Sunday, May 31, 2009

AKC NOVICE JWW Pasadena, CA 1rst and a Q


Well Breeze and I ran this jumpers course today at the trial in Pasadena. The weather was really nice and cool all morning and then got hot in time for our run. Breeze did awesome and I did not see any signs of stress at the start line like I saw last week. She was a rock at the start line. I got out on the course and thought I had just missed the GO sound. I was sort of confused, I put Breeze in a stay, took off the leash and then looked at the judge and he was just looking toward the exit so I was not sure if the GO had been sounded or not, in the meantime I had left Breeze in a stay, so I just kept staring at the judge who was not hurrying me on, so I assumed maybe they had not said GO??? What a dufus, but eventually they sounded the GO, which means I had left Breeze sitting there in a stay all that time for nothing, BAD HANDLER! That made me so much more proud she held her stay so well, she had extra time to hold it. Going out of the tunnel I knew she would have picked up speed and I knew I would still be lateral to her path so there was no way to show a little deceleration so I had to hope for the best for the entrance to the weaves.....and she just nailed the entrance, and completed the weaves with no problem. YIPPIE BREEZE. After Breeze got out of the second tunnel and was between 10 and 11, Breeze went around jump 11 and then slowed when I brought her back for the jump so the rear cross there was VERY choppy and I wish I could have handled that differently....but then we did the last rear cross without incident, so we ended up with a first and a qualifying score.

I have been playing a lot of games with Breeze to work on the start line and that seems to be working well. I put her in a stay and run away from her, put her in a stay and play with the toy and then when I say BREAK we break into a wild game, and I have been doing a lot of just plain treating for staying in a down until I give a release without even saying stay.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

ITS OFFICIAL, LITTLE Breeze is 17 3/4-18 inches, and 32 lbs

YIPPIE!!!! Breeze got her second measurement for AKC, so she is all official. She was right on the line for the jump heights so we ended up losing a Q last time we ran because I had her in the wrong class, so now we are all official. Now to not lose the temporary papers with the measurements until the official height card gets here.


The judge that measured Breeze was Rhonda Crane and she was so patient with the dogs and with the novice handlers, some judges can just be so impatient when they have to come and measure-which I can see why, it must be a pain for them to have to come over and do that in their limited breaks. Rhonda was GREAT, she worked with Breeze, she explained to everyone the rules with measuring. You get your first measurement in AKC, they give you the yellow back copy of the measurement, which you KEEP!!! This will be what you use to check in until the next trial where there is another VMO (volunteer measuring official????). When you get to the second trial that has a VMO-they will do your final measurement, if your dog is over 2 and if both measurements basically agree with each other, then you will get the second yellow copy of the second measurement. You need to save both of these, but you use the second measurement until your permanent height card gets here. So Rhonda, and Alicia both said make sure to get a couple of COLOR copies of the measurements in case anything happens at the AKC. I guess most importantly DO NOT LOSE your copies of the yellow sheets. If one of the measurements is way out there then there will be a third tie breaking measurement. BUT NO NEED FOR THAT TODAY, YIPPIE!!!!

The trial today and tomorrow is in Pasadena. I just went today to watch Denise and Kodi in Rally and to measure in, and SHOP!!! This is a huge trial with a lot of vendors-although not as many as in years past, there is confirmation and obedience. There were a couple of people from my dog club trialing today and I saw Kara and Dillon, my other favorite border collie. Denise and Kodi did EXCELLENT in Rally and were in a three way tie for first place in Rally. YEA KODI!!!! Denise also did very well at her jump height of about 48 inches, hahahahahahahah, and she knows what I mean by that, I think she should definitely get a first place for her performance today.

So tomorrow we actually get to run, and no measuring in to stress me out. Worrying about the measuring in has made me way more nervous then the trial this weekend.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Four on the Floor or keep trying for the good ol' 2020?

videoI originally taught the four on the floor contact to both my border collies. Mainly I did that with the Aframe because I wanted to figure out a way to be easier on Breeze's body because of her hip dysplasia. Lizzie loved the four on the floor but figured out how to jump over both the up and the down contact....so I had to retrain the 2o2o, which proved way harder then I thought. So Breeze has been doing pretty good with the four on the floor on the Aframe but I would like to have a 2o2o on the dog walk so she is controlling her speed and being a little more careful on the dog walk after a few accidents she has had. Well, I started with a lot of working on a small plank, I shaped her being in a down position with her two front feet off, and if we hop on and off the board she loves the 2o2o, and I had thought it would be an easy retrain. I am finding every time I add in any excitement we are back to the four on the floor, so I am trying to decide just how much I want to fight this battle, do I just work on the four on the floor and be happy or do I keep going and insist on the 2o2o on the dog walk? I know I can eventually get a 2o2o, I think...but how much time is it worth?? I already know I am leaving the Aframe as is, she doesn't position herself forward even though she anticipates the jump and the reward appears that way, so I might try to work on that but otherwise I am pretty happy with the aframe.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NADAC FINAL COUNT, TWO FIRSTS with Q's, One second, and one mucked up start line run





Finally...some runs with video to back up what happened. What can I say, this weekend we started having not happy start line issues. Breeze was definately more stressed, and I am going to be working on that a lot this next week. The jumpers run was a NQ because we dropped a bar, but we got the big things, and we got a second.

The tunnelers run was a lot of fun. Breeze has not got the hang of understanding when she goes in a tunnel and I cross behind figureing out where I will be when she comes out, so I expected a LOT of spinning. It was much better then I expected. I will say when I walked out and there was that LONG LINE of jumps and I was thinking about how far I needed to run and I quickly figured out how fast she would make that distance, I was a little intimidated thinking of how much I would have to hustle. I was right about that. Best thing was I did not forget the course, those tunnelers courses can be hard to remember because you get in the middle and all you see is tunnels. The tunnelers run was a Q and a first place, Yippie!

MONDAYS NADAC JUMPERS with Moose, a run I really feel good about...even though we did not Q

First run of the day I got to do was with Alicia's corgi Moose. Moose is fast, and he is such a fun little guy to run with. Moose was my first fast dog I got to run with and he taught me a lot, but I have not got to run with Moose much lately. So I was walking by the ring when they were walking the Elite Jumpers course and Alicia was getting ready to run with Moose. I was really hot and they had already been walking the course, and it is an elite course but Alicia asked if I wanted to run Moose. I went to check the course and it was a challenge to remember. One of those courses where you have to go around several of the same jumps a few times but each time head a little bit of a different way, and there was a tunnel with an entry the dogs saw several times and were not supposed to take it. So I was not really feeling very good about remembering the course so I wanted to wimp out and tell Alicia to run it, but I thought I need to buck up and push my limits a little more. Moose was up first or second, so ....I was just got my emotions in check and tried to concentrate on the job at hand. When we got to the line Moose would not lie down and stay. He kept creeping ahead and just acting like he was ignoring me (it was the weekend for start line issues for me, LOL). So Alicia had said I would need to be firm but I think her idea of firm is different from mine--I have worked with very soft dogs, so I am sure I was saying a please could you go down type of command-I don't want to hurt your feelings Moose, LOL. Moose was not intimidated by me. I finally felt like I had been out of there forever so I made a quick mental calculation thinking what happens if we just start going, and figured I was screwed because there was a long line of fast jumps to start us out and at the end there was the big mouth of the tunnel that I would have to be there to handle it. I finally just told Moose to stay and walked a few steps and I knew we were going. LOL, you gotta love that feeling. So Moose was way too close to the jump so he knocked the first bar, but WOW, we did the rest of the course like clock work. It was weird because like the places I needed to stop, and to decelerate it just clicked, stop now!!! I am famous for using the wrong words and I have not worked with Moose and his word for a turn with a lead change is SWITCH, and I even got that right word out, it just popped into my head at the right moment. All weekend I used directionals and even got them right except for once. I wish I had not knocked that first bar because it was one of those runs that just felt sooo good. That was a run I was really proud of because it wasn't just an easy run, I did not have a lot of time to remember it, I felt really good about it, and I was not sure I could pull that one off. It is so much fun to run with an experienced dog that really knows there job, Moose is such a good boy.

NADAC sunday jumpers run, no Q and no video but she did awesome!

SUNDAY'S JUMPERS RUN-Unfortunately I did not get this one on tape. I thought it was a bit of a rough course for Breeze-some good challenges for a baby dog, but I was feeling pretty good about it. Unfortunately Breeze was sniffing again at the start line, ughghghg, so when I thought she really might have just been sniffing something the first day, she was definitely stressing. Breeze is really comfy and happy once she gets started but we are definitely going to have to address this start line issue. Breeze went around all the jumps and came running out to me while I was leading out, so I brought her back to the start line (thank heavens you can train in the ring at NADAC) and I did not lead out as far and released her as soon as I could so I would not further mess up our start line. We got a second, and the run was beautiful once we got going it was a challenging course for her and she did GREAT. I played a bunch of stay games at the trial site the next day before we had to go out and run again, which helped but it was just a bandaid.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

NADAC Memorial Day Madness Saturday in Pearblossom, CA first place and a Q!!!!


Saturdays Trial, Memorial Day Madness, NADAC, Pearblossom, CA
First place, Qualifying run
It was hot, but Breeze did terrific. The only bad worry for the day was that Breeze did not pee, ALL day long, so when she got out on the field and was sniffing and sniffing, I was sort of worried about that. There also was a cute little gopher, that came up and was popping his head right next to jump #2, and you all know we have had our trouble with gophers stealing dogs attention, LOL, so I was glad that Breeze was not too interested in him or did not see him. We are back to do it all again tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

How to tire out a Lizard....it may be the only thing that can wear her out

When we walk into Liz's tricks class, Lizzie is spacey, lunging around to go see everyone, and looks like she has never been on a leash. After an hour of the class, Little Liz walks out like an obedience dog, loose leash, at my side and calm as can be. An hour of clicker training and shaping wears her out like nothing else in the world does. We do a lot of work in that class, we are at week 5 and this is the list of what we have worked on-not all totally done but we are working on them:
1. Roll over
2. 101 things to do with a box
3. lick on command
4. Turn their head to the side and pose for pictures
5. lay down and reach their paws forward, then put their head on the ground to look sorry.
6. shake
7. high five
8. wave
9. retrieve their leash and other things
10. bow
and now we are starting to teach them to read commands off a card, we did "sit" and "down".
It really amazes me how fast Liz picks things up and the more things she learns the faster she picks it up.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our new made up training game for contacts



Check out how Cherry has to really position herself on the board, definately no way to get all four feet on it and not be in the proper position for her, she is a longer dog then the other girls.

We found a new game yesterday to play with all the border girls at the same time. We have ALL been working really hard at the contacts, going out a few minutes each day a few times a day and just rewarding for the end behavior on the dog walk. This has been a lot harder then the first time I trained the contacts because this is a retrain and gosh my dogs learned the first four on the floor REALLY well. I thought the retraining to a 2020 would be easy, but was I wrong.

The first step is really making this little short plank really rewarding. I shaped the girls to get all four feet on the plank, then to down with their body all tucked on the board, their front feet hanging off the front and then looking down. I am really trying to not skip steps and really work each step this time.

So it was hot outside, I had all the girls in and they were staring at me wanting to do some tricks, so I put all the girls in a down lying pretty much side by side. I put out the board for Lizzie first and let her try to pop on the board. Well, she really knows the behavior the best but sometimes farts around awhile before she gets serious and really tries to get on the board correctly, so I decided I wanted to experiment and see if she could handle the frustration of having to get it right the first time. So when she popped on the board sideways I just released her and let her go back to the down position, her turn over. So next I popped the board next to Breeze and she is not as solid on the behavior so I let her pop on the board which she basically did well except for her elbows dangling off the side, so I shaped that and highly rewarded when she was in the right position. Then it was Cherry's turn-and Cherry is not a retrain and has gotten this down really well, so within a few tries she was on the board and really well positioned. So then it was Liz turn again and again she popped on the side and so I released her and we went through the line for the other girls turns. It was so funny because the dogs were just so into the whole game and the next time around boy everyone had the idea that they had better grab their time on the board or it would go away.

It was funny because it was great training and the dogs all seem to think that board is one of the funnest things on earth and I have been working on teaching the dogs to have a little self control while the other dogs are working so it was really a great exercise for that too.

Another great thing about the plank work is Cherry is really getting some good rear end awareness, I can see her moving her back feet separately without looking and reaching for the board, so that is a great thing for her.
Next step is strengthening the behavior no matter how I am positioned, then I have a longer plank and plan to transfer this game to the longer plank and including driving to the end and then back chaining the dog walk and Aframe. Moving right along with the contacts!

today is my favorite day of the week, the day I shop the fridge for treats, pack all our crap and head out to class, YIPPIE! We have a really fun and challenging course to work on. Breeze just keeps getting better every week so that makes it a lot of fun and we have a full three days of trialing this weekend, so after tonight....we will be ready!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Control Unleashed-A foundation seminar


I took some time today to savor my new DVD that I have been trying to find some time to watch, Control Unleashed. I first read the book right when it came out, and then I was on the yahoo list discussing the book and working with the dogs, I was lucky enough to attend the Control Unleashed seminar and I have done quite a few of the exercises and work with my dogs, Breeze for her alarm barking and stress issues, and Lizzie with her over excitement and zoomie stress issues. It is a four DVD set, so I suspect it will take me some time to watch all four, but I watched the first one today and I am LOVING IT.

CONTROLLED UNLEASHED-this was the decription given in the first section of the DVD.

A training system that teaches puppies and dogs how to process high-criteria environments in a way that saves their energy for focusing on giving a good performance instead of using up that energy getting distracted by, or worry about, the "stuff" going on around them.

CU accomplishes this through a series of games designed to create a dialogue about the environment between the dog and the handler. which meets the needs of both. CU is also a philosophy that stresses the importance4 of balancing attention and control work while letting your dog "be a dog".
The first section is showing people how to observe dogs and their natural way of handling their environment, do they look to their handler, do they have to run around, what is their default emotion and behavior.

There were a lot of types of dogs shown but the first dog really interested me because it was Lizzie Lou to a tee. They called this dog a ROLLER COASTER DOG. This is a dog that might look like they are excited and having fun, but it is like you riding a roller coaster or watching something really scary, it is fun because it is controlled and you know it will end. The dog may not know this will end so it is more stressful and their default emotion is to just go up and over the top. Unfortunately stress and excitement intersect and they handle that by going over the top, running zoomies, taking off, etc... they look like they are having the most fun but it is really an out of control feeling. Leslie the author equates this to asking someone who is really excited, going on a roller coaster to do really challenging algebra. This is how doing something complicated with a lot of little things to think about like agility feels to this dog when they are in this state.

I have just watched the first dvd but already have some good ideas for some new things to work on with both of my dogs, even though I have done a lot of controlled unleashed things in the past. I am very excited to get started on the next dvd in the set.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kids


I have a small yard on the side of the house where I keep my extra agility equipment stored. It is usually a kitchen, or a restaurant, or some sort of store curteousy of my kids and their friends. Sometimes it can be irritating when I can not find pieces of my equipment because it has been used to hold up serving tables, or my weave wires are part of some line system for "store customers", but for the most part it is so much fun to watch. So today the kids were all busy at work with the newest "business" my older daughter started....a DATING SERVICE, slash a service that gets people restraining orders, and service offering advice. I think I am going to have to further investigate what type of programs or movies they have been watching.....but you know it isn't a half bad concept, LOL, a sort of one stop dating service including help if it all goes bad!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

some days...


The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.

Thomas Wolfe

Maybe that is why I love my dogs so much? Some days I worry I will grow to be the weird, cranky, opinionated dog lady at the end of the street.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pets ten commandments

I found this on a puppy site I was looking at today:


YOUR PET'S TEN
COMMANDMENTS...

1. My life is likely to last only 10-15 years. Any separation from you Is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends,
Your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps
I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me Please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me If you are there, because I love you so. ALWAYS!

~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters~

Friday, May 15, 2009

By George, we are getting it, super terrific lesson

whoo hooooo, we had my private and then class in Acton last night and WOW, Breeze is reading so many things, looking for the line or jumps, holding her start line, and it has been over 4 weeks since she has had any missteps, any weird little hops, anything like that, and she worked for a long time and worked hard last night. Just a few weeks ago she could not read my lead out moving front cross and last night she was just on it last night. It is so cool because she is at the stage where it is easy to see big changes every week. Add to that the fact that she is doing awesome at our contact training, both her and Lizzie are going to have some contacts! LOL.

Liz is doing fine, I was worried about her looking for the gophers since she spent the end of the last lesson on her own personal gopher search, but she wanted to play agility.

Just the most interesting thing to run both dogs back to back. Breeze really is more comfy when we have wide open spaces and I can let her do her thing, she does not particularly like working really close and doesnt like being pushed or pressure. Lizzie loves to work close and gets all hyper and lost when she needs to go ahead, or work out on her own a bit. So Lizzie will really whirl around and almost trip who ever is running her if she has to drive out to another jump, or she will just ram into your knees or bowl you down when you hold your ground. When I took lessons with Deanna she would say to hold my ground a lot and do not be afraid they are not going to crash into you, they will respect your space, hahahhahahahah, well, I think she had not seen Lizzie at her finest.

Poor Alicia was running Liz last night and got rammed into by the little lizard last night a bunch of times and I am really suprised she did not go down because Liz was jumping right in front of her a lot, LOL.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fish for breakfast

YIKES! So I have fed the dogs raw for years now. I have also been a vegetarian for seven or eight years-but I troll the small ethnic grocery stores we have around here and deal with cow hearts, chicken feet, chicken livers, I grind all sorts of meats in my meat grinder,and definately feed all sorts of things that are not the most appetizing-although a lot of it looks pretty good if you were a meat eater. A few weeks ago I found some whole fish at our Food 4 Less store that were marked down a LOT. I took them home and the border collies-Liz and Breeze quickly figured out what to do with them, but the shelties just sat and licked the fish. I was panicking thinking I was going to have to climb in the sheltie crates and fish out the yucky fish, but then it occured to me to let Breeze and Liz go in and clean up the left overs. I feed fish but it has always been filets, not whole fish. So Alicia gave me some really nice pretty good size fish to feed the dogs and knowing the shelties would not eat fish heads I had to chop the fish up, and cut off the heads. Something just really bothers me when the food looks like something real, and those little heads and eyes are just a problem for me. Mostly I guess it is the eyes. So for breakfast Liz and Breeze chomped on the little fishies, grabbing their heads and chewing them, and really enjoying their treat, the shelties are finally eating some chunks of the fish, and everyone seemed pretty satisfied.

My youngest daughter helps feed the dogs, so when I gave her some of the bowls to pass out she took one look at the fish and said "this is disturbing...very disturbing", LOL! Hopefully my daughter does not end up on Dr. Phil one day recounting how helping her mom feed the dogs has messed her up.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cherry, Breeze, and Liz are back to basics on the dog walk-day 1 on the tiny plank

Well, I started our dog walk training today. Doing a baseline really showed me what we need to work on and I think Breeze really needs to go back to the beginning if I want to make the dog walk totally independant and I think that is the only way to keep her safe on the dog walk. To be honest I think we have enough of a contact that I am not at all worried about that, we could go out today and I think I would get enough of a behavior that we could actually trial, I am way more worried with how she runs across the dog walk planks and keeps falling and hurting herself. She does not understand that she does not have to watch me on the dog walk, it is an obstacle where she should be able to perform it without checking with me in the middle of it.

So I deceided to make it really clear and start with a very small plank, just the size of the dogs from chest to hips, and then the criteria is to lie down on the plank with the back legs tucked in and the front legs hanging off the front, and definately head facing forward. I think for Breeze this will be more clear then working with the longer board-we can move to the longer board when she figures this whole thing out a little more. Elicia Calhoun works with the smaller board, that is where I got the idea to make a smaller plank.

Liz, of course is a champ and loves this game, so she was hoping right on the board and doing terrific.

Cherry does terrific and only took a few tries before she was going right into the position, I did a lot of treats delivered right in front of them to make it the most rewarding position and something they can not wait to get to.

Breeze....really wants to look back, so I had to more or less lure her into position and then give a lot of treats, and move around her as I was treating, I want her to understand the position includes looking forward. After a few minutes Breeze wanted to play ball and so I put the board a little further out and rewarded her with the ball being thrown for driving forward without looking back. I think with baby steps we are going to get some awesome contacts.

I am going to video as much of the work we are doing so I can really make sure I am rewarding the right things.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Breeze dogwalk basline-to see what we have to work with

videoDEFINATELY this video is not anything to brag about or write home about for sure. I decided to post a video of our baseline on the dog walk. We have had a lot of problems with the dog walk. Over time it seems like the problem has been two fold. First off Breeze tends to splay her legs a bit when she really gets going and she fell off the dog walk and partially tore her ACL a year ago. Second when Breeze runs half the time she is running with her head turned backwards watching me, because I am usually behind her, LOL. When Breeze gets really excited she gets a bit spastic and it makes the whole thing harder.

So in addition to these factors the dog walk where I take lessons with Alicia has been broken for a long time and can not be put in a lowered position. I have not done a lot of work at home because I have been uncomfortable not having someone else here to help watch her and notice what is going on. It is hard to even video the whole dog walk because it is so long. I am lucky to have a really nice dog walk, so I have decided if I am going to conquer this dog walk I guess I will just have to figure out how to do it on my own. My instructor at PawPrints yard really does not like to work with Breeze on the dog walk because she has had such weird accidents on the dog walk, so that has not be an option either.

I have worked with Breeze a lot on learning to turn round, do tricks on the dog walk, run across it, jump on and off at different points, I have a small plank for the dogs to play on in their yard, I have done a lot of running across a plank that looks like a dog walk in the house. I originally started with a four on the floor contact, and then in dong all my plank work Breeze has just seemed to want to do a 2020, so I was going with that. Breeze does a 4 on the floor on the Aframe to make things easier on her hips because of her dysplasia.

Today I pulled everything out and my original plan is to teach her to run back and forth on the dog walk to manners minders so that she is focused on that and to discourage her looking to me on this particular piece of equipment. She obviously does not remember the manners minder. Now maybe because we are doing more Aframes she is reverting back to the 4 on the floor....and she has no clue about not looking at me. I was experimenting around with waiting for her to look forward and then mark it, but boy she was pretty sure she is supposed to stare at me.

So I am going to think and work up a training plan, based on today's work I think I am going to have to go with a 4 on the floor, and I am going to have to work on the plank a little more and I am going to have to really work on ways to reward forward looking and take myself out of the picture totally. I am going to have to think about this a little more based on what I saw today.

Hopefully by making and posting a video in a few weeks we will have a really awesome before and after!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

BREEZE first AKC run JWW


Well, after all the worrying and whining, it looks like it was all for nothing. Little Breeze Did AMAZING! We met all our training goals and even earned a Q in the JWW run and a second place. I was so excited she held her start line stay and she did not run around any jumps even though the second jump was at a pretty severe angle and she tends to go around the first or second jump so it was super amazing she just headed right over that jump. The other really great thing was that she checked in with me at the end, saw me running and she just figured out what she was supposed to do and drove right on through the last jumps. She caught the weave entry first time, but did not stick it and poped out between pole 3-4 I believe but when I brough her back and got her thinking again she did it the second time with no problems. It was blazing hot and we did not get to run until well after 3, but Alicia stuck around to cheer us on-which really added to the moment, Kara and Dillon were there to watch, and that was super neat it was really great to have them there especially when they had to wait around on such a hot day to see the run, and of course Denise and Kodi were there. I got one of those big beach umbrellas from costco and put Breezes crate under there and then I have some sun screen fabric and we were able to make it through the day.

ACTUALLY the Q may not count because Breeze measured where she can jump 16 normally in the regular class, but I was sure she was too big for that so I put her in preferred, well, then she measured ok for the 16 inches, I did not realize she measured under where she could jump the regular jump height and so because the preferred box was checked on the entry and not the standard, the trial secretary said she did not think the run would count, but goodness, she is supposed to jump 16, she jumped 16 and she Q'd in 16 so just seems a bit of a pain to me, but what ever, we met our training goals and that is the important thing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

THE PLAN-goals for Breeze first AKC trial tomorrow

Well, tomorrow is Breeze's first AKC trial. Unfortunately I do not think I will have anyone to tape it, ;-( , so I am sort of bummed about that, but what are you going to do? The good part is my friend Denise and her dog Kodi are going to be doing their first AKC trial too, so I will have some good company.


The weather has just changed, it feels like summer and the trial is not at the field I thought it was, and the one it is at does not have any shade. Of course I do not have my easy up because my car is out of commission, so not sure how we will make it through the day especially since this little car is not one I can work out of. It was 99 degrees today. Ughghg, that is the only thing I am really stressing out about for this trial. I got really sick yesterday during our class-a migraine type headache and feeling nauseous, from the heat, so if I really feel sick or if Breeze is not looking good we will not run, I hope it doesn't come down to that. I got a little beach umbrella and then I will take my shade cloth to sort of fashion some type of shade if I can find my clamps, but of course I am not sure where they ended up when everything got taken out of the car.


MY GOALS FOR THIS TRIAL:
The start line, I want to get out and let her off the start line fast, that means thinking about what I want to do before I go out there, because my biggest goal is Breeze taking the jumps I am going to let her run if she breaks her start line,I have thought long and hard about all our goals before I made that decision, she is doing pretty well at the start line, so I am just going to do my best, not go as far out, try to figure out if she is going to move and release her first and hope for the best.
My biggest goal is just to get to where I need to be, so if she sails around a jump but we get the general course-going around jumps or going way wide is something we are working on, so I am not going to worry too much if that happens. Mostly I want to make sure I am getting where I need to be, if that makes sense.
Weaves-we will try the weaves twice and if she doesn't get them we are going on. If she gets them then that will definitely make me very happy. She generally gets the weaves unless she is just hauling too much and then has trouble hanging on and pops past a pole or two at about the third pole, so my goal is to remember to decelerate just a tad if she is really moving into the poles.
My other important goal is for me to identify any converging lines and work them so Breeze is more likely to stay on course. I have been working on that a lot, so hopefully I will see where I need to use that.

So all in all, it is our first AKC trial, Breezie is just a baby dog, we still have a lot of training and I do not want to put too much pressure on either of us. I am trying to remember to train and not be too hung up on if we Q or not. I just do not want to get too worried at Qing and give up the other things we are training for, I do not want to be going back over and over to fix things and demotivate my little girl, especially if the heat is as bad as I think it is going to be.

Guess the fact that I feel the need to write about it probably shows I am a little more nervous about our trial then I am willing to admit...Anyway, wish us luck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wack a Mole, or wack a gopher, what ever you choose

So Miss Naughty Liz had a great lesson today and was doing so amazingly ....UNTIL, she saw a little gopher stick his head out the hole in the field. It was all over then, I do not trump gophers apparently, and my agility games are not nearly as fun as a WACK A MOLE game. OOOH Liz. Poor Liz, no one understands...and she had to go back to the crate and didn't get to finish trying to catch the bad gopher, and to add insult to injury we got Breeze out to finish the lesson, nothing worse then not being able to play and then having to watch someone else play your game.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Missing my Agility Mobile and a New Class at Happy Dog Agility




LIZ AND BREEZE IN THE RENTAL-BEFORE AGILITY ON THE WAY DOWN, AND AFTER AGILITY ON THE WAY HOME
I am having some serious issues with not having my agiity mobile up and running. It is still in the body shop and will be for a few more weeks. In the meantime I have a rental car, thanks to the guy who rear ended me, but it is one of those little tiny Chevy Cobalts I believe and it is just not going to be taking over the agility mobile spot any time soon. The biggest problem is that I have been living out of my car recently. It is pretty horrifying when you consider the cleanliness factor, but at any time I could find a couple of jackets, jackets for the dogs, thousands of dog toys, some first aid things, some snacks, all sorts of water containers with varying amounts of water in them, leashes galore, I have just about anything you could ever need in my car. I might not be able to find it because there is so much, but can you imagine what it is like traveling around So. Cal. without it, when I am used to having everything in the car? In addition I can not put the dogs in crates to travel, and I think they like that, but it really isnt as safe and the really bad part is that when I go to class I can not leave anyone out in the car because I am not sure what they might tear up in the excitement of watching their sister playing agility, and Cherry and Chloe have had to stay home because I just can not fit them all in the car.

Tonight I went to class and did not have a water bowl for the dogs, no sweater for me and I thought no leash for the dogs(I have started junking up the rental car a little bit, so I had left two leashes in there thank heavens!). Like REALLY??? How does that happen? I have become dependent on my rolling house on wheels that contains everything and am lost without my traveling closet of goodies.

Tonight I went to Happy Dog Agility to drop in on Alicia's new class there. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive, and I knew I would be traveling around the rush hour so I had to take a route that was a little longer then I usually would and go a way I was not familiar with, so I was happy I have arrived home safetly.

As for the class, Denise and Kodi came, and I was really happy to see them. Lizzie was horrible sitting and barking in her crate in Alicia's car through most of the first class that I did with Breeze. I know they really frown on that at Happy Dog so that made that a little more stressful, but the situation was not a very good one for me training Liz not to be barking so I sort of did the yelling to be quiet thing, which Lizzie loves because she thinks she barks and then I bark back, she thinks we are communicating. Ahhhhhhhh......

Breeze did the first class and really did well. She went over the Aframe the first time and did not do her contact, but then she did it three more times and the contact behavior looked pretty good. She is doing the four on the floor contact on the Aframe. We had some little bobbles in the weaves but at the last of the sequences there was a row of three jumps and Breeze was ahead, looked back and I said "jump" and she was right on it. Yippie. The best part is that Breeze did the full agility class and stayed totally sound, physically she looked really good today.

Lizzie got to go into the next class, and I was a little frazzled switching between the two dogs, and Liz had frazzled me with her barking in the crate, so I was not in the most ideal place to be working with her. A whole class of new dogs, and a field she has only been to once or twice, but she did amazing. That dog is FAST. Her jumping looked great and she did the weaves better then she has in weeks-AND NO ZOOMIES!!!! She was looking for jumps-it was terrific.

I think we are ready for Breeze's AKC debut this weekend, ....I think...hahahaha, I am not that confident-but, I think we will be ok.

World Team Try Outs 2009


Well, I made it back from the world team tryouts with no major incidents. I did lock the keys in the trunk of the car right before Alicia needed to get to the runs on the first day, but I found the button to pop open the trunk, so not a major disaster in the end, but that gave us a few hairy moments, I left my purse on a bench at LAX when we were catching the shuttle back, but the shuttle drive wove in and out of traffic and got us back to the bench just a few minutes later and my purse was sitting there all intact, big crisis averted. Alicia's last run was the last group of the day on Sunday, they were estimated to be done at 4:30 and the plane was supposed to take off at 4:50-so we sweated that a bit all weekend, but the runs were running a bit ahead of schedule and we were able to just barely make the plane. AND NO swine flu, LOL, so like I said everything basically went pretty well.

I HAD A GREAT TIME!!!! The world team courses were insane and had a LOT of challenging areas on most every course. One of the really interesting things is that in the world competitions and in the tryouts there are separate courses for every jump height. So you would see the large dogs and the large dog courses, and then the medium dogs would be up, they would rebuild the course and it really did not have anything to do with the large dog course, a totally different course made for their stride length and the challenges you would have with a dog of that size, and then the small dog courses were really tight for the little guys.

It was so neat to watch all these great handlers/dogs in one place. I picked out small elements to really watch in each of the runs to see how people used different handling methods to handle different things, like lead outs, or the treadles, or the serpentines, or places that needed decelerations, or there were a lot of places where people would really need to use a lot of deceleration and close handling and really working on area where they would have to stay there and just finish handling a sequence, but then they would really have to haul because they would have to get to the end of an dog walk right after a really tight sequence. I really admire all the people that made it there to compete.

Most of all I really am grateful to have such a great instructor that has really taught me so many things. I know 18 months ago I would not have understood dog agility like I do now, there is so much more to understand but I can not believe how much she has taught me, and I know I am beginning to get it, not just how to run around a course but there is so much more to know. I love to watch Alicia run with her dog Pickle who only has one eye but is able to compete with dogs on that level - when was the last time anyone saw a one eyed dog trying to get on the world team? I feel really lucky Alicia asked me to go with her, and I am so glad I went.

What a cool sport agility is, the people that make the how to videos, the people that write articles on how to do things, the people that we go to seminars to learn things from all compete in the same places we do and so they are all people that we can meet and ask questions of and get to know them. Say if we all took up acting, we could not just go out and meet all the big stars, sit on the set and watch how they handle the mental game or ask them how they pulled off that great scene. I got to meet some very nice people this weekend, and as a big bonus I got to spend time with some very nice people that actually live in this area so that was super fun.