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My name is Penny & I'm an agility addict

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Practice, practice, practice!

We got quite a bit of practice in this weekend. All 3 dogs got to work some. Saturday, we did a one day clinic as a Regionals prep. It was run similar to regionals to get everyone used to the format since there were a few handlers who have never been to regionals.

We did Jumpers as our first run. I decided to use Bizzie for this one. She had an off course (due to my bad handling) but ran the rest quite well. We repeated the course again & she was clean! I have to remember not to turn my back on her, she cut behind me both times in the same place... and I never do blind crosses with her!

The second run was Standard & I ran Blast. He seems to be developing an aversion to tunnels, he goes in the entry & comes back out... not sure why... anyhow, this happened the first run & we screwed up a tricky jump pattern, but he did the last half quite well. The second run, he seemed to be really distracted & nervous, which I thought we were getting over. I picked him up after the 5th obstacle since he was sniffing & avoiding.. sigh... We did run it again at the end & he did quite well.

The last run we did was Gamblers, so I saved this one for Boo. He got the mini, which included a teeter - he hates teeters - not sure how many points we got, but we missed the final gamble when he took the wrong entry to the tunnel.
Second time around he missed the mini but got the final gamble. He'll often do the teeter once, but then avoids it the next time. He does it just fine in practice, but then there's cookies involved!

Today we had a CAA practice, which is at a different location. We set up a few stations to work different skills & then ran a course at the end. The inevitable finally happened... Bizzie beat Boo! She was clean & he wasn't! Blast was quite distracted again, so we just did some short drills & called it a day for him. He's such a complex little guy, hard to figure out what upsets him.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I finally bit the bullet & signed up for outreach for 2010.

I know I need some help with my training, so hopefully the consistency in the system will help.
The first day much of our time was spent doing jump exercises. I worked the exercises with Blast, & he did very well, of course it's me that needs the work! I have been working on Blast's focus & I think it is improving, so he was able to work with other dogs present. He is now also waiting quietly in his crate when not his turn, which is a big thing to me, since he can be quite a barker.

The second day was all about contacts & weaves, which is the area where we need the most work.
As soon as Blast came into the arena & saw all the contact equipment, his demeanor was quite different.... he was more stressed, (as was I), seemed to forget some of what we've been working on, and I could really see that he doesn't understand his job as far as contacts are concerned.

He did pretty well with some of the weave pole drills, and managed to keep focus through that part of the exercises, which was good, since it was at the end of the day.

I've decided not to trial him for the next month or two, (maybe a jumpers round so that he can still be exposed to the trial setting) and really spend some time training contacts.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Trial results

We did the Training Troop trial on the weekend, & as usual it was a fun time!
The dogs did pretty well, although I'm going to take Bizzie to the chiropractor for a check up - she didn't seem herself & was running slow much of the time, which is not her style. She did manage 2 Adv Standard Q's, but I've been working hard on her start line & it was really good 50% of the time & sucked the other 50%. She ran off a couple of times, so her focus wasn't great, but we'll work on that. She's been pretty sucky at home too, not interested in playing much, so I'm just going to get her checked out & make sure everything physically is good. She almost got the gamble, but turned the wrong way out of the tunnel, sigh, another thing to practice in training! I carried her off the snooker run, she slipped off the teeter cause she was watching me, & we were both tired at that point, so we ended the day with that.

Boo only Q'd one run out of five, but it was a difficult Challenge run & it was really nice, other than his slow teeter. His little friend Loralei, who is Lynda C's young student, ran him in Jumpers & did a great job, their timing was just a little off... she's a great little handler! He did get the gamble beautifully, but we were short points in the opening due to some bad handling on my part. Our snooker ended abruptly with a back jump...bad dog... bad handler!

I was very happy with Blast this weekend, he had some really nice moments - he managed one Adv Standard Q, but he was running quite well. He still balks at the weave poles when he's feeling insecure, so that cost us a refusal in one of the standard courses. He had an awful Snooker round, but he had to go outside to go potty, so at least I can read the signs now... he used to have stress diarrhea in the ring not so long ago.

Two long days at a trial running 3 dogs is hard on my body, I may have to consider just entering one day per weekend in the future, although I'd like as much practice as possible before Regionals!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Past Year's Achievements

I was just thinking about how many things I still need to work on with my dogs - with Nationals here in Calgary this year, I think everyone is training harder than ever.
Then I stopped to think about what we have achieved in the past year & I checked out our AAC achievement pages. We really didn't do too bad!

Boo, who is now 5 yrs old, earned several Q's this year, despite the fact that I don't enter him in full trials since I found he's much better with a couple of runs each day. He actually got 32 Masters Qualifiers, as well as his Ex St Silver, Ex Sc Bronze, his VBA (Versatility Bronze Award), & his Silver Award of Merit. He also won his division at our AAC Regionals this year & placed 7th at Nationals.
If you had seen this dog trialing the first couple of years, you'd be surprised too!

Blast, who is my crazy giant papillon, earned 15 qualifiers, his Agility Dog of Canada & his Starters Games Dog of Canada. This was a huge accomplishment for this guy who used to zoom around the ring doing laps!

Bizzie Bee, who took 4 months off to have a litter of puppies, also did very well.
She earned 9 qualifiers, & her Agility dog of Canada & her Starters Games Dog of Canada. She said she's not doing the puppy thing again this year, so hopefully we will get some quality training time in!

Well, I still feel over whelmed with all the training we need to do, but I do feel we accomplished some big goals this year, so now it's onward & upward for 2010!