Friday, February 25, 2011

Split legs and the running dogwalk

Lots of people training a running dogwalk are under the impression that if the dog's back legs are split apart that they can't jump and they use this for criteria.  Take a look at this video at around 27-28 seconds.

I can't speak for all dogs but my dog can take a nice big leap with his rear legs apart.  And good luck spotting that while you're training.  You can check for it on video after the fact to decide if you've been rewarding properly but it's not practical criteria for the training field.  And as Strummer proves, this criteria doesn't work for all dogs.  As always it's important to look at your dog and adjust your training accordingly.  I gave up on that split leg theory ages ago because I could see it didn't apply to Strummer.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Geeking out with Agility Nerd

My training partner and I decided to give Agility Nerd's latest challenge a go.  His course maps and analysis are at that link.  We had to make some adjustments because the dogwalk was in the middle of the field and I don't care for those hogback broad jumps and I'm not even sure if the training field has one.  So we substituted the dogwalk for the A-frame and modified the course so as not to take the one way broad jump backwards.  It looked roughly thus:

I know, my handwriting is appalling.  I used to have to hand draft things for work complete with nice neat lettering.  I could use fancy technical drafting pens and everything.  Then came computer drafting and thankfully that hand drawn stuff all went out the window.  But between taking notes at the seminar and a class I took over the weekend I realize that I can no longer write.  Like at all.  My notes look I'd been drinking.  Heavily and continuously.  I wonder if kids today even learn handwriting and if they have any use for it.

Anyway, this course was a great opportunity to practice just about everything we'd worked on at the Mary Ellen Barry/Jenn Crank seminar.  Forward sends, lateral sends, forward motion front cross, convergence, you name it, we got it.  Except no rear crosses this time, oh well.  I labeled some of them with captions on the video for those who might be interested in the types of things we worked on at the seminar.

I didn't read Steve's course analysis before going to the field because I wanted to see what I would come up with and compare to what he had to say.  The only thing I didn't think to try was front crossing the teeter before the weaves.  I did have some problems with Strum coming off the side during Exercise 2 and though this is a training issue if I'd carried on for the front cross I wouldn't have had the problem.

I had arrived a little early to work on the dogwalk but we only got one rep in.  The set-up was jump, dogwalk, jump, treat gizmo.  So I decided to put the treat gizmo 15' straight after the #9 dogwalk rather than try to work a turn.  Unfortunately he jumped and I put in a mini-dogwalk training session that I omitted from the video.  I'll probably put it in a separate post.  Or maybe just cry myself to sleep and tomorrow is another day.

I decided to make some changes to Exercise 2 because I recognized something from the seminar that I wanted to work on.  My version looks like:

I changed the threadle at 5-6-7 into a 270/serpentine type thingy.  You can also do a double front cross between 5-6 and 6-7.  I did it both ways at the seminar with a kinda similar set-up (though the entry to the 270 was much easier,more straight on at the seminar) and had success with both.  The double front cross in this case is a more surefire/safe option but the serpentine is kinda cool.  The trick is to face the #6 jump until the dog is past the plane of the jump, then you can move into serpentine position and call him in.  Very cool.  I also decided not to do the dogwalk so I repeated the tunnel instead.  That push to the tunnel past the dogwalk was something I wanted to work on anyway since we had an off course at the last trial.  The other thing about that push to the tunnel is that you want to be able to send and go quick as you can because that 12-13-14 line is a horse race.  The lateral send to the #15 weaves was hard for Strum because he's still struggling with his weave entries.  Does falling behind on the straightaway count as deceleration?  It's a good weave entry exercise and I'll have to set it up again.

More video.

I didn't put music on the second video so I could hear my verbal cues.  I did put it on the first video out of respect to my training partner who I thought maybe didn't want to be heard yelling at her dog to be quiet all over the internets.  You'll notice how quiet he was on this video though, she barely had to say a word to him, such a good boy.

It was a nice cool day, temps. probably in the high 30's with a little nip in the air so the dogs were feisty and we were able to train for an hour (taking turns) without the dogs getting too hot.

Big thanks to Agility Nerd for letting us play, we had a lot of fun with the course.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Everyday, Nirvana

Those fitting lyrics and powerful guitar riffs from The Cult came pounding through my headphones as I came to the top of a hill on the Left Hand Trail in Boulder Valley on my bike yesterday.  I stopped to take a picture of the view for you all but unfortunately my point and shoot camera finally breathed its last.  The following 3 photos, taken about 5-10 minutes prior, represent the last valiant efforts of my first digital camera.  I'll let them speak for themselves.

It was a gorgeous day on the bike yesterday, sunny, 50's, quiet and peaceful on the trail.  Except for the Kelpie that nearly took a chunk out of my calf.  It's never a good sign when you see a dog charging at you and the owner running behind in a state of panic.  I came to a complete stop, stood very still and avoided eye contact with the dog.  It flew up to me, ears pinned back, went straight for my calf and I saw my triathlon season pass before my eyes.  And in the end all it did was sniff.  Phew!  What a relief but I was not happy about the unnecessary panic and adrenaline rush and it could easily have gone another way.  The dog had a gentle leader on and from the panicked response of the owner when it first took off for me it was obvious that the owner was aware of the dog's issues.  'It's a puppy', she says to me as if this is somehow a justification.  'She's a herding dog', she says with pride in her voice, as if this also excuses her.  'That dog needs to be on a leash until its trained', I tell her calmly but firmly.  Boulder Open Space rules require off leash dogs to be under voice command.  'She has been on her leash', the woman tells me in an irritated voice as if she's talking to a simple child who doesn't grasp the situation.  I can understand why the general public, at least in Boulder, hates dog owners and thinks we're all narcissistic idiots.  'Obviously', I reply which doesn't make sense either but the woman's 'logic' is hurting my head by now.  The woman ignores me and continues to try to catch her dog.  In retrospect I should have followed her and made sure she leashed the dog and also told her how I have 3 dogs at home and I'm sick and tired of losing my trail privileges and access because of people like her.  Because I am.  She could also do with a lesson on what constitutes herding behavior.  I'm going to dig out my citronella spray that I used to hike with all the time, this could have easily gone another way.

On a brighter note I saw the first Meadowlark of the year and 3 freshly popped baby calves.  SO cute.  Spring is on the way.  If I say it enough I can will it to be true, right?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Finally a perfect dogwalk session

I'm away at a class all weekend (unrelated to agility) so no time yet for a write-up of the seminar but the weather finally cooperated for a dogwalk training session out at the practice field.  Finally a perfect session, 6/6.  I kept the reps low because I wanted to work on other things and Strum starts getting hot and slowing down/changing stride with too many reps.  I started out with the treat gizmo 15' off the end of the dogwalk then replaced it with a jump and put it 15' after the jump.  I meant to pan the video to show the whole set-up before each set of reps but forgot.  I'm going to try to remember to do this in future sessions because I've learned that it's important to keep track of the training set-up.  Wish I'd been better about it at the start.

Apparently now if you want to watch this at a higher resolution you have to click on the 'YouTube' button and go there to pick the resolution.  Don't know why they took that option away from the embedded player.  Or maybe it was never there and I dreamed it.  Anyway, this looks much better in HD on the YouTube site.

The plan is to continue to add obstacles straight ahead and fade the gizmo.  Then I'll come back to turns probably first with the gizmo then I'll fade it again.  I'll try some sessions with a thrown toy instead of the gizmo as well.  I didn't want to start with that today though because it's much harder for him and our success rate has been so low lately.  I don't have another trial until April (have to miss my March trial due to the wedding) so I have plenty of time to work this stuff out as long as the weather holds out.

I also tried working on some rear crosses and that video is like watching paint dry so I won't post it.  I started out with an ill conceived exercise so that I was still rotating out of a front cross as Strum came out of a tunnel then tried to cue a rear and that was a big hot mess.  I finally fixed things so I could be done with the front in enough time to cue the rear but I didn't have a good idea of what was going wrong until I got home and reviewed the video.  Glad I bothered to tape it but I'm not torturing you folks with it.  Wish I could figure this stuff out in the field but I suppose I'll get there eventually.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hands up who else hates weddings

I have to go to Chicago for a wedding next month and I'm not terribly happy about it.  I'm not fond of weddings as a general principle (I love this 'Weddings are Stupid' post from Violent Acres) and they send my family up to eleven.  But all the crazy family dramas and astonishingly bad dancing aside, leaving 12 1/2 year old Cody in kennels for 3 days is what has me down.  Last time we left an old dog in a kennel he nearly died from getting sick from being stressed out and we were in Scotland visiting Jonny's dad (who was dying) so there was nothing we could do except beg a friend to take him which he did and thankfully the dog ended up being fine once he got home.  All the dogs have always been fine at the kennels, we board them with our vet and they've never had a problem but I worry with Cody being so old.  I'm sure he'll be fine, I'm just neurotic after what happened with the other dog.  If it wasn't for my grandmother Jonny would stay home with them but she really wanted him to be there and he hasn't been back with me for 2 years so he's going for her sake.  We had a couple of people willing to look after him but just my luck they're also out of town that weekend.

Was also sort of depressed when I took a look at the gift registry.  First of all I think it's bad manners to invite someone to a party and expect them to give you a gift.  Violent Acres agrees with me on this point as well.  Especially given the economy and my sparse, erratic employment a nice thing would have been a note in my invitation telling me please don't worry about a gift, we're happy just to have you (the trip is already costing around $1200 for 3 days).  Instead I was treated to a special insert telling me all the places the couple was registered at.  I don't know, maybe this is common practice these days but I couldn't believe the expensive gifts they had signed up for.  What does a 24 year old even want with a $350 Waterford crystal vase?  And why do they think a guest at their wedding should pony up that kind of money for it?  Some of the other items included a $500 Blue Ray system, a $1000 digital camera, a $900 bed frame and an $1800 table.  I don't mean to pick on my cousin, maybe this is common practice these days but I would be horrified at the thought of asking for such expensive gifts even from my family members.  Sure there were plenty of affordable things on the list and I suppose most people will go for those but wow I wouldn't even spend that kind of money on that stuff for myself let alone expect someone else to.  Maybe there's something else going on here, some other sort of weird cultural thing that I'm missing, like hopefully they're not really expecting that they're entitled to such gifts, maybe just sort of dreaming out loud.

In the end I opted for a coffee maker and one of my own choosing, not the one off the registry.

For the record Jonny and I got up on a Thursday morning and got married at the Boulder Courthouse downtown.  Our only guests were a couple of friends of mine visiting from England.  We got up that morning and told them we happened to be getting married if they were interested in coming along.  I wore a $29 dress from Target and I think Jonny's suit may have come from a thrift store.  We went for drinks at a Scottish/Irish bar afterwards then we went hiking up at Rocky Mountain National Park.  We had 3 wedding gifts that were completely unsolicited but we loved them (a toaster oven, a beautiful hand made pottery casserole dish and a set of 2 wine glasses).  I think my grandmother gave us a check as well.  Twenty years of marriage later I think our wedding was awesome.

Trial/Race Schedule for 2011

Finally put together my agility trial/triathlon/race schedule for the year.  Of course many things can change throughout the year but I wanted to have a schedule that I can refer to because this year is crazy with weekend stuff going on.  I've already sent in my entries for the triathlons so those are hopefully a done deal.  I'd like to have one more triathlon in May or June but I can't seem to find one yet that appeals to me.  Still on the fence about the Indian Peaks Xterra for several reasons, lots of time to decide on that one.  I'd also like to do a few running races this year but haven't settled on any for sure.

One of the reasons I don't post goals/resolutions/etc. on Jan. 1 is that it's not a time when I've got those things solidified.  In Sept. of last year I decided my 'A' race for 2011 would be the Xterra Lory again.  I was going to conquer that hill on the bike and run course this year, no walking, lots of time off my bike and run splits.  Then in January after I'd signed up for the race I got an email saying they were switching the course back to the flatter 2-loop format.  The run will still have the challenging hill but this course adjustment makes the race suddenly a huge bit easier and maybe not worthy of an 'A' race designation.  So I may shift the 'A' race to the Indian Peaks race or find something else entirely, maybe even Xterra Regionals in Beaver Creek.  I gave up the notion of qualifying for Xterra Nationals because I have other things going on that will force me to miss the fourth race and I don't think I can get enough points with only 3 local races.  Still lots up in the air as far as triathlons go but agility trials are pretty well set.  I may change my mind about one or two and a new trial or two may pop up in the meantime but for now I'm happy with my schedule.

I put the travel times to the various trial sites for laughs.  It's funny to see how far I'm willing to drive and the answer is 'not far'.

2011 Agility Trial Schedule

January 8-9:  USDAA, FRAC, Boulder County Fairgrounds, Longmont (18 minutes)
February 12-13:  DOCNA, FRAC, Boulder County Fairgrounds, Longmont (18 minutes)
April 2-3:  USDAA, FRAC, The Ranch, Loveland (48 minutes)
May 7-8:  USDAA, FRAC, Adams County Fairgrounds, Brighton (42 minutes)
May 28-30?:  DOCNA, Paws 2 Friendship, Peyton (only 2 days) (2 hours)
June 25-26:  USDAA, DAPPR, Black Forest? (Only 1 day, not sure which) TENTATIVE (1 hour, 
                   45 mins.)
August  13-14:  DOCNA, FRAT, DeKoevand Park, Littleton (56 mins.)
August  19-21:  USDAA, FRAC, Hansen Arena, Laramie, WY (only 2 days) TENTATIVE (2 hours, 
                       5 mins.)
September 22-25:  DOCNA CHAMPS, Mesa County Fairgrounds, Grand Junction (4 hours, 30 
October 15-16:  DOCNA, FRAT, Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Golden (43 mins.)
December 3-4???:  DOCNA, FRAC, Boulder County Fairgrounds, Longmont (18 mins.)

Very Tentative 

September 3-5:  USDAA, FRAT, location?


2011 Triathlon/Race Schedule

July 23:  Lookout Mountain Triathlon, Sprint (500m pool swim, 10 mile road bike, 5k road run), 

August 27:  Lory Triathlon, Xterra (1/2 mile open water swim, 12.2 off road bike, 8k trail run), Lory 
                 State Park, Ft. Collins area

VERY Tentative

July 16:  Xterra Mountain Championship, Full Course (1 mile open water swim, 15.5mile off road 
             bike, 5.75 mile trail run) OR Sport Course (1/2 mile open water swim, 9 mile off road bike, 
             3 mile trail run), Beaver Creek

August 6:  Indian Peaks Triathlon, Xterra (1000m open water swim, 24k off road bike, 8k trail run)

September 11?:  Tri-Glenwood Triathlon, (825m hot springs pool swim, 15 mile road bike, 5 mile
                         road run)

September 18:  Sombrero Trail Run, Off road, 4.5 miles, Estes Park

Monday, February 14, 2011

DOCNA in the Dirt

Still sort of exhausted after a marathon of agility.  Four days of a seminar last weekend then zillions of runs and a late running trial this weekend has taken its toll.  I finished my 5th of 6 runs at around 5:00 pm Saturday and decided to skip Snakes and Ladders and head home.  It was nice to be home in daylight, have a nice dinner with Jonny and take my mind off of dogs and agility with a 'This American Life' DVD from Netflix.  Where I slept through most of it but the one story I happened to stay awake for was about a lady who leaves her crazy OCD husband and becomes a dog agility teacher.  Or maybe I dreamed up that ending, it's hard to say at this point.

My goal for the trial was to have most excellent, perfect handling after the four days of experts helping me with every little aspect of my handling.  O.k., maybe not perfect handling but hopefully some reasonable improvements.  There were so many things for me to work on that came out of that seminar though, I decided to pick just a few to focus on, namely lateral and forward sends and trying not to whip my shoulders around on a pull.  And the big one-keeping an eye on Strummer so I could get my cues out at the exact right moment.  Handling at the speed of Strummer is a rush or a train wreck and things go much better when I keep my eye on him.  But not to the point of spectating, sometimes I have to RUN and know he will follow but still keep him in my sights.  My head is still kind of spinning with all of this.

In general the trial results don't look so great on paper.  Only 2 Standard Q's out of 10 runs and at least one of those Q's was a gift because Strum blew his dogwalk but the judge didn't call it.  The other dogwalk was iffy too.  But I felt like I'd made a little progress in my handling.  I was still doing some stupid things but felt like I was doing a better job of paying attention to where Strum was and getting my cues out at the right time.  One strategy for improving your swim stroke is to pick one thing to improve and focus on drills to fix only that one thing for a month rather than trying to fix a bunch of things at once.  It's a struggle to overcome the old habits that are built into muscle memory and rebuild new ones so I'm trying to be patient with myself, acknowledge the mistakes so I can continue to work on them but not get emotionally upset with myself for not getting it right away.  I feel like Strummy and I are getting oh so close to being a nice team but we're not quite there yet.

Dogwalks were mostly abysmal but I knew that would be the case.  He did have one beautiful, perfect dogwalk on his very last run of the trial that had a dogwalk.  I thought his A-frames were perfect and the judge didn't call any but at least one video shows that he might have missed.  Hard to say for sure from the angle but it wasn't a good solid hit in any case.  And he's still doing weird things with the weave poles though this was probably his best trial yet for getting entries.  His weaving issues came up in the seminar and Mary Ellen was even a little surprised by them but she gave me some things to try.  I'll write more about that later.  And the teeter, ugh, I need to have independence on that stupid teeter.  How many times have I said that?  I've been working a little but bad weather has taken its toll on my obstacle training.  Looks like sun and mid-40's to 60's for the rest of the week so I'll have to get to the training field and my yard may be clear by tomorrow or the next day.

I want to do another detailed write-up but I realize this may be tedious so I'll section it off for those who might not be interested in all the details.  Also, I'm changing the format a little bit from last time.  I'm copying 4 Dog Craziness' idea of putting the course map and video for just one run together rather than combining video for multiple runs into one video file.  I can't find her exact post but I remember liking it when I read it and thinking it was a clear, simple way to look at each run so I'm giving a go.

NOTE:  In DOCNA, Specialist = Masters.  All courses are Masters level.


Specialist Jumpers

DOCNA FEB. 2011 JUMPERS SATURDAY from colliebrains on Vimeo.

I was so sure I'd do well on the Jumpers runs after all the work I'd done with my handling at the seminar but I was off course after jump #1 on the first run of the trial.  Strum did beautiful lead out pushes with a 3 or 4 jump lead out at the seminar.  I was able to go to the next part of the course right after I released him and he didn't pull off.  But of course in a trial he pulls off on a 2 jump lead out.  Oh well.  The course was pretty boring, just a bunch of pinwheels.  I'm starting to grow weary with the monotony of DOCNA's courses and it's not the judges' fault.  Ultimately one person reviews them and changes them so they all end up with very similar challenges.  I decided to experiment with some rear crosses.  Not too happy with the second one, I need more practice.  Also I pulled him off jump #10, a bad habit I'm finding hard to break.

Specialist Traditional Gamblers

The blue numbers are the plan I ran, the black #13 was the plan I walked but I knew when I got there that I had too much time left over so I added another loop and was out of  position when the buzzer blew.  Still we had plenty of time for the gamble and he did it but dropped bar #3, one of only 2 bars that he dropped the whole trial.  I was blathering like an idiot for him to 'GO JUMP' and running forward probably waving arms around frantically while he was over the bar so I suppose it's no surprise it came down.  I didn't like the layer at 3 to 4 so I was overhandling.  He did get his A-frame contact very solidly according to several people in the crowd.  Otherwise the run went very smoothly, nice weave entry, I was pleased.  No video.

Specialist Standard #1

DOCNA FEB. 2011 STANDARD 1 SATURDAY from colliebrains on Vimeo.

A very boring course, again the judge had campaigned for more turns but was overruled.  I was surprised to see 4 jumps in a row on a Specialist course.  I was so sure I'd left those behind in Novice.  FC at 5-6 and 8-9, didn't support the push to 10 very well so we had a bobble there.  RC behind the teeter then had a bigger bobble between the teeter and jump 14 because I was behind to support the teeter and he started to head to the tunnel.  I was not at all happy with his dogwalk even though the judge didn't call it.  Hard to say if he had a toe in.

Weaves and A-frame were good.

Still this run was good enough for a Q and 1st place by just .6 seconds.  5.68 yps even with the 2 bobbles, imagine if it had been clean.

Specialist Standard 2

DOCNA FEB. 2011 STANDARD 2 SATURDAY from colliebrains on Vimeo.

Another boring course and this time I have to run for the 4 straight jumps rather than lead out and let him do the work.  Bad dogwalk, Strum thought he was turning into the tunnel but still was pretty bad.  Those turn cues need more proofing.  This was the one run with an iffy A-frame too.  FC from 13 to 14.  Botched the RC from 14 to 15 and I've screwed this same scenario up before so I was trying to pay attention this time.  I got impatient and started the RC too soon and pushed him off the jump.  In retrospect I had plenty of time for a front.  I'll have to set up this simple exercise and practice it both ways.  DOCNA may have repetitive challenges but that doesn't mean I won't keep screwing them up if I don't practice.

Weaves and teeter were very good.  Four jumps in a row turned out to be no problemo.

This run got a Q and 3rd place (a dismal 4.53 yps with all the mistakes) but I wasn't terribly happy with it.

Specialist North American Challenge (similar to USDAA's Grand Prix)

DOCNA FEB. 2011 NAC SATURDAY from colliebrains on Vimeo.

Missed his dogwalk.  Nice solid A-frame though.

Nice teeter though he's looking at me, something else to proof for.  Lateral send at 6 and FC at 7 to 8 were o.k., maybe could have been better to tighten up that turn, maybe not.

Did his weird weave pop out thing and it was only 6 poles.  Then he does his other weird thing of get the entry and look back at me and pop out at the first pole on the long set of poles.  He did this at the seminar too and Mary Ellen was a bit perplexed.  It's always fun when you have problems that stump the experts.  She did have some things to try though and I'll have to give them a go.

Messed up the FC between 15 and 16 or maybe for some reason he was committed to the A-frame.  Pulled it off nicely in the previous Standard run, not sure why it didn't work as well here.  I think I rotated out of the cross a fraction of a second too late and he had his nose pointed to the A-frame.  RC to 17 was easy this time because he was coming at the jump from a better line from the A-frame (I didn't go back to fix the tunnel).

Specialist Snakes and Ladders

I bailed on this, was SO tired and it's not my favorite class.  Staying for the North American Challenge was already a test of endurance and I thought I'd get some rest and save some energy for Sunday.  Also the main reason I enter is to test weaves and aside from the NAC his weaves were looking great.  Also didn't want to give him another chance to do poorly on the dogwalk.



Specialist Strategic Time Gamble

No video.

The numbers show the course I walked and ran.

Strummy had a really nice run, hit both A-frames (at least she gave him points and I thought he had nice hits, I don't have proof on video) hit both weave entries, didn't pop out.  Nice teeters too I think.   Unfortunately I pulled him off the course too soon and our actual time was 40.26 (or 41.26 with our 1 second time bonus).  My original plan was to continue on after the #20 teeter to the #15 jump to the #16 tunnel then head out over the finish jump (labeled 21).  Our time needed to be between 41.5 and 46 so I'm not sure if my original plan would have put us over time (I doubt it) but I had thought briefly about looping him over the #15 jump after the teeter and if I'd only done it we likely would have gotten the Q.  I always panic when I hear the buzzer and get him out too soon.

For this game I never plan an opening and closing, I usually try to get between 21-24 obstacles and run it like a flowing course, maybe repeating a loop.  I don't worry about points either, it's all about time.  I think I have to make sure I have at least 22 obstacles if I'm going to omit the dogwalk.

Specialist Standard 3

No video.

Blew his dogwalk and he headed up the A-frame rather than the #4 tunnel.  Several very fast dogs did this.  Hard to say what went wrong without the video, I thought I cued it properly.  Was planning a FC between 4 and 5 but because of the confusion at 4 I was too far behind so threw in a RC which worked o.k. unless that was where we had a bar down.  I don't think she called his A-frame and I thought it was good but I don't have video.  Got a FC in between 11 and 12 but it was poorly executed.  Was hoping for a Forward Motion Front Cross but I was a bit rattled and unfocused by that part of the run and didn't execute is as I had walked it so it was a very late FC.  Sent him into the weaves on my left and he missed the entry, again he got to the entry then looked back at me.  Got in a FC btw'n. 18 and the teeter and he had a poor teeter so I had him redo it since we'd already NQ'd.  Did the teeter nicely the second time.  I'm pretty sure we had a bar down somewhere, maybe #5 or 6.

Specialist Standard 4

DOCNA FEB. 2011 STANDARD 4 from colliebrains on Vimeo.

This course finally had some challenges to it, at least for us.  I was behind babysitting the teeter again (I'm sensing a theme here) so I couldn't get far ahead enough to cue the tunnel and for whatever reason Strum locked onto the dogwalk.  For some inexplicable reason I threw up my outside arm in a panic and called his name but those things occurred after he was already committed to the dogwalk so while they weren't helping my case they weren't the cause of the off course.  Popped out of his weaves again as well, the weaves definitely deteriorated as the trial wore on.  Rest of the course was really nice though, probably our best Standard run AND he got his dogwalk.  The jumping part of the course was trickier than it looks on paper and lots of potential for me to get lost so I was pleased that I kept my focus and got my cues in properly for those parts. Not a super challenging course by any means but I was glad to finally have some handling stuff go right.

Specialist Trigility

We had a fast clean run on the Jumpers portion.  It was so easy, not even worth printing the map.  Standard partner was also clean.  Gamblers partner had a nice run but had a bobble and missed the gamble (ironically after already getting it as an accommodating dog for another team) so no Q.  I had the easiest course by far but I didn't want to put Strum up on the dogwalk if I could help it and the other courses had dogwalks.  I don't really care about Trigility, it's simply more ring time for us and I may as well run it if it's in the middle of the day rather than sitting around.

Specialist Jumpers 2

No video.

This course was challenging because of the sheer speed of it.  I did my stupid handler trick of pulling him off of #5 but once we got going again it was a beautiful run.  I got in front crosses between 7  and 8, 13 and 14 (yes people, I pulled that off and it was awesome, let's hear it for the Forward Motion Front Cross) and 15 and 16.  No bars down, nice and smooth, a great way to end the trial.  No Q because I had an off course after pulling him off that early jump but what a rush for the rest of the course, wee ha!


Trial Stats:

Standard Specialist Q, 1st place
Standard Specialist Q, 3rd place

No titles

1/4 (25%)  We're on a downward trend.  I'm not counting the one the judge didn't call that I couldn't confirm.  Haven't been able to practice due to weather.

7/7 (100%)  I'm not counting the one the judge didn't call that looked like a miss.

Bars down
2 (one in the Gamble the other was likely a handling error)


Strummy is still caked in mud from the conditions at the trial site.  We had snow during the week then bitter cold then temps. shot up to the 60's on Saturday and Sunday.  Strum would get snow/water on him when I took him outside then when we came inside the dirt in the arena made a nice mud paste on him.  Plus the actual mud in the parking lot.  I may have to break down and give him a bath, a horrifying thought for both of us.  There's still a bit of snow about so for now I'll wait and see, maybe the remaining snow will wash the dirt off of him.  Better go hit the trails and see if this theory pans out.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fun with seminars

Strum and I had some big fun the past 4 days at a Mary Ellen Barry/Jennifer Crank seminar.  I learned many useful things like how to run like a linebacker and do a deceleration rear cross and tips for stopping me from flinging my arms and oh about a zillion million other things.  There were thrills and spills and an unanticipated night at the La Quinta in Golden.  I love you La Quinta in Golden.  But it will have to wait for another day because a few hours after arriving home last night I got a call about some contract work that had been dormant for a while but suddenly sprang to life with an exciting deadline of Thursday so fun with agility seminars will have to wait until another day.  And if all that isn't enough excitement I have a DOCNA trial this weekend.  All of this is why we have caffeine.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Twofer Tuesday

Went out in the -2 degrees F for a walk with the Trouble Twins for around half an  hour.  The only people out in weather like this are runners and dog people and since I'm a runner and a dog people I had no hope of staying in like a sensible person.  The sun was shining, bright blue skies and even some pretty sundogs so how could I resist?  Lola had the time of her life rolling in the snow and Strum looked happy to be along for the ride even though he had to wear the dreaded coat and booties.

I hate my clothes.

But I'll put up with anything for my rubber chicken.

You mean MY rubber chicken

It's never too cold for some Jive Talkin'

Trouble Twins modeling their fancy dog clothes.  I cannot believe I own actual fancy dog clothes.

Should move up into the teens tomorrow, woo hoo.  Who knows what adventures we'll get up to in that heat wave.