Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Melt With You

Finally the rivers of ice that have been blocking the roads and trails in my neighborhood are melting away. I had a wonderful 4 1/2 mile run today that was 95% clear of ice as well as a morning dog walk that was nearly slip free. Best of all though is that Biscuit Eaters is dry and the surface is nice and soft. Took Cody & Lola out there for the first time since October and they were so happy. I let them run around while I set up their exercises and I haven't seen them that excited in a good long while. It was cool, in the high 30's, but the sun was shining and the skies were blue, a perfect day to start back at agility. I worked them on weave entries first and they were nearly perfect, taking all kinds of angles with no problem. I was able to send them too and do rear crosses while they were halfway through the poles. I only used 6 poles since it was the entries I wanted to work on and we didn't do too many reps. Then after a rest we worked on one of the moves from Stacy's workshop that involved having them run across my feet then flip away for a rear cross. Hard to describe without a course map, I'll have to scan one in. I worked it on the flat a bit first and both dogs picked it up fairly quickly once I added the jumps. Then I let them run around and play for a bit and worked some contacts. Lola's having trouble with the chute so I worked on having her keep her head down when she exits by rolling her ball low on the ground when she came barreling out. This didn't seem to do very much so we either need more reps or I need a better method. She throws her head up at the end of the chute, sometimes so high that she's on her hind legs, and often gets tangled. I have a photo of her coming out of the chute and she looks like a nun wearing a chute for a habit. We often have trouble after the chute because of this, esp. if there's a turn.

I've been working Strum's weave poles in the backyard and he was solid today with the solid white poles at 4" apart. I keep forgetting to bring out the striped poles but he seems to be managing with the solid ones. The jump from 5" to 4" has taken the longest so far. I had to go to 4 1/2" then 4" and for a couple of days I'd have to start out the session by standing in the poles and calling him through just 3 poles then working my way back to the end. He would get so excited he'd blow right past the poles and run to me if I started off at the very end. I'll work him for another few days at 4" until I'm sure he has it before closing them to 3".

His board work is going really well, it didn't take long to shape the head facing forward. He's so freakin' smart, if only I had more time for him. He should be competing and through novice by now. Oh well, he's stuck with me in the land of not enough time.

I want to start thinking about races for the spring and summer but I'm waiting to see what the podiatrist sez next week. I haven't had any shooting pain since a week ago Friday which has been nice but I can tell my foot's not quite right. I know if I cancel the appointment the pain will come back and I'll have to wait another month.


  1. roxanne10:39 AM

    Wow. That's great the field is finally clear again. And, excellent training news. There is usually a way to get dogs pointing their heads/bodies the right way, if you can figure out what makes sense to them.

    Sadly, our ring at home is still snowy.

    Tom wanted to work on my training ring yesterday, but even with chains on the tires of the bobcat, he couldn't get to it through the snow to get up the hill and back there.

    Ah, well.

  2. Cedarfield9:05 AM

    The chute is one of those obstacles that I never seem to spend enough time on--don't really know why.

    I've heard but haven't tried that running the chute fabic through a straight tunnel will "encourage" the dog to keep his head down through the chute.
    I would think you'd want to introduce this slowly to a dog like yours, though or I could see it backfiring big time.

  3. David n da gang11:14 PM

    Hi Elayne,
    Awesome Blog, I love the photos of you dogs, they look like McNabs. I belong to the McNab Yahoo group. your Red dog looks like my friend's dog Gracie (also a McNab)Do you compete in Canine Frisbee with your gang??? My website is
    My Cowdogs, include two McNabs, one in agility, one in disc dog, one 1/2-Border 1/2-McNab also a Disc Dog, a red-tri Aussie, a goofball Frisbee dog, a red ACD named Tazzie also our only female. Keep the blog going, it's great. e-mail back if you'd like at
    David n da gang

  4. I don't do frisbee with the dogs because I'm awful with a frisbee. I would probably hit spectators in the head if I ever tried to compete.

    My dogs do look like McNabs, I've had some people insist the brindle one (Cody) is absolutely a McNab but in reality I don't think any of them are. They could possibly have McNab in them, it's hard to say. The red dog (Lola) looks very like a red McNab we have in the area but she's too big and heavily built and she has a big long bushy tail. She could very well have some McNab in her though. I love the McNabs, very cool dogs.