Monday, October 19, 2009

Maybe not such a baby dog anymore

Strummer and Lola had a DOCNA trial this weekend and both had some nice runs, especially Mr. Speedy McCrazypants. In short, Lola was 3/6 in the Q department, picking up a Standard Q and 2 Jumpers Q's. Strummer was 5/8 and even better only one of the NQ's (Standard) was a crazy wild where's my brain run. The other NQ's were beautiful jumpers runs with just one bar down. He ended up with 3 Standard Q's (two 1st places and a 2nd place), a Traditional Gamblers Q (2nd place) and a Strategic Gamblers Q (some low placement but he had the second highest amount of points). He finished his Starters Standard title and moves up to Advanced (Intern in DOCNA-speak).

My most awesomest husband came down both days so we have video. On Sunday he brought me a fabulous lunch, helped with warming up and cooling down dogs, and did the 10 minute round trip walk to the car to get Strummer and put him away multiple times in addition to his video duties. He's the best support crew ever. I think Strummer does especially well when he's there to show off.

Highlights for Strummer were his contacts and his focus. He was 4/5 on his dogwalks and one of those was in a gamble. The only one he missed was in Standard during his crazy out of his head run. He was 100% on his A-frames. Can't remember how many he did, maybe 8 or 9 or so. He was focused as well except for the one crazy run and I'm sure that's because I brought him into the ring while the other dog was still running. I didn't do that for the rest of his runs and he was fine. I also used his Gentle Leader and that made a huge difference. I hate to overuse it and the goal is to wean him off of it but for now I'm going to use it so he can learn to be relaxed on the start line. Crating him in the car helped a lot as well. On Sunday he had to contend with a Mexican rodeo complete with mariachi band and loudspeakers next to the parking lot but that was still not as overstimulating as being inside the agility arena and it didn't seem to effect his performance.

Areas for improvement-weave poles. He didn't get a single entry. Ugh. We've been working on this, really. I'm wondering if the 2x2 training is making things worse since I use a toy for reward and he gets so excited that he's blasting through the poles and not rocking back to make the entry. I know the 2x2's are supposed to help with that but we've been doing them for some months now and they don't seem to be working. I'll keep up with it for one more month but if I don't see improvement we'll have to try something else. Not sure if the method's not a good choice for him or I'm not executing it properly (probably the latter).

I was so pleased with his Jumpers runs, even though he had a bar down in each. He finally broke 6 yps with a 6.25 yps run on Sunday. Whee, fun! He's a kick in the pants to run when his brain hasn't left the building.

I put some slow motion clips of his various running contacts at the start of the video. He can do a much tighter dogwalk into tunnel turn but the one on the video wasn't too bad given his overall speed. If you click on the link below and watch on the actual vimeo site the screen is larger.

Strummer-Running Contacts, Standard, Jumpers

DOCNA, OCT. 2009, STRUMMER from colliebrains on Vimeo.

Lola had 2 nice Jumpers runs despite my missing the walk through for one of them. The judge was very nice and let me run at the end of the class. She offered me a walk through but instead I ran out during the course changes and figured it out. There were 2 rings of equipment but only one judge but they kept changing the run order of the classes and I missed the announcements (if there were any) so I missed the walk through somehow, thought I would have time to do it while they were running in the other ring. Doh. Then we had a false start due to a timer malfunction but I told Miss Lo she was fabulous and took her out of the ring for a quick fishy treat and she was fine.

She had 2 nice Standard runs on Saturday, one of which was an NQ but just a little glitch, otherwise such a nice run. Sunday was another story for her. Not sure if she was tired or fed up or sore or what but she didn't seem as focused and ran off a bit for her Standard and Time Gamble runs. Her Jumpers run looked slow (for her) and tentative but it could be because the gate steward was standing next to her on the start line and screaming for the next competitor who was missing. I could see her stressing over it a bit but she pulled off a nice run anyway. It's good for her to work through those things if she can. She has one more trial in a month where she's running both days and I'll see how she does. If she seems distracted and/or tired on the second day I may start cutting her back to one day.


DOCNA, OCT. 2009, LOLA from colliebrains on Vimeo.

DOCNA Champs will be in Grand Junction next year. I was hoping for the indoor arena in Castle Rock which is just over an hour's drive compared to 4 1/2 hours to Grand Junction and outside on grass but it's better than hoofing it to Arizona. It could be hot though, mid-80's are possible as is snow so I don't quite get that choice over the nice indoor arena but oh well. I'm hoping Lola will be able to handle it in a year's time. She'll be 9 in December so pushing 10 in October. Hard to say what the next year will hold for her. Strummer is qualified at the lower level (Intern) but I'm hoping to have him in Masters (Specialist) by Champs. Look at me getting all optimistic after one good trial. We'll see what he does to me at next month's DOCNA trial.


  1. You guys are looking good. Contacts look great. Teamwork is there. When I look at his weaves he obviously knows how to weave. Does he do this at home? I have a couple of ideas. If it is just at a trial obviously he is hyped up. Baby dog stuff...

  2. He does this at home if he's hyped up. If he's got his head in place then he doesn't typically miss such easy entries, esp. w/ only 6 poles. It's almost certainly because he's overexcited.

  3. Yes with experience that will get better. Just curious how many times do you tell him to weave?? I repeat my commands with young dogs to get their focus. I know trainers frown on this but it really helps my dogs.

  4. Some people think you should use 3 poles for weave pole entries. With 2 poles they really dont have to make a choice which pole to get in. With 3 poles they have to choose the correct entrance. Then you click or say yes as they are wrapping the second pole. You can stand still and reward them at your side. Then work around the clock. I would only go out with a 10 treats or so, work it then stop. Just a thought. Diana

  5. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm certainly willing to try different things.

    I usually say 'weave' only once. When I'm working the 2x2's I don't say 'weave' at all, just 'get it', or something like that, because the poles are still offset a bit and he's not technically weaving.

  6. Well bummer, I can't watch the videos (not showing up on my work computer). Did Strummer just miss the weave entry the first time and then get the entry the second time? Summit went through a stage where he did this in Novice and then again in Ex. A and it was an excitement/collection problem. So I spent a lot of time marking correct weavepole entries at home (with just 6 poles).

    When Summit was a baby and just running through open channels, I also at the same time shaped the entry on just three poles (like Diana mentioned).

  7. Congrats on the great trial! Woo hoo for Strummer getting all those contacts and smashing the 6 yps mark. In Lola's videos the solid teamwork and communication between the two of you is really nice to watch -- I love watching the "less young" dogs do their thing.

    BTW that song on Strummer's video is very catchy. Who's it by and what's it called, if you don't mind my asking?

  8. It's a great song, isn't it? It's called 'Baptized by Fire' and it's by a band called 'Spinnerette'. The song on Lola's video is 'Ghost Town' by 'Shiny Toy Guns'.

    Morganne-not sure why the video doesn't work. But that's exactly what he was doing-missing the entrance the first time then getting it the second time. It's absolutely an excitement issue. We've been working on all angle of entries with 6 poles as well as the 2x2 method with 4 poles. He's been getting some impressive entries with the 2x2's but he doesn't always get it and being overexcited and trying to them in sequence during a trial is a whole 'nother matter.

  9. Nothing but envy and congrats from us.

  10. Good job! I had internet access issues for a week, and thought they were done, but haven't been able to view your videos.

    I couldn't figure out how to do the 2x2s correctly, either. They made so much sense when susan explained them.

    I've been doing proofing drills on weaves this week with both my older & younger dogs. They just forget! :-)

  11. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to give up on Vimeo. I don't like Youtube though because they mute the music out and I had a creepy comment on one of my photos over at Treemo.

    I have Susan's DVD and I think I have a reasonable understanding of the process but Strummer is taking forever to get it, especially if I leave him to figure it out for himself.

  12. That's the trouble with young dogs these days. No work ethic.

  13. Ah ha! OK, I gave up waiting for the big empty white box to fill with a video, and instead clicked the link underneath (e.g., DOCNA Oct 2009 lola) and it took me to the vimeo site and it played just fine.

    THEN, when I went back to your page, both videos displayed in what heretofore had been big white empty boxes.

    Go figure.