Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

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...