Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Trial video

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Here's the only video I ended up getting from last weekend. It's Abby's standard run from Saturday....lots and lots of things are wrong here. Right from the start I'm behind, because I didn't trust her to lead out much since it started with the tire, so the front cross was late and I pushed her out past the the first jump after the tunnel. Abby missed the jump after the teeter, not positive why, she's been doing this a lot lately. There was some good stuff in this run thought too, she stayed on the table!! She looked around, I could tell she was thinking of hopping off that stupid table, but she stayed! Weave poles are looking good, bars stayed up and she hit all contacts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

We spent the Memorial Day Holiday weekend at the Golden Triangle Obedience training Club's agility trial. Miss Kittie is on a roll, qualifing in 5 out of 6 runs this weekend. Bringing home double Q's # 14 & 15 and adding on 69 more points!

Abby Q'd in 1 out of 6 runs, She did earn her AXJ title. Lots of nice runs with just one or two little mistakes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Motivation for competeing

It was a long drive home from Toledo, so plenty of time to talk all things dog. My friend said something that took me by surprise...."I don't know if I like all these MACH 2, 3, 4, 17 dogs".....what?? I said. Her point being, that they got their MACH title, what's the point in continuing, further she worries about the impact on the dogs health.

I couldn't disagree more. In all likelihood Kittie will have her MACH by the Fall of this year, I couldn't imagine retiring her, she *loves* agility and just gets better all the time. That title isn't the purpose for doing agility, it is simply a tangible marker of our success and a goal to work towards, along with specific goals for each individual dog.

My dogs are in good physical condition and their bodies go through more "abuse" in an average day than they do in the less than 2 minutes they spend running at an agility trial. They run, climb, jump and literally flip themselves over as they aggressively chase toys in the park. Agility is like a vacation compared to their average day!

We do agility first and foremost because it's fun and we love it. We wouldn't stop because we got a title, or because we couldn't get a title. The only reason to stop is if you or your dog are not having fun.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Holy Toledo

Sorry, I just had to say it! Went to the Greater Toledo obedience training club's trial last weekend. We had a great time! Met up with Margie and her great young pug, Clancy. There were a total of six pugs running and a baby 15 month old pug who's about to start her agility career.

Kittie ran better than I expected her to, away from home and indoors aren't really her thing, but she Qd in 3 out of 4 runs and got double Q #13! Way to go Kittie. She wasn't running full out, but with one exception she's running so precise that her times are really nice. She knocked two bars this weekend, at least they were both in one run. It was two jumps in a row, in a straight line. I wasn't too far ahead, or pulling up so I think she just took off early and there wasn't much that could have been done. She'll probably always knock bars to some extent, but I feel like I at least understand it better and can help her out in some situations.

Kittie's standard run, I think was a 3rd place

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Abby did well too, still dealing with lots of baby dog issues and poor timing on my part, but I'm still really pleased with how she's doing. I have total confidence she'll get there in time. Unlike Kittie, Abby does run full out, but she's not precise at all, so even though when watching it looks like Abby's running so much faster, Kittie ends up with better times. If I could just combine the two of them.....

Abby's standard run, a nice run except she forgot the first jump! and then ran right past the A frame. I admit, I probably didn't cue the A frame much...I'm just not used to needing to specifially tell a dog to take the giant blue and yellow thing right in your path...this is what I mean by "baby dog stuff"

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Margie and Clancy are going to be a great team. Clancy is so fast and so happy! Watch out for these two!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Willy

Willy,

I can't believe you're already 7. It seems like just yesterday that we picked you up from your breeder. You were so small, and had the best puppy breath ever!

I know you're not quite as adventurous as the girls can be, and sometimes you get afraid of all the big dogs at trials, but you're a good sport and sometimes you even follow your sisters in the water and (gasp) get those cute feet of yours wet! We love you, even though agility and running in the mud isn't your thing....we love that big smiley head of yours, love the way you run like a wild man on beautiful, warm sunny days, love the way you always take Kittie's back when Rudy picks on her, love the way you snuggle up with the girls, love the way you dance around when *anyone* comes to the house. Looking forwad to many more years with you!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

World team tryout courses

We had class at the barn last night and Donna set up two courses from world team tryouts, the round 2 large/med. JWW and round 2 small dog JWW. They were really fun! A nice combination of technical spots, but with plenty of areas where you really got to run.

I ran Abby first, she's so funny, she got all the hard stuff but I had the worst time getting her to take....or even see this one jump. We did figure out what was going on though. When she was taking the jump before the one she had trouble with, she was making her calculations to go *straight*, we had to veer to the right and with her bigger stride and commitment point she just couldn't get that jump. Once I got a bit further ahead and turned my hips a bit to the right she was just fine. I love when we can figure these things out!

Next was Kittie, she ran really well. The jump Abby had trouble with wasn't a problem at all for her, she has a shorter stride and can change her line much, much quicker. she had an awful crash at the last jump though, a double. It was pretty much a straight line and typical of her she took off way too early and practically landed on top of the jump. Poor thing, she tries so hard but I just don't think she can properly see to judge the best time to take off.

It's a problem we've been dealing for a while. I have a better understanding of why she does this, and how to help her out, but there's only so much I can do. I have to wait for her to land before turning, which technically is late, but it's helping to keep bars up and can't push for too much speed on straight lines....which is really hard for me, I'm a spaz and I love to run with my dogs, so the idea of occasionally slowing down isn't easy for me!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My favorite trial

This weekend was the Westmoreland county obedeince training club's spring agility trial, I love this trial and so do the dogs. It's outside and close to home...so I get to sleep in my own bed, drink good coffee, the dog's schedule doesn't get thrown off and they don't end up having to eat kibble or one of those dehdrated raw foods. Did I mention we love a trial where we all get to sleep at home?

The weather was *not* cooperating at all. Most of Saturday was rain and then it picked back up for the second half of the day on Sunday, so it was wet and muddy. Most people know my girls love mud (you've seen the pictures) and are not phased by rain when it comes to agility or playing.

Kittie was just amazing, she had her first completely perfect weekend! Two more double Q's and she picked up 100 points! woohoo!! Abby was completly focused and having fun. She held her stay, hit her contacts, stayed on the table and did her weave poles! I'm proud of my little Abby. She was a couple of knocked bars away from Qs. I feel like I've made some real progress with her lately.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Where's Bill?

So, for years Bill was the perfect agility husband. Bill came to every single trial. He ran his dogs, Rudy and Willy. Helped me out with my high maintenance girls, holding screaming pugs ringside. It was like a well oiled machine.

On second thought, Maybe not exactly well oiled, Bill did often forget to walk his own courses, he forot to walk his dogs too, sometimes he had no treats for them after runs either, other times he would leave me with Rudy while he went to get a sandwich and forgot to come back and meanwhile my walk through had started.....maybe it was really like a machine in very bad need of a tune up.

Bill still comes to a lot of trials. He sort of tapes our runs, sometimes both me and the dogs are on tape at the same time! He does enjoy it, just not all the time and I don't blame him, us agility people are a special group! So what does Bill do with all his free time now?

Take a look
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07Se4QRLd4k&eurl=http://piss-burgh.com/

He just bought his very own soapbox car. My only condition is he come home in one piece and does not get arrested. We'll see......

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

World team tryout coverage & teaching collected jumping

The videos are all up and they're great. These are international style courses, not typcial AKC courses.....and boy do they look like fun to me. They're very tight, with a lot more turns in them, and if teaching a dog to jump collected was obvious before, you *really* see the value in it after watching these runs. And not just to jump collected, but to be able to accelarate out of those tight turns and wraps around jumps.

Now, Kittie never had a problem jumping collected and she generally runs pretty tight, as long as I create a nice line for her. Abby on the other hand jumps *huge*, which is great for wide open, novice level courses or the occasional straight line in AKC, but it's a problem a lot of the time. She runs so much extra yardage, and front crosses are tough, because she's always ending up behind me!

We've been practicing pretty much every day. Mainly, using Linda Mecklenburg's jumping program, and I think Abby's beginning to get it, but it seems so boring......Kittie *hated* doing this type of jumping work...so much that I almost never do it with her. It's really important to me to teach Abby correctly. She's still so young and has a lot of potential down the road....but I still really, really hate doing this type of training. I enjoy agility because it involves running with my dogs, running as fast as we can and I think that's what most dogs love most about agility. This kind of training feels like a boring drill to me, so I'm trying really hard to keep it fun for Miss Abby: lots of extra good treats. (I can't use her dinner, or her special most favorite toy ever, cow-cow, because she gets way over the top and she needs to think while doing this type of training) Regular, very short sessions and I get really excited when she does well. I'm normally very quiet with my dogs, just an occasional "yes" or click to mark something I like, with an even more rare "oops" to mark something I didn't like.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

World team Tryouts

World team tryouts are this weekend. Agility video service is covering the tryouts just like they covered words last year. There is a fee to view all the videos, but I think it will be well worth the cost. I cheaped out last year, but not this time! The planned dvd sounds interesting too.

http://usaworldteam2008.agilityvideoservice.com/

There are no pugs, (although there are rumors of a future canandian pug WT contender) but there is a great litle boston terrier entered. I saw them run at the invitational and they're great.