Sunday, August 30, 2009

looking back

it's been 2 years this month that rah started trialing. i just found pictures of his first qualifying leg.

in two years, he has become


He has obtained his:
CD (multiple legs)
ATT (2 times)

In addition he has:
one leg towards his RA (not finished because we lost 2 legs since i entered him in the wrong class!)
2 legs towards his RL1X2
2 leg towards his D-CD
2 legs towards his CDX
2 legs towards his ASCA CDX
1 leg towards his CDX-H
2 or 3 legs towards his CD-HCH

Friday, August 28, 2009

trying to be better...

so classes this week -
unfortunately no agility - it was cancelled last minute this week because debbie had to take her elderly terv to the e-vet last minute because he had a foreign body. if everyone could keep zach-man in their thoughts that would be great - at 13.5 he made it through surgery but now he doesn't want to eat!

open - it was just two of us in class so we broke things down. mulder started with the retrieves and a few other exercises, and i started with chaining heeling to fig8 to DOR. did a few of them - need to stay in control of rah and make sure he doesn't bully me along the way, especially on the slows where he starts jumping up into my face. not bad.

trauma drama struck next - we were going to switch off, but before i started retrieving kathy wanted to work a few retrieves with rah. she got him out and was working him in half the room while mulder had the other half of the room (remember there's only two of us for now), and at one point he got stuck in the flexi and she tore a muscle in her back/arm when it pulled and he came back and smacked her in the foot (she has a huge bruise from it)

then, two retrieves later, real disaster struck. rah knows now (on some level) that the retrieve is no longer the fun "rah runs out and gets his lala's on" game, but its get out, get the db, and get your ass BACK TO MOM AS FAST AS YOU CAN and get to front position. unfortunately, we had to knock him down from six flags to two flags (have you guys seen those commercials?) to get it through to him that this is his job - not some optional game that i sometimes take part in.

so on one of the retrieves, the other trainers daughter had their puppy out on a loose leash, and when rah was coming back with a fumbled retrieve, he was so focused on turning and coming fast, he didnt see the puppy walk out into his path because he was focused on holding the db- the puppy got stuck in the flexi and it swept her up - she started crying and it literally picked the puppy up INTO rah (since rah is faster than the flexi,it takes time for the flexi to catch up) - since he knew he had a job to do and the puppy was preventing him from doing it - similar to any retrieve of a beloved object he turned and gave the object hitting him a what-for. he never saw the puppy or knew it was a puppy - kathy immediately yelled at him and ran at him - she didn't want to drop him because it was a retrieve and the entire point is he needs to come in fast and close - and she didnt want him dropping ON the puppy! he didnt make contact with the puppy at all, but made many scary noises that scared the puppy even more - but kathy never expected rah to actually stop when she said stop, so she was not prepared for him to be in front of her when she ran at him and she tripped and fell ON TOP OF HIM...

by the time i got there, we had a baby lab, a rah, and a kathy all wrapped up in the flexi... kathy was the only one hurt (she skinned her hand and her elbow)... and then we all started laughing at the hilarity of the situation while poor rah wondered why he got sat on :)

one retrieve later, and he had forgotten the entire thing (thank god and its a testament to this dog that he can literally have a person AND a dog land on him while retrieving and he will still go back with the same fervor the next throw!!!) - we worked some retrieves and the bj and that was it for the night!

thursday night next...

started with berlin in open. started with heeling and berlin did group heeling again!! and she was great!!!!! i remembered where to look and she was awesome - at one point she was a little put off by imposing jumps but i didnt let her feel it and she just kicked right back in!!!! im very proud of that!! didnt push it with fig8's though - i did those alone and terry said if i can heel WITH her like i do alone, we will be golden. if it were only that easy.

worked on recall games - setting them up and having distractors come up while we set up, roo didnt even care when terry came up talking her eyes were glued to me, and not even when terry grabbed her collar. then we did restrained recalls (i didnt drop her) and she did nice. the first front she missed and instead jumped up on me - too excited- but the second one i reminded her and she came in for a perfect close front. terry said its ironic - my one dog we cant bribe to get close and the other we cant get off of me :)

broke down to individuals - put her away at this point and talked to kathy and elsie about classes for a bit (more on that later). brought her out and did some retrieves on the flat - restrained mostly and she was pretty good. then moved to the high - did some cookie marks and retrieves and two db retrieves and she was fast and PERFECT fronts, i love it. did some drop games in the middle, and then played broad jump games, she did great there as well. that was it and enough for her! she loved all the games!!!!

utility with rah - started with plain heeling - and we did lots of turns and u-turns to get rah back (the new golden lady was enamoured with rah's left u-turns... if only he was that good on regular heeling - i think im harder on him than i need to be!)

then we split up - we did articles with partners - rah didnt do too badly. his first time out he got caught in his flexi and he did a turn in the middle of his send to the pile (what a weirdo), picked up the wrong article immediately and came back. i took it and sent him again and he worked the pile and found the right one - did two more articles right so not bad!

went to gloves - he's doing better there, pivots could use some work but they are getting there. fronts are always a work in progress, but its his finishes that are killing us - between the glove and the flexi in hand im all discombobulated!

go outs were good - getting him to focus on the ball. we noticed that the minute someone says send your dog he loses focus as he waits for his go out command, so we're refocusing him rather than sending him.

didnt do signals proper or moving stand yesterday.

trying to figure out how things are going to work in the upcoming sessions. wed and thurs night dont coincide, unfortunately - and rah is being moved up (!!!!) to wed night utility classes - BIG TIME! kathy doesnt think he needs two nights of open, so he will just have one night of open and utility - i dont want to stop open until he has his CDX< but one i have it, ill focus on utility for a little while. berlin may be my only thursday night dog!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

the match today...

so, drove out to the match today. got there about 20 minutes before i was scheduled to go in, to find out that like many other places - we had a lot of no shows and they were tossing people in the ring left and right. i hate being unorganized - while it gets me out of there early, it messes up my plans.

another pet peeve - it hit almost 90 here today, and while they advertised ac, it didn't feel like it was on!

anyway, they were immediately ready for berlin - i hadnt even taken her out to pee! i played some games with her outside the ring and then just worked on ring entrances, set ups, and brief spurts of heeling. she didnt want her to do a SFE, so we worked on that,and played recall games. immediately into stays, and she did fine.

i got rah out,since i was told he was next in open - then they are calling me into novice again! i didnt have time to get berlin out, so i brought rah in for a novice run. missed the first halt (like always - GOTTA WORK ON THIS) and he was high as a kite with little to no warm up. not bad!

did open stays, where he went down on his sit to lick himself?!?!?!?!!!?!? so he earned himself a 5 minute sit. not going to worry about this - he held his sit for 5 minutes afterwards while everyone else did the down, and he literally licked himself in the ring, something he's never done - because he was laying on his side with his leg up.

open run - heeling not bad, drop good. worked the fronts a lot and he wasnt doing too badly, nice pickups. he keeps missing his straight front on the broad jump, so ill have to work on that. used the extra time we had in the ring to play retrieve games.

then rah had utility - started with signals. a dog was barking while i stood him, so he wasnt paying attention to me. i went back to him and he knew he had been bad so he tried to goof off, i got him back and we did it again. second time he followed me, third time was good.

articles were PERFECT - i told him "calm, easy, calm, easy" before we did it, and he even managed to do it with a man standing by the pile!! fronts were off, but good for him!

gloves - not bad, but he's not completing the pivot. he got the right glove and gave me a pretty good front. need to work those pivots!

moving stand - let the man do the exam, but then couldnt do the call to heel??? ha ha, something he hasnt had in forever! (just like he's never done a finish on the gloves!)

time for go outs - did 3/4 length with the ball, and he ran out noncommitted (even though i thought he had it locked), but he did find the spot. sent him a second time, and tried the high jump but he ticked it - twice! worked him just getting him to clear the jump and our time was up.

second utility run through, i just worked go outs and pivots - no jumping. he was really locking onto the ball and staring nicely (especially when i remember to look at the ball too, instead of him!), and i did one without the ball and he turned and sat on a dime. finished him out with a few more to the ball, and then worked pivots.

all in all, a very hot day.
this is going to be a big one - im leaving in 20-30 minutes for another match today, so we shall see how far i get!

wednesday first - agility class was good. berlin is finally out of panties, so we were running free! started with some more teeter work (she needs to slow down!!!), then moved to finding weave entrances. we even added a jump into the weaves, and she did well!

then we moved to 180s - doing them as pulls and as front crosses - and then we did pinwheels! i have to be conscious of how much my body and attitude affects berlin.

went to open class, and i was getting quickly frustrated with rah and his front issues - all the progress we had made with the clicker and the ball in front of me was lost last night, as he was all over the place.

kathy grabbed him, and worked him for 30 minutes straight. it was good because she can correct him unemotionally, and praise him that way too. he did really really well - and when he started going out with the tightest pickups and coming in and fixing himself to be completely straight, she said he ABSOLUTELY knows his job, he just cant calm himself down and focus enough to do it.

we were joking that because he was working so hard (thank god this dog will retrieve for hours on end!!!!), everyone else just stopped working to watch kathy deal with him - shane even laid down on the ground for 30 minutes without moving! kathy stole all the flags in the room!

the end result was that night i realized i had to change a lot of things. first, i need to stop letting my frustration go to the dogs and affect them, because its not helping us at all. whatever we have and have not accomplished, if they aren't understanding or performing, i need to break it down and not get angry. especially for berlin - because she's much more sensitive to this than rah is.

i also need to stop all my body movement - on fronts, finishes, set ups. terry said its a big thing when i can admit these things, because NOW i can start fixing them. she said thats why i got a time out last week at training - i was too frustrated and neither of us were learning or working.

so, i had my zen.

class thursday - i brought berlin out and we had fun. she did AWESOME - better than she has in months. recalls and set up games were amazing, she was obnoxious and crazy. we went and did some retrieves as well, and she was great. terry said accept whatever she gives - if she's out of her shell and working and trying, that is what i want. after 30 minutes she was getting tired (part of our issue is also her stamina), so i put her away and kathy was getting ready to take rah out. and rah had another session with her -25 minutes of straight retrieving on the flexi. he was much better and getting it right very quickly - his focus was still there and its a testament to him that he can take those corrections and still be shaking and quivering to go retrieve, and still work for her without issue. its how i have to be for him.

he laid down for a bit and we went to utility - i wasnt sure after training he would have anything left, but he did! started with go outs - his "look" is really what is killing us now - he's finding go out, but he's not as intent as he once was and he's not "border collie-ing" it. articles were perfect - i had him on flexi and popped him out and in, and he RAN out there but still managed to think through it and work the pile. worked pivots separately and i need to be careful what legs i am leaning on because its pushing him out. integrating it with gloves he still needed pops out to get the glove (he's trying to figure out how to be right and isn't sure its not a set up!). signals were better - he's not anticipating as much as he has been, as long as i dont make eye contact. still moved more feet than normal, same for moving stand.

we matched yesterday - i worked the match too, so needless to say im exhausted.
rah had a utility run through first - signals were ok, but he moved a bit on the first stand - i went back and rewarded him and heeled back into it. oh i forgot - his heeling was ridiculously crazy and everyone was laughing at him, including my little idol anne paul (of malinois dune and river fame) - she said he's such a dork! articles we had an issue with - because he's flying so high, he cannot actually think enough to slow down and get his article - the first one he took as a straight retrieve, ran out and got the first article he found and fronted it. terry says i really need to work on calming him DOWN in the ring so he can think - he gets in his own way!

gloves - pivot wasnt perfect, but he did a nice job getting the glove. pivots are harsh for us when he's crazy, he never wants to sit.
moving stand wasnt bad.

go outs - he got there, but again lacked intensity. so we had two more utility entries we took from others, and we did strict go outs for 20 minutes later on -kathy wants more of a "look" from him, and more intensity. it worked well, we shall see how it progresses. i got a lot of attention from kathy, it was a little weird!

berlin had a novice run - we didnt do the full thing, i just played with ring entraces and set ups, and short brief spurts of heeling, she was awesome. fronts we need to work on, im losing her attention when i go away.

rah's open run wasnt bad but he was crazy. kathy also did some front work with him with the db and he did pretty well - she said he's getting it much quicker now, needs a lot less correction.

so i feel hopeful and happy with them. but rah is thinking and berlin is having fun.

today we're matching in PA, so i have to leave soon...

Monday, August 17, 2009

ive done pretty much no training with the dogs since the fateful thursday night in which everything fell apart. hopefully a lot of it will be that rah was just excessively tired and berlin, well ... she's a bitch in heat !

we have two matches this weekend - im working hk9 this weekend and they all have entries, and sunday is dtccc's match show and i have 3 entries for rah and 2 for berlin.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

im purposefully not updating about thursday because it was a pretty awful training day and both dogs were tired and completely off and it makes me upset to think about it. and it overshadows wed night, in which agility was awesome and rah got to run.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

a little privacy...

so today we had a private lesson to work on a few issues.

started with roo and our off leash heeling issues. the biggest thing is keeping her attitude up and working her off leash all the time, and keeping her sassy - when she's on, she's in my face and working it. when she tunes out, she just wanders. i need to not leave her hanging - if she's not working, she's in a rest or in a crate (crate now, since with being in heat and wearing sexy pants she cant hold stays at all). anyway we played games and worked them straight into set up and then a short spurt of heeling. i have a new focus point for her to look at, so im not accidentally pushing her all over - it worked great. she was actually pushing up into heel position to make eye contact - and the nice thing about where im looking is that it keeps me straight!

also need to work on about turns with her - she sees my cue and responds the wrong way, so im going to have to speed her up around it with the right hand.

we discussed my plans for the future with her - terry doesnt think i should show her at nationals, which is fine by me. if she's not ready, she's not ready. intead, she says match her everywhere, but she should be ready to come out in jan and clean up. if she has issues, just be prepared to pull her. im fine with that - i do NOT want to rush her, im ok with holding her out. at matches and in training, she says do NOT do full patterns - do short spurts and break her out. she shouldnt be heeling the pattern until 2 matches before the show, and the match before just play a lot of games. she needs to get more excited for all this.

worked rah's ring entrances - he's a scanner. great attention into the ring, taking the leash off - then he drops his head when we move for a few seconds and scans all over. worked that into a set up. he also drops sometimes with the ready because hes looking to see if there's something to retrieve out there.

worked retrieves - once we trade the db for the toy, i need to have him on a slip lead to make sure the game is with me, and not running loose. but she was happy with the intent to get to me - fronts werent perfectly straight, so we need some loose guides out there. and his pickups were fast but he took wide turns out there - but again we havent worked them in awhile and he has just got retrieves back in the past few days. she says the ball should be there for at least another month.

we had a little time left, so she wanted to work his signals - she says he's at a level where he can handle a lot more distraction than the other dogs in his utility class, so we worked on signals with heavy distraction - played some games when he LOCKED onto that stand despite terry waving her arms, walking tightly around him, etc. then we went to put the drop in, but he was so locked into me and waiting for a cue, that he started interpreting everything i did as a signal - me breathing because a signal!!!! so we had to work through that!

we finally got him through it (no eye contact!!!) and talked about showing/matching him. ill enter OA at nationals for one day, but then B for the rest of the trial so that i can move up and back and forth between utility if i want.

she also thinks it will be better for berlin not to be stressed with me having multiple entries at nationals - she needs more time for me to devote to her. especially since ill be doing ob and rally with rah and maybe ob for mercury!!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

no agility class last night - debbies truck broke down so she couldnt get off staten island.

open last night - stays were perfectly fine (Even though i was eating cake :) )

we worked on pairing exercises - ROH to BJ, fig8 to DOR, etc - and mixing them all up for the B dogs. rah did some nice ROH's - i used debbies method and actually had him doing retrieves - he thought a lot more about his job and coming right back to me. not perfect, but fast sits and he was focused on me the entire time. hes doing 28 in class, and he hit the jump once when he wasnt paying attention but he literally FLEW over it the next time :)

fig8's were good, and his drops werent bad. fronts were crooked.

then we moved to heeling, and kathy tried to kill us - we heeled for 20 minutes straight im pretty sure, and one 5 minute stretch STRAIGHT - i was huffing and puffing and so was rah! he got really pushy and had his head pressed into my stomach, hitting me in the knees with his elbows, and stepping on my foot.

tonight we had open with berlin - we set up a ring to do run throughs (berlin did a novice run - heel off leash needs the most work!!!!) and just worked the other parts on our own while we were waiting (and as a distraction for the dogs doing the run through). she's in flaming heat right now, so she's a little funky. many good things though.

utility with rah - superstar tonight!!!!!!!
started with signals and played signal games to keep their attention. yeah, no more signal games with rah - he was shaking in his stand and kept breaking at any flinch i made thinking it was some sort of signal for him that he missed. one time i laughed, one time i moved the fingers on my left hand, the other time i just smiled and looked at terry... he was a little wired :) when we did full signals, he was awesome - terry was standing 5 feet away from me almost in his path waving her arms and calling him and he didn't even FLICK an eye towards her, and did a nice front.

articles next - he did two perfect articles, from the turn, the send, everything. fronts could be better, but he THOUGHT about where he was and what he was doing, so we ended it on that.

gloves next. tried to start and rah wouldn't sit - ran him outside and he peed immediately, brought him in and worked some pivots on the side while everyone else did theirs. then we did rahs gloves and he...

was perfect. amazing. i didnt do him on the flexi - i just did 3 full DR's and he was amazing. got every glove. AND he DIDNT SHAKE HIS GLOVES.

whoa. you read it right!!!!!!!!!!!

moved onto directed jumping. he was first up, since at 28 he jumps the highest. nice go outs, so terry took out a toy and started throwing it as he ran out to the stanchion - it got him twice, he ran to the toy and picked it up. once he ran so far away to avoid the toy he just aborted and came back to me. but we worked through it and he did lovely go outs and lovely directed jumping.


im very proud of how he worked tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now if we can only find out where we can finish this CDX :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

total bust

ill update in more detail laster. classes this week were almost an entire bust.

had major storms on wed - got to agility and the center had no power. we did agility in the dark (i kid you not!) but the rest of the evening was cancelled.

then thursday, got to class and trained berlin. but right before rah's class started at 9:15, got a call from my family that their cat was crashing so i left to go put the cat down.

so instead of 4 classes this week, i got 2.