Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baby dog

I was reminded by one of our wonderful trainers that Lexi is still a baby dog, and I shouldn't expect too much from her.  I am always forgetting that she is still a baby!  We hadn't even started agility with Bentley yet, at her age.

That being said, we went back out last night to try the course again, and I wanted to try to be a bit quicker with my directions.  I think it went well.  We were a lot more in tune.

There were a couple snafus, but I think the straight line (2 jumps) to the tunnel beyond the dogwalk is a really tough thing to do.  In fact, Bentley missed it too, when my husband ran it with him.  I could have tried a RC, but we only ran once before there were other people who needed the field.

Also, she obviously doesn't understand my "flip" out to the tunnel at the very end.  That's just something she has only seen a couple times, so we'll work on that.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I'm going to start by posting a few videos from our run-throughs this weekend, and then voice a few of the concerns that I have.

These courses were from the October issue of Clean Run, on page 54.  We started with the Starters course, then the second one is the Advanced course.  I felt that they were both extremely challenging, and much harder than any Starters course that I've seen!

Lexi Course 1:

Bentley Course 1:

Lexi Course 2:

Bentley Course 2:

My first concern is with Lexi.  She is all over the place!  I know that there are dogs that go out and run away and grab whatever obstacle they want.  That's not quite Lexi.  She's just so excited, and she's running so quickly, that she'll grab whatever closest that she thinks I want her to take.  I can call her off, if I'm fast enough, so she is clearly trying to do what I ask...but she's so quick, that she often goes off course.

I don't want to ruin her enthusiasm or drive (the mistake we made with Bentley), but I wonder whether or not we need to try to reign her in.  I feel like any time I'm slightly facing the wrong way BAM, she's gone.  I need to be able to make some slight mistakes, or we'll never be able to be successful.

My second concern is the reason I started this blog...Bentley's running contacts.  His A-frame is really nice, and I'm mostly pleased with it.  I have seen him miss a few times, but in my opinion, not too much.  The dogwalk, on the other hand, is just atrocious.

During our daily trainings, he really seemed to make progress.  But as soon as we stopped the every day stuff, he just lost it.  He now hits (in sequence) about 25% of the time.  I think he has missed in every trial that we've entered him in since we started retraining.  It's so incredibly frustrating.  I'm seriously considering going back and retraining 2o2o, but I'm afraid that that will make it even more confusing for him.   I think it's at least time for us to get the board back out in the backyard, and start doing that again on a daily basis.

Also, I wonder if we aren't correctly rewarding/correcting him like we should be.  If he misses in sequence (except trials), we stop, and either start over at the beginning of the dogwalk, or pick him up and put him halfway up to try again.  If he gets it, he gets a treat.  90% of the time he gets a treat when running in sequence if he gets it.

Big decisions ahead.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


So we've hit a bit of a hot spell again, and it's been in the 80s during the day.

We went out and practiced a short skill set, serpentines (and threadles).  I was really pleased with the serpentines.  The threadles were fine, but just need a little fine tuning to make them more fluid.

Bentley serpentine:

Lexi serpentine and threadle:

Monday, October 4, 2010

1 Day Trial

We were out of town at a wedding this weekend, but did make it back for one day. Apparently the judge we had was not well liked--her courses were extremely hard. Her Q rate was very, very low (for example, in GP, ZERO dogs Qd!). Many of the courses were masters level courses where just one or two jumps were angled slightly differently for advanced or starters.

We didn't have high hopes after hearing that, but we had a good day!

Advanced Gamblers: Really tough. The gamble was tunnel, weaves, and jump. The tunnel puts the dog out facing the opposite way of the weaves. Bentley came out and had to find DH, and that was all she wrote.  If the tunnel had been facing the weaves, we MAY have had a chance...but that still would have been iffy.

Masters Snooker: Awesome run! It was Bentley's first Masters Snooker run, and he Qd! Kudos to DH for thinking on his feet a couple times where Bentley had a different plan, but he did really well. This Q ended up being a Super Q, so we were especially proud.

Masters Jumpers: FINALLY--we Qd! Bentley did really well..and get this..I thought on my feet! That NEVER happens. I was planning a FC at one point (around 21 seconds), and did a RC instead. Sounds silly, but I was proud.  He did break his stay, which has honestly never happened...but he was amped up all day.  He barked at me before we went on the course, and he never does that!  I just hope that I can keep this going...he really listened well.  I think I need to be clearer when giving him instructions.  There are some times where I don't like my handling.

Advanced Standard: I felt like this was really a Masters level course. They angled one jump about 6 inches differently from the Masters course. So naturally, it was a train wreck. I though the lead out pivot would help him get his entry (saw several dogs miss), but he still missed the first pole.  Bentley missed several of my FC, and he shot out of the tunnel the second time and went right for the table. I called him off, but he then missed the tire. He also refused the table...which was odd.  He did that in our run-through the other day, but I just assumed it was a fluke.  we definitely need to work that.  And, sad news, he missed his dogwalk contact.  The judge didn't call it, but it wasn't even close.  I don't know how to get him to translate his performance in practice to a trial.  I don't know if I didn't slow down enough, or if he was really amped up, or what (probably both).  More work to be done here.