There was a time a few months ago when I had two voices in my head, one telling me it’s time to start training Java in agility and the other saying it doesn’t feel right yet. I couldn’t figure out whether this second voice was a reasonable one or a product of fear. Fear that I would mess things up, that I would teach her wrong. Since we had such long winter I didn’t really have a choice to start training sooner, but I still wondered about my attitude.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to get Java ready for competition in the shortest time possible. She will be ready when she will be ready. Still, somehow I felt like I was slacking off.
I think that the problem was that I was afraid I would mess things up. There was no way around that fear but to dive right in and start training. I feel so different now, not afraid to do my own thing, to follow wherever Java leads. It’s liberating! Yes, we’re working on Silvia’s Agility Foundations, but we’ve turned them upside-down. What I like the most about Silvia is that she doesn’t believe that each dog should be learning agility (or anything else, really) in the same way and she is very helpful with ideas of how to do things differently.
We’re doing some speed loops and some wraps, but not many and we rarely do wraps in sequences, which is very different from the “original” AF plan which says to first do lots of sequences with wraps, then add a little bit of extension (extension to collection exercises) and only then move on to full extension (straight lines). This is the plan that I followed with Ruby and in the end he did turn out to be fast and knew how to wrap tightly.
This video is from last week. Ruby is running a sequence from Agility Foundations Homework 4 without bars as I’m not letting him jump yet. He hasn’t been doing extension to collection exercises in two years and yet he remembers that tightness is a priority. (You might want to turn the volume down unless you like hearing Java complaining…)
Java is similar to Ruby, I think the same plan would work quite nicely for her as well. However, I think this is not the best plan for a whippet and I can’t learn anything new by doing things the same way. All plans can be improved upon. 🙂
What seemed scary during winter now feels like an adventure. I have no idea what we’ll be training one month from now and that is exciting! It might be serpentines from homework 4. It might be collection sequence from homework 2. Or simply more extension to collection exercises from homework 3. Now I feel like I can’t really mess it up too badly, so I’m free to experiment.
This is what our experiments look like right now: