Sunday, April 28, 2013


Yesterday we took the dogs herding for the first time.  I've always wanted to try it just to see what the dogs did, but there was never a convenient time or place (even this place was an hour and a half away!)  I figured Bentley would really love it (he used to try to gather up all the dogs at the dog park when he was younger), and I thought Lexi might be scared of the sheep, but enjoy herding ducks.

The first thing we did was a sheep "meet and greet" where the shepherd caught one of the sheep and held it while each dog took a turn smelling the sheep. Bentley walked right up, gave the sheep butt a couple sniffs, and was like "okay I got this!"  Lexi was really worried (as I thought she might be), especially when the sheep stomped his legs.  I thought she would be too scared to herd (thought she might like ducks, though, since she has chased geese before).

Enjoying the sun

Watching the ducks

Bentley was a natural!  He really only wanted to turn clockwise (come bye), but I guess it's common for dogs to prefer one side over the other.  The woman kept calling the pups "super shelties" :)  At one point she turned to the other seminar participants and said, "it's not about size!  Do you think this little dog has control of these sheep?  YES!"

Lexi herded the way she does everything else--with reckless abandon.  She definitely put less thought into it! I don't know if you can hear me, but I told the shepherd "I can't tell if she's herding the sheep or trying to play with them!" And she said "the sheep don't think she's playing!"

It looked like this duck was herding the sheep!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Silvia Trkman

This spring I bit the bullet and signed Lexi and I up for a Silvia Trkman online agility foundation class.  I've always admired her and her training methods, but just didn't feel like I would like an online class.  Plus, we moved to Columbus and have in-person access to a great trainer.

Unfortunately with my work schedule it has been really hard to find consistent time to do private lessons with Lexi. Though we've come a long way, there are still a lot of ways that we can improve, so I wanted to do something more.

I am enjoying it so far, but we are so far behind.  We started the class 2 days before it technically started, and there was all this "pre-homework".  Long story short, we're still working on the pre-homework from the beginning of the month!  Basically all the exercises build off of the foundation skills in the pre-homework, so we're still working them.

Anyways the most important skill (and honestly the one we need the most, so there's no point in rushing it) is cik/cap.

Here is Lexi's progression over the past weeks (and honestly, our lives are so incredibly crazy right now, that we haven't been able to practice as much as I'd like)...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Incredipaws Day 2

(Still trying to catch up!)

Masters Gamblers:
Lexi Q:  It's hard for me to post this video, because I stepped on the gamble line.  I came off and was really mad at myself (not happy) because I didn't think I Qd.  The judge didn't say anything.  I still feel a little guilty about it.  But, I know Lexi would have done it even if i wasn't on the line, so I guess that's a good thing.  I was really proud because Jonathan came up with a great plan.  First of all, the course is sort of a mirror of itself, so we could "practice" the gamble on the opposite side of the course (which you can see we did twice).  And then Jonathan noticed that if the dog came out of the opposite end of the tunnel, they had a straight line out to the jumps, and they couldn't really see the weaves at all.

Bentley:  This was too bad, because I really felt like this was something that Bentley is capable of.  He was able to get out just fine as he "practiced", but the weaves threw him off since we practice getting out to weaves so often.  Oh well.

Masters Snooker:
Lexi Q:  Jonathan ran this course and came off discouraged.  I think I've mentioned it before, but Lexi only needs Super Qs so he typically goes for riskier plans.  During this run I realized that his timing is really off with her.  He managed to get her around the course, but there were a lot of miscommunications.  I'm sure it's due to the fact that he doesn't run her very often in practice.

Bentley Super Q:  And again, Bentley with the Super Q!  A really nice run.  He is quite fun to run in Snooker :)

Masters Challenge Jumpers:
Lexi:  Yikes.  This course was tough!  I knew it would be, and in fact, I didn't enter it.  But, the trial secretary entered us by mistake and since we were helping her all weekend, she gave it to us as a free entry.  I asked my trainer and she said we should give it a try.  And in all honesty, I wasn't disappointed!  We struggled where I thought we would (the weave entry, for example).  I was a little surprised that we got the refusal at jump 4, but it happened to a lot of people.  Because of the angle, dogs were pushing off to jump 8, or were reading it as a rear to 8, so I held her too far to the left purposefully.  Can't be mad about that :) I really liked how we went through 10 through 16.  And I saw a ton of dogs go wide around 16 and miss 17.  Oh well.  It was a good experience!

Bentley:  This run was really nice.  Even Bentley went wide at 16 to 17 for a refusal.  But, the crazy thing?  He was 4 seconds over course time.  Even if he hadn't missed that jump he wouldn't have Qd, he would have been over course time.  Now I know that Bentley isn't the fastest sheltie out there, but he isn't THAT slow.  I guess course times are tight for these challenge-type courses.  It's a little discouraging, though, because I don't think we could have tightened it up that much.

Masters Jumpers:
Lexi:  Darn darn darn.  One day we'll get it together!  Unfortunately we only got half of the run on video, and it was the bad half.  The remainder of the run was clean.  I'm still really struggling with timing of forward sends.  And I peeled off too soon here--definitely my fault.

Bentley:  Well, again we had a video camera malfunction and didn't get this taped.  Good thing, though, because it was awful!

Steeplechase Finals:
Lexi:  I decided to try to use Finals as a testing ground to work on things I might not be as willing to try elsewhere.  That's why I threw in the blind.  I also tried to push Lexi a bit more, and keep myself moving.  I think we did a pretty good job.  We got one of the weave entries, but I don't know if my FC was poorly timed, or if Lexi didn't read it correctly (probably me) and she missed the second one.

Bentley:  Yay!  1st place!



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Incredipaws Day 1

(Someday soon I'll post about training and other things...luckily this is our last trial for a month, so we have some time to train and blog in between!)

Masters Gamblers:
Lexi:  My RC was too late, and I didn't have any more pushing to do once she got to the jump.  In other words, she and I got there at the same time, so I had no where to go to indicate for her to go out.

Bentley: Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.  Heartbreak!  This is the first dogwalk contact he's missed in MONTHS.  But, you can feel the energy of the entire place change when Bentley got on the dogwalk, and Jonathan got all amped up, and pushed him too hard.  As much of a bummer it was, it proved to me that he DOES have the skills, and that we will get there eventually :)

Masters Standard:
Lexi:  How many times is a random thing going to go wrong in Standard?  And it seems like every time it's something different!  Lexi LOVES tunnels.  Never in her entire little life has she ever come out of a tunnel.  I think she must have hit the wall or the dogwalk legs (she banks heavily on the sides) and got either weirded out or confused.  I got such an amazing, amazing, amazing turn in the pinwheel headed towards the chute that I stopped and told her what a good girl she was (and was consequently out of position) but I didn't care.  I was pretty dang excited!

Grand Prix:
Lexi Q:  This made my whole weekend!  It wasn't a perfect run, and you can see me show too much forward motion into the tunnel (I was worried after the previous run's tunnel incident) and she goes super wide and almost misses the teeter.  The judge called a refusal because he was convinced (and so was I!) that she was going to miss.  But, he took the refusal away when she climbed on at the last second, and barely put her little toe in the yellow.  But my very favorite part was that fast weave entry out of the chute.  Good girlie.  With this run she earned a first place and another bye!

Bentley:  Darn that a-frame!  Nice run, otherwise.

Lexi Q:  Good run.  Luckily the judge from this weekend didn't give us a lot of tough weave entries, so that was a plus!  We really do need to work doubles at speed, though, because she has dropped a lot of them over the past few trials.  Unfortunately, I don't have one at home.

Bentley Q:  Tricked into getting the a-frame contacts, Bentley had a nice run!  Actually, he beat his sister :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Indy Day 2

Masters Snooker:
Not much to say about this run.  Lexi beat Jonathan out of the weaves and his push was too late--pushed her right into the off course.  Oops!  Really nice recall to heel though :)

Bentley Q:
I don't usually run snooker (ever) so when I do, I try to pick an easy plan.  Bentley doesn't need Super Qs, so I just went with the easiest plan and 3 reds.  Not sure why he dropped the bar, but I had a lot of fun running him again!

Masters Standard:
Lexi:  I thought this was a great run.  We got a lovely weave entry, even though the bar fell.  I think it was my fault as I was pushing her line a little bit to line up the entry to the weaves.  I'm okay with that!  One day she'll keep that bar up and we'll get a Q :)

Steeplechase Finals:
Lexi: (Ignore the terribly naughty scooting at the beginning...)Amazing run!  Got a great turn the second time to the a-frame, got a nice push out of the tunnel and into the weaves.  Also quick released the a-frame, and it didn't mess her up the rest of the day!

Grand Prix:
Lexi:  And how do we go from the above, to this mess?  Yikes.  The dogwalk was my fault.  I was so worried about getting a good turn at the red, that I watched her (make a bad turn) and then didn't get there to set her line up the contact.  She was okay, though I'm sure she'll need an adjustment when we go to the chiro.

Of course I wasn't upset about her dogwalk, that was my fault and I was glad she was okay.  But I wanted to mark it when she broke her a-frame contact, so we missed the tire (8).  And then, she cut behind me at jump 13.  I was not happy about that at all.  I should have just kept her on my left and RCd the weaves, but I didn't think she had that skill (she proved me wrong, clearly!)  And then she cut behind me AGAIN at jump 16.  Not allowed.  I think I said "stop cutting behind me!" haha!  And then she took down jump 16.  Seriously.  What a mess.

Bentley:  I guess he watched Lexi and wanted to top her crazy antics, because he certainly did!  He jumped his a-frame contact (par for the course, these days), and he just ran around the ring.  I have no idea why.  He has never, ever done that before.  So bizarre!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Indianapolis: Day 1

I guess being inconsistent just means that we have a lot to learn!

Masters Gamblers:

Umm yeah, this was just too hard for both of our dogs!  That jump was SO far away.  I thought Lexi might have a chance if I pulled her back and sent her, but I was angled slightly, and didn't pull her back enough.  Bentley, well, Jonathan set up for the turn too soon and it wasn't even close!  (As a note, notice Lexi's weave entry in this run...nails it).



Masters Standard:

Lexi: I really am not sure why she dropped the first bar.  Bad luck, I think.  Honestly, I was kind of glad in the end that she dropped that bar because if the weaves had been her only mistake I would have been very sad!  Really loved her convergence to the teeter--that is not something she excels at so I was really proud.  This is the exact same weave entry as in gamblers, and she didn't hold onto it and did her weird stressy run that she does now when she doesn't think she can stay in the weaves (not sure if you can see it, but she gets into the first pole then runs past).  But the mistake pushed me out of my comfort zone and I handled the end as a push, not a cross and it was nice and faster than a cross would have been.


Lexi Q:
Knowing her struggles, I love her first weave entry in this run.  But, it cements the fact that the entries on her right are harder.  Clearly the turn at jump 13 was not our plan.  She read my deceleration as a rear cross.  And then did her stressy weave pole thing :(

Bentley:  Bentley has always had trouble being called off a tunnel entrance for a closer one.  He gets set on one and goes for it--no amount of name calling or eye contact makes a difference if he gets locked on.

Masters Jumpers:

Lexi:  I can't even watch this run I'm so mad at myself about it.  Seriously.  What an amazing run.  But I forgot the course.  WHO DOES THAT?  Lexi looked stellar!

Bentley:  This was definitely Bentley's best run of the weekend (year?!?)  He was up in the 5 YPS, which is flying for him.  Jonathan had a great mix of getting ahead of him and accelerating with him.

To sum it up:

Things to work on for Lexi:
1.  Weave entries at speed.
2.  FCs at speed (not allowing her to cut behind me).

Things to work on for Bentley:
1.  Distance/Gamble work.
2.  A-frames.
3.  Opposite entry tunnel sends.