Trial: Agility Club of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Overall a very nice trial. The club members were friendly and had a lot of fun doing neat things for the 07-07-07 trial day. My only real issue was the footing - I love natural footing (dirt, grass, etc), and this was indoors on Astroturf. It was surprisingly slick (I found myself sliding on it a bit, and Merlin was as well [not a blazingly fast dog by any means]), and I was amazed at how much my feet and legs hurt by the end of the day! Other people seemed to be oddly sore as well, so I can imagine the dogs were probably feeling the effects from jumping on that surface as well. Glad to hear the next trial this club holds will be at a different location on the better Astroturf (with the pellets for cushion and traction). The Merrillville trials use that footing and I absolutely love it!

Hawk got her first permanent card measurement first thing Saturday by Gail Storm at 14" exactly. She quickly got accustomed to the trial atmosphere and settled in to her crate for a nap while I walked the course and then ran Merlin in Standard.

Merlin had a nice run other than skidding off the pause table (I didn't realize the table was slicker than he was used to). Quite satisfied with that! Later in the afternoon Merlin ran in JWW and had another nice run, and qualified for his 4th MXJ leg! Woohoo!

Hawk's first run was in JWW. It was a very open course which she thought was a riot. Other than missing a jump and going back for it (and me trying to put in an ugly front cross) it was a lovely run, especially for her first time! I couldn't have been more pleased with it. Then in Standard she did it again with another lovely run on a challenging novice course, with just one refusal again (on the aframe). She qualified both runs for her first leg each, as well as a first place in both classes!

Sunday seemed to run better as far as ring conflicts. Merlin ran in Standard and was raring to go, with a lovely run to get his first MX leg! He just wasn't the same dog in JWW though, and our teamwork fell apart. We missed course time by 3 seconds, and Merlin is now sitting out of agility for a while. His back appears to be really bothering him, and his shoulders and neck are stiff after the bad slip he took landing off a jump in that JWW run. I'll post more updates on his recovery process as we go along, but I'm definitely pulling him from the CISSC's agility trial this coming weekend. Tuesday he's got an appointment with Karin Gose for some Reiki, and that should hopefully help him until his veterinary chiropractor (Dr. Mark) comes back from PA.

Hawk had very nice runs on Sunday, with one refusal in JWW (just didn't see the tunnel) and two in Standard. Strengthening her ability to go looking for the correct obstacle is on our list of things to work on. She again Q'ed in both runs for her second leg of each title, and again with first places in each!

Overall it was a rollercoaster weekend - between Hawk's awesome first weekend and Merlin's injury, it just goes to show you should never take ANY run with your dog for granted. I believe there's a saying, "life's a journey, enjoy the ride." Couldn't have said it better myself.

Chute and Broad Jump

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tonight since it's so hot we waited to do dinner until about 7 PM. Hawk's close to the jump height cut-off in AKC, so every ounce counts - she gets the same amount of food as usual, but instead of working for treats we're working for dinner (she doesn't seem to mind). I measured her at 13 1/2" the other night, so hopefully she'll get safely in the 12" class (cut-off is 14").

I didn't want to drill her with her first trial tomorrow, so we focused on the chute and the broad jump. She had a little trouble remembering the point of the chute, but soon she was zooming through it, so we focused on coming out straight, with her head down. She seems to be getting it, but I certainly won't be running too close to the chute, just in case!!

The broad jump is going great - the only issue is she tries to "wrap" it if I'm not close enough to her, and doesn't jump the entire thing. I think with the jump standards there she would be fine though, and she was jumping much straighter by the end of it.

I think they actually turned out to be a good pair of obstacles to pair together in one lesson, since she had to focus on making sure she's completed the obstacle before attempting to "wrap" it.

Merlin and I worked a little bit on the chute as well, since he had a bad chute experience in April (got stuck in a wet chute), just to give him some more positive chute experiences before this weekend and next.

Instead of having the goal of qualifying, I usually have a couple things I want to try for in our runs. If we achieve those things, make progress toward them, or do something else wonderful I'm generally pleased with the run (regardless of whether we Q or not). So.. goals for this weekend.

Goals for Merlin
- speeding up! I'm going to attempt to really rev him up on the start line and then go, and avoid start line stays if at all possible. He can do them, but he slows down.
- remember for me to slow down on the bottom of the contacts! If I slow down, he'll hit his contacts (we stopped 2o2o'ing because he would get very slow and worried, regardless of how enthusiastically we worked on it).
- trust him to find the weave entry.

Goals for Hawk
- hold all contacts!!!!!!!!!!!
- support the broad jump and chute as much as possible.
- let her weave as independently as possible.

Spread jumps

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Today Hawk and I focused on spread jumps. I'm in Kokomo this week, so I don't have an actual double/triple here like we do in Muncie. Instead I had to improvise, by setting up 2-3 normal jumps such that the distance between the bars and the heights of the bars were correct. It looked a little odd, but didn't seem to phase Hawk at all. It could actually be good proofing in the future, for odd-looking jumps/jump wings I suppose. Hawk had no trouble with the triple and double, and I was pleased to see she took their size into account when wrapping(1) - in order to leave the bars up.

She hadn't seen a broad jump up to this point, so I decided to work on that a bit as well. At first she attempted to do a 2 on, 2 off (2o2o)(2) contact on it. When she realized that wasn't getting her anywhere, she proceeding to jump over it. Bingo! Lots of cookies for the smart girlie. After that she had no problem doing the broad jump regardless of where I was at.

Her rear cross is coming along nicely, but she's not comfortable enough with it to ask for it in trials yet. She understands it on the flat, but we're not very consistent over jumps yet (still need to work out timing to not turn her before the jump).

If anyone's interested, here's a video of Hawk doing agility. There's one spot where a rear cross would've been preferable, but given the above issue with the rear cross, we went for an ugly front cross instead.

(1) Wrapping - taking the jump and then turning as tightly as possible to the left or right upon landing (depending on which side the handler is on), around the side of the jump, and back to the handler.
(2) 2o2o (2 on 2 off) - method of doing the bottom of the contact such that the dog stops at the bottom with his/her front feet on the ground and the back feet on the board.


Common people/animals to be mentioned in this blog:

Me: I'm Jenn Stanley. I'm in college as a Telecommunications major - which basically means someone that works behind the scenes at a TV station doing video editing and such. I'm also an agility instructor at Agility Dreams in Muncie, Indiana. I started in agility in 2002. I also do obedience (not currently competing) and conformation. I compete primarily in AKC, and occasionally in USDAA.

Dewy: Shetland Sheepdog male (neutered). Born 9/11/2002. He has his NA, NAJ, CD, and CGC. He also has 2 CDX legs, 1 OA leg, 2 OAJ legs, and 1 leg each toward his NAP and NJP. Retired, but enjoys playing agility at home occasionally.

Rio: Shetland Sheepdog male (neutered). Born 10/24/2003. He has his CGC, but is highly noise sensitive/high flight risk. He lives with my mom, and enjoys playing agility at home only.

Merlin: Shetland Sheepdog male. Born 9/7/2004. He has his PT, AX, AXJ, SSA, and CGC. He also has 3 MXJ legs, and is one pairs leg short of his AD and shows in conformation. He loves to do it all.

Hawk: Shetland Sheepdog female. Born 1/18/2004. She has her PT and HSAs. She has her agility debut this weekend. She is a half-sister to Merlin.

Titles explained:
AGILITY: NA, NAJ - AKC Novice Standard/Novice Jumpers With Weaves. OA, OAJ, - AKC Open Standard/Open Jumpers With Weaves. AX, AXJ - AKC Excellent A Standard/Excellent A Jumpers With Weaves. NAP, NJP - AKC Novice Preferred Standard/Novice Preferred Jumpers With Weaves. SSA - USDAA Starters Standard.
AD - USDAA Starters "versatility" title.
OBEDIENCE: CD - AKC Novice Obedience. CDX - AKC Open Obedience. CGC - AKC Canine Good Citizen.
HERDING: PT - AKC Pre-Trial Tested.