Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rip's runs from AKC at Latigo

Here are Rip's 3 runs that were taped from this weekend's trial.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Skye's runs from AKC at Latigo

Here are most of Skye's runs from the AKC show. Rip's runs to come soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Skye qualifies for AKC Nationals and Rip gets a Title!

I like this annual 3 day AKC trial after Thanksgiving as it's close to home and I've got the time off anyway. Skye and I were going into this trial needing just 25 more Mach points to qualify for AKC Nationals. Note to self - next year do a couple more AKC trials so we dont come down to the last weekend to try and earn those points!
I am really happy to say that we got those 25 points! Actually, we got 31 points, so 6 to spare, HA! We managed to only get 2 Q's this weekend, on different days, so no double Q's this time. We were clean in Friday's JWW run, and then first thing on Saturday in STD, so then I could run and it didn't really matter as we had met our goal. I was pushing a little more than usual so I caused a bar to come down in each of our other JWW runs, but they were very nice. Our STD run on Sunday was great except for a missed dogwalk contact. Friday's STD was a mess - Skye checked his focus at the gate so yee haw!

So, on to Rip's weekend performance. My Rip boy ran very well for me this weekend and though we only came away with one Q out of the 4 runs, I feel like we were connected and both had a good time. If you read my last post about contacts you will note that I had started to introduce a 2on2off in practice. It's still at a very early stage, and I am only doing 2o2o with the dogwalk. I am Thrilled to say that Rip hit BOTH dogwalk contacts in his standard runs. He had not hit one in any prior run. Now, since neither STD run was a Q, we did manage to find other small issues. In Saturday's standard run, he stepped on the broad jump. That was his only fault on an otherwise great run, but its equivalent to dropping a bar, so NQ. In Saturday's JWW run, he did great and Q'd, earning his Novice Jumpers title and letting us move to Open for Sunday.
On Sunday, Rip's standard run was nice, though he came off the side of the teeter and then hit turbo boost and launched his AFrame contact. Still though, he was running fast and with lots of enthusiasm. In our first Open Jumpers course, I didnt support a jump enough for him after I front crossed, causing him to come around it, and then he backjumped it instead.

So a fun filled weekend with goals met - cant beat that! Lots of good friends there to cheer on and some who just came along to cheer for us! The weather even turned out great.

I will have video to post soon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What is this "touch" you speak of?

I haven't had any agility trials since early October and my next one isn't until the weekend after Thanksgiving, and add to that a vacation last month, and there hasn't been much to write about.

The Thanksgiving trial is a 3 day AKC event where Skye is going to earn his last few points he needs to qualify for Nationals in March.

Our vacation to Florida preempted my thoughts on going to the Cynosport games, USDAA's Championship event. Skye is fully qualified and I had intentions on going, but due to the expense and vacation time used for our Florida trip, it will have to wait until next year (unless USDAA does actually move the event to the east coast). Instead I will follow along online and I wish everyone the best in their runs!

So, an update on Mr Rip's flying contacts. Ok, I admit defeat, at least for a little while. Though Rip has been hitting his AFrames in competition and in practice, he has YET to actually hit the yellow on a dogwalk in competition (though he's only done about 4 trials). I can also get Mr Confidence to leap at the halfway point of the down ramp in practice.
Now, I am happy with his speed and enthusiasm in running his dogwalk, but rather than tightening up his stride and getting more consistent with the contacts, he has been extending out and seriously jumping, flying well over the contact. Because of this, I have started teaching him a 2o2o position with a "touch" command. It's not something he has learned before, because right from the start, he only understood that you run on the board. He's starting to get the point, and I will be working in this Stop on the dogwalk for the foreseeable future. When he gets the complete understanding and can do the stop reliably, I expect I will transition that to a quick-release. At some point, I will come back to running his dogwalks, but for now he just doesnt get the point of the contact zone.
Rip is also entered in the Thanksgiving AKC trial, and unfortunately we cannot "train" in the AKC ring, so if he misses, then he misses. Its not really his fault, so I don't expect I will down him or carry him off. Likely I will just verbally mark the miss with an "Uh Oh" and pause our progress, then finish the course.

Rip has been learning some new tricks like "spread em" where he stands up against a wall while he gets "frisked", and I have been trying to teach him to stand on his hind legs and walk forward. These have the benefit of strengthening his back and back legs too!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm back

Back from 9 days away for vacation. The pups are incredibly happy to see us after having given up hope on our return. We have a new addition to our family that we picked up in Indiana too - I will try to get a picture of him posted here. While we were gone, it snowed here, and though most of it is gone and today was 60 degrees, there is more in the forecast for tomorrow. Ugh. Doesn't bode well for outdoor training - glad to have the indoor facility!

So, no matter how bad your day/week was, it probably wasnt as bad as the owner of this car we saw on the ride back. I was mr. fast-with-the-camera for this one:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rip is Two

Rip's birthday was last Sunday - my boy is 2. I decided to weigh him today and he's actually gained some weight - he is at 43.2 lbs now. Maybe that is due to his stealing Skye's breakfast the last couple days, or the different food that he's been getting. Either way, his shape looks good and I dont really feel backbone now when petting him. I dont mind feeling some ribs, but I dont want to feel backbone.

We have just 1 more trial this year, just after Thanksgiving, and then it's going to be time to have him neutered. ..

Monday, October 12, 2009

AKC in the cold at Brighton, CO

Fortunately we had an indoor trial this weekend at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Brighton. It was soooo cold, the high temperature on Saturday was something like 25 degrees. While driving up, we saw many accidents and at one point on I-25, there was a pile up with at least 12 cars smashed and in the ditch, including a police car. We made it OK though a little late, and I had to run Skye with the 20A group.

I am disappointed in my handling of Skye this weekend. We seldom have offcourses, but on both of our JWW runs, I took my eyes off him and he grabbed an off course jump. Since I wasnt actually seeing him take the wrong jump, I KNOW I wasn't watching him! Lesson learned the hard way.
We had a good Standard run on Saturday but he pulled his famous take-the-tunnel-instead-of-AFrame maneuver. The setup made the tunnel the obvious choice for the dog, so I cant blame him too much - a lot of dogs got that offcourse, but I did make sure to get his attention before it, and he took off anyway.
Our Standard run on Sunday was clean, though we had a slow sit on the table, and I over handled the dogwalk/tunnel discrimination - I wasn't going to lose yet Another Q due to that. The courses this weekend seemed to be wheeled really tight, thus the times allowed didn't provide the normal cushion, and we ended up with a Standard Q but only 10 MACH points (our usual is 20).
So this leaves me still needing 25 points to qualify for AKC Nationals. We have 1 more AKC show after Thanksgiving, so I have 6 runs to get the points. It shouldn't be a problem. I hope. Fingers crossed.

Mr Rip had a good weekend. He ran two great JWW runs. On Saturday, he dropped one bar at the jump after the tunnel, but he ran fast and accurate - no bobbles and his weaves were great. He actually had the fastest time on Saturday of all Novice JWW dogs by 5 seconds. On Sunday, he got the JWW Q with a tougher course than Saturday's. It had pinwheels and more side changes. He was the fastest of all the Novice JWW dogs by 3 seconds.

Our Standard runs were actually really nice too, though he absolutely launched his dogwalk contacts in both runs. I mean, he left from halfway down the board. His running dogwalk has deteriorated so much its just not funny. I am still training with the hoop, and I need to do lots more repetitions and I am going to change a couple things as Katrina suggested. If he doesn't hit any in the November competition, I will have to make some more drastic decisions on his contacts. I do not want to have to go to 2-on-2-off, but if thats where I need to be to help him understand, so be it. For now, I am going to have to put him on the dogwalk at least every day, and I may do a couple of 2 minute sessions a day. He loves to work for the squeaky ball and I dont think this will be overdoing it for him. Besides, I have a vacation coming up at the end of the week and he's going to get a whole week off any agility anyway.

I will post some video soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rip's USDAA Video

Here's the video of Rip from the USDAA trial in Fountain.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

USDAA in Fountain, CO with the boys

I ran Skye and Rip in this local USDAA trial (only a 40 minute drive). We did not enter Friday's team events.
Since there have been so many trials in a row, and with the expense of entering 2 dogs, I only entered select runs for both dogs, thus I played in Gamblers, Snooker and Jumpers on both days with both dogs, and did Pairs with Rip. No Standards or tournaments this time. I was trying to still avoid dogwalks for Rip until I think he will hit at least 50% of them in competition.

So, Saturday was a pretty good day. Skye got a tough gamble with a send to a jump straight away from a teeter, where the gamble line was before the fulcrum of the teeter. He also Q'd his Jumpers run with a 1st place in the dark - the trial ran sooooo late, that it was nearly dark (7pm with no lights) when we ran it. He had his own idea for Snooker and took an offcourse jump instead of coming to me when I called him, and we thus joined the Zero Point Club for snooker. I also managed to take a spill during the gamblers run and wipe out a jump. I was fine and popped back up, but the little bit of time and downed jump cost me 1st place (3rd instead). Video to come :)

On Saturday, Rip also Q'd his gamblers run. The Starters gambles are not very tough, but Rip works away from me better than Skye does, so I expect gamblers will not be an issue. Rip also had a very nice Snooker run and was the only big dog to finish the closing. We did 7/7/6 as it was the most logical sequence in keeping good flow. He knocked one bar in his otherwise very nice jumpers run. Rip-boy is a lot of fun!

Sunday was not quite as successful for us, though not too bad. In Skye's gamblers run, I didnt think we had a chance, so it was just a warmup for the other runs of the day. Only 10 of the 70+ masters level dogs got the gamble successfully, and we were not one of them. It was offside weaves, with a flip around to the chute, then over a jump. The gamble line kept you behind pole 6 and when I stopped, Skye came out of the weaves to me as expected. We did a little bit better in Snooker but Skye ended up ahead of me and took an offcourse tunnel in the opening. Our Jumpers run was last and we had a good run with 1st place again. There were quite a number of scratches on Sunday as the weather was cold (40 degrees) and cloudy most of the day.

With Skye's performance this weekend, we are now only 2 Gamblers and 1 Snooker Super Q away from our Performance ADCH.

Rip's Gamblers run was, if I do say so, rather unfair. It was not setup as indicated on the course map and instead put the dog coming out of a tunnel under the AFrame facing right at an offcourse jump. I tried to get ahead and grab him coming out of the tunnel and it was ugly, but I kept him off the offcourse jump, but when then sending him to the finish jump, he dropped the bar. We got the "hard part" but it was not a fair setup for young inexperienced dogs and/or handlers as it gave a high chance of collision between dog and handler, or just take the offcourse.
Rip's Snooker run was fairly shortlived as he did the 7pt weaves but after the first jump of the 4pt combo, he spotted a tunnel that he just HAD to take. He was rather giddy about it too.

We ran pairs with Jan and her border collie Meg who Rip really likes. Unfortunately, he picked this run to forget how to complete 12 weave poles. I got pop outs 3 times, so I just went on and took the "E" for the team. Every other set of weaves he did this weekend were perfect.

In Rip's Jumpers, we took 1st with a nice run. I need to learn to push him to go faster though - I want to bring out even more speed in the Starters / easier courses so we can be ready for the big 22" speed demon class when we make it to Masters.

So, all in all a good weekend. Rip did miss one AFrame contact, and we didnt do ANY dogwalks so no misses there :)
Videos to follow.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New agility pictures

I bought some great pictures of Rip shot by Kelli of Stover Photography as well as a picture of Skye from Tien Tran.

I love Rip's eyes in this one.

There's my long outstretched boy!

Floating over the AFrame

A little intense leaving the table!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Skye's and Rip's AKC Report

We did the 3 day AKC trial at Castle Rock this weekend. Friday was Excellent only, so I left Rip home with Katrina who couldn't come. Skye and I ran Exc. A FAST and managed to get the distance challenge and enough points for 1st place. Skye doesn't do distance very well, so I am always happy when we get one of these or a gamble in USDAA.
We had a great run in JWW and got a Q and 10th place (of about 45). Our Standard was nice and Soooo close to a Q. I had to call Skye off the wrong end of a tunnel and he called off, but then didnt immediately take the correct end, so we earned a refusal.

On Saturday, I was running Rip in his first AKC trial as well as Skye, so I chose to not run FAST which would have introduced too many conflicts. Skye again had a great JWW run with a Q and 11th place, but we were only 2 seconds behind the 1st place dog Summit. Our Standard run was great Except where I bobbled the weave entry and caused Skye a refusal. We were otherwise clean.

Rip had a great run in JWW for his debut, and got 1st place. The surface was lousy as the outdoor ring they were supposed to use was a mud pit, so they setup the course on the packed dirt parking lot. I slipped a few times and I could see Rip slipping as well, but we did OK. Rip's Standard run was pretty good with a few oops's. He was called for his dogwalk contact, and also had a table fault and then he threw in a little offcourse by doing the chute a second time. He ran nicely though, and I really cant complain about his performance. He nailed two fast weave entries, unlike a lot of the Novice dogs.

Sunday was Skye's day with a Double Q, number 12 for us. He had a fabulous JWW run and earned us the most MACH points (15) in a jumpers run that we have earned to date. I think we were 7th place, but not far behind 1st. He had a nice solid Standard run too. We now need just 35 points to qualify for the 2010 AKC Nationals, and we have a 2 day and a 3 day AKC trial coming up before the cutoff.

Rip had a beautiful fast Standard run on Sunday. We again got called for our dogwalk contact, though I thought he was in, and that was our only fault. We were 10 seconds faster than the next fastest dog, though I think there were only 8 dogs in the class.
Our JWW run was going great but when we got to the weaves (I hate having only 6 poles!), he popped out at pole 4 so I brought him back to them (he grabbed a bonus offcourse jump in the process) and then he again popped out pole 4, so I ended our run there - dont want to reinforce the redo-the-weaves that I had so much trouble with when Skye first started competing. Up until that point though he was running nicely, with great startline stay and reading my rear cross.

All in all a great weekend at AKC.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some video of Rip and Skye at USDAA

Here is some video of Rip from USDAA.

Here is some video of Skye:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rip and Skye play USDAA at the Denver Regional

This past weekend was the USDAA Regional held in Brighton, CO. I had entered both Rip and Skye in the trial. It was to be Rip's first USDAA, and we were jumping in with both feet as I had entered him in DAM Team with two other young dogs. Our team name was fittingly "Black and White and Green". Skye was to be on a PVP team with Susan Anderson's Belgian Sheepdog Ring, however the night before the trial, Susan's back went out and she couldnt make it to the trial. Skye was re-assigned to the one dog who did not have a PVP partner. Skye did not need the Q, as we had already qualified back in January.

First Skye - he did pretty well this weekend, though I have been getting a little frustrated with some of his antics. For the Team runs, he did OK in Gamblers, but popped out of the weaves costing us some points. In team Standard, he took the wrong end of a tunnel for an offcourse. I set a good line for him and he veered off anyway. Team snooker was short lived - he started by taking the tunnel under the AFrame for 2pts rather than the 7pt aframe (I am SOOOO sick of his grabbing the tunnels under contact equipment when I am clearly indicating the contact), we then did the set of 3 jumps for 6pts and he shot back over one of the 6pt jumps to end our run. He had a decent run in team Jumpers, but then in the team Relay, he was the only dog to take the offcourse jump setup after the teeter.
In Skye's non-team runs, he did well. We did have a bit of a mess in Saturday's Standard run with a missed dogwalk contact, missed teeter contact and a dropped bar. Sunday's Standard run was nice with a 1st place. We did Snooker on Sunday and he had a nice run with 3 7's (could have gone for 4 reds but didnt try). We ended up in 3rd just missing a super Q by about 3 seconds as 2 other dogs did 3 7's faster than us. Also on Saturday, we ran round 1 of the Perf. Grand Prix. We already had a bye to round 2, so this was a no pressure run. We were clean and got 1st place (only 6 of the 24 performance dogs Q'd this Grand Prix). On Sunday we ran the Perf. Grand Prix finals and again Skye grabbed an offcourse tunnel rather than the dogwalk. Looking at the tape, I was clear in my signal - he just isnt listening/watching during these discriminations. He is going to be seeing A LOT of them in his future in the training field.

Ok, so the Rip boy.... I was very pleased with Rip's performance this weekend. First off, since our contacts are not even close to being solid, I was not surprised to have him miss. He missed probably all of his dogwalks, and a few of his AFrames, sometimes spectacularly! I am determined that I can get his running contacts to be solid and consistent. He really strides through them with the hoop during training and his positioning is excellent - I just need to get that to transition to no hoops and have it hold up in trials. (I know, easier said than done).
So, in Rip's team runs, he only went offcourse once, and it was in Jumpers when he ran by a jump and when I went to bring him back to it, he backjumped. He missed 2 dogwalks in his Gambler run, but got 2 AFrames. We just missed getting our closing points as he went by the finish jump and before I could get him over it, the buzzer went. His team Standard was a bit of alphabet soup with faults, but no offcourses. His team Snooker was great (we didnt get it on tape though, bummer!). He actually got a placement - 12th place out of about 80 or 90 dogs, and considering he was not smooth over some of the course, I was very happy with that. The buzzer went as he was in the 7pt weaves in the closing. In team Relay, he knocked a bar and had to redo his weaves but was clean. Our team did not do well, as my teammates green dogs each had E's in Jumpers as well, and one of them went offcourse in Relay. We had fun though!
In Rip's non team runs, he did well. He got a Q in Gamblers and a Q in Jumpers. He seriously jumped his AFrame contact in Sunday's standard run as I tried to front cross before him. He made the judge laugh out loud when he came off the dogwalk and I said "table" and he ran to the table and laid down, on the ground next to the table. I had to get him actually ON the table and have him lay down again. He NQ'd his snooker run as I was having to redo his weaves and he back-weaved. Thats a no-no. His other Standard run was NQ'd due to contacts and an offcourse into the wrong end of a tunnel at the end of the dogwalk that I frantically tried to prevent by running to the end of the DW and front crossing. Bad idea!
Rip had various bars down, but not an excessive amount. I was disappointed in his weaves performance though - he is so solid in practice with both entries and completing them successfully. He missed a few entries in the trial, and popped out almost every first attempt at them. I am sure the trial atmosphere/adrenaline has to do with that, as well as just plain inexperience. Everyone suffers through it - why should we be any different!!
I will have some video to post soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

At least we got some money out of it!

Skye and I did the USDAA trial in Laramie over the weekend. It was not nearly as successful as I had hoped for, though there were some bright moments.

On Friday (they started at 4pm), we started with Gamblers and looking at the gamble, I just knew Skye was not going to get it. We were to go over a jump, and then send out to the chute which was out past the teeter. Skye loves the teeter, so I knew that is what we'd get, and we did. I had a nice opening though, with two very nice dogwalks.
We then did Performance Steeplechase and had a really good run and got 1st place.
The last run for Friday was Snooker and it was bad - jump a red, do a jump / 6 poles sequence for the 7pts, and then Skye blew me off and took the offcourse #6 tunnel. 3 obstacles and done. He did give me a very nice leadout though, probably 50ft.

Saturday we only had 2 runs. It was like a very long, drawn out AKC show. In the morning we ran Jumpers, and we really did have a good run but with 1 bar down, so NQ. After waiting 7 hours, I then ran Standard. I was worried about the AF / tunnel discrimination coming off the table so I positioned myself to take the tunnel out of the picture, or so I thought. What I really did was take the tunnel AND Aframe out of the picture and caused Skye to run around the AF into the other end of the tunnel. When he came out, I told him to climb up, and he went back into the tunnel, so I told the judge we were done and we left. I was really mad until I looked at the tape and saw it was mostly my fault.
I elected to not run Perf. Grand Prix on Saturday as we already are qualified and had a 1st place bye from Pueblo.

On Sunday we had 3 runs scheduled, plus the 2nd round of Steeplechase.
We ran another round of Standard, and this time had a nice run, but we got called for the dogwalk contact. It required a 90 degree turn off the dogwalk to a jump and many dogs left early.
We then had pairs and ran with Doc and Kai - a pretty reliable team. We fortunately ran this clean and got the Q. That's our 5th pairs Q meaning I don't need any more for Performance ADCH. I am very happy about that as I really dont like running Pairs since Skye is a jerk to 90% of the dogs out there. I always have to manage him and make sure he doesn't try to go after my pairs partner dog.
Next was Round 2 of Steeplechase. There were 3 other 22" P dogs running and we ran last. The first two dogs got offcourses and the dog that ran before me was called for the AFrame contact. In reality, we could run conservatively and should still be faster than those other 3 dogs by an easy margin. This course called for 2 AFrames, and as we approached the first one, Skye more or less stopped short in front of it and wouldn't go up. WTF. I told him again a couple times to climb it and finally he did. I am sure we wasted about 3 or 4 seconds on that, but it seemed like an eternity. We ran the rest of the course fine, and had no faults so YEA!! we got 1st place and a check for $21 in winnings.
To finish the day, we got another Snooker course. I felt good about getting all 7's in this one (7pt was a spread out serpentine of jumps). We were going great until Skye dropped the bar on the 3rd red jump. I then had to think about what to do and try to make it to the close, but Skye took one of the jumps in the serpentine so we were done.

Not sure what has happened to our Snooker runs lately. Before it seemed like we Q'd every one we ran, but I think I've managed to NQ the last 4 or 5.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rip running contact training

Since we did the DOCNA trial a couple weeks ago and missed most of our contacts, I have gone back to really reinforcing them using a hoop at the bottom. Initially I had trained him to hit the "box" that I placed on the contact zone, but as his confidence built up, that deteriorated.
I am going to see if I can rely on muscle memory to get a consistent performance. I have tried to run him over his contacts every day. I have a little more than 3 weeks before his next trial - his DAM team at the Rocky Mountain USDAA Regional.

Here is a video of our training. I think his dogwalk is looking AWESOME.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rip is on a DAM team!

I've decided to enter Rip on a DAM team at our upcoming September (11-13) Regional event! I have no expectations of a Q, nor does the rest of our team as we all have inexperienced young dogs. In fact, that inspired our team name "Black and White and Green". We will join Mary w her border collie Split and Val with her smoothcoat border collie Trickster for a fun, no pressure, lets-get-experience team. If we can run clean, it will be interesting to see how our times stack up to the Masters dogs.

Skye is also on a PVP team with Susan Anderson's dog Ring. We are both pretty consistent, and Ring needs the Q for Nationals (Skye qualified in January), so hopefully I can help Susan out. Since Skye is mostly white and Ring is all black, I came up with the team name Ying and Yang. If you are not familiar with that, its typically represented by this symbol:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rip's Debut!

This weekend Rip and I did a DOCNA trial as his agility debut. He did a great job!

We had some issues as expected, but overall he was fast, enthusiastic, and had a good time. My Rip boy is the best! We MUST do about 100 more repetitions with the hoop on the AFrame though. He missed most of his AFrames, though on the plus side, he did hit almost all of his dogwalks.

A couple times he thought the dogwalk was the teeter, so he slowed at the top before realizing it was the DW. We had a few run-by's on jumps, but that's OK - its my handling that I need to adjust as Rip is not Skye.

We only Q'd 2 of our 8 runs, missing a couple due to dropped bars (in jumpers) and a couple due to jumped contacts (Standard), but all the runs were great.

Here is a video of some of them. Check out those weaves - love my 2x2 trained boy!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rip jumps 26"

It's likely that Rip's official height measurement will be somewhere over 21". In USDAA, this puts him in the tallest group of dogs where he would jump 26" in the championship division. I already have Skye in the Performance division, so I do want to compete with Rip in Championship. This is his first time trying any jumps over 22". He knocked a few bars as could be expected, but generally he did great and looks natural jumping that high.

I have also realized that we have an issue with running through a "box" of jumps. Rip wants to veer off and take the offcourse jump even though I am signaling him to continue straight through. We will have to work on this.

Rip's first trial is in a DOCNA show this weekend - I expect that he will do fine.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wow what an AKC weekend.

Skye and I had an awesome weekend at the 3 day MHGRC (Mile High Golden Retriever) AKC trial at Castle Rock.
In a first for me, we went 6/6, earning 3 double Q's in the process.

This puts us at 7 QQs for 2010 Nationals, so we are qualified on the double Q front, but I still need about 100 points to reach the required 400.

We also earned our MX title this weekend! Very cool!

We are now standing at 10 QQs, so halfway to MACH. I am very happy with our progress towards our MACH, as we only got into Exc B in both Std and JWW last October.

In another first, Skye and I participated in a demo run of "Run and Done" or RAD, a new class that AKC is trying out. This was the first run of this class anywhere in the country. About 55 dogs participated. It's similar to USDAA's Steeplechase, in that the course is designed for speed, and you may need to do either the weaves or the AFrame twice. It's also open to entry regardless of what level you normally compete at (ie Novice and Open may enter).
We unfortunately had an offcourse jump after #3, but were otherwise clean in this run - it was pretty cool.
Here is the course we ran:

In another 1st, I decided to have Rip measured by our local AKC judge Beth G. while at the trial. The poor boy was so scared & stiff. We have a wicket at home and I have tried before to get him use to it with no success. We tried treats and massage and such but the boy just would not relax. She took a measurement that she knew was not right - at 19.5 inches. We were talking about tips to get a real measurement and how to get him use to this for a little while, and he did relax a bit so without him really knowing, she measured him again and got 21.5 inches (though the measure form had 19.5 written already). I am sure the 21.5 is much closer to reality as I've gotten 21" at home. Of course, at USDAA that will put him in the 26" jumping group. I havent tried jumping him that high, but he really is built for it, with his long/lean body. I may have to give it a try.

Finally, in a segment I will call "Oh, Come On!" (OCO)....
I mentioned above that I got Skye's MX this weekend. I usually am not too excited about the ribbons, but I wanted to get this title ribbon. I didnt see any in the self serve area so I asked, and they pointed me to them. Oh, Come ON!!! This cheezy, cheap-ass 8" strip of purple and white is my MX:

I mean really, there were over 1800 runs this weekend, and I paid an average $14 per run, so they took in over $25,000 for this trial. Yes, you have facility rental, judges, food worker coupons, and a host of other charges (I know, we run trials), but this is what you are going to pass off as title ribbons?? Cheap!

Back to your regularly scheduled program....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rip meets his brother Kelty

Rip's brother Kelty came to Colorado from his home in Texas this past weekend. Kelty's dad Bruce brought him by for a border collie play day. Also in attendance was Bruce's other dog Zip, as well as Sarha with her dogs Ace and Wit. It was a lot of fun and everyone got along.

Wit and Zip chillin

Kelty checks out his sister Rush

Rip & Ace

Rip & brother Kelty


Handsome boy Kelty

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Final day, USDAA Brighton

Today we finished up the USDAA trial and it was a so-so day for us. We only ran 3 runs (Snooker, Steeplechase round 2, Pairs)

In Snooker, we had a decent plan on a 3 or 4 red course. We did 5/6/6/7 in the opening and everything went smoothly, and in the close we finished the AFrame which was number 5 and Skye drove straight ahead and took on offcourse jump rather than stay with me and go to the tunnel. We still got a Q due to our number of opening points, but no SQ. If we could have continued and finished out with the #6 and #7, we would have had 1st place (of all the 22" and 16" performance dogs) and earned that last SQ. As we only had 5 22" dogs, we were combined with the much larger 16" class for SQ placement.

Steeplechase round 2 was interesting. I ended up caught in a web of controversy. We ran a nice course and on our 2nd pass at the AFrame (3rd obstacle from the end), Skye came with me instead of climbing it, and stepped 2 feet into the tunnel below it (see any consistent theme for this weekend? Guess what we will be training). So anyway, when he stepped in the tunnel, we got whistled off with an Elimination. As I was walking back to our chairs, Stacy Peardot-Goudy stopped me and said I should check with the judge as she believes the offcourses in Steeplechase are judged using Starters rules, which means its a 5pt fault since he didnt go in with 4 feet, but not an E, and I could have finished out the course. After the last 22" dog ran, I asked the judge and she said no, it is only 1 paw on the obstacle and I am E'd, so then Kent Mahan, also a USDAA judge who was sitting next to us, agreed with Stacy that it is not an E, so we checked with the judge from the other ring, and she agrees with the first judge, that it IS an E. So OK, what is it?? Anyway, since the 2 judges presiding at the show say its an E, then that's what I get and no re-run. Stacy is going to bring it up with the USDAA committee and make sure that all judges are made clear on this - whatever the real decision is. Stacy P-G is the USDAA world team coach, so you might think she would know what she's talking about!

Then finally we ran our Pairs run. My partner Marrin and Bren went first and wouldn't you know, they had an offcourse at the 2nd obstacle. It was jump, into the far side of the tunnel, and Bren took the wrong entry.
My 2nd half of the course was run clean, so I give us a 1/2 Q for that run, but USDAA isnt going to count it as anything!

So, this weekend I only ended up with a Steeplechase Q and a Snooker Q. I have some items to work on in training in the coming weeks for sure. Our next USDAA is in Laramie WY next month, but in the meantime we have 2 AKC trials coming up later in July.

I may post some video later..

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I really should have know better...

Against my better judgment, I entered Skye in a few runs for this weekend's USDAA trial outdoors in Brighton. Last year, this was our Regional, over the July 4th weekend, and last year the temps were high 90's to low 100's.

Skye really runs poorly & slow in the heat, so I thought if I only entered him in the first 2 classes of the day, we'd be done early before the day really heated up. I am closing in on my Performance ADCH so I really didnt want to skip the trial altogether.

On Friday, we only ran Gamblers (first thing) and Standard. Well, we missed the gamble, and I know its a lack of training for distance challenges when he comes blindly out of a tunnel. He seems to always suck back to me after the tunnel instead of staying straight and driving to the next obstacle. We had a decent opening and would have had 1st if we got the gamble. Then we ran Standard, but as it turns out, it was AFTER they ran 80 dogs in Grand Prix, along with a 1/2 hour delay due to someone falling and breaking their ankle (hope you are better Judy!). This put my Standard run starting at about 2:00pm, with the temp at 85 degrees and humid. Skye ran most of it OK, a little slow, but after the table there was a U shaped offcourse tunnel wrapped under the AFrame, so the dog had the choice of 2 tunnel entrances and the AF. Skye practically pushed me out of the way to get an offcourse on the tunnel. So Friday was a bust.

Today (Saturday) we signed up for the first 2 classes - Standard and Snooker, along with Perf. Steeplechase, as we still need that to qualify fully for Championships. The day started off cool, and we ran Standard pretty early. Guess what, there's another f'n U shaped tunnel under the AF again. This was a pretty tough course and we had it except wouldnt you know, the (free to good home) Skyeboy found a way to mess this up again! I positioned a cross after a jump to really ensure he would get on the AF, and he did, and as I went to go to the other side of it, he jumped off and into the tunnel. Tweeeeeettt. Grrrr. Damnit. Put him back on the AF and we finished clean.
We then ran Perf. Steeplechase and had a nice run - not his fastest, but still good, that is until he popped out of the weaves at the 10th pole. Can we waste anymore time here!! Back to the weaves, he gets them the second time and we finish clean (and we got our last Q for Champs, yeah!). We JUST squeaked into the 2nd round for tomorrow with our 7 or 8 seconds wasted with weaves.
Then came Snooker and it sucked. I changed my plan from what I was initially going to do, and we got the opening, but I had to tell Skye 3 times to weave the 6 stinking weave poles in the 7pt combination. He is really aggravating me with the "I don't want to" attitude about weaving, and it wasnt very hot today, maybe 77, though it was humid. We got 5/7/7/ in the opening, and he didnt push out to the #2 in the closing, just staying by my side so we were done. I doubt we could have made it past #6 with all the time wasting at the weaves anyway.

So, we have another go at it Sunday. I signed up for the first 2 runs - Snooker again, and Pairs, and now we have Round 2 of Steeplechase. I'm hoping for a better day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Video from AKC at Castle Rock, June 2009

Here are the runs from our June AKC trial. We managed to finish our Open FAST Title (they dont have many trials with Fast here). We did not Q our first Exc. A FAST run.
On Saturday we had a couple nice runs and got a Double Q - our 7th. Just two more to qualify for Nationals, though we are only a little over halfway on points.
We Q'd one other JWW run, but our NQ runs were not bad and Skye was running fast especially in the Standard classes.
I'm just one STD Q away from our MX now.
We have two upcomming AKC trials in July.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Video from our Pueblo USDAA in May

I am finally getting around to putting the videos together of our last couple trials.
This one is from the USDAA in Pueblo. On Saturday, the weather was cool, a little rainy, and completely cloudy - perfect weather as far as Skye is concerned. He had a lot of fast runs with some 1st places.
Sunday was back to normal Pueblo May weather, with sunshine and temps in the 90's. Skye was a lot slower but still ran OK for me.
We got 1st place in Performance Grand Prix so we have a bye to the 2nd round at our Regional.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Rip was rather, ahem, excited, to have his picture taken with Propel, a young (almost 2yr old) border collie that looks just like him. We should have taken a side view, as they have very similar faces from the side. Propel belongs to Caitlin Ascher who has had great success running her other dog Gadget.

An Ear-y feeling and AKC fun

Skye and I ran the 3 day AKC trial this past weekend, more on that in a moment.

As I usually do, I brought Rip along to the trial - he gets to meet & greet and socialize. On Sunday, about noon, Rip and I had just come in from a potty trip and when we got up in the bleachers, he was in obvious distress, crying and shaking his head. He was really upset with whatever was in his ear - a bug or something - couldn't tell. As Liz (a vet) was sitting with us, I asked her to see if she could find anything, and she couldn't, but its not like she had a scope or anything with her. Rip settled a little bit, but still kept shaking his head and kept his left ear kind-of pinned back. I put him in his crate so he would just rest. After a while I checked on him and he seemed to feel better but still tilted his head and kept shaking trying to get out whatever went in there. I thought it maybe could be one of those spikey grass seed things, as some of the grass was overly tall due to all the rain lately. So at the end of the day, about 3pm, we decided we would take him over to the emergency vet near the trial site.
Here is what they took out:

Ouch! Poor guy. They had to sedate him to get this piece of evil nature out of his ear. He's OK now. It did not pierce his eardrum.

So, for the trial results.
Skye and I had a very good showing. On Friday, we Q'd our JWW and almost Q'd STD except I gave an inappropriate collection/wrap signal causing him to knock the triple before the weaves. But for that one bar, we almost had a QQ.

On Saturday, we ran Open FAST and got our last Q so we could move to Excellent. Then we ran JWW and got the Q with a nice run. We then ran STD and Q'd that one too, so Yea QQQ day! Two more to go to qualify for Nationals.

Sunday, we ran JWW and three obstacles from the end was a tunnel - should have been an obvious entry for Skye but the bugger cut behind me to take the offcourse entry. Ugh! Then we had STD and Skye was running pretty fast. I gave an early cue to weave while he was still jumping (to avoid an offcourse jump) but that caused him to knock that bar. We finished it out again a bar away from a nice STD Q. We need 1 more STD for MX now, and the next shot is the two trials I have in July.

So, no missed dogwalk contacts again this weekend, and no weave entry or pop-out issues!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just because...

I had the camera out today and got some great pictures of Skye and Rip. Here are a couple that I really like.

Yard gone wild!

Well, wildflowers anyway. Before I got out the tractor and cut the front yard where we practice some agility, I decided to take pictures of the various wildflowers we have growing this year. Due to consistent rains in May, the yard has exploded in wildflowers. Though I hate to cut them all down, they have yet to invent a mower that will cut the grass and weeds while leaving the flowers.
Here are some pictures of the flora and a few of my "boys" who were helping me...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rip training update.

Rip and I have been in our "Young Guns" training class - this is the class for up-and-coming fast, young dogs and handlers who care about the details.
This week we did some jump grids and Rip did a great job adjusting to the spacing of the jumps, as well as his timing to bounce through them.
Rip seems much faster than Skye to me, which, of course, I am happy about. As he gets more confident, he is getting faster. It's going to be great to run this boy in an actual trial.

Since I was so busy last week with my parent's visit and our trial preparations and such, I hadn't had much time to train Rip. I need to keep doing more repetitions with his weaves, as in class he skipped a pole one time and he also came out early. I have to watch the pop-outs, and recently I have made sure to not reward immediately after the weaves, but make him do another obstacle after weaving before rewarding.

Other than working on tightening up Rip's wide turns, my other main concern is to focus on contact performance. I've been using the "box" for training a running contact with his DW and AF, and about 75% of the time his performance is spot-on, however... as Mr Rip is getting quite full of himself and confident, I have been getting some leaping of the contacts. His teeter is great and I haven't had any issue there.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wow, 5 in a row!

This past weekend Skye and I attended our club's DOCNA trial. This was our 5th weekend in a row of trialing, and I am looking forward to the next couple of weekends off! My parents were also in town from Massachusetts last week, so it's been rather hectic.

DOCNA is growing in popularity here in Colorado, though we haven't done too much of it other than what our own club offers. I don't find the courses as challenging as in AKC or USDAA, but I do like the different games.
We Q'd all 3 of our Standard runs, 2 out of our 3 Jumpers, our one North American Challenge and some of the games as well.
Our NQ's were due to being over time in the Strategic Gamble and the Traditional Gamble, though we did get the distance challenge. We were also over time in one of the Snakes&Ladders runs due to weave popouts.
Our contacts were great all weekend!

My parents, who are not fluent in agility at all, enjoyed watching me run and the trial environment. They enjoyed the craziness you get to see from the beginner dogs.

All in all, it was a really fun weekend, as the people are great, the judge was very friendly and since the trial was small, the days did not run long.

Monday, May 18, 2009

USDAA in Pueblo, CO

We had a nice trial in Pueblo last weekend. On Saturday, it was perfect weather for the dogs with clouds and temps in the 40's and 50's (but the people were cold). When its cool out, I tend to get "fast Skye" and he was living up to that this weekend. On Sunday, we started the day with sunshine and a forecasted high of 85, which I know spells trouble for Skye as then we get "its too hot to do agility Skye".

This trial doubles up on the games - 2 Jumpers, 2 Gamblers, 2 Snooker. This makes for a good opportunity to get some of those needed games Q's.

Saturday started off with Jumpers, and my fast Skyeboy got a Q and 1st place. We then ran Snooker and had a nice opening but I was not where I wanted when it came to start the closing and Skye took an offcourse jump behind me.
Next up was Standard and we had another nice run (no contact trouble again!) and we managed a Q with 2nd place. Finally a Standard Q that I have been looking for the last couple trials! This gave us our PD3 title.
We were doing Grand Prix next and Skye was still running nice for me. We Q'd performance Grand Prix and got 1st place! So cool to get that last GP qualifier that we needed for Nationals and have it be a 1st - giving us a bye into round 2 at Regionals.

At this point I had to scramble and leave the trial as my wife and daughter were having their dance recital at 6pm, and with so many dogs at the trial, it was alredy 4pm and we only ran 4 classes. I had to scratch from performance Steelplechase and from Gamblers. Bummer!

Sunday started with Gamblers, and I usually LOVE to start the day with Gamblers, as it lets you run amok and still Q if your dog is having some of the crazies that they can get the first run of the day. When I saw the gamble, I knew we were in trouble - Skye just doesnt have the distance skill to get this particular distance challenge, so I figured we would just run around, do some obstacles and have fun, then I'd send him at the gamble with no expectations.
We ran around, and around, and around - the buzzer never went off signalling the start of the gamble. Ok, so the judge gives me the choice to rerun at the end of the 22" dogs, or just setup and try the gamble - I went for the gamble, and got what I expected (not even close!) and then we left.

We did Standard after Gamblers and it was a nice looking course. We AGAIN got a Standard Q with a nice run - 2nd place too.

Next was Pairs, and I was paired with a guy named Charles with his border collie Ojos. We did a nice job together and got 3rd place with a Q.

At this point, there were no clouds and the sun was baking us. It was definitely mid 80's and hot.

We had Snooker coming up next and there were just 3 reds this time. I had a plan for 3 7's and thought we'd get through it without too much trouble, but in case Skye seemed slow due to the heat, I had a backup plan of 7,7,3. He was running pretty good, the 7pt was a combo of jump/tunnel/jump and we had it. I got the 3 7's, then started the closing. The 5pt obstacles was a set of 6 weaves. Skye hit the entry, weaved 4 poles slowly then came out looking at me like "its way too hot for this dad" so we were done. We would have had it no problem if he just finished those poles! Ugh.

At the end of the day, we had Jumpers again, and even though Skye was running slow and was feeling hot, I figured we'd be fine with just jumps (and a tunnel). I wet him down with the hose they had available, and we ran a decent course, though it was definitely 3 or 4 seconds slower than he is capable of. Still, we Q'd it with 2nd place!

Overall, we got 6/9 Q's.

I am now closing in on my APD (performance ADCH) title. I need 1 more each of Standard, Jumpers, Pairs, Snooker SQ, and I need 3 more Gamblers. In the last 2 trials, I had to scratch from gamblers twice, so that doesnt help!

I dont plan on doing the 3 day USDAA trial on July 4th weekend, as I think I would be dissapointed with Skyes performance in the heat.
Will post video later.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yes, Its ALWAYS something! Skye USDAA.

Skye and I had a much better USDAA weekend in Brighton. This was another outdoor trial on grass. We ended up 4 of 8 Q's and I was pretty happy with almost all of our runs.

Of course, lately it seems I cant buy a Standard Q.

On Saturday, we Q'd Performance Grand Prix with a 3rd place (finally a GP Q!!), and we Q'd Pairs with Lorrie & Maxx. Our pairs run may have been fast enough for 1st place but Maxx had 2 refusals so there was some time wasting plus 10 fault seconds added to our time.

On Sunday, we Q'd a tough Snooker course with a 3rd, just missing out on the 2 SQ's they gave out. To end the day, we had a nice Jumpers run and Q'd with 1st place!

Saturday's Standard course had a number of tough elements to it. There were some sharp angles that caused dropped bars, the really tough weave entry (that got Skye and I) , the AF/Tunnel discrimination (that got Skye and I) and quite a few side changes. Only 3 dogs out of 60 Q'd this course!

Sunday's Standard was much more doable, and we had it except that Skye again popped out of the weaves at pole 10. This time I took him back and made him do them again as it seems to be developing into a habit of his.

The good news- Skye again hit all his dogwalk contacts. The bad news- we got called for another AFrame contact.

So, what I am taking away from this trial is:
  • I realllly need to go back and retrain Skye's weave entries and having him stay in the poles.
  • Though he loves contacts, I still need to work these contact/tunnel discriminations when he is supposed to do the contact. No assumptions!
  • I must get back to some distance training. Our Gamblers skills have been lacking.
Always Something!

Friday, May 8, 2009

OTOTD - Odd Thoughts of the Day

Some odd thoughts of the day...
  1. At least once a day, all the dogs will howl. Usually one of them outside will start it, and the rest of them in the house will join in. I will often join in. Rip has a WoooWoooooWoooo kind of howl, while Skye will bark-howl.
  2. Dogs train themselves to notice certain cues all day. For example, when I end a conference call (I work from home), it seems I will say Ok, Bye a certain way, and then any dogs in my office will get up and be ready to do something, even though I havent yet moved...they just know that I probably will.
  3. Why do some handlers yell "Stay" at the bottom of a contact when they obviously don't mean it?
  4. Our deaf dog Joey hates when I hammer nails while doing home improvement projects. I was replacing a window today, and when I would hammer, he whined and carried on in his crate. He could not see me.
  5. At approximately 3:20 every day, Rip will come and poke me with his nose to tell me its time to play ball.
  6. Bless you folks who have the stick_to_it_ivness to run a dog in agility who gives the impression that sniffing the ground is more fun than agility, or whose attention span is 4 obstacles. I could never do it, and am amazed at the patience of those who can.
  7. Why do we all feel the need to make some hissing sound, or clap, or say "get it" over and over again while our dogs are weaving? Guilty as charged...
  8. I would be fine if I never heard the word "twitter" ever again.
  9. I never before kept a diary or journal or wrote very much until this whole Blogging phase came about. Why is it so interesting, and why do I need to read a bunch of them every day?
  10. What is so satisfying about peeling the green cover off a tennis ball, or dissecting a squeaky toy to take out the squeaker, or tearing newspaper into strips? Dogs do strange things.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rip 2x2 weaves video update

Here's our latest Rip Weaves update. I love how Rip can independently find his entries!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Skye's AKC weekend at Latigo, May 2&3

This weekends AKC trial with Skye was not all I had hoped it would be, but there were many positives. The trial was hosted by the German Shorthair Pointer club - it was their specialty event.
Skye did manage to hit the dogwalk contacts in both standard runs, and I will continue to train his 2o2o criteria this week for our upcoming USDAA trials the next two weekends.

On Saturday's Standard, there was a tunnel under the AFrame and the dogs were to take the tunnel and then a panel jump into another tunnel. I did not support the tunnel under the AF and moved laterally away too quickly pulling Skye up the AF. Completely my fault. The rest of the run was good but with a missed weave entry. It was one of those entries that Skye will often miss, so I wanted to see if he might hit it without my shaping his line, since our run was NQ'd anyway, and he went in a pole 2 which I was not surprised about. I am SOOO glad I have trained Rip to find these entries with the 2x2 method.

In Saturday's JWW, it was just one of those runs where we were not running connected. I started off as a run-with, and at the second jump Skye was looking to go right as I rotated left to a pinwheel. No offcourse there, but we went around the pinwheel, did the weaves, and then on the straight with the triple followed by the double, he wasnt paying any attention and went left as I went right. Not too much good to say about the run.

In Sunday's Standard, we had a great run - I had fast Skye-boy and we were moving nicely through the course. He was connected and driving. We got called for the AFrame contact though (I thought he had it, but the judge was right there so probably not). We finished up with a fast time, just .8 seconds behind Skye's "sister" Sage who took 2nd. I felt really good about that run.

Finally, we finished with JWW and it was quite the interesting course. I have to say, I dont ever recall a course where there were so many options on how to get through it. It was so interesting that a big crowd gathered at ringside as the 16" class started running it just to see how people chose to handle it.
I did a "around the back of the tunnel" path at the 3rd obstacle to keep Skye's line as good as I could get it and we ultimately Q'd it with a 5th place finish.

So, at least the NQ streak is over. We were jumping 20" in this trial.
I'll post video when I have it, and maybe the course maps.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lets see if it holds up...

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement and nice comments on Skye's failed NQ weekend. It's appreciated!

Because of the contact issues I have mentioned in my previous posts, I have gone back to a 2on 2off for Skye's dogwalk (at least for now!). We have been practicing it this week, and I have an AKC trial this weekend, so I'll see if it holds up.
In practice, when I tell him Touch, he does a nice job of sticking it.

Up until probably 5 or 6 months ago, we would train a 2o2o in practice, but I would let him early release at a trial, since I could never get the correct 2o2o behavior in a trial. I know that its my fault, for not enforcing it during a run, probably because of the adrenaline of the run, wanting to finish it, the money it costs (especially for AKC), etc. I've decided that if he launches the dogwalk, I will down him and we will end the run. But... will I do it...
If he hits the yellow, who am I kidding, I will just continue, even if it looked a bit "launchy".

Though I really dont do much NADAC or DOCNA, those venues are really great for letting you go back and train an obstacle like the Dogwalk, but since I prefer the tighter, more handling intensive courses from AKC and USDAA, I don't want to get Skye used to the wide open running found in the NADAC and DOCNA courses.

Our club is hosting a DOCNA trial on Memorial day weekend, so I intend to take that opportunity to do some contact training in a trial environment if he doesn't meet criteria. There is a NADAC trial locally in June in a nice park that may be worth entering for some ring training as well.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Skye's Fail Blog

As a quick sidetrack, for the funniest pictures and videos, visit the Fail Blog website - its a riot. Skye was doing his own version of a Fail Blog this past weekend at the USDAA trial in South Jordan, Utah. At the same time, my wife finally finished her ADCH with Baby Dog.

It was a miserable weekend weather wise - cold, cloudy, usually rainy, and as we were leaving on Sunday, even snow was mixing in. The trial was on a beautiful horse facility on lush grass (slippery when wet). There was tons of space for off leash frisbee or ball throwing - on a nice sunny weekend the location would have been perfect, but....

We ran 5 runs on Saturday and 2 on Sunday and got Zero Q's. This is the first time I have done a trial and never Q'd.
Half our problems were dogwalk contacts, just like the past couple trials. I dont think Skye hit a single DW contact all weekend, including getting called for an UP contact. I am going to go back to our early release/touch & hold training, as my running experiment with him as been seriously deteriorating week after week. Instead of getting better and more solid, its getting worse. His running Aframe is good though, as is his teeter, so just the dogwalk is going back to the old way.

Our other issues this weekend were a weave popout in Std, a refusal in Jumpers, two dropped bars in pairs, a mishandled offcourse jump in Steeplechase, and an offcourse in Snooker.

On the plus side, he was running fast.

Here's the Agility Fail on video:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Skye contacts training

It seems that Contacts is the subject of interest lately, and why not, as they are often an area of contention for many.
At Skye's last 2 trials, he's missed quite a number of contacts. I decided to film him to evaluate his performance and see if I can make some adjustments to our training to make his contacts more successful. As you will see in the video, his dogwalk contact was looking great with the stride regulator in place. This is the first time I have tried this "crutch" with him, but since he is responding very well to it, I will continue to try and build some "muscle memory". His Aframe is OK, and typically we are not called for an Aframe contact unless I frontcross in front of the frame. It does seem that he is only using the top 6 or 8 inches of the AF contact zone, which is fine for AKC, but in USDAA it makes for a very close call. I may try adding a stride regulator here too and see if it causes him to adjust his steps.

Note that today I did do more contact training and he again hit all his dogwalk contacts with the stride regulator in place. I did not add one to the AFrame though, and his performance was consistent with what we have had in the past.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Where did my contacts go?

Yes, I figured it was going to happen, but I hoped that it would not. I have been training Rip to use the "box" to do running contacts on his Aframe and Dogwalk. Initially I taught him contact position, where he would do a 2on 2off for me, so I knew he had some understanding of the position, and I transitioned to having him run through the box on the ground, and then moved the boxes to the equipment, and had him do contact positions in the box. All's well... Then he was doing full height equipment with the box and the boy would hit his contact nicely every time, just stride right down into them. Every time!

Now, he didn't have a lot of speed doing this, but he wasnt on a liesurely stroll either. As time goes on, he is getting more comfortable running on the equipment and his speed is ever increasing. Now I am finding that he's started leaping. Damnit all, it couldnt be easy, could it? No, turn into a leaper just like every other dog out there training for running contacts.
So now the wife has some ideas for us to work on to get him striding back through again. I havent given up on the box yet, but why cant this just be easy... why cant we tell them what we want, and they just do it?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where is Joey?

Some might have noticed that my blog title is minus the "Joey" part, as it was "Gregs Dog Blog with Skye, Joey and Rip". I haven't been training Joey in agility for quite a while now as too much frustration had set in and I really just couldn't do it anymore. He's our hard headed deaf boy who just never listens! In reality, it would take me 30 times longer to teach him something than Skye or Rip, and I don't have the patience or time unfortunately. After more than a year at "level 3" agility, he still would bail off the side of a dogwalk, leap all his contacts, and was perfecting the teeter as a launch vehicle to get good air. He had zero startline stay and tunnels would call him from across the room. He thought every sequence had to start with a tunnel. The boy also has zero self preservation skills. He once went after a toy so carelessly that he bounced his head off the steel building's wall, and other folks in class thought he might have a concussion.

So, though he was funny and brought a good deal of entertainment to the class, I couldnt do it any longer.
I will still play frisbee with him, which in itself is quite comical, I am not going to do agility with him anymore, so I removed his name from the blog as it really is about my agility boys.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

AKC weekend at Castle Rock

This has been a different experience for Skye and I at the AKC trial this weekend at Douglas County Fairgrounds. As an experiment, I am jumping Skye at 24" instead of his usual 20". The benefit is in less competition, where we have 25 dogs in the 24" group, compared to 55 dogs in 20".
In his first 3 runs this weekend, no bars came down, but then the last run today, JWW, he knocked two bars. I am not sure what the deal was and haven't reviewed the tape to see if I contributed to it.
The weird thing for this weekend, which hasn't happened to us before, is we have run and Q'd our both our STD courses, but then NQ'd jumpers. Every other time, if I have Q'd standard, then we also Q'd jumpers for a doubleQ, so its opposite this time. On the plus side, we have had pretty fast times in STD, getting 22 MACH points yesterday and then 20 points today.
So, no QQ's so far, but we still have tomorrow. I haven't decided if it's worth having Skye jump 24" yet. We did get a 4th place in STD today, and our NQ times in jumpers would have netted us 3rd's. Same times in the 20" group would put us a bit further down.

Update 4/12/09: We finished up today and unfortunately we did not Q either of our runs. We had a really great Standard run this morning, and I came off the course thinking I had Q'd it, but then found out Skye was called for his dogwalk contact. Bummer!! It would have been 2nd place.
In JWW, we had done the first 6 or so obstacles, then it was the weaves. I frontcrossed before them and gave Skye a good line to 'em, but he entered in pole 2 and came right back at me, looking at me. I was not sure what the heck he was doing... I dont remember what I said to him... it was like time stopped for a moment while we stared at each other, then what the heck, I just continued on, missing the next jump but then picking it up for the last 12 or so jumps, which went very well. Just a bizarre weave thing. Not sure how accurate my time was with the whole space-continuum freeze going on, but our time would have been good for 1st by almost 2 seconds. I should have some video to post later.
On the plus side today, we again had no bars come down at 24".

So..... having this trial under my belt at 24", I need to decide if I will enter him at this height again. Our next AKC trial that I already had to enter is for 20". Probably I will review the taped runs and see if I like how he is jumping and how it all looks. I admit, I do think a little more about properly handling the course so "I" dont cause bars to drop. Maybe that is a good thing??

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Rip Weaves video!

Here's a video of Rip's weave progress - he's doing great, getting faster. I know I rewarded a miss on the first try, but what can ya do...

Make sure to watch in HD (click the HD button on the video)

Video from the USDAA trial

Here's some video from Skye's USDAA trial.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekend USDAA report for Skye

We drove up Friday night for the Loveland USDAA trial as a big snowstorm was forecast, and I didnt think we'd be able to make the 140 mile drive early Saturday morning in the snow. As it turned out, the snowstorm didnt bring much snow, but lots of cold and wind instead.

So on to the trial - Skye and I did not have as much success as I would have liked, though there are bright spots.

The good :
  • On Saturday, we ran Snooker and had a great run, netting us 1st place and our 2nd Super Q!
  • On Sunday, we had a nice run in Standard, getting a 3rd place and Q, and I am now only 1 more STD away from our Performance MAD title.

The bad:
  • In Saturday's Gamblers run, we had a nice accumulation of opening points, but missed the gamble. NQ.
  • Saturday we also ran Performance Grand Prix and had a great run, pretty fast, but got called for the dogwalk contact, so NQ.
  • We ran Pairs on Sunday and though Skye and I had a great run on our 1/2, our partner had an offcourse so we were eliminated.
  • We had a decent run in Jumpers on Sunday, but we had 1 bar down, and I didnt give Skye a good line on a part of it and caused him to jump over the back side of a jump instead of the proper direction
The Ugly
  • Saturday's Standard run started out good, but about halfway through it went south, and then "parts kept falling off the truck" until we got to the finish.
  • We ran Performance Steeplechase on Saturday. The weaves were the 2nd obstacle and Skye missed the entry. We continued on, and had various other issues throughout, like he didnt stay on his line and continue a series of jumps, so I had to push him back out and over, then he got concerned about a jump setter who stood up as he was going by, and then he went by the last jump, and by the time I got him back and over it, we were well over time. After reviewing the tape, I see that I wasted 5 seconds re-doing a weave entry, 4 seconds putting him back on course to a jump, and 6 seconds bringing him back over the finish jump. 15 seconds wasted... Hmm.
So.. again I did not Q in either of the tournament classes. This is not the way to earn your way to USDAA Championships!!

We got to see our Utah friends again, and lots of really great runs by our Colorado competitors.
I will upload some video when its ready...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rip Training Update.

I don't have any video to share this time, but thought I would recap training progress on my Rip boy (who is usually called "Rippers"). I'll just break down his performance and what we are doing with each obstacle. Rip is a very soft dog that I need to be careful to not shut down - he wants to be right, and will try to correct something when I don't give him a "yes" but instead an "oops", but if he doesnt get it right after two or three tries, he will just lay down and not respond. He will think that he's in trouble when he is not, so everything has to be extra upbeat with him.

  • A Frame - we are using the "box" method to achieve a running contact. At this point Rip is successful probably 90% of the time. I will have to watch this as his training continues and he gains more & more confidence
  • Dogwalk - like the Aframe, we are using the "box" method here too. We are training for USDAA contact sizes as they are the most restrictive. Rip is probably 80 - 90% successful on his dogwalks as well. He does understand contact position, as shown by sometimes volunteering a contact by walking up a little, turning around, and standing in the "zone".
  • Teeter - I use just one word for the teeter performance "teeter". I just expect him to run up and when it bangs, go. I dont tell him to touch or anything other than "teeter". He does well and I have not seen any flyoffs.
  • We work a lot of single-jump exercises including figure 8's, both front cross and rear cross style (though he's still wide on the RC's).
  • We have been working wrapping, signalling with the offhand. He is still not collecting as I'd like consistently, so more work here.
  • Distance - I've been working on sends to a single jump. This is going well, and my send distance is about 20 feet.
  • Jump grids -we have done some jump grids and he's been doing well. I want to make sure he single strides to the next jump when he can make it, and can read when the jumps are at varying distances. Still plenty of work to do here.
  • Box drills - we havent done too much here. This is better done outside, so need some snow to melt again.
  • Pinwheels - have done a little bit here with 3 jump pinwheels. Havent done any 4 jump pinwheels.
  • Since we got to 12 poles with the 2x2 method, I've been working on building drive (using some open channels and 2x2's offset), as well as changing the environment for weaves. I have used upright weave-a-matics indoors, channels and standard weaves in the training building with the rubber mulch flooring, and outdoors on 2 different sets.
  • Need to continue working various entries. Thus far I have worked jump-into-weaves about 90% of the time. Need to include tunnel to weaves as well to proof collection.
  • I will work on more distance from the weaves / send to weaves.
  • Continue to work crosses before and after weaves. Rip hasnt been phased by any crosses I have done - it doesnt pull him out or cause him to miss entries so far.
  • On occasion he will miss, either by not collecting after hitting the entry, or a couple times he has entered at pole 2 though this doesnt appear to be a problem.
  • Need to watch the 2x2 DVD again for more proofing thoughts, and drive building thoughts.
  • We haven't worked on the chute much at all, mostly because its a 2 person training obstacle and Rip really doesnt care for it, so I have to do some coaxing. I really need to build his confidence with the stinking chute, as we will see it everywhere.
Tunnels / Tire
  • No real issues here - just continue to do them including various crosses before and after.
Startline Stay
  • Rip does really well staying when I tell him to. I havent tested to see how far away I can get, but its been at least a couple obstacles, and seldom would I ever need much more than that, especially on a green dog.
  • He will take the obstacle in front of him when released from a stay, but I havent tried to see if he will take the obstacles if I am off to the side when he is released - need to work this.
  • No issues. He seems to like the table, probably because we did a lot of play training on the table.
  • He's a softie, so he downs when I tell him down, and sits when I tell him sit. I have tried getting a little distance with him on the table, but need to work this more.
Squeaky Tennis Ball
  • He has love for all things round and squeaky! He reallllly wants to play when I grab this toy and its worked quite well for me in getting this boy trained.