Saturday, April 30, 2011

International course day

(stupid youtube stripped the song. It was Aha's take on me, yes I am in an 80s mood)

I was super lucky to get to train with Ann and Lori as Ann got ready for the WAO show in London in a few weeks. While we did struggle with some of the skill sets (like tough, tough weave entries) I was very pleased that we go through them even if it was a little part at a time. I am very happy that Lori insisted we train them a back command when they were little and also a go command. Comes in handy when it is 6 jumps out. I think on one course, we had four jumps in a row that you had to go to the back side of the jump. I so wish we could do more courses like this in AKC and USDAA. They really test you!!!! Some of the courses are at least 22 obstacles long! I just want to wish Ann and Skylar good luck and GO TEAM USA!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

GKCDTC weekend

Don't have much going on at work so I thought I would blog for a minute. I am super, super proud of Deuce this weekend. We finished our Open standard title and got two legs in Open JWW. I really wrestled with moving him up but decided to go ahead and do it, why not. I know we will be in Excellent A for a little while, but dang it, we train on international courses every week so what is a silly excellent course? Here is my usual positives and negatives for the weekend rather than a blow by blow of how my runs went.

Positives: Once again, I feel like we are becoming more of a team. The "off course, I am in obstacle focus" seems to be fading more. I am also really getting better at handling lines and seeing lines but still need Lori sometimes to help me. Miller is so "point and go" and he will adjust according that this is a skill I seemed to have never mastered fully:) His weave entries were amazing this weekend and his speed through the weaves were nice. I screwed him up in excellent standard on his entry but that is okay. Wanted to try a rear over a panel and then send him out and I just sent him straight at the second pole. MY BAD. His teeter was spot on all weekend with him driving to the bottom and holding position for release. His turns were very nice, especially in jumpers when he was two or more jumps ahead of me. Getting better at when to say his name and when not to on the course but still needs more improvement. Collection when I needed it several times was great, he is starting to respect my collection cues. Getting better at reading deccleration, still needs some work though. Also getting better at reading my lateral distance away as come with. All of his courses that I qualified on were free of error so no Rs or Ws. We had a couple of wide turns that I would like to fix but no judge callable errors:) Am really enjoying a dog that doesn't talk back the whole course (sorry millman).

Negatives: Still loosing drive to contact position on the dog walk and a-frame. A-frame was so much better at USDAA trial with regards to him pounding into the up side and then creeping down the down side but seems to have gotten bad again. I tried to be conscious of staying behind him to drive him into position but I am getting so fast thanks to all the running I am doing that I am having a hard time slowing myself down. Will work on this more, really wishing I had a dog walk at home. Still having some oh shit moments and I don't like reactive handling. That will get better as I get better at reading lines and setting him up for success via my handling. Need to tighten his front crosses. He still sometimes wants to go wide and come back but that is a training issue we can fix. Harley did this when he was young too so been there, done that. Wish all of my dogs ran as tight as miller did:)

I did see stress on one run. He didn't respect a front cross cue and i just said his name loudly to get him to come in and not take an off course jump and we were disconnected the rest of the run. It was weird, the dog before him tore the chute so we had to stand on the line for a while. I released him from position and instead of staying with me and bouncing, he left to go sniff. Got him back, decided to leash him so he couldn't leave me again but he seemed a little stressed and didn't want to play. This was on the excellent standard course and I swear to you, I had 0 percent expectations so was not nervous at all. Finally got to run and then I had that correction and we were just not together at all. So weird, not sure what this is about but have seen it a couple of times now.

Overall very pleased with where we are at. We need one more leg for Open JWW title and I think that is doable soon. I actually look forward to excellent courses because I can have his head more, not as much open space. We have two shows in May and hopefully better weather so we can get more training in. It has been raining alot so training outside hasn't been an option. I hear that gas may go up to 5 or 6 bucks a gallon this summer. With that, i guess I will have to take on a third job to support my habit or maybe start selling organs and blood to pay for my addiction? I would so like to go back to doing three day trials when deuce is up in excellent in both levels.

Here is the link to the video. Youtube hasn't stripped it of it's music yet so go watch it!!!! Sorry about the curse words in the song. I don't have a clean version of it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Meant to put this in my last blog but forgot. So the first time Deuce was measured at an AKC trial when he was 15 months old, he got a 19.5 inch measurement. Now I don't have an official measuring device but when I use my yardstick, he is at least 20.5. Anyway, took him to his first USDAA trial in February at 18 months and the judge measured him at 21 even. I kind of got scared because I really wanted him in 22 inches and I was heading down to TX where if you measure over you either move up or run for exhibition which would have made a very long trip for training. Anyway, got him to the judge saturday morning and for whatever reason, he was terrified of the table/measuring device. We could not get him to stand up for love nor money nor pupperoni. Finally got him semi-standing and she got him at 19.25. She had my card but of course had not looked at it so when she did, she re-measured him and still got him at 19.25. I of course was thankful but I cannot figure out why his measurements are all over the place. I will be interested to see what his over 2 years old measurement will be in AKC. I just think it is super funny that I was told by EVERYONE that he would be a giant and now i can't even get a measurement in the 20s LOL!

Monday, April 11, 2011

DAWG weekend

Ah, decided to take the day off and rest and recharge after heading down to TX for a USDAA trial. I usually don't travel that far for trials or give up AKC for traveling, but Lori needed Qs for nationals and I wanted redemption from the February USDAA trial. Guess what, I GOT IT! I was SOOOOOOO proud of baby-D this weekend!

We started off the weekend by heading down to Tulsa thursday afternoon so Lori could teach lessons friday. We stayed at Sharon Clark's place and wow, I am jealous. What a great dog friendly house and what an amazing agility set up!!!! After riding for a few hours, the dogs got to get out and play with 9 other dogs. Funny, they all pretty much got along and had a good time. Did I mention there was a pond? Oh yeah, deuce found that pond pretty quick! We got to do some work with the dogs that night as Sharon has lights (did i mention i was jealous? ) and then went to bed early (well, early for my standards). I slept like a rock and ended up waking up earlier than Lori did LOL! Lori taught all morning friday and I just hung out, sunning, reading magazines and doing little drills with Deuce when she was done teaching. It was pretty hot out and he tends to wilt like a delicate flower so I wanted to prepare him for the TX heat. We loaded up and headed out around 2 and had a nice relaxing drive to Mckinney. It was nice to break the trip up for sure.

Our first day of running included Gambler's, Jumper's, Standard, Grand Prix, and Steeplechase. Our first run of the day was starter's standard and he had an awesome run but just couldn't beat Solei's running dog walk or a-frame. He stopped above the yellow on the dog walk and I had to say toes a few times so that ate up alot of time. Our second run was an NQ in gamblers after I had gotten more points (did two sets of weaves that were 7 points) than lori and solei but had knocked a bar in the gamble. I said GO GO GO for no reason, he knows straight lines and needs no GO GOS:) so I caused him to knock that dang bar. We had grand prix next and a nice course. I had to pull him to the close end of a tunnel and he was headed for the wrong end and I over-handled it and he basically went passed the entry and ducked back in at the last minute. Should have been a refusal but for some reason didn't get called. I thought it had so ran like hell the last part and cause him to miss his weave entry because I didn't shape the line enough. Dang it, I cost us a GP Q!!!!!! Anyway, he handled the course like a pro, hard to believe he isn't even 2 yet!

Steeplechase was another matter entirely. The course was very nice, with two a-frames and I think I got nervous because it was so doable. I didn't play with him enough before the run and he felt my nerves and decided the leash guy was way more fun than me and tried to leave with him! Got him back but couldn't get him to focus, probably should have done a couple of jumps and left but decided to try and run it anyway. Great beginning, got almost 2/3 of the way through but then he decided to take the broad jump backwards and then it kind of fell apart. Got him back and then started out again and instead of jumping the broad jump the correct way, decided to walk over it or should i say PLOW over it. Was worried that he hurt himself so we ended on that note. Good parts for sure but I learned a very valuable lesson. I cannot just sit and feed him treats and watch the course. I MUST play with him and keep him engaged in a fun way. He is not miller, he can not sit and stare at me for 1o minutes and then go into the ring and run. I have to be fun for him or he turns off and I learned that the hard way. I have never had to put him in a sit ever at the start line. BAD me:( We had jumpers next and got him back and got the Q and a first so ended the day on a very good note. I felt like he handled the heat very well and other than my screw up by not playing with him enough, he did very, very well. Deuce also got to see his original mom, Heidi and got to see the two Pams and got to see his brother. Heidi is going to show him in some upcoming shows in conformation so how cool would it be if he becomes a breed champion in ASCA? I was planning on at this point leaving him intact till his third measurement at 3 for USDAA anyway so let's do this!!!! After Lori and I went out to dinner, we took a nice long walk and did some geocaching where the dogs found 2 geocaches (see the pics on FB). Again, a good night's rest and up early. I was really pleased with my sleeping this weekend, even though I did have to take a melatonin saturday night. I pretty much slept very sound and woke up rested both mornings.

Sunday had another round of standard, jumper's, gambler's and snooker, plus we got to watch Solei in the finals of steeplechase. Gambler's was first and we got a Q and beat Solei points wise because she got a zero on an obstacle. Even if she would have gotten full points, she would have only beaten us by three which by my standards is pretty awesome! We had standard next and he self released off of the a-frame and then knocked a bar. The bar was just a fluke but the self release was not a good thing. He had done it twice in gamblers and I went with it because i needed the Q. I got a very good UH-OH in and i could tell he knew what he had done because he stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me like "crap, i was suppose to stop wasn't I?" I hate criteria and i hate it even more when I let it slide. I do believe I can get it back and I do believe that the taller a-frame had a part in it. The whole weekend he had good a-frames so am hoping the whole hitting it going 100 miles an hour and then creeping over has stopped. Baby dogs are so much fun:) Anyway, we will see in the next show in two weeks. Jumpers was not good and again I saw some stressing. We had a nice three jump lead out in which I sent and went to get a front cross and while I was crossing/sliding into place and calling him, he blew me off and took the off course jump. We have it on video, my timing was right and I was in position, he fully blew me off. Guess we have some work to do!!! Got some good exercises to work on so hoping to get some of those done after class tonight. Again, was able to get him back for snooker and got two 7s and all the way through the closing and beat another BC for the first:) I had one OH SHIT moment when I had a cross planned and didn't get to where i needed to be so basically had to stop him on the course to get him re-focused but we made it through.

Positives for the weekend: Great teeters all weekend with driving to the bottom and good toes. Dog walk was good and bad, most runs good. A-Frame was also much improved as far as driving to the bottom and sticking toes (except the gambler's run/standard run which I will blame on me). Weaves were great, using them to my advantage in the games classes to get max points. Rear crossed them twice on two different runs and he didn't care. Most of the runs were very focused and showed much improvement over the last USDAA show but the 24 inch poles helped. The heat was a tiny factor but he seemed to bounce back as long as we played and I hosed his belly off. Got to use the fan I got for christmas which was fun.

Negatives: I let my criteria slide in gamblers for sure so BAD ME! He got the contact, held it for a split second and left. That is NOT my criteria but i put the blame on me. We are still having the issue of him getting in obstacle focus during jumper's runs and blowing me off. While it is improved, it still isn't where we need to be to compete in excellent.

All in all, we walked away very happy. I need two more standard legs to move him up and I needed a third judge so it works out well. I plan on traveling to St. Louis in June to finish up his AD so we can do so. Didn't get any Qs in the tournament games but am feeling so much better about his skill set and what we can accomplish. More work to be done but i like doing work:)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Competitive Obedience seminar

I couldn't sleep, too much caffeine on the way home to keep me awake driving and now it is 11 pm and my body is exhausted but my brain won't shut off. Took a melatonin, now writing till it kicks in. I have to be up at a reasonable hour tomorrow so I can go do some agility. Anyway, Deuce and I had our very first obedience seminar today and I am so EXCITED!!!!!! I have always wanted to do obedience and i really, really feel like Deuce is my first chance at being successful in this foray. Deuce wants to please, he offers behaviors and is very easy to work with. He is also a treat whore and will work for anyone so he is easy to hand off and watch the behavior being trained to make sure I do it right when it is my turn. Without going into a blow by blow re-enactment of the seminar here, I will just say i learned so much. I think before I sort of understood obedience but now I REALLY understand it. It was so nice to have everything broken down to the smallest piece and every part of the behavior broken down and shown how to be taught and how not to be taught for that matter. It was also so nice to have someone really explain the foot work and really make me do it in front of them and critique every little part, good and bad. I have already been walking around the house saying "plant, toe, heel, go":) While I struggle with walking with my feet straight and left and rights, and I will probably be super sore tomorrow, I feel like I have a way better understanding of the precision it takes to do competitive obedience. Even the feeding of the behavior requires precision LOL! I used string cheese today and Deuce got quite a bit so we will have to see if that upsets his stomach but I just can't put hot dogs or anything else in my mouth YUCK! We will also have to practice our spitting technique as I am having to take the food out of my mouth with my hands and put it into his mouth. I also have alot of props to make tomorrow so YIPEE for good weather tomorrow. This gives me motivation and determination and am ready to set some goals and train towards them. I so want deuce to be a multi-discipline doggy:) I did have to laugh today, some of the time we had the dogs out working but alot of the time we were listening and the dogs were just at our feet. Apparently deuce gets bored pretty quickly so instead of laying nicely at my feet, he was rolling around, making noises, and playing with his leash. He was the class clown!