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My name is Penny & I'm an agility addict

Monday, November 30, 2009

Agility Seminar

This past weekend I went up to Edmonton for an agility seminar hosted by See Spot Run & taught by Shannen Jorgensen.

Apart from the ugly drive up there (I think we just made it before they closed the highway due to unsafe driving conditions - ice, blowing snow, etc) it was a fun time. I had a great travelling companion in Lynda with her awesome kelpi, Luc. I took both Bizzie & Blast with me. Poor Luc, he worked so well, even though he's an intact male & there were 2 girls in heat there!

Bizzie was in the Starters/Advanced group & we did many short exercises focusing on things like "no motion cues", & teaching a "Switch" as well as directionals. I've always been a little confused about using Switch rather than a Left or Right cue. I think it is more clear in my mind now so that I can now start to teach it with the correct criteria in mind. Unfortunately, Bizzie came into heat right before we left, so she was a little "off" & not quite as focused as usual.

Blast was in the Adv/Masters group & we did more handling in this group. Some really tough courses that would rival any challenge course in AAC I'm sure! I was very proud of my boy! He did some really great things & was even tugging after his runs, etc. This is a big step for the boy who has so much trouble focusing & concentrating! (especially in a new location with dogs he didn't know!)

Next weekend we're up to Edmonton again, this time for a trial. Bizzie will have to stay home, so it will be good to see if Blast runs better at this trial since he will have more attention from me prior to his runs. Sometimes it's really difficult to have 2 dogs running in the same class, when you only have 1 or 2 dogs in between - I really think they get short-changed when that happens...

Anyhow, pray for good weather - it's not a fun drive up to Edmonton in a blizzard!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another trial!

What a great time we had this weekend. We didn't Q a lot, but that's not what matters most - all of my dogs had some really nice runs.

Boo ran in 2 Masters Std, 1 Masters Gamble & 1 Masters Jumpers. He missed the DW contact in the first standard, but Q'd the other one with a really nice run. He missed the gamble, but Q'd the jumpers run (he hadn't run jumpers since nationals)

Bizzie had an awesome first standard run - until she got zoomie & just had to take the chute!
(I tried to load the video but gave up after 2 hrs-will try to load on You Tube) OK - I finally got it loaded - under papillonpenny - Bizzie Std 1

This was the first time I've entered her in a full trial - 7 runs & she handled it well, although I could see she was much slower at the end of the day on Sunday.

She was a little distracted in the Gamblers run & didn't get the final gamble (no Adv dogs got that gamble!) although I thought it was do-able.

Both of her Adv Jumpers runs were lots of fun, although she took an off-course tunnel in both - wasn't that a surprise.. ha ha.
She had a really nice Adv Snooker run, was just tipping the teeter when the buzzer went - she was 2 points short of a Q (would have probably completed it but I had a brain fart). Then they determined that the clock was set incorrectly & we should have had 5 sec more, so we reran & Bizzie found something really interesting to sniff, so once again we were 2 points short.
Last run of the day was Starters Std & she was a little slow, but she paid attention & got her last Starters Q! She was a very good girl all weekend (except for not wanting to sit on the startline)...

The first standard run of the day for Blast was a good one... my friend Anneli ran him for me - I only had one dog in between Biz & Blast & Anneli has been giving me some tips, so we decided she should run him. He ran well for her, but left the table - otherwise it was really nice - even got his weave pole entry!

One of his adv jumpers rounds was really nice & he did Q it, the other round he took the same off course tunnel that Bizzie did, it was a difficult part of the course, & something I will be sure to set up in training!

His snooker run didn't go according to plan, so it was a short one!
He didn't get either gamble, but he was a little distracted - I need to plan a nice flowy path for him in the opening.

His last standard round he Q'd, so that was his final starters run as well! He did miss the weave pole entry, but other than that it was a pretty nice run... he's still running slower & more carefully, but hopefully the speed will come back (just not in zoomies!) Now both Biz & Blast are in Adv everything except snooker, where Blast is doing masters.

We had lots of fun - challenging courses, the trial ran smoothly, & I think everyone had a good time!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Fun!

Well, I should have known better! In my last post, I mentioned that Blast was paying attention much better & ignoring other dogs, etc... so, as a reminder to me that this dog training is a long & winding path, Blast was quite distracted on Saturday at the Sue Charlton seminar in Olds. Of course this is another fairly new arena for him & new dogs as well. I actually worked Bizzie a lot more but thought I'd give him a chance to come out & work a bit. He didn't want to settle in his crate, & was really antsy most of the day.

Bizzie did really well. I wasn't sure what she could handle since she's never done a full seminar before. Other than running off a few times to check out the other dogs, she listened really well, did some great distance work & actually did a few gambles! I was quite impressed since I've done little distance work with her. She held most of her start lines, which is what we've been doing a lot of work on. It sure hit home with me how much easier it is to do distance work with a faster, more driven dog than with a slower, less motivated dog (Boo). Of course with that also comes other challenges!

Boo didn't get to work, although I let him do a few weave poles during the break. He spent the day in his Xpen crying his eyes out - you should have heard him! OMG what a baby! I guess I shouldn't complain, at least he wants to come out to work now... it wasn't that long ago that he would have been happy to stay there & sleep!

Wayne took Cactus & they did some great work with placing rewards at the best place to take her focus off him, and always using a food pouch instead of feeding her from his hand.

Sunday was our CAA practice, so we did some short, fun jumpers courses & worked some gamble stations. Jumpers is certainly Blast's thing - he so loves to jump. Instead of trying to calm him on the start line, I rev'd him up a bit & he ran really well.

Boo got to work on his gamble skills, which are usually much better in practice than in trials (the power of the cookie!) He now will chase a toy & tug a bit (even with no teeth), which is something I've been working on with all the dogs.

Bizzie did very well again - caught her running behind me a couple of times, so will have to nip that in the bud! She did an awesome "out" to a jump on the far side of the DW, so that made my day!

So, it was a really fun weekend with lots of practice using all of the equipment, which is not something that we get to do all the time!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Take a Step Back

I had Blast at a training class last night (first time in a long time). This was a class of dogs that he hadn't met before. I didn't take part in the first half of the class, so I took the opportunity to work Blast on a few weave poles, & did some tricks & taught him a new one (put your head down).
He was very focused on me, listened well & paid no attention to the other dogs.... what? yes, he paid no attention to the other dogs. I just had to think about 6 months ago, he would have been pulling on the leash & wanting to go meet all the other dogs. We are always so aware of the behaviours we want, & then, when at long last we get them, sometimes we forget to celebrate the small victories! So today I am thinking that my "little" boy is making progress! Oh happy day!