Sunday, May 27, 2012


I am at the hotel using my ipad and I have not figured out how to use the app so I can post pictures, so no pictures today, sorry ;-(.

I am having so much fun. Spring Agility Camp is here in Murrietta, CA, just north of San Diego. The venue is where I have done several seminars in the past and it is gorgeous. There are three groups of ten people working and a few auditors. One group is just with baby or new dogs working just on foundation and the rest of us are in two groups that rotate doing half the day with skills and drills-learning specific skills on smaller sequences designed for us to use those skills, then we go to a full course where we put the skills into practice. Each day has a specific focus and day 1's focus is on using motion appropriately.

Our first session was with Karen Hollick -doing skills and drills. We worked on the 4 different type of rear crosses and then worked on forward moving front crosses. First off I want to say up front it was so fantastic because this is the first lesson or working with anyone that I did not get a mention one time during the WHOLE day reminding me how fast my dog is and how slow I am ;-). I loved it first I worked really hard to move and I have been doing the John Cullens Fleet Feet practicing ;-), and second maybe the courses were set up so some places were really hard to get there-where I needed ro be.....but I was able to do it. It is a drag and discouraging and really not a help to my self imagine when people do that, like people, trust me I am aware of that situation, ;-). So anyway this whole day did so much to help my confidence that we can do it, I left feeling very proud of myself and my dog.

One of the huge things I got from the first lesson was how to handle the dreaded SFL's. What is an SFL? a STRAIGHT FREAKIN' LINE! When you have a fast dog and slower handler (most of us) if your dog is going to overtake and pass you then as they get further and further ahead they are likely to turn to see where you are, possibly spin, possibly get a refusal . So Karen pointed out that I need to look at places Cricket will be passing me and work to start out further away laterally and then converge on her line going forward, moving like in a V toward her so that the extra pressure helps her know she is on the right path and discourage her from spining back to me. I look for those in long courses but we were doing a speed circle, so just a simple jump, jump, tunnel, jump, jump, tunnel, jump, jump, tunnel--designed to get a lot of speed and be fun but I was getting some look back when Cricket got way ahead.

I worked really hard on not giving up at the end of a course and slowing down, which really helps Cricket (yea, yea, yea, or any dog!) hahahahha, of course I knew that, but I can be a bit lazy and will stop without driving to the last obstacle ;-) I admit it!!!

One thing I have been thinking about lately is watching like the WAO's and doing the Fleet Feet program to move better in agility there is a lot of sideways movements, and backwards movements and getting down to put your hand in your dogs vision. Karen talked about how to bend your knees and get down to where your dog can see your cues. She also showed how if you raise your hands too high you can see how your shoulders start to rotate. If you stand looking at yourself in a mirror and raise your hand out front and just keep raising it you will see your shoulders starting to open up which can give your dog signals you did not intend.

One of my legacies of where I started agility training has been that I used to have really BAD rear crosses. Cricket learned them correctly, where I have my shoulders faceing the jump then I step behind her for motion toward her and then maybe step back or turn. The bad way I learned was where I use my arm to lead the dog forward and turn my shoulders, it is a hard habit to break and it sends my dog either really wide or spinnning on the landing side of the jump. I usually revert back to my bad RC when I get nervous. I have been working on that for awhile and knew what to do but for some reason boy the reason I should do them like that has become so much clearer.

ANYWAY, Cricket did so good, she had the tightest little turns and was having such fun and running so well.....after our last run Karen looked at us and said "boy, that is an awesome little dog" ;-) It left me grinning ear to ear!

Next we worked with full courses with Jen Crank. OMG, LOVE her as an instructor. She really talked in each instance about say this particular type of rear cross, how many of the six basic cues would be forward cues and how many would be turning cues. WHY did that start really hitting home yesterday? hummm, I do not know but it was making it all clearer and easier to figure out.

The biggest thing I got from her that pertains to my team-TEAM CRiCKET- is something called PERCEIVED DECELERATION. This is when your dog might come up to your side and pass you and gets in front of you and keeps getting further and further ahead of you. At some point esp with a brand new dog that has not learned about this the dog THINKS you are decelerating and acts accordingly-turning around to find you, stopping, barking, what ever. You are not going slower but to the dog it seems you are. She said the absolute WORST thing you can do when your dog is doing this is it stop. No matter where the course goes or what you have to do you should continue going straight and driving ahead so the dog is reassured that if mom is running behind you and pumping her arms, you can keep going, she really isn't getting left behind. If you stop and then your dogs curls back to you, you reward, the dog thinks, yep that was a decel and I did GOOD. ;-)
So there was once where Cricket did that and she was between my feet, so safety has to factor in but I need to remember to keep driving ahead ;-). It was funny too when Jen really put the pressure on us, hey, make that happen and I don't want to see any refusals right there, even I did better at pushing and it worked.

Anyway, as far as skills, boy our contacts were everything I dreamed of, we had some problems with popping out at pole 11 when I was trying to pull of laterally one time, but she was rocking some fantastic entries and after the first sequence she did great weaves. Her running aframe was just looking great-yippie!

On the bad side boy she was a nut. Cricket is sure every turn should be hers, she was doing a fair amount of barking in her crate and she is wild walking into a ring. She looks like a fish on a line, she lunges at the dogs running and jumps and twists. At least yesterday she could take a treat or tug while she was waiting for her turn. I get her out as late as I can but boy when we get in bigger classes and I have to wait in the ring more often while dogs are going to be running-we are going to have to figure something out because she is a nut and so stimulated by the other dogs movement. The other funny part of her behavior yesterday was her bitching me out. When I was late with a cross boy she would whirl in front of me and just SCREAM at me all the way back to the start line. Jen was laughing, after one front cross ...I knew it was late and Cricket started screaming, I looked at Jen and said Cricket says that was late. Jen was laughing and said shes right. LOL.

Anyway, in the evening we had a mental management seminar with Daisy and I will have to tell you about that later because it is time for me to get going. Todays focus at camp is going to be SENDS.

I am apologizing for spelling errors, probably a lot of errors, I just have not figured out how to do posting really well from the ipad, but I wanted to post about what we were doing!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crickets siblings are 5 weeks ;-)

From left to right, Tax-a boy, Credit-a boy, Levy-the little girl, and Debit-boy
Crickets full siblings turned 5 weeks old last Friday, aren't they cute?
There is a video of them in the morning, a couple of days ago, they are an energetic bunch, LOL.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Almost Time.....I'm excited...

I am so excited! The Spring Agility Camp is almost here! Three days doing agility with Jen, Karen Hollick and Daisy Peel and most importantly Cricket.

There are a few friends coming from out of state that I am really looking forward to seeing and there is usually a great group of people at these seminars. When I signed up it seemed like it was so far away but it is the homestretch.

The only sad part is that I had lots of big plans to get in seemed like such a good idea to work on my fitness goals with this camp as the goal to work towards....sigh......I have done some work but there always seemed like tomorrow, so unfortunately I am better then a few months ago but not where I would like to be or where I could be, ....oh well, maybe I could get in better shape by Friday, maybe I could even start tomorrow? LOL. It is what it is, right? It is just the stage I have been in lately, but thats ok!

I also had plans to work on foundation skills with Cricket, just reinforcing the recalls to heels, and some weave work to sharpen those up, but well I have just been feeling the need for a little training break ;-) so we can add that to the list of what did not happen....sigh.....Cricket and I have actually been doing tons of strength training....well, Cricket does the strength training and tricks and I just direct, hahahahha, not that I do not need the training too, but it is easier getting her in shape then myself ;-)---BAD ME!

I am a worrier so I am worried about my handling skills, and worried about packing. I am in charge of picking everyone up at the airport and providing transportation, so that will be very exciting. Being transportation person gives me lots more worry opportunities, hahahaha, I am a little worried about how to fit three people, their luggage, my crap and my dog in my car, I am worried about what to talk to everyone about in the car on the way and driving safetly, LOL, I of course am worried about making sure we don't get lost, SEE I TOLD YOU I AM AN OLYMPIC LEVEL WORRIER. For some reason I am especially good about worrying lately, so I can not wait for things to just get started so I can just relax and let it all happen and enjoy the weekend. I am a good worrier about things in the future but I do have to say I am pretty good about relaxing and being in the moment and rolling with things once they actually get underway. I do worry a lot but mostly I am excited-not to worry!

I am a pretty big whimp about the heat so I am a bit worried about three days doing agility in the sun-it has been in the mid 90's here. LUCKILY there is supposed to be a drop in temperature on Friday and Saturday, I could not find a forecast for Sunday and Monday, but whoo hooo, even the weather might co operate. How cool is that?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


OMG, ya go away for a few days and it seems everything is upside down when you get back? I have not been blogging because I just plain have been in one of those moods where I just did not feel I had anything to say that would be at all interesting to anyone else, ....sigh.... things have been going well.  Everyone (the dogs) have been amazing with their training and we actually have gotten a lot done and had a lot of fun ;-). We even have some fun tricks about ready for a video if I get off my buns and take video ;-). 

I miss everyone and am going to need to sit down with a nice glass of Crystal Light this afternoon and catch up on everyones blogs  ;-(. 

ANYHOW I went to sign on to the blog and WHAT HAPPENED????   I did not recognize anything about how it looked, I couldn't figure out how to sign in or write a post, seriously does everything have to change the second I turn my back? LOL.  Wasn't someone assigned to make sure big changes like this did not happen while I was absent?  Apparently not!

My kids have been especially charming lately, and have been hanging around  me more perhaps because we have been doing the driving lessons with my older teenager. She is doing marvelously but I have to admit there have been several times that I am grabbing the door and I have yelled a few times which I am pretty sure is not helpful-but all in all I am proud of how I am doing teaching my daughter and I am proud of how she is doing driving.

My younger daughter has a lot of friends texting her because of swim team an she has been getting TONS of chain texts telling her she has to forward it to X number of friends or some horrible fate will befall her, all the people who have not responded have been found dead in a toilet in ten days so BEWARE!. Of course my daughter dutifully sends the texts to the prescribed number of people, LOL, and was even sending me a fair amount of them. I talked to her about how there was really no risk and did she really believe in ten days she would drop dead? She says well, it does not make a lot of sense but you never know....LOL, so when I saw this sign on facebook it was too funny not to share.


So I figure none of this will be new to most of you, but figured it would be fun to post a few links to places where you can get a really fantastic education or some help with learning contacts!!! I like to believe there are always choices and alternatives. If you do not have classes in your area that meet your needs, or perhaps courses you would like to take are just way too expensive for you, then get creative and find what you need, you might even find something that suits your needs much better, ya never know.

With the internet it seems every day there are just more options. I just am going to put a few links so you can check out a few programs, but there are others out there, and if anyone knows another good internet class  it would be cool to share ;-).

DAWN WEAVER- a name a lot of you might not know but she has been doing some seminars out here on the west coast and is very popular in her seminars. Dawn is wildly successful in agility.  She has a method that looks very intriguing. I have heard her method is very similar to a much more expensive course-but I don't know that for a fact.... For running contacts she has a module system, you get a lesson plan and access to a video and work for a month, then you submit a video for DAWN TO REVIEW-yep, real live feedback on how YOU are doing.   I believe there are seven modules plus the stopped contact module and these cover all the contacts. 

The stopped contacts have their own little module and most of the training is done without equipment at your home to avoid any chance of messing up your training on the actual contact.

DAISY PEEL- has a course where you are going to get Daisy herself looking at your work/videos --you complete a lesson and submit a video and she gives you feed back and help. She has the dog driving to a manners minder for her running contacts and offers a course to increase drive to the manners minder you can take before the running contacts class. Daisy also has a variety of different classes.

SILVIA TRKMAN- of course Silvia is one of my favorites and I have taken a bunch of her classes.  I feel like with the puppy class and the foundation class I got great info on teaching stopped contacts, body awareness, keeping the dog engaged and it was great fun.   Her stopped contacts use games and a box or board away from the contacts to teach the 2020 behavior. There is TONS of body awareness and strengthening done with tricks.  Silvia looks at and comments on the videos students submit -it feels like you are indeed one of her students. I have not taken the running contacts course, but know a lot of people that have.