Dog Updates

Monday, February 11, 2008

Well a lot's certainly happened since my last update!

The owner/co-owner of many of the dogs I've blogged about and I had some personal issues we couldn't work through and ended up going our separate ways. Hawk has since moved to her new home in Ohio where she'll continue to do agility with her new family, and Rhymer has moved to his new home in South Carolina where he will also continue to do agility with his new family.

Merlin is still very much here, and seems to be feeling better than ever! Dewy has also made it clear he isn't ready to retire, so we're working on finding things he can enjoy doing. Rio has also found new joy in clicker training, so who knows - maybe he'll decide to try something like rally, or possibly agility. We'll see :)

Here're the videos from Hawk and I's last weekend trialling together

Merlin and Hawk

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well not a whole lot of agility going on right now - too much snow and mud! So far we have a couple trials coming up, so will be trying to find some time to work Hawk (the only one entered til April).

So far we've got: January 12 & 13 - CISSC - Pawsitive Partners - Hawk (Ex A Std & Jww)
February 1-3 - GLKC - Greater Lafayette Kennel Club - Hawk (Ex A Std & Jww)

and then maybe none til April 19 & 20 - PPB - Sports Club II - Merlin (Ex B Std & JWW)

Will post any videos/etc if I get some before the next trial, otherwise may not have another entry til January 12 :)

Lafayette, IN Agility Trial & UKC Conformation Show

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Well we've had a busy two weeks! We had a trial in Lafayette, IN on the 2nd and got to run on GLKC's new flooring, and then the next weekend we had a UKC Show in Danville, IN and got to try out UKC with the CATS club. Then this week has been finals - so finally I have time to write about the past few weeks!

I had Hawk, Rhymer, and Cloud in the agility trial. Cloud hasn't done much agility (he's sort of a novice dog in excellent) and this is his first time in a trial with me, after only a few weeks training together.

Hawk - 12" Excellent A in both STD & JWW (had 1 AX leg & 1 AXJ leg)
Cloud - 16" Excellent A in both STD & JWW (no AX/AXJ legs)
Rhymer - 16" Excellent B in both STD & JWW (8 MX legs & 9 MXJ legs)

Hawk's Standard run was the only qualifying run, but the other runs were "almost but not quite". Hawk's Standard run felt great, and was TWENTY seconds under time! She finished in first place, with the fastest qualifying time of any 12" or 16" dog on that course :)

Her JWW I didn't hang back quite long enough to get her to turn to the right jump - oops!

Then the next weekend Merlin, Selkie and I headed to our first UKC Conformation show. Merlin hasn't really anything to do since July, so he was absolutely thrilled to be out doing something special again. This was Selkie's second dog show - her first was a puppy match at Ft Wayne last month. She's still not old enough for the regular classes, but they offered a class for puppies 3-6 months old so we entered her in that.

They had a blast! In the first show Saturday, Merlin beat the other Shelties for 35 points toward his championship and placed 2nd in the herding group! Selkie won "best 3-6 Sheltie". The second show (also on Saturday), Merlin again beat the other Shelties for 35 points and Selkie again won "best 3-6 Sheltie". In Sunday's first show, the other Shelties didn't show up so Merlin won the breed for 25 points and again placed 2nd in the Herding Group, and Selkie was again "best 3-6 Sheltie". Then Sunday's second show was amazing! Merlin needed just to get his first place ribbon in his class to finish his championship, and he and Selkie were the only Shelties that showed up. Merlin won the breed, then won the Herding Group, then he went Reserve Best In Show! And to top it off, Selkie had once again gone "best 3-6 Sheltie" but followed that up by winning Best Puppy In Show! Woohoo!!!

So Merlin is now UKC CH Faerie Magic Touch PT AX AXJ SSA CGC (one Pairs leg short of his AD), and is a UKC Multiple Group Placing, Group Winning, Reserve Best In Multi-Breed Show winner :)

Can't wait til he's up for doing agility in the Spring - I've really missed doing things with him. And who knows - maybe a UKC GRCH and an AKC CH will be soon to follow! :) I'm counting down the days til Selkie can do real conformation shows - she's such a riot to be in the ring with.

Considering a blind cross...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I've never been much for blind crosses. Usually I like that moment of a front cross to reconnect with the dog and make sure we're on the same page. Generally I only do blind crosses now when the dog can't see me anyway - but even then I usually elect for a front just to "make sure" the dog comes up on the side I wanted. Lately I've been wondering just how much time a blind cross (in certain situations) would shave off - particuarly when used in certain 180's or serpentines. The results? See for yourself.

Analysis: first blind cross - 2.5. second blind cross - 2.5. front cross - 2.9. The blind cross was almost a half second faster.

Does that mean I'm going to turn all my front crosses into blind crosses? No, but I will definitely consider them more when analyzing a course - particularly since Hawk seems to enjoy them. I would like to try them with Merlin also, since time is our nemisis on course :) If he likes them as much as his sister does it may make for a better game :)

Current Focus

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thought it would help to put what we're currently working on (or hope to improve) into words :)

Merlin - just chilling out for a while, not doing agility again til Spring. This winter we'll build up to fun play and maybe train some tricks.

Rhymer - ironing out teamwork and getting contacts more consistent, work on weave entries/independence.

Hawk - faster, more consistent weaves. improve distance/gamblers skills.

Cloud - build up teamwork, improve weave consistency, work on looking for obstacles/light distance skills.

Trinket - work on crosses, basic jumping skills, work on 2o2o, re-intro weaves.

Flutter - after recovery from spay, help her build her rear back up with bar-less jumps, tunnels, and dog walk/teeter.

Coyote - teach crosses, intro to tunnels and beginning jump skills. teach 2o2o.

Selkie - teach sit, follow a hand, and come when called :)

and if you're wondering, yes I train 8 dogs :)

FWOTC - Fort Wayne, IN

Thursday, October 25, 2007

GREAT weekend! Hawk and Rhymer were both entered. Hawk needed one more OAJ leg to finish her title, and was in Excellent A Standard for the first time. Rhymer was entered in Excellent B JWW & Standard, needing 2 legs for his MXJ and 3 legs for his MX.


Standard: Oops! Missing your walkthrough may leave the handler disorientated :) My fault on both flubs, but we did about as well as everyone else on that course. I was happy with how well she pulled through that last sequence (pin wheel to the teeter to the end).

JWW: Was really pleased with this run, just need to get faster weaves in trials. :)

Standard: The way I did the lead-out was a little different than most people. A lot of people chose to lead out on the other side, but I thought the left side gave the dog a clearer idea of where to go. I elected to layer the extra jump to better tuck Rhymer into the chute. We could've tightened the exit of the weaves to the tire, but I like his speed through the weaves. Not sure what the stop on the Aframe was for, but we've been kind of off training since his last trial (had some chiropractic work done). Since he was behaving himself, I let him have some fun on the rest of the contacts. I was very pleased with how nicely he tucked in to the approach to the teeter.

JWW: Was very pleased with this run on his part - we need to work weave pole exits apparently! I didn't want to push too hard too soon for the turn but pushed too late - good dog for saving my butt!! He was a little too "YEHAW!" on the large pinwheel and we need to work on tucking in a little tighter. Double Q though! :)


Standard: Mostly could just use tighter turns - I may set up the tunnel - triple - serpentine - aframe sequence to figure out a different way to handle that. I didn't see anyone figure out a smooth way to handle it. Much happier with her weaves this run.

JWW: Fairly happy with this run for a twisty course - could've snugged up a couple places (like the weave entry) or pushed a little more for speed, but I wasn't sure how she'd handle on one of these courses.

Standard: Who knows on the teeter! A lot of dogs were having teeter problems on that course. Same problem as Hawk on the tunnel - triple - serpentine - aframe. I figured since we'd NQ'ed we'd do the 2o2o contacts. Pretty happy with the rest of the run.

JWW: Like how this run went (could've snugged up a few places but twisty is not his forte). I'm kicking myself for how that rear cross went at the end! I think we needed the rear cross to suck him back that way but he sucked too far back and we missed it completely. Oops. :)

Motivation and the Performance Dog

Monday, October 1, 2007

This has been bugging me for a while so I figure I might as well ramble about it.

I was talking with a friend of mine explaining that in my next puppy I would like to get a little more drive.

My friend replied that I am just not being motivating enough -- that there must be something in the world that the dog enjoys enough to give the performance I'd like, and if not then the dog must not be hungry/lonely enough to find it motivating.

Do WHAT? Why on Earth would I want to starve or ignore my dog just to get a faster obstacle performance in a GAME? It's supposed to be FUN for pete's sake! Now I don't mean I don't think you should train when the dog is hungry for breakfast or dinner - but that's very different from withholding several meals on a regular basis, or leaving your dog in a crate for the entire day so they're so happy to see you that they'll do anything for you.

I love my dogs and I love this sport, but BECAUSE I love my dogs I don't want to try to "force" them to love the sport! I do what I can to show them it's a fun game and to reward their best efforts, but if they don't enjoy it why should I ask them to do it? Maybe they find something else more enjoyable, or maybe they just have a laid-back attitude about life and don't get riled up about anything at all.

When it comes down to it, my relationship with my dogs comes first. Some say the above attitude will keep me from "getting anywhere" in agility, but so what? It's a fun game that I play with my dogs -- and as long as my dogs are happy doing it, so am I. :)