Saturday, October 21, 2017

Foundation Training Update

I finally shot some video of our foundation class.  We've mostly been working on front crosses for the past 2 weeks for the handling portion of class.  Last week we had some more A-frame familiarization and this week some running on the low dogwalk.  Tess was spayed a week ago Thursday so she sat out this past week's class and missed the dogwalk practice but did get some A-frame exposure last week.  It was her second time on the thing and this time she made it maybe 2/3-3/4 of the way up the up ramp.  Her first time on it she only got on it on the bottom, maybe took a step up so this was some improvement.  Ruby runs the whole thing no problem though if we put a food bowl down she'll run past the A-frame to the bowl when I release her.  This is a common issue with her for all equipment.  She still doesn't get that she has to do the thing before she gets the treat.  Or probably she does get it but she's going to chance it anyway and run straight to the treat.

Last week the heater was on for the first time and poor Tess freaked out the moment she walked through the door and turned right around trying to go back out.  I spent some time tossing treat balls around for her until she finally calmed down enough to do a tunnel and a jump.  For her second turn she was finally able to work the sequence.  Though the instructor turned the heat off right away and never turned it back on.  Not sure what she'll do this winter when it needs to stay on.  And if she's going to compete indoors in the winter she'll have to get used to the sound of a heater.  But maybe she doesn't have to compete.  The hurdles she has to go through before she'll be able to sit on a start line are considerable.  All I can do is see how she goes and keep working with her and if she never sees a competition ring then oh well.

Tess Video

Miss Ruby was awesome, she came out and ran her sequences no problem.  Well, other than my problems.  I'm thinking more about foot placement, especially for those front crosses, and how I place my feet when I turn and go.  The old way I've been doing things is clunky and inefficient and often sets the dog up on the wrong line.  So my self-imposed homework for this week is to work on the various types of front crosses without the dog, just me and some jumps. 

Ruby's Videos

Last Week

This Week

I also need to work on more obstacle commitment with Ruby, especially at the tunnels. 

Tess will be back at class next week, we'll see how she does with the heater.  Silly freaky dog.

This is the same snow from a few weeks ago, it's sunny out now and the snow is long gone but I haven't shot any new photos lately so these will do for now.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Mancos Yet Again

We took another trip to Mancos, mostly for vacation but as long as we were going down there we figured we'd look at a couple few houses.  Long story short, we put an offer on a place that had a hugely inflated asking price.  We offered a bit above the market value and the people countered with a still way too inflated price so we said, 'Nah, we'll keep looking'.  The house needed a lot of mandatory work like a new roof and a new hand railing (Ruby could easily have ended up falling to the floor below) and a new garage door opener and and . . . the list went on.  It was too much of a fixer upper for the price though the land and location and water were awesome.  It's possible the sellers will become more motivated as time goes on, I can't imagine anyone snatching that place up and if someone does, well, good for them.  Anyway, the search continues.

In the meantime it was a beautiful trip, leaves starting to change on the Eastern Slope, less so on the Western Slope.  We missed the peak by a  week or two.  Still pretty spectacular.

Outside of Durango

I heart Mancos.  We will get there.

We're having a very odd fall, some days are typical sunny bluebird skies and others not so much.  So much rain this year after a super dry August.  As a result it's been more difficult to find good fall colors.

Drive up Wolf Creek Pass on the way home.

The Eastern Slope on the way there.

The Collegiate Peaks

Ruby taking in the spectacular San Luis Valley

We stopped for a little hike on the eastern side of Wolf Creek Pass.

San Juanderful. Everybody enjoyed the opportunity to stretch their legs and Ruby was off her head looking for critters in the many boulder fields we hiked through.

And today we have snow.

Not a lot will accumulate, the ground is too warm, but a lot of snow is falling.  This likely spells the end of color season in the high country but we should still have some around town as long as too many trees don't lose too many leaves.  If only fall wasn't so fleeting.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Nostalgia for Nothing

I'm not big on nostalgia.  'I don't care about history 'cause that's not where I want to be.'  Also I'm generally absorbed by whatever is going on in the present and what could be going on in the future.  I'm not so interested in the 'been there, done that' part of my life because 'been there, done that, what's next?'

But I got a gizmo to transfer my old VHS tapes to digital so I could finally get rid of the giant t.v. with the tubes and the two VCR's that we kept so I could watch my old tapes.  Because those old tapes hold my agility career from almost start (2001) to Strummer's baby dog training and beyond (2008 ish?  Not sure yet).

I thought it would be sweet to see video of Cody's first trial and whatever else I had on those tapes.  I was so very wrong.  While his first trial wasn't so bad, the practice and fun matches that led up to it were so sad making.  There was one place in particular that I kept going to for fun matches and looking at it now it was obviously such a stressful environment and the other people there were loud and shouting.  He had such a hard time there and the only explanation I have for continuing to go back there is that I didn't know any better or maybe I thought if he could get used to that environment, a trial would be a piece of cake.

Plus my own handling.  Wow.  The bulk of my handling consisted of me yelling, 'Cody Cody, Here Here, COME' and flailing my arms in the air.  Now most of us who started in 2001 or thereabouts probably had atrocious handling.  I have video of one instructor showing me how to cue the tunnel by raising both arms parallel to the ground and stepping with a flourish sideways towards the tunnel.  I kid you not.  Was talking to someone else about it yesterday and she said her instructor (who eventually was also my instructor) had told her the same thing.  The 'Vanna White Move'.  Kinda hilarious.  Kinda not.  Oh well.  It took a couple of days for the 'ick' to wear off. 

Some interesting observations from then to now.  First off, way less barking in the background.  WAY less.  Not sure if this is because more folks are drifting towards more high drive, noisy dogs or maybe less emphasis being placed on teaching dogs to be quiet in a crate.  Or maybe individuals having more dogs and giving up on trying to keep them quiet (I can think of one instance of this though I can also think of one from back in the day).  Not judging or pointing fingers here, just an observation.  I do find the level of noise at trials, especially indoor ones, to be stressful and it's one of the reasons I started doing half days or only one day.

Also it's interesting to amount of people who either dropped out or moved away.  So many folks I had forgotten about.  Or maybe they only do AKC now so I don't see them.  Also none of the kids I had on tape from the very early days continued on as adults.  There are a couple since then who are still involved, one I believe is an instructor.  I think dog and horse sports are great for kids on many levels but I get how some don't embrace them into adulthood.  Early adulthood (college, family, career, housing, kids) is very time consuming and expensive and those precious resources aren't typically available for hobbies.  Also some parents get the kids involved because the parents like it but the kid maybe not so much.

It was interesting to see folks doing blind crosses.  At some point they fell out of fashion and you never saw them and now they seem like a new thing but back in the day folks used them occasionally.  Lots more rear crosses back then.  LOTS more poor timing.  Way more slow dogs back then and even the fast dogs seemed slower than the fast dogs now.  Probably because now most folks have a running A-frame and better timing.  But maybe it's my perception and if you timed them they'd be similar.

I feel even more committed now to do well by my current dogs.  Kinda weird to have 2 dogs in foundation class together but that's a post for another day.

In the meantime, video from Cody's first trial.  It was USDAA and Scott Chamberlain was the judge.  At the brieifing for the first run of the day he asked if it was anybody's first trial.  I was the only one to raise my hand and somebody yelled out, 'Sucker' in a friendly, funny way but he said, 'Now now' and was careful to explain things in detail for me.  At every briefing he reminded us to remove the dog's collar and yet there was still one run that I forgot to do it.  It was an NQ but he still came up to me afterward and told me why it was an E.  I think I only forgot a collar once or twice after that.  And I had no idea what I was doing in Snooker.  I had to learn Snooker on the day and predictably got whistled off.  I sure could run a lot better back then, wow I've lost a lot of mobility.  Something to work on.

Very First Run of Very First Trial - USDAA Gamblers

First Standard

Second Standard