Daisy Peel

Author Archives: Daisy Peel

Daisy has been on the forefront of the trend of online agility education, and her Online Classroom is one of the leading sources for those seeking to improve the quality of their participation in the sport from afar. Her instruction, whether online or in person, is widely sought after as some of the best instruction available for those at any level, with any type of dog.

International Course Challenge, 1-23-2017

Here's the set up, course map, and analysis for the course that we ran in class at Clear Mind Agility this week. Enjoy!

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International Course Challenge, 1-1-2017

Here's the set up, course map, and analysis for the course that we ran in class at Clear Mind Agility last week. Enjoy!

Want to read the rest of this article? This content is free, but you'll need to sign up to access it first! Once you've signed up, you'll receive an email with your login credentials, and you can log in and return to this page to view! If you're already a student and know your password you can log in immediately 🙂

Course challenge for the week of 12-27-2016 at Clear Mind Agility

Here's the set up, course map, and analysis for the course that we ran in class at Clear Mind Agility last week of 2016. Enjoy!

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International Course Challenge – December 15, 2016

Here's the set up, course map, and analysis for the course that we ran in class at Clear Mind Agility the week of December 15, 2016. Enjoy!

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Course map with focus areas – click to enlarge

Sit Stays!

After the Anna Hinze seminar finished yesterday, and I'd put up all the Christmas lights the cold weather and my fingers would allow, it was time for some training with Chispa! If you read through my previous post, you'll see my thoughts on sit stays…and here is the video of what we worked on  last night 🙂

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Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!

Friday fun

Anna is still here, visiting from Germany, and so Friday, we packed up and headed for the hills, with fingers crossed that it wouldn't pour, and some almond cookies baked by George for a snack, and with the camera (a non-mobile device camera, a “real” camera!).

This weekend is the Tryouts for the European Open in 2017, and I decided to stay home with Frodo and do some training, instead of yet another big event. So, right now, I'm enjoying a seminar that Anna is teaching here in the agility hall. She's a good instructor, and heaven knows I am not the easiest student – it's not a role I get to enjoy often enough.

But this is about Chispa! She IS growing, slowly but surely. She's right on 19″ tall now (or 48.26cm), although she frequently looks smaller to me. Her habit of running through the house and choosing to go UNDER dogs that are in her path doesn't do much to make me think she's a big girl.

Chispa December 3, 2016

Chispa – December 3, 2016

Anna and I headed to Shellburg Falls, about an hour away. We figured as it was a weekday, and…well…December – it might be raining but the trail would be empty, and the waterfall would be really cool. We weren't disappointed. Empty trail, NO RAIN, and cool waterfall!

Shellburg Falls

Shellburg Falls

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4

Happy Thanksgiving, Chispa

Training for the last month has been very sporadic with Chispa. I knew that it would be – between my travels around the country and the globe in October, and then USDAA Cynosport, and then Thanksgiving, I knew it wouldn't be until after Thanksgiving that any real training got underway again. OH, and, the TURF PROJECT. That took a lot more out of me than I thought it would, in terms of time and muscle and effort. It was oh so worth it, though…

11-22-2016-turf

All of the dogs think the turf is pretty extra special – I don't know if it is the turf itself, or if it is because **I** am excited to go out and train and practice on the surface, but all of the dogs are pretty amped up. Anna is here, as well, from Germany, and that certainly brings up the level of excitement out in the arena – I have a training partner!

With that additional excitement, as well as the long break in regular training, AND the change in surface underfoot, Chispa has lost her marbles. I'm so happy to see how excited she is to play, but I have had to take some HUGE steps back in how I approach working with her. Her running contact training, for example – while it was in the very early stages, there was SOME understanding of at least staying on the plank while heading toward the Treat & Train. When Anna and May are in the building? Nope. Recall? Nope.

And, since the surface is now turf and not just dirt, I am also keen to keep accidents from happening. So, dogs need to potty before going into the building. …And….Chispa couldn't even bring herself to do THAT yesterday, when we finally got down to some training.

So, stepping pretty far back. I gave up on a second round of training yesterday afternoon before we headed out to Thanksgiving dinner; she had to potty before going into the barn, and as she couldn't do anything other than bounce around and eat grass and try to make repeated breaks toward the building, she went back in her crate. The good news was that when we got home several hours later, and I suited up in my finest rain gear, and headed out to the potty area near the agility building, with Chispa on leash, I KNEW she would have to go. And, of course, she did.

Again this morning, she came out of her crate, went on leash, and we headed out toward the building, to potty FIRST, get rewarded, and THEN run into the building for a few minutes of distraction-free training. I anticipate that after I'm done with this post, and go out to do some more training with additional dogs in the mix, she will be similarly distracted. Come to think of it, maybe I'd better put her in her crate NOW in anticipation of trying to get her to do a pre-agility training pee….BRB

OK. Gotta be smart.

So, what *am* I working on with Chispa? I'm continuing to work on her running contacts – I haven't gone any further than the last video, because Anna and I discovered that she's basically incapable of doing anything on the plank when there is any chance of something happening in the arena (Anna moving around, May moving around). And, she can focus on me for a few moments at the far end of the arena, if Anna and May are running around, but after that she breaks off of me to go zooming over to check out Anna and May. She does come back, but obviously, not breaking off in the first place is critical.

So, for now, I'll be continuing to work on her running contacts, and her tunnel/threadle behavior, when I get the chance to take her out alone to the Agility Hall. But, when there are other dogs or people in the mix, I'm going to keep things very simple until Chispa is more comfortable focusing on me when she's really aroused and there is exciting motion going on. This is nothing surprising; just about every dog I've had goes through this, and who can blame them? I'm almost always alone in the barn, and while Chispa has had Frodo running around as a distraction, it's not the same as a NEW dog or ALL my dogs, and milling around is also not as exciting to her as purposeful movement.

Here's a snippet of what we did yesterday – basically, keep tugging when there are other dogs running around (food is not exciting enough right now but will be, I imagine, as she gets more used to this arousing environment), and do a couple of very simple tricks that she learned early on (remember high-fives?). I love how excited she is to play, and I don't want to tread too firmly on that, so I'll take it slow for now; I've got plenty going on anyway, working on some training with Frodo, finishing up the turf project, etc. But some things simply must happen – like pottying before training 🙂

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16

Vocabulary Reboot Part I: Threadles

I've been thinking a lot about threadles lately. It's something that historically, I've handled my way out of, rather than training, for the most part. I love training. I went to ALL of the Bob Bailey Chicken Camps, and I loved all of them. But for some reason, I just never viewed threadles as a training challenge. Insert maniacal laughter here.

I'm also thinking a lot about running contacts right now. Way back in 2008, when I started training Solar's running contacts, before the days of online classes, and when NObody had thought to use FOOD or a remote controlled treat dispenser to get going, I figured it out largely by myself, along with Silvia Trkman's writeup of the process she followed on her website. Her writeup was largely conceptual, and frankly, I think that was better for me to have read than a step by step process.

The concept of the process to be followed, along with my mind spinning with ideas, fresh out of Chicken Camp, meant that I really tried hard not only to be a good trainer, but also, to fully understand the concept of what I was training, as well as the ramifications of any ripples that might affect other training I was doing (there are, and JUMP training ripples in to running contacts, but, more on that later).

So, with my puppy, I expect that when she is old enough to step in to the arena to tackle an FCI style course, she will need a thorough understanding of landing side approaches.

What is a landing side approach?

First off, I think we would be wise to discontinue use of the term ‘threadle', and instead, adopt a term that more accurately describes the type of challenge a threadle represents. So, I'm no longer going to use that word (plus my autocorrect hates it). Instead, I'm going to use the term landing side approach.

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Landing Side Approaches – First Steps

I've been thinking a lot about landing side approaches lately. You know, pushes to the takeoff side of a jump when the dog is approaching from the landing side, pulls to the same. It doesn't have to be a jump – it could also be a tunnel, or a set of weave poles. I'm reworking my verbal threadle cues course to reflect all my thinking of late, and will be offering it late this month, once the turf is in at the agility hall. Super excited about that, but oy, right now it is a lot of labor! (EDIT: it's live! Check it out at landingsideapproaches.com!)

Just a few examples of landing side approaches to obstacles

Just a few examples of landing side approaches to obstacles

In any case, one of the big challenges with landing side approaches is that MOST of the time, our dogs ARE on the takeoff side of an obstacle on approach. Even on an international jumping course, out of the 15-16 jumps a dog takes, maybe only 4 of them or so are landing side approaches. Sometimes more, but sometimes less. However, when those landing side approaches occur, they're usually a problem, because of course your natural cues tell a different story than what you'd like the dog to do, AND, what you'd like them to do is mechanically difficult, typically, when compared to the ‘logical' approach.

So, I really have been wanting to work on this concept with Chispa sooner than later, before she has had the opportunity to TAKE a lot of obstacles ‘logically', or with a takeoff side approach. For those of you who are subscribers, the below is what I've started working on, with an eye toward teaching solid mechanics for landing side approaches, as well as a well trained verbal cue.

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Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!

Chispa and Running Contacts

After a long absence from Chispa (and the rest of the dogs), I got home from Missouri and Singapore, and got back to some…running contact training!

When I was in Missouri, I gave a short running contact presentation, information communication mostly, and started it off by rewatching several videos from this playlist:

It was good to rewatch – I mean, when Solar and I made it to the ring, the BIG ring, and you saw his dogwalk, you'd never think that what is in the BELOW video started as what is in the ABOVE videos…

And, in fact, way back when I was working on Solar's contacts, and publishing all the videos in that playlist above, I heard back through the grapevine that there was a lot of skepticism about whether I'd be successful. That he looked like a “dud”, that he'd never be fast, that training them with food was ridiculous. I didn't hear these things until after I'd already gone down the road a ways with respect to the training, but even when I did hear them, I discarded them as ridiculous – I'd just been to at least one Chicken Camp, might've been my second (I went to all of them ultimately), and of COURSE any creature is slower when first starting a behavior than when FLUENT.

And yet, somehow, the prevailing notion was (and still is, to some extent), that if they're not fast from the start, they'll never GET fast. That training with food is somehow inferior to training with toys. Some people that I talk to, even now, while teaching, are almost ashamed to admit that their dog is a “food” dog and not a toy dog. Huh? The reality is that food can get you a long, long way, “depending”. Depending on how you use it, of course. Toys are in many ways more convenient, and less expensive (maybe, I just use kibble, mostly), but to make somebody feel as though they, or their dog, is inferior because they use food…Oy. Do I think that we should all strive to help our dogs enjoy play with toys? Sure! Do I think that a balance of using food and toys is probably more well rounded than use of one or the other, exclusively? Sure! But putting pressure on an animal to do something (play) that may be uncomfortable and vulnerable feeling to them, or YOU…Toys are for play, and play is NEVER a “must do”, right? It's PLAY, after all!

Anyway, with Chipper and with Frodo, I didn't really watch those old Solar videos. And I mean REALLY watch. I will  probably watch those videos again, because sometimes it is all too easy to keep the faith that yes, slow will become fast. That tentative will become confident. That bumbling will become fluent. These things WILL happen, provided that I keep MY wits about me, take my time, and have respect for the learning process.

No big deal, right?

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Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!