I had planned to get in a walk today on the fort's training areas, but by the time I was ready to go it was pouring rain. Thought I might go after a short stint at work, but the rain hadn't stopped when I reached a potential stopping point...
Thus, Gimme was not as focused at class. I'm sure it made a difference the rain also kept me from standing outside with her to do focus and RP work, which gets her brain engaged. She did alright, just not as smooth as she has in recent classes. While she blew right by the straight on weave entry, she did a lovely 100 degree entry and held onto it.
Usually when she isn't focused I try to take up the slack, but tonight I decided to take a different approach. So for our second run, I put the PB tube in my pocket, zipped up my treat bag and threw it down in the middle of a section of course I thought would be easy for her to do. Then we worked those three jumps. Naturally she was distracted by the obvious presence of the treat bag and we spent about half our allotted time working through that.
We also discovered a hole in our training, based on my handling. Gimme has developed a very late take-off (commitment) point and is always ready to pull off a jump. Most of the time, I go past jumps I want her to take and she's come to rely on that as the true cue that I want her to jump it. However, she's ready to pull off at any tiny indication. Also Blynn told me when that happens, my tendency is to call Gimme to me and praise her and I often treat her as well. In my head I'm praising her for coming to me and giving her a screw-up cookie... since I assume its my screw-up, not hers. However, Blynn thinks I'm unintentionally rewarding her pulling off jumps and indirectly rewarding the late commitment point. A valid point.
So we worked on me not doing that, being more precise about supporting my sends, without a slinging arm motion, and only rewarding when we both got it right. Of course, I rewarded it well - to keep her motivated to work through this issue on both of us. And we did get there.
It occurs to me that I need to let go of my "need" for screw-up cookies. Its one thing to use them if she's becoming demotivated by repeated failures - but in that case, I should be breaking it down further, eh. I think I've fallen into using them as a crutch to keep her from getting distracted. And, the other lesson is that its time for Gimme to do some more growing up and develop more self-control and I need to let her. Hopefully our summer classes with Ursula will help us get further along that road.
The other thing Blynn pointed out is my tendency, as I complete a sequence, to turn away (usually 180 degrees) and reward Gimme at my side. Clearly I'm teaching her, again, be ready to turn and pull off at all times. I need to vary that - sometimes straight, sometimes 45 or 90 degrees, sometimes with a front cross...
I love training with Blynn. She always has some insight (or two) to send me home with. She's patient and able to be flexible. I like that she keeps nudging me toward better handling and better training.