Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

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.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ok, now melt already...

The big hyped storm came with a lot of wind and bad visibility, but not near as much snow as promised, but the 6 or 8 inches we got is WAY more than we saw at one time this winter. Seems the Boulder area was in the sweet spot of this storm according to Elayne's pictures

However, it is still spring, and we would rather have sunshine, warmth, budding trees and spring flowers, so now its time to melt it, but meanwhile the dogs are enjoying the snow.

Not so much here, thanks wind.

A bit more here


Rip thinks there is nothing more comfy than a pile of snow.

Let the winter games begin!

Somehow, Skye finds a tennis ball.

Tennis ball hunting. He puts it in the snow, and then snorkels around until its found.

YESSS!! Success!

Damn, game over. Where'd that ball go?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yes, but not all at once!

Ok, I've mentioned that eastern Colorado has been Seriously dry this winter, with maybe 25% of normal moisture and nearly no snow at all. We've got a storm coming in for tomorrow and Friday that stands to remedy that dryness with a big blast of snow. If my math is right, the national weather service is calling for 14 - 22" of snow by the time its done on Friday. Add to that some serious wind, and we have the makings of a drift-fest, something I'm all too familiar with.

Thursday: A chance of snow before 10am, then snow and areas of blowing snow after 10am. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 30. Blustery, with a east northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north between 20 and 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Thursday Night: Snow and areas of blowing snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 11. Wind chill values between -5 and 5. Windy, with a north northwest wind between 25 and 30 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 9 to 13 inches possible.

Friday: Snow likely and areas of blowing snow before noon, then areas of blowing snow and a chance of snow after noon. The snow could be heavy at times. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 30. Wind chill values between -5 and 5. Blustery, with a north northwest wind between 15 and 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Here's a picture from two years ago when we had a big storm like this one. How about those drifts...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rip 2x2 weaves update again

No video to show for now, but we've been working at getting drive out of the 6 poles.
I've done a number of "easy" straight on entries with a set of 6 straight poles, along with doing some fast-drive work through 6 offset 2x2's to build up more speed. I want Rip to be confident and fast when he sees the weaves, and though I would like to move to 12 poles faster, I dont want 12 slow or methodical poles, so its time for more drive.

We are still working two sets of 6 with about 6 feet separating them. I want to get to the point where he is always looking for the second set of 6 poles after coming out of the first set before squeezing them together. When I tried a couple times on a full set, it just seemed overwhelming to him, as he was missing entries and would come out half way.

We have also been working on changing up the location quite a bit. We are fortunate enough to have many different sets of weaves here, so he's got a set of 2x2's in the front yard, a full set of 12 in the front yard that I separate for him, and we have two more sets of 12, one separated and one whole in the agility field.

I've also been making sure to hit weaves both indoors and outdoors.

So this is probably sessions 23 ,24 and 25.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Video from Skye's AKC trial last week

Rip height update

It takes two people to try and get a height measurement on Rip, one to distract him from the evil measuring device and one to do the measuring. Katrina and I did our best to measure him the other day. He is now 17 months old so he should almost be done growing.

As best as I can tell, he is right at 21" tall. Of course, it may be 1/4" either way. That puts him right at Skye's height, which is officially 21" on his AKC card, and 21.25" on his USDAA card.
If Rip comes in over 21", that will, of course, mean he would jump 26" in USDAA Championship division. As Rip is long & lean, that would probably be fine for him although I have never jumped him higher than 20" in training.

I'm still trying to build his confidence in using an actual measure wicket. I think he must have been attacked by one in another life.

Also, he still weighs 42lbs and looks like he could fill out a little more, but he's claimed that weight as his own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sometimes it DOES snow in the winter...

This has been the driest winter since we've lived in Colorado. The mountains have above average snowfall, while we haven't seen more than an inch or two at a time, for maybe a total of 10" since winter began.
After the very brief snow shower on Tuesday, I did get these cool pictures before it quickly melted away....

Rip 2x2 weaves, day 22. Six times Two.

We're working on two sets of 6 poles now. He's starting to get the hang of this...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Skye-boy's AKC weekend at Castle Rock

We played AKC agility this weekend hosted by the Rocky Mountain All Terrier Club. It was a three day trial, and I took Friday off work so I could do all three days.

The judges put together some challenging & technical courses that caught quite a few competitors, though I am happy to say that Skye and I had a very successful few days.

Overall, we were 5/6 runs and earned 2 more QQ's towards MACH and qualifying for the 2010 Nationals (a goal of mine). It was nice to get back on track after NQ'ing our standard runs at the last trial.

The one run we NQ'd was our first run of the weekend, an Exc. STD course that we darn near Q'd but for an offcourse with a tunnel/AFrame discrimination with three obstacles to go.

I really like courses that make you ponder the best way to handle it, vs a course where its very obvious. The courses this weekend all seemed to have at least one such element in them. I also enjoy when the judges put in wraps, as it's something we practice and can be a time waster for some of the really fast dogs.

Now, being in the 20" Excellent B group has its drawbacks - on Friday we competed against about 45 other dogs, and on Sat & Sun, it was more like 60 - 65 other dogs. Skye runs fast, but isnt "that" fast where I would expect to get a placement against all these other ultra speedies, but on our Standard run on Saturday, we did manage 5th place.

Peeve: How hard is it for the scores to be sorted by time? Sometimes they posted sorted scores, and sometimes they were just in running order. Don't know about you, but I am not about to examine all 60 scores to see where we ended up. Some people may not care, but for me, I like to keep track of how we are improving, and comparing against the other dogs that we always see is a pretty good measure. Just knowing the top 4 dogs wont help me if I'm in 10th place for example. Anyway, Sort the darn scores!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rip 2x2 weaves, day 20?

Just a quick update (I have video from this weekend, but havent edited it yet)

Rip is working well with 6 poles, and though I have had him miss a couple times, he is generally hitting them correctly. I have two jumps that we're using to test entries, one onside, and the other offside.

Over the weekend I went out to do some weaves with him, and just as we got there, the neighbor two houses over started shooting shotguns (at what, I dont know). Now, we're on 40 acres, so its not like they were in my yard, but still quite a distraction that would send many dogs running (matter of fact, I saw someone's German Shepherd bolting for the back 40, hope they came back). Rip did very well with the shooting going on, though he wasn't very focused.

For onside entries, when I get Rip going fast over the jump into the weaves, he isn't collecting as much as needed to get into poles 2/3, so I need to work this more and maybe rotate the second set a little to make sure he gets it.

I did take him out today, and we worked them for maybe 2 minutes at most. He seemed tired, as he'd been very busy today, so as I wasn't getting the energy out of him that I wanted, I stopped after hitting the poles about 3 times.

I am not that happy with his speed in the poles, but he seems more concerned about accuracy than speed right now, and I know with confidence he will get faster. I haven't yet introduced the 2nd set of 6 poles, but I plan to do that this week.