Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Nationals Info!

Ok, this is what I didn't mention yesterday: the details  :)

If you really want to watch the live-stream, these are the details you'll need to be sure to catch us!

We are armband #040014.

Our schedule (all times are Eastern):
  • Thursday (Time 2 Beat)
    • Ring 1
    • Starts at 7:32am
    • We are the 12th dog in
  • Friday (JWW)
    • Ring 4
    • Starts at 8:10am
    • We are the 14th dog in
  • Saturday (Standard)
    • Ring 3
    • Starts at 8:10am
    • We are the 7th dog in
  • Sunday (Hybrid)
    • Ring 5
    • Starts at 7:24am
    • We are the 21st dog
On Sunday, they will also have the Challenger's round, followed by the finals. I am not going to list those times, rings, etc. That would be very optimistic  :)  But I did buy black pants this year...

If you tune in to watch us, you'll see our other 4" brethren as well - there's only 21 of us  :)  You'll see our road trip buddy Dally ( 040016), our fellow Small Dog Posse member (and Porter's mortal enemy) Dundee the Cairn (040002), our other semi-local Pembroke friend Maddie (040005), and fellow Cardigan Cleo (040003).

2013 Corgi Nationals Photo

Like I said yesterday, I will try to keep everyone up-to-date. They say the complex has Wi-Fi, as well as our hotel, but you never know how strong (or swamped!) those things will be... I still just have a dumb phone, so I rely on the generosity of places providing Wi-Fi for my iPad  :)

And don't forget also, I'm not very technologically advanced nor savvy  :) I do my best!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Watch Out Pennsylvania, Here Comes "Stumps of Fury!"

Tomorrow morning, at the a$$-crack of dawn, Megan & I load up the corgis for our trip to the AKC National Agility Championships!

Yep, the gang is back together!

Our journey will be well documented on social media (wish me well on this front!). You can find us here:
Ok, I think I covered all Porter's personal social media updating stuff...  :)

For other updates during the event, check these links out:

2013 Nationals

Want to know what you're in for? Our adventures from last year are recorded for eternity on the blog here  :)

The whole Small Dog Posse: Nationals Edition is returning!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Very Late Day...

The day before our 19th QQ, we had one of the latest trial days that I can remember. Well, since I've been out of Novice...  :)

We didn't do our first run until 6:00pm.


First run at 6:00pm. Second run about an hour after that.

And I had gotten to the trial at 10am for Stout's rally run.

So Porter was a little "out of sorts." Or maybe he just reverted back to the "old Porter." It was a side of Porter that I haven't seen for a pretty long time...

We did qualify the first run, even with all the sniffing. I guess it was close to his supper time...
And that wrap on the 2nd run... Ugh. I had just talked about this at the seminar a couple weekends ago... I said "Porter is so smart. It's like he can read my mind. He knows when I'm going to do a rear cross when I pull like that..."
Lisa said I'd get burned eventually by it.
Yep.  :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Little Bit O' Green

No big St. Patrick's day post today, but we do have a little bit of green to share!
Stout earned his 2nd Q in Novice Rally B on Saturday!

It wasn't pretty (mostly my fault), but we got it done with a 77  :)

Now hopefully he can earn his title at the Specialty!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Herding Clinic

Porter & I attended a herding clinic at the end of February. I've been to quite a few of Tenley Dexter's clinics before, but this one was the BEST!  :)
She has Porter's undivided attention.
Um, not really, he's staring at the sheep in the arena  :)

Why was it the best yet?

Number one: I didn't cry! Again! That's 2 herding seminars in a row!  :)

Number two: Porter & I rocked it! Yes, our hard, hard, never-ending, hard work is starting to pay off!

If you remember our last clinic, we did well. And I was so pleased! But there were a lot of factors that made us seem like we may have been doing better than we really were...

But this time, we returned to the very location of our crash, and we nailed it. The dog who wouldn't even lie down at this arena a year ago, passed every little test & trick I threw at him to get him to break. Not only that, he downed every time I asked him too! Not always quickly, but by the end he was hitting the ground.

He listened. He tried. He looked like a trained dog! He still looked like a novice had trained him... but whatever  :)

He was driving / chasing sheep from one end to the next (we were trying to get him excited & pushing straight, plus actually taking down's). Then I would give him a flank at the end to do it again back down to the beginning. HE ACTUALLY TOOK THOSE FLANKS! After all that pushing, he turned & went around!

Ok, that almost made me cry. But in a good way :)

I was complimented. Even by Tenley  :)  She congratulated me on my hard work, my perseverance. She said the difference was amazing.

Ok, I definitely had tears in my eyes then  :)

So the next day I decided to really work hard - and switched Porter over to work ducks.

A couple years ago, Porter actually won Reserve High in Trial on ducks at our National Specialty. It was a fluke. Seriously, it was the first time we had ever trialed on ducks. We had only practiced on them a couple times before that.

Porter REALLY likes ducks. Really wants to eat them  :)  My handling of Porter on ducks consists of constantly trying to keep him away from tasting them.

So I thought this would be a good test & Tenley could offer me a lot of help.

And Porter surprised me again  :)

Don't get me wrong, he had drool hanging out of his mouth. And he went in for a nibble or two. But with her help, I saw where to push, when to push, when to change direction, where I needed to be... It was great. And Porter looked good.

And it was a good chance to work on "naughty Porter." I knew he hadn't went completely away  :)

From the 2012 Specialty

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Puppy Agility?

It's time for another Dog Agility Bloggers Event Day! Today's topic: Starting Your Puppy!

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I’ve really only started one dog in agility as a puppy. And the outcome is still… well... he’s a work in progress  :)

But I don’t think that it is due to any of the things that I am about to tell you. I think I failed to bridge the gap between training & trialing. And a lot of other things… But that’s for another post!

Stout at his first agility trial  :)

 Anyway, I hesitate to include the word “puppy” with “agility.” For us experienced folks, we understand the “puppy” part of agility (foundation, foundation, foundation!). But for novices, if you put “puppy” with “agility,” you may end up with dogs doing full height equipment by the time they are 6 months old!

Equipment is the last part of agility that should be taught! There are so many things that need be done first! And actually, if the foundation part is taught well, the equipment part is fast & easy…

But even before you teach the foundations for agility, you need to teach a foundation for learning & your relationship. You need to get to know your puppy, love your puppy, and respect your puppy. Respect them for who they are, not who they aren’t, or who you wish them to become.

So how do you do that? Time & training.

Talk to your puppy. Cuddle your puppy. Play with your puppy. Treat your puppy. Walk your puppy. Develop that relationship! Become the center of their universe!

Once you start to train your puppy, you’ll develop that relationship even more. Now, I’m not talking formal obedience or even agility handling. I’m talking the simplest behaviors.

Crate training. Potty training. Leash training. Basic household manners.

And don’t forget about socializing your puppy! Take that puppy everywhere with you! Support them if they are worried or unsure. This is all building that relationship.

Puppy class graduation

From here you can start actually teaching simple behaviors. Stupid behaviors. Useless tricks  :)  I still don’t call this training necessarily, you’re simply continuing to learn who your puppy is. And you’re teaching them how to learn. This is where they learn a work ethic. And learn about failure. And stress. And expectation. And most of all: They learn that training is FUN!

And what do you learn from this? Because you should be learning just as much as your puppy when you are doing this  :)  You learn how this puppy thinks. You realize what their motivations are. What rewards work best. How much failure they can take. How to tell when they are frustrated. What the best method for learning is (shaping, luring, etc.).

Don’t skip these steps! Not only because they are fun, but they will give you something to fall back on later.

Example: 9 months later, your dog cannot hold a 2 on / 2 off on the dogwalk. They “know” the position. They “know” the cue. But do they really?

Go back & think about how you trained it. Did you shape or lure it? Did you work duration? Did you work speed? Distance? Release? Is it on verbal command or body cue?

Now think about how you trained even before that. What way did your puppy learn tricks best? What really motivated them? Did they understand verbal commands back then? Did they understand duration? Distance? A release?

It all goes back the very beginning  :)

For more thoughts & ideas on this topic, check out the other blogs participating today by clicking here.

If you’re looking for online classes for puppies, here are a couple that I highly recommend:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras!

I think I said yesterday that I had quite a few Mardi Gras props to use... 
Poor dogs...  :)

Just imagine them up on a balcony in the French Quarter... Throwing down their beads...

King Porter

Stout says "You know you ain't gonna get no girls if you ain't got no beads, Porter!"

Yes, Porter has definitely had too many hurricanes...

"What am I suppose to do with all these beads? Where are the ladies?"

And now onto the other set of props...

Mardi Gras mask?

Or Mexican Wrestler?  :)

"Helloooo Ladies!"

Porter says "You better be paying well for this."

"... Very well."

This may be my greatest photo achievement to date!

Do you know how hard it was to get them both to sit next to each other, & sit still enough for the masks not to fall off?

Til next year!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mardi Paw Party!

On Saturday we attended a Mardi Paw party held at the Bluegrass Barkery!

Stout being dressed for the occasion.

They spent quite a bit of time in the gutter... Just like the real Mardi Gras!

We had doggie King Cake

Mmmm cake!

Dally & Mesa met us there too

More cake please, sir!

Stout photobombing

And still waiting for more cake  :)

Check back tomorrow for even more Mardi Gras photos  :)  I had a lot of props to use...