Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from the Brews Brothers!
Last weekend, the boys celebrated an early Easter by partaking in some activities at the Bluegrass Barkery.
Porter & Stout got to try adding their paw prints to Easter Eggs. As you can see above, Porter's turned out nearly perfect. Stout's? Not so much. I like to think that they mirror their personalities  :)
"What are you trying to do, lady?"

"Oh, that was all?"

Porter does not care as long as cookies are involved.

However, Porter did suffer from Stout's paw printing episode...
It eventually got washed off during their de-skunking.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Arch: Just Porter

"Seriously? How many more are you going to take?"

He really thought about peeing on it... 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dally & Porter at the Arch

On our way to Nationals in Tulsa, Megan & I found ourselves way ahead of the rest of the Small Dog Posse caravan (I don't drive particularly slow...). So as we neared St. Louis, we decided our spare time could be used for a corgi photo shoot at the Arch!
Do you know how hard it is to photograph corgis with large monuments??

We tried on a bench, shooting up from the ground...

Porter says "Nope, will never work. I'm outta here!"

We tried far away. Corgis look too small in the foreground...

Ah ha! I think we have a winner!

It looks as if they are surveying the countryside from high upon their perch at the Arch...

Ok, maybe it's not that high...

Alright, this is how we got the photo  :)

We did meet a very nice park ranger who wanted to pet the corgis.
We agreed, but only in exchange for another photo!

He didn't even laugh when we got on the ground to take it  :)

As you can see, Megan & I take these corgi photo ops very seriously!

More photos from our road trip were shown on The Daily Corgi Blog. I will roll out the rest of mine tomorrow  :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AKC Nationals: Part 3

And now our final day competing at Nationals: Sunday & Round 3  :)

Sunday morning was even earlier, with us needing to be there at 6am! Ugh.

But I finally got Porter out of bed and off we headed to the Expo center.

Most of the pressure was off of me for Round 3. While I never planned on making Finals, or even Challengers, the fact that it was completely off the table allowed me to relax a little bit more  :)  You needed at least 2 clear rounds to make Challengers - we ruined that chance easily.

The only pressure I felt was what other people were going through. And I can wipe that away pretty easily once I start warming up with Porter.

I thought this course was pretty challenging again, but not unreasonable. The opening was tricky, especially without a startline stay. And I saw no one walking it like I was.

My other concerns were getting the weave entry (especially without taking that off-course jump) and then getting from 11 to 12 without taking the off-course tunnel.

But whatever. Didn't matter, right?  :)

Megan recorded the dog who followed us all weekend too:
the only other Cardigan in our class, the fantastic Letti!

Oops. We bombed that one!  :)

First off, in the ring next to us was a fast, barky little dog that put Porter over the top. He was ready to charge through that fence after it! But it got him pumped for a fast start  :)

My rear cross from 2 to 3 worked well enough, but I can see why no one else walked it that way :) I still think he would have taken the off course number 4 if I had tried to put in a front cross between 1 & 2, especially since he took off like dynamite! He would have charged right past me. I should have done what Shelley & Letti did (they were the team that Megan filmed after Porter)...

I'm am pretty pleased how tight he turned into the weaves. Unfortunately, that was what probably caused him to miss his entrance  :)  Then after that it was just an epic failure!

I tried some things, they failed, but we had a blast. And we ended the run (and the weekend) with our celebratory ginger snaps & tuna:

Monday, March 25, 2013

AKC Nationals: Part 2

So after our warm-up run on Friday, the actual competition began Saturday morning.

1 of 3 rings in the large building

We got there at the crack of dawn to retrieve our course maps & walk the course. We started with the JWW course:

This course featured our 2nd ever (in competition) back-side of a jump. And it seemed to be pretty easy one. Porter & I had been practicing these a lot leading up to Nationals...

Other than that, and the demotivating opening, it seemed like a fun course. I was more excited to run something challenging than I was nervous about it being the Nationals.

I had already decided going in that I had very few expectations for the outcome. Performance expectations, yes. But outcome-wise, no. I had no idea what caliber our competitors would be, or even what caliber Porter would be running at  :)  He did decide to not weave throughout our last NADAC Champs afterall...

So we went out & tried to run clean and fast:

And I think we succeeded! Except for that back-side  :)

It's hard to tell in the video, but right as I'm stepping to push him to the back-side, he decides to take the front side. I continue to step, giving him a good "bump" (some may say "kick") to the other side. It was instantaneous. And we got a 5 point fault for it  :)

But other than that he was fantastic! I added in a sloppy blind cross afterwards, just for good measure  :)

So we finished 13th out of 31. But if you look at our time, we would have been 6th! That's phenomenal!

In the afternoon, we walked Round 2. This was a Standard course:

I thought this course was extremely tricky. I probably stressed more about it than I should, just because there were so many ways to run it. I actually hadn't made up my mind until I took the line:

Yeah, I definitely caused that knocked bar  :)  I pulled too hard to set up the rear cross that he thought we were going to the weaves. Then I just ended up too close to the jump when we finally did get there & I crowded him.

But did you see my blind cross after the dogwalk? That was a last minute decision. I just kind of hoped that he was far enough behind me  :)  And that whole sequence after the dogwalk? Yeah, that was a source of a lot of my angst.

I was afraid he wouldn't be able to rear cross to a 270 (so I threw the blind cross in). Then I worried that he would take the red jump again instead of the chute. Then I was worried he'd drop a bar... But he rocked it!

I kept him from taking the frame instead of the teeter. Our wrap of #2 could have been tighter. But whatever. That whole run felt GOOD! And it was hard. And I did it in front of my friend from high school & his wife  :)

So with our 5 point fault we finished in 22nd. We would have finished 13th without it  :)  I'm not sure where we lost so much time compared to the other dogs. Doesn't matter, we conquered that course as far as I was concerned!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Round 3!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

He's Weaving!

Just a brief interruption in the AKC Nationals blogging...

Stout weaves!

4 poles in a line!

Like a champ!

This was session #21 in our 2x2 journey. Yes, I filmed them all...  :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

AKC Nationals: Part 1

Let me just start by saying we had a fantastic time! Good friends, great agility, epic road trip... If we qualify again, we'll definitely go back  :)

I could do the whole recap in chronological order, but let's face it, everyone really wants to see the videos. Right?  :)

So I'll start with the first video and we'll work our way from there!

This was our Warm-Up Round on Friday morning:

I thought since this run was a warm-up, I'd use it to push & see just what kind of dog Porter would be for the weekend  :)  I was going to try to be as fast & tight as possible, then I'd have a good time to compare to the other dogs and see just where we could expect to rank.

Well, I didn't know they didn't post scores or times for the warm-up runs  :)  Oh well, I like to think that it got all the bar-knocking out of Porter's system!

But it did give me a good idea of just how fast he could go on the surface, and just how tight I could push him before he dropped bars. And whether it would be good weaving weekend or not!

That ending was tricky, but we nailed it  :)  Definitely a sign of the type of courses we were going to see...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We'll See You In Tulsa!

We will be leaving shortly for the AKC National Agility Championships!

Porter & Dally have their bags packed, and are ready to board the Mazda3 for the drive to Oklahoma!

If you missed our little write-up on the Daily Corgi, click here. We will be writing a follow-up post when we get back.
If you want up-to-date info while we're out there, you can follow Porter on Twitter: @PorterTheCorgi  or friend me on Facebook!  Our blog will probably be the last to get updated everyday  :) 
And of course results will be posted on the AKC site as well.
And off we go!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Need To Rent Ducks"

Ok, this just cracks me up - I had to share! I saw this on DeltaBluez Stockdogs blog:

From Craiglist:

Need to borrow/rent live ducks (not a joke) 

Hosting a house party. Need ducks for party game.
Ducks will be unharmed and I prefer the owner remain with the ducks to ensure proper care and safety to both my and your standards.
Compensation: invitation to party, free drinks for the entire night, or if you prefer small cash fee ($40?)
Details: ducks will be gently secured into passenger seats of model train set. origami hats made of 1, 5 and 10 dollar bills will be placed on each ducks head.
Guests will pay a dollar for an opportunity pick a hat from a ducks head as a prize as the train passes by them. One dollar per attempt (lap around tracks)

Serious inquiries only please.

  • Location: Austin

And here's a duck video to go with it. Just imagine these little guys showing up by train...   :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Stout's Highlights from Day 1 of the Seminar

Can I mention again how awesome Stout did at the Lisa Bonker seminar last weekend?  :)

Sure, he had some insane puppy moments... But this is only the 2nd time he's done agility in public! And he was definitely the youngest, least experienced dog there.

I just can't get over his continued speed & enthusiasm! Porter always gives it about 85% the first time in instances like this, then it drops off drastically with each repetition. But Stout started at 100% and it only began to wane when he honestly got tired (vs. being bored, distracted, etc.).

Unfortunately I didn't tape at all the first half of the first day. These were from his final 2 turns at the end of the day - which is pretty impressive that he was still so enthusiastic, and not too exhuberant. It was an 8 hour seminar day.

Were there moments of puppy-brain? Yes. But honestly, it took until these last 2 runs for them to show up! Little guy was mentally tired...

And at 1:32 on the video, that is Lisa's way of keeping Stout from humping her leg  :)  Her stomp / kick / dance worked pretty well!

These were his first rear-crosses into tunnels! Until then, we had only done them during flat-work.
Still needs some work, but he's figuring it out.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Daily Corgi: AKC Nationals Edition

Check out The Daily Corgi today (and especially tomorrow!) for a special post on Porter & Dally's trip to the AKC Nationals!

If you have a corgi going to the AKC Nationals, Laurie of the Daily Corgi would like to feature you too! Give her a shout here.

Thank you for setting this up, Megan!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Forget the Handlers, What About the Dogs at the International Level?

Yes, another Dog Agility Blog Action Day post  :)  The topic this time? Internationalization.

I think there are at least two ways to look at internationalization: Bringing international type skills & handling to the US, or competing at an international level.

I think most blogs are covering the first (which is a hot topic right now!), so I'll give some thoughts on the second  :)  I always try to avoid conflict...

Agility at the international level is akin to the Olympics: very few are going to reach that pinnacle of competition. I think it takes a lifetime of dedication & talent & training to compete at that level. And not just for the handler. There is a second component that is often overlooked: the dog!

The dogs that compete internationally have to have innate athletic talent, a desire to repeat training skills again & again, & a biddability to continue on through failure. These dogs must possess a temperament that can not only tolerate, but thrive from the limelight. I'm talking about the crowds, the lights, the cheering, the loudspeakers...

Then there is the stress of long flights, altitude & time changes, health checks, hotel stays, climate changes... And don't forget to add in the handler's stress at these big events...

These international level dogs are truly remarkable canine specimens.

Top international handlers don't only need to "handle well" to achieve that level, they also have to be great dog trainers to produce these dogs. Even if you take away all the agility training, you still have to do an immense amount of "basic" training & socialization to create dogs that roll with these kinds of punches.

A well-trained eye is also needed to identify dogs that can thrive in these circumstances. They have to recognize temperament & drive, along with a structure that will withstand the type of training & trialling needed at the international level. You don't solely "create" these dogs, you have to start with the right basic model.

So just like not all handlers can compete at the international level, neither can all dogs. Let's not forget that this is a team sport!  :)

One of my favorite "international handlers." Not all are thin, waifish young women!  :)

Some of my favorite blogs about this topic:

The Global Warmers "...And Hitler Was A Tweaker"
Agility Nerd "What's International? International Two Jump Drills"
Daisy Peel "International Agility - Haute Couture For Handlers"
Just Another Dog Blog "Internationalwho?"      (Hilarious!!)

For all the bloggers participating, click here.

"Real Men Love Corgis"

Look who made the Daily Corgi's "Real Men Love Corgi's" post!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

NADAC Agility Seminar

Just a couple quick videos for today from the seminar...

Porter showing some of his distance skills - and why he is not the best seminar dog (very slow...)

Stout wowing the crowd with his new "groundhog" start line position  :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Another Agility Seminar for Stout

This weekend Stout & I have a working spot in a NADAC seminar with Lisa Bonker.

If it was any other NADAC type (distance) seminar, I'd probably take Porter. But Lisa is great with fundamentals & motivation, which are things Stout could use more of  :)

Plus Stout just needs more mileage: new places, new equipment, an audience...

Here is a little video of my last training session with Stout. I introduced the tire & broad jump as well as ran him across the dogwalk a couple times.