Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bentley the Star! (Day 1 Recap)

We are back from our trip to Indianapolis.  It was a lot of fun.  I guess I forgot how much I love being out there with my dogs, my husband, and my agility friends.

I will say that it wasn't what I expected.  The building was small with really tight crating next to the ring, only 1 ring, and no where to walk your dogs inside (no paths, halls, etc...).  It rained and was freezing the first day, so getting Lexi out, warmed up, and exercised was really tough.  I did find that we could walk up and down the stairs (there was a little loft area) and do some tugging up there, but again, space was really cramped.  Even the second day when it wasn't raining I didn't feel comfortable letting her off leash to fetch and tug outside because we were close to a busy street and she seemed a bit more worried than usual (because of all the dogs in close proximity).  Needless to say, she was pretty amped.

 That being said, we were really diligent about stretching Lexi out, and getting her nice and warm.  I used her Back on Track coat for the first time when she was in the crate.  I was using it when she went outside too, but the little brat chewed off the leg holders and now it won't stay on her!  Guess I'll have to learn to sew :) 

Oh and the greatest news?  She had no health issues at all!  I could tell by the end of the weekend that she was tired (that is honestly a FIRST), but she had no limping, nothing but all-out running!  And speaking of all-out running, we were a bit of a mess.  Obviously out of sync, and out of control.  But oh well, there were some really nice things interspersed with the crazy.  And I keep reminding myself that 6 months ago I was crying hysterically because I didn't think she'd ever be able to play again!

So on to the recap...

Masters Gamblers:

Bentley: I posted about it last week that I had a really good feeling about Bentley's distance skills.  He's been working really hard to actually go out and look for something that isn't right in front of him.  And I was right!  He nailed this one, and honestly not very many dogs did.  The skill required was honestly just distance.  There was no tricking the dog using motion (you can tell from the map there is no way to show motion because of the location of the tunnel and the dogwalk).  I wish you could see it in the video, but Bentley came out of the tunnel, looked at me, and saw that I had my hand out and looked away and found the far jump.  I was thrilled. 

Lexi: This run with Lexi was entirely my fault.  The opening was actually pretty nice, and then I got greedy.  I ran her before I ran Bentley, and I thought I had all kinds of extra time, so I decided to do a second a-frame.  That's when the buzzer went off, of course, and Lexi bailed on the a-frame and I frantically tried to get over to the gamble.  I don't think she could have done it even if I had set her up correctly, but it definitely made things a lot more frantic.

Masters Standard:

Bentley:  Mr. Consistent did a great job on this course.  I always knew that once we fixed (don't know that fixed is the right word...but slightly improved might be better) his contacts, he wouldn't have much trouble with Standard.  He rarely takes off courses, and is fine with tight turns.  He did almost refuse the tunnel, but managed to salvage it despite Jonathan's slightly muddy cues.  Discriminations are also no problem--as long as you want the contact!

Lexi:  Well, let's just say that I don't even want to post this video!  But, in the interest of learning and getting better, I guess I should break it down and figure out how/where to improve.  First--the good.  I really liked her 270 recall to heel at jump 4.  That's no easy feat for my girl.  Watching the video I'm still not sure why she pulled off the jump before the chute.  Yes, I dropped my hand, and yes I peeled off, but this is the dog that needs only an arm forward and she'll commit 6 feet before the jump.  I'm not mad because that's not a bad thing, I'm just surprised because it's unusual for her.  The tunnel issue was my fault.  It looked momentarily like she might take the wrong end of the tunnel, so I yelled her name and she pulled off (good girl).  I should trust her more.  The sequence to the table and the heading towards the dogwalk was pretty good.  I wish I had show less motion at the double, but the layer of the jump was nice.  And then she took the tunnel.  I never would have thought she would have taken that.  I thought she might take the close tunnel, so I played it safer that way, so I didn't say her name.  After that I decided I would practice, so I made her hold her dogwalk then wanted her to get into the weaves on her own.  I swear, she can do that at home!

Masters Jumpers:

Bentley: Again, Bentley almost takes an off course and then almost gets a refusal, but Jonathan has time to get him back on track into the serpentine and he runs clean and Qs!  I am always quite jealous when Jonathan gets to do a lot of pushes (where I have to do crosses).  Sometimes it's nice to be able to beat your dog.

Lexi:  I was really bummed after running this course with Lexi because I felt like she was capable of a lot better.  My biggest mistake was not trusting her at the tunnel and then not being able to make a front cross into the serpentine.  Having to do the rear cross put me behind and I rushed ahead, cuing her to run past the second jump.  Then she blasted out of the tunnel and ignored where I was and missed the 180.  I kept going and we finished nicely.


Bentley:  Little guy gave it his all and eked out a Q!  Jonathan and I have decided that the days of lead outs and rear crosses are mostly over for Bentley.  We've come to realize that he has most of the skills, so it's time to work on speed--something Bentley has never really had.  You can see at the yellow jump towards the end how a front cross would have pushed him to move faster.  I told Jonathan he has to stop being a lazy handler!

Lexi: I thought Lexi did really excellent in this class.  Of course it's her favorite (fast and furious, right?) but I was super proud because I think I got a pretty nice turn headed towards the broad jump.  Also notice that she wanted to cut behind me out of the green tunnel, but was a good girl and didn't!  She did take off way too early for the double (was I in her way and she couldn't see it?)  Then she smashed into the a-frame out of the tunnel and I got worried.  As she came into position she stopped and I said "Are you okay?"  (Okay is her release word--oops!)  But little girl did awesome and got a Q!


  1. First of all, y'alls runs were awesome. Lexi did great for her first time back after 6 months.

    The reason, at least imo, why lexi missed that jump before the chute was you didnt cue the jump. Everything in you body motion said take the chute. Watch yourself and not the dog, turn off the sound, and watch the video again. You will see it.

    On the jumpers run, coming out of the tunnel, you need some cue telling her to turn tight, unless you are right there so she can see you when she is coming out. Then you probably needed a more obvious cue to take that the jump into the serp. Like the other time when you rotated your shoulders into her and used 2 hands.

    I dont think your runs look a mess at all. So glad Lexi is running again. Whoohoo!! Im sure things will smooth out soon.

  2. WOW! What a weekend! Bentley and Lexi were both awesome! I was really amazed that Bentley did the Gambler beautifully. That inspired me that my Sonic can be as good as him :)

    Lexi surely is happy out there. This dog loves agility!

  3. Wow, you guys look great!
    Glad to see Lexi back on the field, she had a very nice Steeplechase run!