got his Novice FAST title and a leg in Open FAST but since my goal with Jet is a MACH, I’m not really counting FAST runs in my calculations.)

The good news is that Jet is running extremely nicely. He’s having good forward focus. He’s spotting and taking obstacles. He’s moving quickly and consistently. His contacts are holding a nice 2o2o and he didn’t blow one all weekend. He’s jumping smoothly. He’s weaving nicely for the most part, though I need to drive him a bit more. And, most important of all, he’s having a really good time. 🙂

I have a goal for Excellent Agility, and it might be a really lofty one, but after 8 years of struggling with my first two dogs, I think Jet and I can achieve my goal. I want at least a 50% Q rate in Excellent. And if we are not getting it, then it’s time to analyze and train.

I watched the videos from the weekend and I made a list of the things we are having problems with. Here is my list.

Weaves:
– Two Missed Entires.
– One skitter where he missed a couple poles.

Front Crosses:
– Once I rotated too much and sent him to the wrong obstacle.
– Once I rotated too little and sent him to the wrong obstacle.

Rear Crosses:
– In two runs I opted to NOT do rear crosses because I don’t think Jet has strong enough rear crosses, and either missed an obstacle or got an off course obstacle. (Not once did a rear cross cause us an NQ… but I do avoid them when I can.)

Wrong End of Tunnel:
– This only happened once for an off course. However, I know I have to train discriminations better and this is a weakness we have.

270:
– Jet missed the second jump of a 270 once. I also know this is a weakness in our training as I haven’t trained 270s with him much… or, okay, at all. 🙂

Out of 8 runs, that about sums up our errors. I think I can fix these things. They are training issues. And I do need to see improvements so I’ll be videoing our training sessions and will attack these problems. Jet doesn’t understand. Once he does, he’ll do what I ask him to do.

I also know that I have a lean-over problem… and I want Jet to understand that when I call him verbally, that will out-weight the body signals I may give him incorrectly. One run I didn’t rear cross him and he took an off course tunnel. I yelled at him to come HARD but he still got into the tunnel before he turned around back to me. I’ll need to reward him for coming to me off tunnels, and other obstacles, even if I’m bending over. After 8 years of agility I think I’m never going to stop bending over, and so I just need to train my dog to respond to me better. Since he’s much easier to train that I am. LOL

Here’s our one Q run:

So now back to work, programming, not doing electrosurgery, though maybe that’d be more fun. I have a couple weeks before our next trial. I hope to get a few of these things worked out before our next trial, so I can increase our Q rate!