Friday, September 30, 2011


Ah, finally a night of class.  Lori has been pretty busy here lately so  we haven't had regular every week classes.  I think in a way it is good for Deuce to go a week without anything agility but I was super pumped last night to actually have class.  We had some very challenging courses that were of course super fun and for some strange reason, we managed to get through them, some on the first try!!!!  I was super excited!  We were really clicking last night and it makes me feel so good that we are finally gelling as a team.  We have a three day show next weekend in Lincoln and we are camping so we will see how that goes.  I think for whatever reason, when I camped with miller, he didn't always run the best the next day so hoping deuce won't be affected like this.  I look forward to cuddling up with my baby-d in the tent and staying warm.  In fact, even thought about sleeping in my van and not even worrying about the tent.  If I take my middle crate out and all the extra crap that I don't need, baby-D and I can fit quite comfortably.  I just tend to be a pack rat and leave my van loaded with everything I might possibly need for any given season or situation.  The joys of having a big van1  Speaking of which am waiting on the shop to call about my van.  Just had it in last week to get the water pump replaced and the coolant system flushed (600 bucks, gulp) and now I think something is wrong with my front brakes.  Thank god for three paychecks in september.  Just hoping it doesn't take away all my paychecks, got a USDAA show to enter LOL!  Running my 10 K tomorrow so wish me luck!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

a week off

Gave baby-D a week off.  We haven't had class in a couple of weeks and I used him as a demo dog in my  classes but just for hind end awareness stuff.  I did set up some small drills today just to try out some stuff for my classes that I am teaching.  This will be the third week of me teaching 3 classes on monday nights and I have to say i LOVE it!  I knew i enjoyed teaching but this has been a blast so far.  Of course had challenges including a dog fight in one and an frazzled person in another but overall, we have made adjustments and are having fun.  I love seeing my two classes that I have had since beginners progress and am happy to say that they are in the cusp of being able to enter their first trials!  I am having everyone start out in NADAC in tunnelers and jumpers and for those who have weaves, standard as well.  The courses are so much fun, the people are laid back and of course no weaves in jumpers.  Everyone gets a ribbon for something or other and everyone walks away with a smile on their face.  Matt and Martha make each NADAC show so special and I sure miss going to their shows!

Tony and I have been working with stella on hind end awareness and plank work.  She has progressed nicely on her bang game and we are doing lots of shadow handling with her already.  The biggest problem we have with her is she is very bad at herding you instead of going ahead so we are working very hard on her focusing ahead and not jumping up and biting us.  Tony actually got her through a course of four jumps today (with no bars) with some crosses thrown in for fun.  She is super smart and catches on to things so quick but can be a bit reactive so lots of stuff for us to work on.  Tony worked on getting her attention while I worked deuce.  The screaming is very, shall I say, unbecoming of a little lady.

I have my first 10 K this coming weekend and I am super excited but super nervous.  I have been doing alot of running lately (5 days a week plus two days a week strength training as well) but I still feel unprepared.  Wish me luck!!!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011


I always feel a sense of urgency at USDAA trials, mainly because there are just so few of them.  The opportunities to get those Qs are so few and far between so much pressure is put on each run and I hate that in a way because I LOVE USDAA.  The good news is the columbia club is wanting to put on two trials  a year and it sounds like we are going to be adding a new USDAA club in the MO/KS area very soon so more opportunities for USDAA YIPEE!  We entered the weekend needing one standard Q to move up to advanced, but I went ahead and entered everything just for fun.  Ended up finishing his starter's snooker title and his standard title thus moving us up to advanced for the december shows.  Was a little worried as this is a very different surface and i had heard a lot of dogs were getting pad burns due to the mats wearing out.  I have trialed on this surface before and Miller had no issues but he is also slower and more careful when he runs.  The very first run was jumpers and a FUN course but deuce dropped the first bar.  Probably needed to remind him he was jump 22 and not 20.  Great run anyway so was happy we were starting out strong.  Second run was standard and gorgeous run till the very last bar.  Had the bar setter sitting right as they were coming over and I think he saw her and he loves people and just put his back foot down.  No biggie, not her fault, training issue for us, but dang, I think i would rather have the first bar than the last bar.  Stings a bit more when it is the last bar in my opinion.

We also had round one of steeplechase which had two a-frames.  Was hoping with the maturity I had been seeing that steeplechase would be a little better than previous attempts.  Well, it was better but still not a Q run.  Missed his weaves, no big deal, flipped him back in and got them and then was going to the finish when he ran around a jump and took the finish jump.  E:(  Oh well, it was certainly better than previous attempts  so we are improving.  He just seems to still struggle alot when  I run balls to the wall.  His brain still seems to ooze out of his head when we run as fast as we can.  I see it in FAST, the two tournament games in steeplechase, T2B, and of course in snooker and gamblers where there is a an opening and closing.  I didn't see it as much in grand prix this time but he did have several mistakes.  I felt like the grand prix was much like an excellent B course, not really hugely hard yet me managed to stink it up.  He was previously in a phase where he was so sensitive to the rear cross cue that he was anticipating it and turning before jumps or trying to read between the lines and think we were doing a rear when we weren't and now we are back to him not reading them at all.  AH, the fun of running a baby dog!

Overall, the weekend was a success in my mind.  He had way more great runs than bad and only missed two weave entries all weekend.  Much improvement in several areas although much to work on as well.  Wide turns are killing us in the placements.  When he is tight, he beats those awesome BCs (well some of them anyway) but when he is loosey-goosey, we get 3rd or worse.  I think baby-D enjoyed his weekend without his sister and i will probably have a few more of those so we can gel as a team and daddy and stella can bond.  Looking forward to a couple of weekends off and then some more AKC trials.  December will be all USDAA and while I hate driving 6 hours for a show, guess we will be making the trek to st. louis hopefully not in snow:)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 3, YIPEE

Day 3 is in the books and wow what a weekend.  I think this was the first weekend where I really clicked with Deuce. I have no clue what was different or what changed other than as he gets confidence, mine comes back and there are 0 nerves.  I wasn't nervous, he wasn't nervous and we both performed like I know we can.  Standard was a super fun course I was so close to my first MX leg!!!!!  He came wide out of the chute and had a teeter/dog walk discrimination.  I wanted him up the dog walk so I wasn't moving much to get him to come in.  Well, little did i realize that I was in front of the dog walk entry and he just couldn't get around me (stupid handler).  He tried but came off the side very low so not dangerous but scary and stupid of me to even encourage that stupid angle.  Anyway, got him back on finished the course lovely with no bars, weave pole entry and NO REACTIVE HANDLING YIPEEEEE!!!!!  Jumpers was a little tricky and I knew would be a challenge for us.  Straight line of jumps after the weaves straight at the wrong end of the tunnel.  Could do a FC after the first jump after the weaves if you could get lateral distance but that just set them up better for the wrong end as you had to push back out to the triple which was the next jump in the line. Could do a RC after the triple by pulling them to you and then turning them on the flat, thus changing their leads.  Opted for the RC but didn't have faith.  I kept trying to positively visualize him doing this sequence and kept seeing him go in the wrong end of the tunnel.  Watched handlers do it all kinds of crazy ways with varying results.  Walked to the line with no expectations.  Got the weave poles on a turn on the flat and then straight line of jumps, right into the correct end of the tunnel.  Holy crap, wasn't expecting to be right, had to handle the rest of the course reactively.  Had a recessed 180 in which I should have done a  FC on the landing side of the second part but didn't trust and sent him out way wide.  DEUCE, HERE, back to the right jump, go tunnel but again flung him way out to the wrong tunnel so another DEUCE, HERE, this tunnel.  Got him going again and what did i do, flung him back out and had to hold while he came back.  Time was horrible, only got 8 MACH points but my first MXJ leg.  It wasn't pretty but it was there.  Probably worst run all weekend, figures.

A quick summary of positives and negatives:

Positives:  Great weaves (6/8), only missed them in T2B.  Great collection except for the JWW run today and one lead out I did after the teeter.  No stress at ALL!!!!  I was confident, he was confident which equals zero stress.  Stella was a doll and only had one screaming fit all weekend.  She played with lots of people and lots of dogs and got along great with everyone.  I didn't get nervous at all, all weekend which helped.

Negatives:  The only thing I can think of was that he was super loopy in the JWW run but that was totally on me.  If i don't handle a course correctly, how do I expect him to run it correctly.  He can't read the numbers so he has no clue.  Bad, bad me!

Next weekend USDAA and FUN!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

day two of the best weekend we have had in a long time!

Okay hoping i don't jinx myself.  While we didn't Q at all today (T2B, Standard or JWW), Deuce had some really nice runs.  I was the idiot on two of the runs.  T2B was more of a training run so I don't count it.  Today's training run was get your weave entry and he failed so boo hiss and he knocked a bar but again, I care less about that class.  Lori told me what I did wrong on the entry so I can fix it.  Just do the class for steeplechase practice.  Anyway, standard was really nice, one bar that I caused and two he caused because i was racing and he flattened.  Don't care about them, the rest of the run was super and I will take it!  Jumpers was again my fault, did a FC at the beginning and just didn't re connect with him and lost him around a jump.  Kind of weird, he looked like he was locked in in the weaves but there was no way he was going to get the entry at that angle so who knows.  We finished the run on a strong note and he was a good boy with 0 stress.  It's the little things you start to appreciate.  We will see if baby brain sets in tomorrow.  Just have two runs (BORING) tomorrow so should be home early for the True blood final episode and a nice long run.  Next weekend is USDAA and i can't wait!!!! 

Stella again did great today.  She had one little screaming tantrum but it was over quickly.  She got lots of love and lots of attention and got to play with other puppies and with several dog friendly dogs.  We also worked on basic behaviors near the ring where distraction is the highest.  Barb gave her a bone to chew on so that kept her pretty busy.  Thanks to the Prozyme, she has been pretty solid, even with all the treats, peanut butter and bones.  I may just have to bring her next weekend too LOL if her daddy will allow it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby-D AX, AXJ:)

Well, I made my goal today so had to give a quick blog about it.  Deuce finished his AX today and I am so proud.  He was 2 for 3 on his weave pole entries and 0% stress!!!!!  I even left him in the weaves in T2B and moved laterally and got a crazy front cross in.  Boy how i love classes that you can train in like FAST and T2B.  Now that we are in B, I will be really pushing things like lateral distance on the weaves and contacts.  I also will be working hard to tighten him up more.  I am getting better at handling him for sure and really starting to understand how my motion tends to fling him out.  We have so far to go but I am super stoked to have my main goal done for the year.    The other thing I wanted to talk about was Miss Stella.  Decided to bring her since it is a smaller trial and the weather is cooler so I can put her in the car if needed. I am happy to report she was an angel in her crate.  Only had one barking episode when she saw me on the line in JWW as her crate backs the JWW course.  My secret weapon was a hollow bone and peanut butter.  Tried to associate any time I took deuce out with her getting the best thing possible, AKA peanut butter in the bone.  She got to meet tons of dogs and people and was loving everyone!  Did some basic behaviors but she was a little distracted.  Got to watch the dogs run in T2b after me and she didn't bark but watched.  I am really shocked, thought she would be a screaming demon.  Maybe she knows the game and will be worse tomorrow:)  Off to bed, really, really tired and of course have to get up super early and drive again tomorrow.  Wish I was camping but 5 dogs in a tent might have been a challenge.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reflection upon a 4 day weekend

Feeling a lot more rested so I thought I would write some more on the weekend.  My post last night was very brief and I had lots to say but was super tired.  I course built all courses all four days plus camped and of course as soon as I got home, had to clean the entire house and do all the laundry before I could relax.  Work is sort of slow today so been putting my thoughts together.  Here goes nothing.  Going back to the positives and negatives list.

Positives: I think he hit his weave entry 5 out of 8 times this weekend, some in a flat out run.  One of the misses he hit the entry but didn't collect enough and popped out.  The other entry I tried to start out as a rear to the poles and as i stepped in, he turned away from them so that was my fault.  The other he had a bobble right at the beginning  as I said go tunnel, he ran past the entrance, went to the wall and stopped and looked back at me like, what tunnel?  needed a turn command to switch his lead, my fault too.  The next obstacle was the weaves and I just think he was a little stressed because he hates being wrong.  I felt like there were at least three runs were we looked like a real team.  BIGGEST positive of all, except for the one weave pole entry, he COLLECTED for every lead out thus starting the courses off without us fighting.  I have seen a trend of us fighting on collection at the beginning and the rest of the run being off because of it.  I made sure I was maintaining eye contact and that he was looking at me, not whatever the off course obstacle was behind me.  One time, it was even a straight tunnel and he came with me, GOOD BOY!  I did have one front cross where I did not get my hand up quick enough and I was racing to get to the cross thus cueing extension and he ran a little past me but came back in and took the correct obstacle.  That was okay, motion over rode anything else in that instance.

The standard run on sunday was the bestest we have ever had:)  There were so many off course options every time you turned around and he stayed with me and listened the entire time.  There was hardly any yelling his name, no reactive handling, just us running. Other than a bar in that run, it was my favorite and I hope we can have many more like that.  That is the dog I know he can be and would like to see more of it.

Negatives: Had a really stressy day on monday (last day of trial).  He self released off of his a-frame, then self released off of the dog walk.  I corrected him by stopping him and saying uh-oh.  Didn't work as the next contact was the teeter and he self released off of that one too.  That one was a big tweet you are done.  Apparently that really, really bothered him, even though we went and did some toes and got lots of cookies after we left the ring.  When I got him out to run jumpers, he was still down, still had his nose on the ground. I had to literally pick him up to get him to get his nose off of the ground.  I HATE this stress and am trying everything I know to deal with it.  He was fine the first three days, no stress at all.  I had been commenting to everyone about how stress free he had been the whole weekend, even when he had missed his entry to his weave poles.  I know he hates being wrong but he has to know that what he did was wrong or else how do I fix it?  He is the type of dog that if you let him get away with something once, he will try it again and again.  I let him not go down on the  table once this weekend and he tried to stay in a sitting position every run after that.  I can't let him get away with bad contacts.  I refuse to have another miller!   Now, in his defense, he was in the crate way more than normal.  He was pretty much confined from 6 am in the morning till almost 4 pm every day and then on sunday night, another 6 hours while we were at the cook out.  I know that had some affect on the baby dog for sure.  A big negative on me, which I have been working on but still need more help is deceleration.  I had a beautiful JWW run but on a 180, ran all the way up to the first jump and flung him way out to the second part.  There was no need for me to be that close and decel probably would have made it way tighter.  Again, this goes back to mr. miller making me have to run up to everything to get him to go over it.  MUST. STOP. NOW.

He is also not wanting to stay on my hand.  One of the JWW course had a back side of a jump after the weaves but then into a 180 and I couldn't handle it like I normally would a back side jump scenario.  You really needed to be on the back side too to handle the 180 smoothly so I had to snooker around the jump then rotate into it to let him take it.  He wanted to release off of my hand so bad that I had to fight him around the corner to keep him on that hand and off of off course stuff.  This is going to kill me in snooker for sure when I need him tight and on my hand.  I know a lot of aussies don't like working tight, but too bad, he is going to have to get over it.

Looking forward to another three day weekend with the baby dog.  We got that last leg we needed in excellent A JWW so now am running in B but still need one more leg in Excellent A standard.  It will come, I know, so I am not rushing anything but it would be nice to not be at the bottom of the freaking 20 inch class.  Mentally, I don't like watching 100, 20 inch dogs run before me (flashing back to USDAA and AKC nationals where i was at the end and had to watch almost 6-8 hours of 20 inch dogs running).  I really like to be at the top of the running order.  I will have to say that (and this may be TMI again so stop reading if you don't want to know) once again, my nervous stomach has not acted up at all this past weekend.  I don't get as nervous with him as I did with miller so no running to the bathroom constantly.  This is a bonus:) So, one more leg to reach my goals for the year 2011.  Kind of crazy to think we are winding down.  Looking forward to some USDAA in a couple of weeks.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Truine Four day trial

I just had to sit down and blog about my weekend even though I am exhausted and ready for bed. Lots of great things happened and some not so great but the great out weighed the not so great. I saw glimmers of hope of us being a team. Favorite run the whole weekend was a very tough Excellent standard course. Lots of traps and challenges and we danced the dance. Turns were tight, contacts were held and weave poles were mastered. I saw some maturity and I am so excited to see that. Also got our AXJ this weekend by the skin of our teeth. Lots of 270s with back sides and traps just calling their name (can you say straight tunnel?). While he went wide on two parts for sure, he was still right up there time wise with the fast BCs and that just tickles me. If we can tighten it up, we might be able to beat maybe a slower BC LOL! We camped and while he spent alot of time in his crate (i was a course builder for both rings and worked several classes) he seemed to handle it pretty well. Today was probably the only day I was truly not happy with our performance. I think he had just hit his limit and was a little tired and a little stressy. I had to correct him for self releasing on his dog walk and that really hurt his little feelings. All I said was uh-oh but you would have thought I beat him. He kept on running but missed a jump and then didn't collect in on a FC. The flew off of the teeter but all the big dogs were doing that so I didn't fault him for that. I honestly think they didn't believe us that it was the teeter and not the dog walk as the dog walk had been there the previous three days. No cookies after the run till we went out side and did toes and waited for the okay, then lots of cookies, big party. He still was a little stressed in JWW and when he popped out of his weave poles (hit the entry but was going so fast popped out), he started stressing again and all hell broke loose. While it wasn't as bad on tape as it felt on the course, I still hated to end an otherwise great weekend on that note. Home now, resting and getting ready for a three day work week and then three more days of agility WAHOO! Hubby is going to TN for his grandma's 90th birthday celebration so I will have to drive back and forth all three days:( Stella and Deuce will be coming with and if I could find a dog sitter, I would just camp there again. Had so much fun camping this weekend, even with the rain the one night. Nothing worse than having to pee in the bushes in the rain but we tried to time it when it wasn't raining. Slept like a rock listening to the sounds of I-70 right behind us. Had a great camp out sunday night complete with dancing, keg stands, and funny stories. We agility women know how to have a good time:)