Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Retraining :: Running Aframe for Rip

Rip has been competing for a little over 4 years now. When we first started training, I wanted to teach him running contacts, and that is what we trained exclusively. I spent the vast majority of our contact training time concentrating on the dogwalk. When I took his training to competition, I was getting major launches, mostly on the dogwalk, but sometimes on the AFrame too. After quite a bit of frustration early on, maybe close to a year??, I came to the conclusion that I had to teach Rip a stopped contact.

While he did pretty well in practice with his stopped contacts, I get a different dog in competition - one that is amped way higher than the dog I ever see in practice. This leads to more missed contacts - he just doesnt give me a 2o2o in competition, and given that he is such a soft dog, I will not correct him in the ring as that likely would shut him down too much. I started to see this when I would loudly tell him to TOUCH on his aframes and I ended up with a dog who would creep slowly down from the apex.
I've experimented with not telling him anything, doing a lot of blinds or not crossing at all in front of the frame, and other things to get him more comfortable with it. I was getting a lot of misses, where he would stride over the yellow leaving just an inch or two above the contact, unless I overmanaged the contact and got a slow one.

This past November we had a seminar at our place with Loretta Mueller. One of the things I told her that I wanted to work on with Rip was his AFrame. She really thought that he needed a true running aframe, and I agreed. I began by watching the Rachel Sander's DVD about using the 'box' method for training a running aframe. I watched the DVD twice and made some notes and started training the groundwork part, teaching value for the box and then the jumps to the box.

I recently put the box on the AFrame itself and did some videoing to see how it was coming along. I started with a fullheight frame and was not at all happy with the results, as Rip was adding extra steps/strides on the down portion.

I then lowered the frame and have added a noodle at the top of the frame as a stride regulator, to encourage the correct footwork. This is critical in the success of the running AFrame - two strides up, two strides down, always in the yellow. Rip responded really well to the lowered frame, so that is where we are for now.

Rachel mentions that you can still compete while re-training this, but you cannot ask for any stops. I am using the 'hit-it' command in competition and no longer saying Touch.

Here is a short video of what I was getting on the frame this week:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January USDAA fun.

I went to the USDAA trial in Longmont, CO this past weekend with my daughter and her 2 dogs. This was the first time that she and I have gone to a trial and stayed overnight in a hotel together - she just recently started running her young border collie Carbon, and this was only her second show.

I entered Skye in 2 runs a day, while Rip was entered in everything. This trial did start on Friday but we were not entered. Saturday ended up being a REALLY long day as there were well over 400 runs in a one-ring trial, and I finished my Master Pairs run with Rip at 6:45pm. We've had a few trials that have gone later, but it's definitely not typical.

The weekend started with Master Jumpers and Skye ran it first. He did a really nice job, very efficient, and finished clean with 1st place! This was great since I havent entered Skye in any trial for a few months. The (now) 20" performance group has grown quite a bit, as we used to be lucky to have 5 or 6 dogs entered, but this weekend we had 11 dogs.

I ran Rip on the same course and he did great - I, however, did not do as great and did not support an 'out' jump, pulling him off of it and giving us an NQ. I was happy with Rip's running though - his time was pretty competitive.

Rip was entered in Steeplechase next, and it was a 2-weave course. I have been trying to get more speed out of his weaves, as it's a big weakness of his - his footwork is just terrible and he does not have a consistent pattern. I never have high expectations when I see 2 sets of weaves in Steeplechase as we will often not make round 2 even when clean, but he did OK and didnt have any faults, getting us into round 2 with even a few seconds to spare on the cutoff.

Rip then got to run Grand Prix - it was a pretty straightforward course as far as Grand Prix courses go. He ran it pretty well, a little slower than I'd like to see, but jeeze when he did the dogwalk, I looked at him and said touch and he stopped about 3 inches above the yellow, and took 5 seconds to come down into the contact!! I released him and it was just tire then jump to finish, and he looked back over his shoulder at me over the last jump and dropped the damn last bar. Would have been a clean run - we still dont have any Grand Prix Qs for this qualifying period.

We then ran Standard and Rip ran it clean, though really pretty slow. Not a lot of dogs ran clean in Standard.

Next Skye got to run Snooker first and he did really well in the opening, getting our plan of  7+6+6 (only 3 red allowed). In the closing, he was heading for the wrong end of the #3 tunnel and I called him off of it too late, causing him to go BEHIND the tunnel and then hop himself up sideways on the dogwalk - it was pretty funny but not good for a Q!

Rip ran the same plan and after a painfully slow set of weaves, he got the 7+6+6 opening as well, and I got him into the correct end of the #3 tunnel and then proceeded to send him offcourse instead of the #4 jump, which was very far away from the tunnel. Ah well, no Q for Rip in snooker either.

We stuck around late for the Pairs run, and were running with the very fast dog Rookie. They ran first, and Jen was concerned about the offcourse tire sitting after the last jump in her half so she over-called Rookie and he dropped his last bar. Rip then got to go and did really well on his half running clean. Our 5 point fault put us in 3rd but our time was less than 1 second off the fastest time.

Sunday opened with Standard and Rip dropped the first bar, so it turned into a practice run. Silly boy ran past the chute as well, but it didnt really matter at that point.

Skye ran an awesome Standard run, though he did drop 1 bar on a sharp turn. His time was the fastest in our group.

Snooker was up next with both dogs entered. Rip got to go first, and my plan was 3 6's, as the 7 involved an Aframe / tunnel discrimination that I didnt want to mess with. Rip dropped the third red, causing a scramble to get into the closing but he listened and did it. We got through the 6 in the closing and then I over-worried the discrimination and sent him right into the offcourse tunnel, so no Q because of dropping that bar in the opening.
Skye then got to run and he did awesome. He got the 3 6's and again got to the 7 in the close, where I did the exact same thing and blew the discrimination. Skye got the Q though.

Rip got to run Steeplechase finals, this time with 2 AFrames which is better for us. He did OK, though again pretty slow compared to his potential - maybe he was tired or sore, though he didnt show it before the run. We did end up in 3rd place, earning $10, though mostly that was because other dogs went off course - not because he was faster than anybody. Still, I'll take it ;)

I had also entered Rip in the Master Challenge Jumpers. This turned out to be a mistake since he really was not in any mood to run anymore. He refused to take the backside of #2, so we got a refusal right there (here's your NQ), and I continued up to the weaves which were #5 and he walked them and wandered out at pole 10, so I ended our run there. I wish clubs would not leave the most challenging courses for the last run of the trial.

I left Envy at home for this trial as I didnt want to chance her pottying in the hotel room, and I knew I would not have a lot of downtime during the trial to do much with her.

Here are some videos from the boys:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The new blog name

Now that I am back, I have decided to rename my blog from 'Gregs Dog Blog blah blah' to 'The Chaos Crew'

The name comes from what my wife says about my dogs - I always bring chaos into a room, or if at a trial, when I bring them up into the stands and such. We are the chaos crew - can't settle, get intertwined with each other, want to say hi to everyone, etc. Her dogs lie down and behave, sometimes so much that you dont know they are there.

Well, not my dogs - we bring a little chaos where we go!

I'm Back!

Welcome 2014!
I have been an awful blogger and stopped posting right as things got interesting - I had picked my puppy from the litter I wrote about back in March 2013, and have spent the next 8 months with my fabulous Envy puppy, who is now 10 months old.
She is learning agility and doing great. I plan on keeping up with my blog this year. I had been putting regular updates on Facebook, but those really just disappear and get lost in the shuffle.

Rather than a big long description to catch up, I've just included a bunch of pictures from the past 10 months or so. I hope there are still a few people who might have a look at my blog!


Pretty 'frosting' on the trees to start winter

Here is Envy at 10 months old. She's a beauty.

Envy 'dancing' for her Christmas picture.

Rip giving me a goofy look for his Christmas picture.

Skye and Envy hanging out in the heat of summer.

Envy helping replace the flooring in our bedroom.

Handsome Rip boy.

Skye had these tires for sale on Craigslist.

Replaced a couple old wood windows with new vinyl in the bedroom.

Envy at about 5 months.

Skye checking to see where the rabbit went.

Rip practicing a different kind of agility.

Skye chilling out in the shade.

Envy loves to catch weeds and run with them.

Late spring snow gave Skye something to play in.

Awful Black Forest fire that took 500+ homes was too close for comfort.

Envy loves to steal the frisbee from Skye. You can see she started this very young!