Monday, November 24, 2014

What's so scary...?

I read a Facebook post this morning that was essentially about wanting to see more technical handling on North American agility courses. I read all of the comments, and the field is pretty divided. The comments got a little side tracked, and it ended up about whether or not people had the time, money and resources to actually train more technical handling. Pretty much – if I don’t have (blank) then I cannot be successful on technical agility courses.

That got me thinking – and I think that is a lot of crock. Why? Because if you have the (blank) to teach your dog how to front side of a jump, then you have the (blank) to teach him the backside.

What I think it really comes down to is two things…

1)      People are scared of what they don’t know. Techincal handling looks challenging, so it is scary. But why is it scary…?
2)      I think techincal handling is scary because people have failed to have their dogs master obstacles.

Why would anyone want to even attempt more scary techinical hadling if they have to worry about weave entries, contact performances, teeter flyoffs, or keeping bars up?

Techincal handling isn’t scary – in itself. But, when a handler has obstacle performance to worry about why on earth would they want to compound themselves with the training of more techincal handling. We can only manage so many scary things on our plates at one time. I completely understand wanting just to get around a course without any missed contacts, and nailing a weave entry. That in itself is enough of a challenge for most.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dogz Trial

Evening trial tonight at Dogz. They have found an indoor facility for winter training, fun matches and trials. Very exciting!

The turf is heavy sand, and while it is deep (it is all new foundation so there is some settling that needs to happen) the traction was good.

Two Jumpers runs for Travis – which we spectacular. He was fast and we finally seem to have come to an agreement on turning tight. A little more effort on my part, but it is the least I can do for the old man. He placed second in both events…after Indie of course. :)

Indie had four runs – two Standard, and then two Jumpers. My brain doesn’t flip switches fast, so during our first Standard run I let some contact criteria go. Bad Chantelle. Before our next run I flipped that switch and walked it as a training run. We had to do the dog walk 3 times before he reached criteria, a luckily that transitioned to the a-frame immediately. The teeter took two reps before he stuck it. He tried hard, and he was thoughtful about it all – which of course made me happy.

Indie’s Jumpers runs were stellar. He had only one bobble on a threadle to a curved tunnel but we recovered without an off course – really it should have been a front cross, not a threadle.

He ended the night with a Regular Best Run on both Jumpers! We beat the border collies!!
I have no videos and no pictures…lost my phone.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up: Club d'Agilité de Montréal

***Please forgive any spelling and gramatical errors. This post was done on my smart phone and thr app is a little buggy. Spell check is non-existent and it is hard to navigate.

Well, the first trial of 2014 is over. Phew...

First event of the day was Advanced Standard for Indie...a possible title run. I am not lying when I say that my stomach felt like it was dangling down around my feet.

Indie ran fast and was decent with his stopped contacts but we still need work as he self released off the DW and jumped off the AF. He popped the last weave pole but I was expecting this as he had done it his in our last practice as well. I easily brought him back and completed all 12 poles successfully. We are fast and clean and finally earned that elusive last advanced standard Q to eatn his AADC title. Now he is in masters for all classes. :)

The pressure was off as our second event was another Advanced Standard for Indie.

All went really well except that he again popped the last pole but this time I didn't notice. I guess it happened at the same moment I looked ahead to spot our next obstacle. He also crashed the double jump but I attribute that to the poor timing of a verbal cue. It was however a great run.

Third event of the day was Masters Snooker for both Indie and Travis. I took a chance entering Travis in this event as contacts are an unknown variable. The hope was we would get enough points in the opening without doing a contact that when we got to a contact in the closing we would have enough points to still Q. Luckily there was no DW or AF and the 7 point obstacle was the teeter.

I decided to be greedy and go for 59 points to try and win the prize money - not a great idea.

Indie was up first and my plan went to crap quickly. On top of that the judge wistled us off so I started to keave thr ring. Then she was like "sorry, keep going", but by that time I was lost. I spent a few seconds trying to figure out where to start again. By the time it figured it out time was up and we were short on points.

Even though Travis is slower than Indie I decided to attept the samw 59 point snooker. Despite some poorly executed turns - I was still frazzled from my run with Indie - Travis ran really well. We completed the 7 point obstacle 4 times in the opening but unfortunately did not finish the closing. However, Travis put another masters snooker Q under his belt...or collar as it might be.

Fourth, and last event of a very long day, was Master Jumpers. This course was the toughest master jumpers that I have ever attempted. Of course I let my nerves get the best of me.

Both dogs absolutely destroyed the course - it was so bad I don't even want to talk about it. It was icky.

In the end we left with exactly what I wanted - Indie's AADC title. Now my trial planning will get a little easier. :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Are Nerves Good or Bad?

We have our first trial of the New Year coming up this weekend. I do usually get nervous the morning of -or maybe it is excitement - but I am nervous already. Today is Friday and we don't trial until Sunday. I am not sure I can physically survive two full days of feeling like this.

I suspect I feel this way because - as much as I hate to "say it out loud" - this is a possible title weekend for Indie. We need just one more advanced standard Q for his AADC title. You only need three advanced standard Q's for this title and for us they have been far and few between. Our Achilles heel has been off courses and weave pole entries. He is just so much dog - and I the slown minded handler - and when we are out on course my mind simply can't keep up to his pace. I feel like he is always one step ahead of me.

Out first advanced standard Q was in September 2012 and our second was a year later in September 2013. I really hope this isn't a pattern.

We have 2 advanced standard this weekend, but unfortunately they are first 2 events. Indie does better with when he already has a few events under his collar. His arousal level comes down and he focuses better. I have started running an FEO event before most of his runs as a warm-up but at this trail it just wasn't an option.

I guess the good in all of this is that this little dog is so amazing. Even when we do screw up I cant help but love him even more. He is so honest and he simply loves to work. There isn't anything this little dog wouldn't do for me.

I feel better now. "Win or lose" we are going to have fun this weekend. I love this sport.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Setting Goals for 2014

2014 is going to be a big year for the "Little Red Dogs" clan. Well, fingers crossed anyway... :)

I don't really celebrate the New Year or generally set resolutions,  but,  the new calendar year is our starting off point for our new trialling season. Lots had been happening over the past 8 months - hence the absence from the blog. New priorities were set and a new life path had been determined. It has been a very exciting time!

Part of the new life path involves setting goals - some attainable, some ridiculously far fetched. I personally find motivation in failure.  When success comes too easily I become lazy and complacent - and that does no good for anyone.

So here are my "New Years" resolutions which are really just life goals that I happen to be sharing on January 1st.

Travis Agility Goals:
     Improve teeter performance.
     Get some kick-ass distance handling skills.
     Successfully complete running contract training.
     Enter Travis in his first trial to test out those running contacts, teeter and distsnce skills.

May add well earn some agility titles while we are at it...
     Earn AAC Master Gamblers Dog of Canada (MGDC) title
     Earn AAC Master Snooker Dog of Canada (MSDC) title
     Earn AAC Agility Trial Champion of Canada (ATChC) title
     Earn AAC Expert Standard (ExST) Bronze title
     Earn AAC Expert Jumper (ExJ) Bronze title
     Earn AAC Master Steeplechase Dog of Canada (MSCDC) title
     Earn AAC Bronze Award of Merit

Seems like a lot of titles but we are just on the cusp off earning most of them... just 18 Q's for 7 new titles.

     4 Master Gamblers Q’s
     3 Master Snooker Q’s
     3 Master Standard Q’s
     2 Master Jumper Q’s
     6 Steeplechase Q’s

Indie Agility Goals:
     Imrove teeter performance.
     Nail down weave entries.
     Faster stopped contact performance.

May add well earn some more agility titles while we are at it...
     Earn AAC Advanced Agility Dog of Canada (AADC) title
     Earn AAC Master Agility Dog of Canada (MADC) title
     Earn AAC Master Jumper Dog of Canada (MJDC) title
     Earn AAC Master Gamblers Dog of Canada (MGDC) title
     Earn AAC Master Snooker Dog of Canada (MSDC) title
     Earn AAC Agility Trial Champion of Canada (ATChC) title
     Earn AAC Master Steeplechase Dog of Canada (MSCDC) title

Just like Travis we are right on the edge of earning those titles...just 19 Q's for 7 titles.
     1 Advanced Standard Q
     4 Master Standard Q’s
     2 Master Jumper Q’s
     4 Master Gamblers Q’s
     3 Master Snooker Q’s
     5 Steeplechase Q’s

I'd also like to put Novice CKC obedience and Novice CARO titles on both dogs. Indie must master the stand for exam though...a major work in progress.

As for me I have 3 big personal goals;
     1) Get physically healthy...meaning loose all the pound I have packed on over the past 3 years.
     2) Earn 9 of the 18 remaining college credits I need for my diploma...goodbye social life.
     3) Start my own business. Nothing big and fancy... just to get myself on the path headed towards the big and fancy (a 2016 goal).

2014 is going to be a giant of a year. I know I won't achieve all my goals - I do dream big - but I have to push myself.

Go big or go home.