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My name is Penny & I'm an agility addict

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trials vs Practice

I was just thinking about the difference between practice, even fun matches & an actual trial.
I really thought Ditto was ready to trial & although she's done really well, I was reminded of all the things I didn't proof in practice... starting right beside the timer & scribe (friends of hers of course), the judge running the DW right beside you, that electronic "GO", dogs warming up very close to the startline with crazy tugging happening, and the extra noise & adrenalin etc. 
Ditto is not a dog that is worried by these things, but she is young & can still be easily distracted if we are not super connected.

She did well at the trial - first course was gamblers where she got 100 points!  She was running fast & confident...  2nd trial, 2nd gamber Q - we are so not ready for advanced!  In her jumpers run, she ran over to visit the pole setter so had 5 faults for a refusal, but the rest was great.

I only put her in 2 runs per day so the next day was steeplechase & Standard.   She broke her startline in steeplechase but I did take my eyes off her, so partially my fault, then she missed a jump, but I was very happy with the rest of the run - super contacts & weaves.  I'm not sure what happened in her standard run - started off great but she decided she wanted to do the backside of a jump (something to work on) then had a little zoomie around & through a tunnel, but she came back & did the rest just fine.
All in all, she's doing great for such a young dog!

On another note, I've been giving Blast valerian root for a couple of weeks since he is such a nervous nellie.  I was trying this mainly to settle him down at home but the upside was he had a great trial - 3 out of 5 Q's & running happier.  Not sure if this was just a fluke but will keep him on it to see if it really did make a difference!

Bizzie has been parked since Nationals since we weren't running as a team at all, but I put her in 2 runs - Wayne ran her in Steeplechase where she had an off course tunnel!  What a surprise!  She just needs Snooker runs for her ATCHC but haven't been entereing snooker - too much push & pull - anyways, we got a snooker Q!  Yeah!  Still not running well together but we got the job done.
video
Here is Ditto's gamble run!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Adventure Begins!

I haven't really been in a rush to trial Ditto, but she was 18 months at the end of Sept & it seems she is more ready to trial than any of my other dogs were when I started them!

I took her to Edmonton last weekend to see how she would handle it.  She'd never stayed in a hotel before, we were trialing at a new venue & all her siblings were left behind - it was just Ditto & mom.  Well, she thought hotel life was great, she didn't miss the other dogs, & she was confident but sassy at the trial.

She ran fast, held her contacts and startlines & listened to me (most of the time)!
She just ran a couple of runs each day so Saturday she ran gamblers & standard & Q'd them both!  There were a few "moments" in each run, but no faults incurred.
Sunday was team (spectacular teeter fly off) & steeplechase (missed a jump - totally my fault) and a jumpers.  For such a rookie she did awesome!  I'm so looking forward to more trials with my little spitfire!

She's also making her scent hurdle debut very soon!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

And the Fun Begins!

I ran Ditto in our Wee Wed trial last night...  it's really like starting all over again - she is so different from all of my other dogs!  this girl loves to run!  I was thrilled she held her start line in jumpers, but I didn't support the line well enough so she found her own line!  She did come back & finish the course with style! 
Steeplechase was another matter.,.  she hasn't ever had a chute as the first obstacle & it blew her little mind - she broke her startline & came out like a shot & just kept going!  she did come back & did some really nice weaves & a beautiful 2o2o on the Aframe...  however.... when I released her, she didn't move & then decided since she was in the position, she might as well poop!  Very unlike her...
Anyhow, she had a great time, ran fast & was cute as can be when she jumped onto the pole setters' lap & proceeded to kiss her to death!  Not that we want to rehearse that behaviour...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Go See Spot Fly!

I just spent 2 days working Ditto in a seminar put on by some great friends & trainers...  it's the first time she's done anything other than an hour lesson.  What a great little girl she is!  She was still happy to work at the end of 2 days in extremely hot weather!  What a little trooper!

We did some distance work which is something entirely new for her...  she did really well - just need to work on some discrimination skills before we do much more distance stuff.

My handling skills need much work - she's so much different to run than any of my other dogs!  But she's so much fun!

We had a lot of fun with the squirt bottle -  she pounces just like a cat!

Lots of laughs, some great training challenges,  got to know some agility people I didn't know before, great steak dinner on Sat nite - what more can a girl ask for!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Big Event

Well, we survived Nationals - well, just barely.  The event was lots of fun - great venue in Nanaimo.
We stayed at the Inn on Long Lake - most pet friendly place I've ever stayed... they even took video of our dogs playing in the lake & posted it on their facebook page!

Nationals was a bust for us... I knew that was a possibility, not sure what determines how Bizzie feels about agility.  Some weekends she runs well, happy & fast, & others she's just not into it.  It was extremely hot - 37 degrees with the humidex on Sunday...  she's still licking her feet a lot, have tried different foods, nothing seems to change.  I'm going to get her completely checked out medically again... get her thyroid checked, etc.  My chiro thinks her mouth is sore, so will get a dental done on her as well.  She did travel very well & loves hotels, so it was a nice vacation for her.

Bizzie's daughter, Zipr won the 10" Reg division, so we were very happy for her... seems the thing Biz is best at is having great puppies! 

Roomies                                         
view from our balcony

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Off we go!

We're off to the AAC Nationals tomorrow... not sure what to expect from Bizzie - I'm just taking her, not Blast..
This is the first year she has qualified & i wavered about going, but finally decided neither one of us is getting any younger!
My goal is the same as for Regionals - for Bizzie to run happy (& fast!) 
It should be a fun Nationals - a family reunion of sorts - 2 of Bizzie's pups & her sister are all competing as well!
Wish us luck!

Here's Bizzie thinking about Nationals!  LOL! She's thinking about her dinner!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ready, Set, Go

Well, the entry is in, confirmation received, Bizzie & I are going to Nationals...  It was a tough decision, but as always, once the decision is made, you feel better... I think!

We have a couple of trials coming up, so we will see if she is running well - she was running fast & happy at Regionals, so that's our goal for Nat's.  Just hope the weather is reasonable.  Looking forward to Nanaimo - haven't been to the Island for a few years...

We took all the dogs for a short camping trip last weekend.  It seemed every campsite had at least 1 very large dog!  Almost every walk we took (on leash) we had big dogs run up to us - really annoying how people think the rules are for everyone else... fortunately there were no real incidents, but when there are 3 huge dogs barreling up to you & your 6 lb wonder, it gets your heart beating!   Ditto was anxious to get out of her crate!










Ditto even persuaded Blast to get his feet wet!  First time ever!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Trying to decide if I should take Bizzie to Nationals...  I was 90% sure we wouldn't go, but I'm having second thoughts...  It's a lot of money, but I can share expenses...  she's not all that consistent, if it rains, she likely won't run well... she's been pretty cheeky, but is running fast...
I likely won't go next year (assuming we qualify) cause it'll likely be in the east which is too far to travel...

If I stay home, I can do the AKC show here at Spruce Meadows...

Hmmm, I just have a couple of days to decide.... what should I do???

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Regionals is a wrap!

Regionals is now history!  What a great event it was - the venue was awesome - very large, lots of shade trees, oodles of places to bench, off leash trails, great weather - what more could you ask!
The organizers from Flashing Canines did a wonderful job - didn't see a glitch all weekend.  We camped in the parking lot, which is the only way to go when you're bringing 6 dogs!

Ditto reminded me that she really can jump out of a 3ft x-pen but she was a good girl other than that! 
My goals for the weekend were for Bizzie to have fun & run & I really was hoping she would qualify for the first time... for Blast, I was hoping he could stop worrying & improve on his last year's result (11th place)

So Bizzie ran really well, but I wasn't really used to the fast, happy Bizzie so we had a few oopsies... some my fault & some, well, she can be pretty naughty.  She lost us about 10 sec in the last jumpers round by wandering around the start line (took offense to me asking her to wait!)
  She got the first gamble, was clean in the first jumpers, but took a wide turn in standard & took the wrong jump then fiddled around at the weave pole entrance.  She didn't get the second gamble cause she kept going out after the out jump & took an extra one for good measure then finished the gamble perfectly!
  The second standard my motion kept her moving forward after the tunnel instead of turning so we had a costly off course, then she thought she was finished after the dogwalk & ran off so it took a few seconds to get her back to do the last jumps.
  Anyhow, to sum up, she qualified with over 400 points & was 7th in her division... she also tugged in the warmup which is a huge thing for me - she's never been able to do that before ever!  So it was a very successful regionals for miss Bizzie B!

Blast didn't have the greatest weekend - he was very worried & distracted for almost every run.  He did manage to get the first gamble & had a clean jumpers run on Sunday.  He bailed off the teeter twice, something new for him, & did a lot of wandering around between obstacles.  He did qualify in 8th place & actually got a 3rd in the Gamble, but he had less points than last year & seemed more stressed.  That may be his last agility trial, I really don't want to force him to do something that stresses him so much.

I'm undecided about Nationals - probably won't go, but if I do, I will just take Bizzie...  she really was a good little girl!

Monday, May 28, 2012

My trip to the WAO

What a great trip!  I've been back for a week now & of course I'm sick from airplane air.... seems to happen every time I go on a big trip.

Hotel ter Brughes

We had about 5 days to sightsee before the competition began, so we saw Amsterdam, Bruges (Belgium), Aachen (Germany), Maastricht (Belgium).  Europe is just so different from Canada - people seldom worry about many things we seem to get uptight about.   Dogs are allowed everywhere & are seldom neutered.  People are responsible for their own safety when walking on the streets - it's a little scary in the big cities - there are trains, cars, bicycles, all driving fast & the intersections are almost every man for himself!
If you ever get the chance to visit Bruges, you must go - it's such an interesting old city (I think it's a city). The hotel where we stayed was built in the 1500's.. updated of course, but very interesting.
We saw a beautiful cathedral in Aachen, gorgeous stained glass everywhere...    We had a great bunch that travelled together - 7 of us in 2 vehicles! 


The event was held at a huge equestrian facility.  There were 2 outdoor rings & 1 indoor ring.  It's a little confusing to know what is going on - we did have running orders for the individual events but not the team events.  The courses were very tight for the large dogs, the double jumps were huge - as wide as they were tall - many of the dogs crashed but got better as the days went on...

There were some amazing dogs & handlers - some interesting handling & some slower dogs as well....  Canada did well & we did earn some medals....  I think the experience was awesome & it was great fun to go with no stress & just be there to cheer on the team! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Big Adventure!

Well, I am off to cheer on the Canadian team at the WAO in Belgium... just 2 more sleeps!
It will be nice to have a break from all my responsibilities, but I'll miss the dogs like crazy...
There are quite a few team members from Alberta, so it should be lots of fun!  Hope to do some sight-seeing as well.

It is only a short time until our Regional competition, but I'm hoping the break will be good for all of us.
Bizzie has been licking obsessively again - still not sure if it is allergies or stress or just habit.  She hasn't been running very well at the past couple of trials - starts the course then stops suddenly & just looks at me.
My thoughts are: 
  - she's hurting (has been to the chiropractor)
  - she hates Blast (ran fine when I took her to a Wee Wed trial by herself)
  - she's jealous of the time I spend with Ditto
  - she has allergies (now on raw diet)
  - she was upset because Critter was in heat

Other thoughts - She runs awesome at practices,
                        - She sleeps more than the rest of the dogs
                        - She only plays with me apart from the other dogs
                        - She's just a princess?

Anyhow, she will have quite a nice break while I'm away so hope it does some good.
I'm going to have a blood panel done again as soon as I'm back just to rule out anything physical.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

help I can't keep up!

New technology is driving me crazy - everytime I buy something new I have to strain my brain to learn how to use it!  Finally got used to my iPhone now I bought an iPad...  I need to keep a young person around at all times to help me!  'That's my rant for the day!

On the dog front, we've had some successes & some not so great results... 
Blast is somewhat of a loose cannon - never too sure what I'll get in a trial situation.  I've started giving him some flower extracts to relax him but haven't had many opportunities in trial situations to see if it's making a difference.

Bizzie remains a puzzle.  We did 3 days of trials on 2 different weekends with lousy results.  She would start off running then suddenly stop completely... never did a set of weave poles  in any course.  Then I took her by herself (no other dogs) to a Wed evening trial & ran her FEO & she ran just fine.
I really suspect that our other female being in heat is really affecting her even though she is spayed.  I don't think there's any science to support that, but it's my gut feeling.  I'm giving her a break right now which is a little scarey since we won't have any more trials before Regionals to see how she is...
She is still licking her leg a lot, which is driving me quite crazy...

Ditto is now 14 months & doing great.  I took her to a fun match last weekend & she behaved quite well. It was her first time outdoors & she ran happy, held all her contacts & was relaxed enough to play. 
She's a happy little girl & loves to work so that makes training her tons of fun!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Year Flies By!

I can't believe that a year has passed since bizzie had her last litter of pups! Yes, Ditto & the gang are a year old now! It has been fun times, that's for sure - she's such an energetic, happy little girl.
Her scent hurdle training is coming along really well. She almost always can find her own bell & she seems to love the game! Bringing it all the way back is what we are working on right now - sometimes she gets excited over the jumps & drops it... Next order of business is working with distractions. It's become difficult for her to work in open spaces when there are other dogs around - which is something I've worked on from the get go with her. I have to remember she's still very young & we will work through this.
We've started her 2x2 training again - took a break from it to work on other things... she retained what we did a month ago, so I was happy with that... she's almost weaving 4 poles now.
Because she is so much fun to work with I have to remember to spend enough time with my other kids!
Bizzie is doing well - seems to be feeling good. Blast has taken a step backwards again - not sure why... I think he is very jealous of Ditto, so he needs lots of one on one time with me.

We are entered for one day in a trial this weekend, so will see how they are doing!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Skills for a New Year

I've decided to try to learn a new dog sport for 2012. I'm planning on training Ditto for scent hurdles. She finally learned to retrieve so that's a good start! Our next goal is to get her to carry the dumbell all the way back to me. She tends to drop it too early. I have no idea if she has a "good nose" or not, but guess I'll find out! In a couple of weeks she will be a year old - can't believe how fast that year went...

Her agility training is going well - I did a lot of foundation work with her first, so that helped a lot. We haven't trained the table yet, so that will be next. Currently we are working on weave poles, using the 2 x2 method, which is new to me. I'm in no hurry, so it may take a little while. She has a good teeter, understands 2 on 2 off for the contacts (which will be a work in progress) & has just learned to go through the chute. She's jumping 6" now with no problems, so hope the transition to 10" will be seamless. We're just starting to work Rear Crosses, so there's still a long way to go, although she seems to follow my motion quite well so far!

I probably won't start to trial her until she's at least two or later if she's not ready then... I already have enough on my plate with my other 2 dogs! Although they're all papillons, they're all very different from each other, which makes running them a challenge!

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Ditto

This is my goofy puppy Ditto - just about 11 months now! Wow - where did the time go. She has such a sense of humor. She loves to sit on my head when I'm on my laptop & she'll sit there until I kick her off... It's funny - I have 4 papillons & everyone of them is a different personality. This one seems to be the goofy girl. She has been a bold puppy right from the start - loves big dogs, has tons of energy & does funny things all the time. She tried to climb the ladder when I went up it to paint, got a holy roller stuck on her head more than once (it was broken so she could get her head in) & loves to sit up in the highest point in the room. She's great fun to train & loves to work. I have spent quite a bit of time doing foundation work with her & it's really beginning to pay off. She is able to work through distractions & has great focus. Now we're starting to work on some really fun stuff - 2x2 weaves and contact training. Wish me luck!






Sunday, January 15, 2012

Trial results

We just finished our first trial of 2012.
I ran Blast & Bizzie in 3 runs each day opting out of challenge & Snooker - don't think they are the best thing for building confidence...
Sat was a little disappointing - no Q's, but both dogs were running happy, which is my first concern. The gamble was pretty difficult - only 5 dogs Q'd out of maybe 80 dogs.
Biz is still getting off courses - those tunnels are so rewarding to her! Blast continues to like 10" & is running pretty well - I have to remember how far he has come! Ditto came to hang out & meet new people & dogs... she did very well. She's still very forward & pretty much loves everyone.
Sunday, we ran Steeplechase & both dogs ran it very well - in the same time! 4.59 yps - I'm happy with that! The other 2 runs were both standard runs & a little tricky... off courses got Biz again & Blast decided to blow contacts.
It was really cold inside & out so it was nice to get home into a hot bath!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012

Well, it's now a new year & hopefully new & exciting times lie ahead!
Ditto is pretty much grown up now, well, her body anyways - she can be quite a willfull puppy so although she likes to work, she can be very independent... still working on that recall & on retrieves. She won't be a year until Feb, so she's still young.

I decided to move Blast to specials, so now he just has to jump 10". Although he really is a good jumper & quite athletic, dropping him to 10" seemed to take some pressure off & he seems happier & running much faster - which of course is a problem - for me! I need to get into better shape so I can keep up!

Bizzie is still a work in progress - still building confidence - she has some great runs & some OK runs. Trying to keep her body in good shape seems to be a bit of a problem - just had her at the chiropractor today & she really seems to need regular adjustments to be able to run well. I probably need to get her on a regular program of massage & chiropractic adjustments.

Boo is still the little nuisance in the house - he just has the most annoying bark - something between a crow & a duck! He still loves to tear around the yard with the rest of the crew, & barks at all the birds...

Definately lots to work on this year - as long as we all stay healthy I'll be happy!