Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tough night

Not a great night in class tonight.  The dogs were off last week since we were out of town, and they haven't done any work this week since it has been raining all week...tonight we had class and I ran Lexi the whole time.  It went poorly.  And it wasn't her fault.

I know that the sequences are meant to be challenging, but I can't help but feel like I am failing in my training.  Lexi made multiple mistakes on every sequence, and they were all my fault.

I felt like no matter what I did, I couldn't get her to get it right until the 3rd try.  I would accelerate to push her to a jump (that was out at an angle), and then from that jump to another with a forward send, but she wouldn't read it because of all the acceleration from the earlier push.  But if I didn't accelerate, I'd miss the push to the first jump!

Or I'd have to accelerate to get ahead of her so she could read my deceleration, but then she would decelerate before the obstacle and miss it altogether.  Everyone says that when running a fast dog, timing is critical, but I'm starting to feel like timing is impossible.

I'm feeling like I'll never get it right!  I've been wanting a third dog, but really, I can't even handle the ones I have!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homecoming! LCDA Trial--Lexi

Lexi had a great weekend.  She seemed happy to be outside with her friends and doing her favorite thing!

Lexi Advanced Jumpers--Q!

Jumpers has been fairly difficult for Lexi, but we've seen great improvement in her attention to us over the past few months.  We were anxious to see whether or not it would pay off, and I think that it has!  Although her turns were wide, she was very aware of where I was, and what I was asking her to do.  She did skip the tunnel at the end because it was "too hard" something that Stuart clued us in to months ago.  The tunnel entrance was at an angle (hard to tell in the video) and making it in would have required Lexi to slow down, and she preferred to keep going fast and go around.

Lexi Advanced Pairs--Q!

Another really nice run for Lex.  I thought her push from the weaves to the tunnel was excellent.  What a good girl!  Note here that her teeter is fine...more on that later.

Lexi Advanced Gamblers--Q!

I changed my plan at the last minute (bad handler!) and because of it my cues through the middle of the field were muddled, but other than that, she did excellent.  No problems on the gamble, my little gamblers girl!  (Again, no problem with the teeter)

Lexi Advanced Standard

Well, here the wheels sort of fell off.  My biggest concern is what happened on the teeter.  We've had a lot of issues with Lexi on the teeter where she'll have some incident (or not even have one) and decide that she doesn't like the teeter anymore.  I was so worried that this was another one of those.  She obviously just got really worried (this teeter tipped a lot slower than the one she's been practicing on) and just made it worse for herself.

After the trial we tried to put Lexi back on the teeter and she wouldn't get on.  She refused it, and wouldn't even bang it.  I was so upset.  We worked so hard to get her back to where she is totally confident on the teeter now.  Well, we went back the next day and I lowered the teeter really far down.  I was afraid we'd have to start all over again (we lower it and let her find the tipping point at a height/bang sound where she is comfortable).  She got on it immediately!  I raised it inch by inch and she was perfectly fine.  Let's hope that holds true from here on out!

Homecoming! LCDA Trial--Bentley

Had a great weekend this past weekend.  We were in Charleston for a long weekend as Jonathan had an interview (yes, we could be moving back) there.  Of course, we had to cram in at least one day of agility while there, and it proved to be very much worth it.

I'll start with Bentley's weekend.  To sum it up...he was very happy to be out there!  He was excited, and had a blast.  He did his thing where he totally ignored me to grab off courses, though, so now that he's healthy we're going to have to work on it.  Not sure what he's thinking!  Also, our teamwork was a bit off, but I think it's just because we're rusty.

Bentley Masters Jumpers

I debated the whole time if I should lead out push or keep him on my left and RC, but I was afraid that he might take the tunnel.  Clearly my choice was not a good one!  Then he read my moving FC as a go, and took the double off course--what a weirdo!  The end was nice.

Bentley Masters Pairs

Bummed because with Bentley's one mistake, we ended up over course time.  Weirdly enough, we were right at SCT (not including the mistake).  I didn't think either dog was that slow, so I guess the SCTs were tight.  Bentley's weave entries were off all weekend--just needs a bit more practice since he's had so much time off.  I should also point out that Bentley slowed down on the DW, but then jumped when I encouraged him to come down into his 2o2o.  Naughty!  But, I expected some of that.

Bentley Masters Gamblers

Not a great run...again, we haven't really been in sync with Bentley since he has had so much time off.  Gamblers is just not his thing...but that's something to work on for another day.

Bentley Masters Standard

Wait for it...wait for it...HE GOT HIS DOGWALK!  2o2o!  I could have cried!  He jumped his teeter contact, but the teeter was very different from the ones we've been working on.  It tips a lot slower.  He stopped where the teeter started to move, so he just hopped right off.  Usually he is in the yellow when he stops.  Definitely his best run of the weekend.  Oh, and he did miss his a-frame (judge didn't call it), but I definitely expected that.  We need to do a LOT more work on that.

The next day I dropped by the field, and Bentley nailed his 2o2o on the dogwalk and the a-frame each time.  So clearly now we need to work on his position when he's excited.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bentley's dogwalk progress

Just a quick update on Bentley's dogwalk.  He's doing really well.  It's clear that he is cuing off of our forward motion to get into position, but right now, it's still huge progress.  We need to continue to use target plates to keep him driving regardless of our position, but my first priority is to wean him off of target plates all the time.  In other words, I want him to be successful at a trial, even if that means he doesn't immediately get into position.  I am also comforted by the fact that he does eventually get into position.

Get on the Ball--the end (for now)

This weekend we are traveling to Charleston and will be returning our friend's "Get on the Ball" products.  I've really enjoyed using them with the dogs, and once we're making a bit more money will definitely be looking into purchasing at least one balance ball (my favorite was the balance disc--the one in the video-- because it's not too huge, and easier to use) for the dogs.

I think they really helped Bentley regain his strength, and REALLY improved Lexi's rear end strength.

Of interest to me, as usual, was the difference in how my dogs approached the balls.  You can even see in the video how hesitant Bentley is.  Even after using the ball for a few months (and yes, I admit we were not as diligent as we should have been) he is hesitant to jump on, and still isn't comfortable getting into a sitting position.

Lexi, on the other hand, would just throw herself on and hang on for dear life.  Most of the time she managed to hang on (giving herself a great work out in the mean time!) but she kept the disc rocking quite a bit.  Despite the motion, you could tell that she was very much aware and in control of her weight distribution and easily progressed to being able to do "dog pushups" on the ball.  If I had it for longer, I would eventually get her to sit up as well, but that would take a bit more work.  Even though she is moving the ball more as she is on there, her legs rarely shake (as opposed to Bentley's), and every time we take the disc out she jumps right on it!  I was also able to get her to rotate around on the ball without too much trouble.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday morning happy

Anyone else feeling bummed about going to work this morning?  I am!

Here's something that will make you smile:

This is Lexi and her absolute favorite toy, BRB (Big Red Ball)!