Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stout's Rally Miracle!

Yes, a Rally miracle  :)
We scored an 87 in Stout's Rally debut!
I really should stop underestimating him... I mean, just look at the video below - no sniffing, no knocking over signs, no peeing on cones, no humping my leg, very little barking. He did not do any of the things that I had feared  :)
He just prances along, happy as could be! He did try to throw in a "prairie dog" & did bite the leash once, but I was ecstatic with his run. Even more thrilled with his attitude  :) Good boy!

So did you notice my confusion at about 1:16?  :)  Yep, according to the map below I turned the wrong way on the 270. I wondered why I was facing the wrong direction. And I didn't remember there being a Rally sign for a 450 degree turn  :)

Yep, I lost more points than Stout... I cost him what would have been a 97  :)

I could have re-done the sign for only a 3 point loss, but at the time I wasn't sure I did mess up. And I didn't want to ruin our flow. I could kind of start to feel things going down hill, so I just wanted to hurry up & get out of there! I didn't want Stout's first time in the ring to end in frustration.

Can I say again how thrilled I am? I know it's just one novice Rally leg, but I think it was a good start to his performance career!

Oh, and a funny story from our warm-up outside the ring: While we were practicing, Stout was his usual exhuberant self - barking, jumping, etc. Now I know there's no barking in obedience. And there shouldn't be in rally either, so I was trying to tone him down.
But this lady comes up to me and says very condescendingly "He can't bark in the ring."
I say "I'm aware of that. Thank you."
She says "He will lose a point for every bark. He cannot bark in there."
I say "Yeah, I know. But if that's the worst thing he does, I'll be happy." And I walked away.
Come on lady, it's only rally  :)  I'm sure she was disgusted by our score...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Good Weekend: Porter Edition

Our trip to TN over the weekend was very fruitful  :)

I will save Stout's brag for Thursday (mostly because I forgot to scan the rally map...) and brag on Porter first.

After not doing any AKC trials since very early November, Port did fantastic! He was a little rusty in our first run of the weekend, totally plowing into the panel jump:

But he followed that up with an amazing jumpers run, that I did not get on video  :(  I don't even remember any of the course, but I do remember thinking that it just felt good. Fluid, easy, and in sync.

After a very long wait Sunday (it started tall to small), Porter earned his 11th QQ! I am still shocked and amazed every time we do it. Hell, I'm still shocked & amazed every time he gets his weave poles  :)

Video below:


We even had a small Cardigan gathering at the trial: Dina & Moira and Michele & Reva were also there. It's not very often that Porter is not the only cardi running at a trial!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Getting Back in the Groove - And Starting a New Groove!

We are heading down to TN this weekend for our first AKC agility trial since the beginning of November.

And this is Stout's first foray into the world of performance competitions - his Rally debut!

This same trial last year was the first one Stout tagged along to.
It only seems fitting that this would be his debut  :)
I will have to re-create this photo...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

And Another Video...

I didn't want Stout to feel left out, so here's a video of him!

I'm so proud of his teeter - we're halfway there!

His jumping on the other hand...

Monday, January 21, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

...Our lives were turned upside down...

We welcomed Stout into our home!  :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting Ready To Weave

Stout was great help as I prepared my new weave poles.

I'm pretty sure he will regret this once he realizes that he will be the one training on them!

Yep, Stout will be learning to weave with the 2x2's in February!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stout's Seminar Debut!

Ah yes, Stout's public agility debut at the Dawn Weaver seminar  :)

As my friend Megan could tell you, I was extremely nervous going into this seminar - I had no idea how Stout would do. Or what havoc he would cause...

But he did great! We were the very first dog to run, first thing that morning. I may have muttered "this is our first time doing agility in public" as I took off his leash. But he stayed with me, ran past all kinds of people, and even took a jump or 2!  I was astonished!

Stout chilling in his crate before his debut.
See the big bag of toys & cooler?

He rocked the first 2 courses, but was pretty tired for the final 2.

I was surprised that he worked for toys during those last 2 courses anyway. Or any of the courses, really  :)  I had brought a full bag of toys for the seminar. Then I thought maybe he'd be too distracted for his toys, so I also brought a full cooler of food  :)  I was very prepared.

It wasn't pretty, but better than I expected!

So like I said in my last blog post, I learned a lot from this seminar. I'm kind of a seminar junkie and I consider it good if I can come home with one new idea or insight. I came home with a lot from Dawn:

  • All handling should take place between the obstacles. Work the "gaps" as well as the obstacles.
  • Pre-Cue your turns! The earlier you give the info, the better! If it seems way too early, you're probably on time  :)
  • Shape the path/line (I liked this for corgis). Sometimes the tightest turn over every jump can work against you. Look through the course and set it up for speed.
  • When you do make a tight turn, have your dog brake before take-off so they can accelerate out of the turn. She compared this to race cars. The best drivers brake going into a turn & accelerate out, creating a tight line at the bottom of the track. The lesser drivers will continue to cruise into the turn, driving higher into the bank and then braking to straighten back out. This makes for a much wider turn and puts them behind the pack.
  • Never reward for stopping or stalling - always reward in movement! (you'll see she busted me for this many times in the video...)
  • The closer you are to your dog when handling, the tighter your turns will be. (which makes sense when I think about doing distance handling for NADAC)
  • And finally: Don't rehearse what you don't want! This was in regards to speed. If your dog is particularly slow sometimes, just stop & come back when they are fresher.
There was so much more - weaves, teeter performances, 2on/2off stuff... Really a great seminar!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dawn Weaver Seminar

Stout attended his first agility seminar last weekend! And he barely embarrassed me at all!  :)

We saw Dawn Weaver from the UK who was being hosted over at Flying Feet Agility in Floyds Knobs, IN. It’s a beautiful facility. And Dawn was great. This was definitely one of the top 2 agility seminars that I’ve been to.

I didn’t know a lot about Dawn before this seminar. The seminar was recommended to me by a friend who had read her book and knew someone who had been taking her online class. I did a little research and liked what I saw.

Dawn running her border collie in England

First of all, she has small dogs (Papillon & Poodles). She has large dogs as well (Beardie / Border Collie crosses & Border Collies), but it is pretty hard to find anyone giving seminars that takes small dogs seriously. Let alone runs small dogs  :) Anyone who tells you that they are all the same, hasn’t ran a small dog…

Most seminar presenters are usually geared toward border collies & shelties. And that’s fine, I mean, most information & techniques will cross-over to any other high-drive dogs. But not all  :)

Dawn running her papillon at the Invitational

I also liked Dawn because she is against “handling systems.” You can’t swing a jump pole around here without hitting someone trying to perfect their “backy-uppy” or “forward motion front cross.” I’m not a huge fan of systems. Or rules in general  :)  Whether it be the Linda Mecklenburg / Awesome Paws system or the Greg Derret system, I just can’t jump on board. I could go on & on… Maybe I’ll write a blog post about that some time  :)

Dawn running her Beardie / Border Collie at the Invitational
Anyway, like Dawn said: not all dogs are going to fit perfectly into those handling systems. She believes that your dog should dictate how you handle. Create a system for your dog, don’t try to make your dog fit your system. She also said that handling isn’t something you train your dog to understand. You can train yourself to handle better for your dog, but you shouldn’t have to train your dog what each move from you means (ie. recalls to heel, lateral sends, etc.). What you do should come naturally to your dog & be understood without drilling and training.
So consider this a preview  :)  The next blog post will highlight more things I learned - and a video of Stout's public agility debut!!
Stay tuned...

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Eve!

While our friends were out partying on New Year's Eve, John & I rang in the new year with the dogs (ours & theirs).
Do we know how to party or what?  :)  Eh, as you'll see below, we kept ourselves entertained!
We decided to have a doggie New Year's party!
Let's get this party started!
Stout was first on board! Party Animal!

Mesa is always willing to party, but not usually in hats...

Dally? Do you want to join in?

Every party has a pooper...

We had to wake Porter up for the party. He's just like his puppy-daddy.
The girls were feeling classy and started with some wine.

Even Dally cannot resist a little wine...

Mesa & John shared a toast to the new year
So what happened to the boys? Did they not party too?
Umm, let's just say that aren't as "classy" as the girls. They partied a little too hard...

They passed on the wine and went straight for the shots.

Which knocked them straight out...
Mesa says "That drunk pup is behind us, isn't he?"
Dally says "Close your eyes and maybe he'll disappear..."