Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quick Update on River

Yesterday in the Beginner Puppy Class Dana told me that River is ready for the Advanced Puppy Class as he can run short sequences already. Eight months old and he's WAY ahead of the curve. I've very proud of my boy! =)

So in last night's class he was great. He's getting very confident on running the dogwalk with some good speed. I can sequence three to four obstacles together for him such as jump, tunnel, dogwalk, tire or jump into the weaves to another jump. He's doing fantastic and is such a happy boy. Unfortunately, I didn't get any video of him this week - not sure why - but I hope to get some soon. I may have to have Dude's mom, Emily tape us and I can return the favor to her.

Another thing that Dana and I talked about was his problem turning to the left. He'll let me stretch him but as I said before he was having problems with turning to the left for rear crosses and still isn't comfortable turning around on the dogwalk if I ask him to turn left. Turning right is no problem for either the dog walk or rear crosses. She asked if he's been adjusted and of course he hasn't. He's a puppy so I never thought he'd need it although with as hard as he is on his body and as rough as he plays I wouldn't be surprised if something is out of alignment. Looks like I'll need to put a call in to Dr. Mayer for him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nothing to report...

It's been a dead zone lately as far as agility trials go so we've just been concentrating on training. River has been awesome in class, such a good boy. Ruby has been great as well. She's back to her loud, speedy self in class and has had awesome 2o/2o positions on the DW and teeter. Her DW speed is also back to where it was before the pee incident in Lake St. Louis. See below:

If you look up 'mortified' in the dictionary next to it you'll see this picture:

Kurt has been awesome in helping me make Ruby faster. She's fast as it is but using my voice can help her turn more quickly and makes her much more responsive. We still have a long way to go with making her turns tighter. Mostly it's my timing as we really haven't been in Excellent that long, only a year, and she's gotten considerably faster as she's learned to love the game. At home I've been training both of them on end position with the travel plank my dad made me. I can lie it flat or pull the legs out and it mimics the angle of the end of the DW. Right now it's the pups fav thing to do (can't beat anything that involves lots of cheese! :)) We also work one-jump stuff every day in the basement and whomever gets left upstairs to wait their turn throws a very vocal temper-tantrum!

I've also been doing some strengthening exercises with both of them for their rear. River I'm not too worried about as he has an explosive jump and his little legs are very muscular for such a young pup. I can't wait to see him do some dock diving this summer - should be a hoot! I'm mostly working on stretching his sides so that he can turn more evenly. He turns great to the right but not to the left and he had some issues doing that on the DW.

I have class with both dogs tomorrow night and I'll try to get some video of River. I've been teaching him the rear cross and he's been doing great crossing from my right side and switching to my left but going left to right has been a little hard for him. I don't know if it's due to his having a hard time turning to the left or if it's something that I'm doing. I did eventually get him to do a rear cross but it was more of a flip, like they showed in the "Pigs Fly" article in Clean Run this month and I had to help him quite a bit. I also could only do it on the flat, where he was having no problem doing the right turn rear cross over a small jump. I'm going to have Dana look at it for me tomorrow night.

We have two days of trialing at the IKC Show in Chicago this weekend and I'll update on that as well. I've entered Ruby in the FAST class this time and I'm hoping we get at least one leg. That would be nice. =)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Scott County Kennel Club - Jan. 30th & Feb. 1st, 2009

So I do want to start this post off by saying that for the entire four days of trialing I was without my agility bag. I forgot it, just left it in the kitchen all ready to go and I didn't realize it until I started bringing stuff in for the Lake St. Louis trial. I didn't have my soccer shoes, Ruby's special treats, her vitamins/supplements, out First Aid Kit and my camera. Thank God Tammy got a new camera and taped our runs in Lake St. Louis. Anyway, I just felt off the entire time, like I was forgetting something, which I had. We kinda lost our mojo.

After what happened on Friday in the Standard ring I was a little worried about how Ruby would be on the dogwalk. That wasn't really the issue however as it was more like: who is this dog next to me? She was nervous and worried, carrying her tail tightly between her legs. I haven't seen her like that since the last Fourth of July when our red-necks neighbors were blowing off M-80's! A huge difference from the dog I had on Thursday night.

We had Standard first on Saturday - a tricky course from Tom Slattery. I usually try to get her excited by asking her to speak. She tried but a bark just wouldn't come out of her. She did bark when I left her on the start line and was off like a rocket when I released her. The course started jump to dogwalk & she wasn't hesitant like I thought she'd be but she did just run through the yellow. No stop but not creeping either. I ended up being behind her a couple of times during the run as I just wasn't sure how to handle her nor did I know how she would be running. She did have a gorgeous triple to weaves entry and I got behind her again when she hit the aframe. With her running aframe I need to be ahead of her to push, front cross, rear cross or pull. She almost took an off-course jump but a hard call saved it and we qualified. It was by no means a pretty run but only three dogs in our class qualified and we took 3rd place. I was very proud of her for putting her game face on and gave her lots of "good girl's" and "awesome job" and gave her a lot of super high value treats. 'Puppy Crack' as Kim and I call them.

Jumpers was next - a fairly easy course from Lisa Haidle-Potts with a high Q rate. She still had her tail tucked and again after this run I treated her HEAVILY and gave her lots of praise. I do think she could have been faster though and we qualified but I honestly don't remember the course at all unless I look at it on paper. I was pretty beat on Friday night so I took a Tylenol PM to guarantee some sleep; it made me a little spacey however.

Sunday I pretty much had my girl back. She was excited and barking for our Standard run. The course Lisa had for us was pretty tricky with a lot of wraps and tight angles. We were doing great until the end. I just didn't see her taking an off course tunnel after the table. The very last time I walked it I found out it was a sit on the table and thought "Oh I can do a lead out push to the chute and she won't even look at the tunnel." Somehow I forgot about that during our run and tried to front cross which was late and the backwards motion just sent her right into the off-course tunnel. Even tried to call her off it but she just looked at me and went in anyway. Oh I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to lead out from the table...

The Jumpers course that Tom designed was a bit trickier than Lisa's and quite a few dogs missed their weave entrances. Ruby didn't however and was she great though at one point I could hear River barking during our run. We were crated right by the Jumpers ring and he could see us at the start line. I momentarily forgot were I was for a second as Ruby and I were running but we pulled it out and took 3rd place. So I think I have my dog back and Shawna was kind enough to tape our runs for us so I'll post the links when she uploads them. All I know is do not take Tylenol PM two days in a row during a trial. Oh and don't forget your agility bag. =)

Tri-County Agility Club - Jan. 29 - 30, 2009

It was great getting to sleep in a bit on Thursday and then driving down to Lake St. Louis for an evening agility trial - Excellent Only - felt kinda weird. A very nice facility, this trial was held at the National Equestrian Center on packed dirt.

We had Standard first, judged by Laura English. It looked like a fun course and when I got Ruby to the line she was INSANE, pulling me and barking to get into the ring. She barely held her start line and was off like a red bullet. She did hold her DW contact however ~ what a good girl! She ended up winning the 24" class easily, over a second faster than the 2nd place dog and earning 42 MACH points! She ran it at 4.23 YPS! I'm so proud of this run and when Tammy puts it up on youtube for me, I'll provide a link.

Jumpers was next, a really nice course from Lavonda Herring, and again Ruby almost broke her start line. We had a gorgeous run going but I called her too early for a turn and pulled her off a jump. Once again I blow a QQ! Oh well, even with me having to turn her and resend her over the jump she ran it well under SCT at 5.27 YPS.

Friday was an interesting day. Excellent ran last so the dogs all sat in their crates for an hour and a half before they got to do anything. We had a perfect, fast run going...only the dogwalk, tunnel, weaves and a jump sequence left to go. It was pretty much in the bag. As Ruby came down the DW she slowed down and I thought to myself, WOW! I'm going to have two beautiful DW's this weekend! But as she slowed down to the yellow, she stopped and peed on the end. I had turned to do a front cross and started to release her when the judge said "Hold on." I said, "Oh crap! She's peeing!" and picked her up. Lavonda called for the clean up crew and I stood there holding Ruby and talking to the judge. I apologized to her and she said that it was no big deal, they're dogs and she thought Ruby just got excited and just couldn't hold it. Anyway I was mortified and Lavonda just told me some funny stories about what her dogs have done to her and I carried her out of the ring after apologizing again.

Oddly enough this isn't the first time Ruby has done this. Those of you that know her or have been in class with her know that she's done this on Dana's dogwalk a number of times. I don't know why she chooses this spot to go when she has to go or why she does it. And yes, the times that she's done it I have pottied her before class so I have no idea why she suddenly gets the urge to go when she's on the dogwalk. It's not like she's gulping down water in between runs and before this run at the trial she wouldn't even drink any water. Very strange.

Needless to say neither one of us were mentally there for Jumpers. It wasn't a great course to begin with and I cued her too early for a turn after a jump which she ended up missing. It caused her to slow down quite a bit and her weaves were methodical. The middle part of the course we did well and then she took an off-course near the end I didn't anticipate at all. At that point it didn't really matter and we headed out to Kewanee soon after. The photographer did get some great shots of her during her Standard run though. I'll post on Kewanee soon as Saturday posed some very interesting problems for us.