Sunday, November 29, 2009

no match this morning because i had a migraine from 3 am until about an hour or two ago. sucked a lot.

yesterday we matched at hk9 - rah had 2 utility entries, 1 open and berlin had 2 novice.

open was interesting - he barely got warmed up and he was flying high as a kite. heeling was very pushy and all over, which followed over to utility. did a B order with ROF first - worked fronts. DOR he was crazy and decided to start anticipating the call to front when i took a breath. a BREATH. dear rah: please note i give you actual verbal commands for that front. not hidden psychic signals hidden in the manner in which i breathe in and out.

bj (reach out and touch someone) was ok - he slipped but still hit a front.

utility - signals broke down majorly because he walked every stand. we backtied him to terry and he got corrected for it which helped, but i worked a lot last night and this morning on clarifying that we need no feet moving, period. the actual signal parts were ok, heeling was too pushy and terry said we need to fix it.

articles - crazy. first one he picked up the wrong article when he felt pressure, second he did a straight retrieve. third try he went out and found the right article, and fourth was fine.

gloves - on the pivot, he dropped his head and marked his glove before i indicated, so i caught him and we went back and repivoted and he kept his eyes on me until i dropped my arm and sent him, it was nice.

moving stand, same issues as signals. worked on it.

our CROWNING GLORY - beautiful lovely amazing go outs. i had put the toy out on the stanchion before i even brought him out of the crate, so he never saw it. and i gave him his look command, he dropped and focused BEAUTIFULLY, intent on his stanchion. i sent him and he FLEW out straight as an arrow to where he needed to be and turned and sat immediately when i called him. thinking it was a fluke, i rewarded that heavily and brought him back, did it again. this time smartass flew out but stopped himself about 6-7 feet from the gate. ill let it slide in a point show (would cover it up, actually), but in the match i grabbed him and made him do the full length go out. third one he thought about slowing up but he kept going so i turned him, sat him, and gave him a jump. fourth one i rewarded heavily out there because it was awesome, fifth straight and fast and i gave him the other jump... and we were awesome!!!! we played and played and played!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

some training updates have been on facebook, but that doesnt count, right?

thursday class went well - heeling was pretty good, played some games, worked some fronts and finishes. she had good attitude throughout.

did agility yesterday - im having contact woes that really need to work through - after discussing it with debbie, we're eliminating berlins nose touch from her contact criterion because its overshadowing her feet. weaves were awesome for both dogs.

i have two matches this weekend - goals:

berlin - SFE, stays!!!!!, and transitions between exercises. i might do an entire entry of just pet dog with me while we have a bunch of strangers in the ring playing with toys, etc.

rah open - fixing his broad jump!!!! in his reach out and touch someone method.

rah utility - signals - proofing the wait.
go outs - marking the stanchion with ears!
articles - with someone near his pile.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

just another manic wednesday

well, yesterday was the day from hell :) i operated on destiny and took off three more mammary gland tumors and spayed her, so she's sore as hell and whining from her fentanyl patch (but flying nice and high!)...

on a total side note, berlin is currently being tethered to me and we're working heavily on her pet dog stuff.

almost didnt make it to agility class - but it went well. worked berlin well before our runs and in between runs, and she was better. i still have some questions in my head, but she's working well.

started with weaves- berlin was spot on, but not as fast as she can be. debbie wants me to go back to verbal marking each correct pole for now.

rah had a superstar moment and was FAST and absolutely correct with the poles and single stepping. debbie said when he gets speed on him he's going to FLY through them! and he even threw in a foot target for old times sake :)

then moved to doing some sequences from USDAA nationals this past week (my trainer was out there). rah handled the first sequence really well, even though i threw my front cross in late, but it really helps to have dogs that you can send to the tunnel from a distance - and rah loves me using my "oh shit arm" (offside arm) to pull him in, worked great with the threadle!

berlin did well too on that sequence- im trying to run her like she would be in the trial, instead of taking huge lead outs, just giving myself a jump or so. need to work on those stays at the same time :)

second sequence was much harder for rah, because we had to run past the tunnel 3 times and NOT take it - so because of that, i had to position myself in front of the tunnel and it made it hard for me to get to the places i need to be to push him out and round the jump line. berlin had an easier time, but she's not AS ocd as rah is about the tunnel - she's close though :)

hung out for a long time until rah's utility class - i pulled him from the heeling class because it's not at his level right now. its actually an open/utility class so we call it the versatility class :)

we started with db retrieve games - restrained retrieves into fronts, other games, etc - he actually controlled himself really well!

then we played a glove game - quick succession each of us went in and got a glove then left. rah for some reason thought we were doing go outs and kept trying to target the stanchion :) silly boy - but he did fairly nice gloves.

moved to signals- rah broke. of course, he broke because his first one was perfect, so kathy had me do a crouch and run game - so he walked every other stand after that - kathy worked him to try to fix it, but he needs to understand the constructs of the crouch and run and maintain his own position until i truly release him. training point for the next week :)

articles - rah was perfect. PERFECT. worked a pile of 12 articles out, and kathy was RIGHT THERE and he did 4 perfect retrieves. im so thrilled with that.

then kathy and i worked on his bj and him cutting him and him arcing so much on the front - im meeting him out at the spot i want him to land in, and playing with him there - then im also immediately showing him where front is. it actually causes him to power over the jump LESS which is fine - he jumps it so hard and with such extension that *that* creates part of the reason he overshoots. of course, part of my body language is the cause as well. as always.

speaking of db retrieve games - we were discussing all stars this year and they may allow people to compete as "teams" too - one dog at each level. rah wants his team to be called SIX FLAGS. and he cannot wait - CANNOT WAIT - for the db retrieve relay game. he was made for that relay.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

i dont love you anymore?

there's been some stuff going on in my own life (wait, i have a life outside of dogs?????) and it's not that i haven't had time to update the blog - i just really havent. i know, bad me.

training this week was short - no agility because deb is at USDAA nationals in az, no class on thurs since we all showed at the big cluster. so just rah in utility on wed - go outs were pretty nice. like at the match the weekend prior, he had a pretty good lock on his stanchion without seeing his toy, and turned off it lovely. we do need to work on his fronts, since hes jumping so extended (for a change) he's having a problem getting back to me and hitting a nice front. need to ask where i can stand - we worked on it with the jumps and how to fix it, but we can see if it will help the bj too.

articles - i had a terrible time because i got bitter lime in my mouth and wanted to die. but rah wasnt perfect, but he worked through a few things - first, lydia was on top of his pile pressuring him. i also did most of the retrieves restrained which amps him up and is more likely to get him just picking and grabbing without working. lydia saw again up close that if he smells the right article, he will pick up what is underneath his mouth - which if the pile is tight, is NOT necessarily the same article. i tried scenting less and we worked the pile REALLY tight together and forced him to work it out. he did!!!!

gloves - if i can work him in pivots before hand to make him understand that *i* give him permission to look at the gloves, i get lovely pivots. if we don't, he locks onto gloves (any glove) and cant think through enough to pivot, at least not enough to SIT at the end of the pivot.

signals - worked on the flexi again, when i do it RIGHT he is golden :) his issue wont be missing signals, it will be not walking the stand - he's so into this that he knows what is coming back.

showed thursday - biggest trial rah has been in. right before we went in the ring (2nd to last in the class of 25!!!!) rah choked on a cookie and he did his entire show while choking/gulping/licking his lips. i almost pulled him, but he worked through it - certainly not his best trial at all. but we took 4th with a 191.5 i believe (ill get the breakdown later, its in my car). much more relaxed considering he was doing weird things the entire time.

friday rah decided to be afraid of men again. in a nice change, he DID try his hardest to work through it in the ring - we q'd with his worst score ever, a 185.5 - with 2-3 substantials (no sits, no fronts) because of the pressure the judge put. rah kept giving him the eyeball, not wanting to put his back at him. he was 5th, no ribbons for that :)

berlin had her private lesson yesterday and we went back to basics (actually, mercury had one too as did my friends other dobe, eco - three dobe privates, god bless terry). we worked the entire hour on her pet behaviors - specifically staying with me. berlin is now tethered to me and will have to follow in the house with manners and will have to practice "with me" multiple times a day. what she does is when she's off leash, she decides when she is done and will leave me to go visit what she really wants - toys on the floor and food yesterday weren't so bad, but visiting people she knows, visiting with OMG quest and OMG!!! bunny - were the kickers. im sure barking at people she doesn't know will be something else as well.

so, that's where we are - i can see how this lack of commitment to the work we're doing is hurting us both. so now, my dogs become better pets. i am sure that despite the 20+ titles they have earned, the WALLS of ribbons in two rooms, wont impress my family as much as my dogs potentially having manners.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

our first agility trial... the recap

so, we had our first agility trial this weekend. percentage wise it was probably our worst showing ever in terms of wins, q's, placements - but it was probably the most fun we've had ever!!!!

i want to start out by saying how much i love my trainer - she's the one that encouraged me to do this, and she's really been a huge help in dealing with both dogs - not just in agility, but obedience as well - and drive capping, drive building, and just the relationship with my dogs. she can see when i get hectic with rah, when i get too hard on berlin. the walkers have done so much with me in obedience - i just cannot say how much i love my trainers enough!!!

so, this weekend was the trial. lydia woke up early and drove my truck with the dogs down to the trial since jumpers was SUPPOSED to go first in the am, but they ended up changing order since we actually only had one ring... so i got to work, and still made it to the trial in time to run my own dogs. poor lydia was up at 6 am, and i ran them at 4 pm :)

berlin was first in the ring, and i was so nervous. unfortunately, berlin decided on sat that she couldnt hold a start line stay - the course was not that complex, had a pinwheel with two crosses ... started out with three in a row but i didnt get much past the first jump when she went - i wasn't ready, and she had no commitment to the line... instead of driving her, i gave her no cues at all and she ended up taking a huge loop after the second jump and surveying the ring for a few seconds...

im proud of me though, i didnt get hectic - i called her back, she flung herself onto my right side and i sent her over the second jump and we were off... she was FLYING and she looked amazing - so fast in fact i had to change my game plan in the middle of the run and do both rear crosses with her, since i couldnt get in front of her she was driving so far ahead! she did marvelously and ran clean the rest of the course, but unfortunately she was over course time. nadac is all about the speed apparently!!!!!

rah was last in the class - he held a three jump SLS (YAY RAY!) and he took the first 6 jumps perfectly - then mom screwed up and i crossed him at the wrong jump and actually stopped pushing him and driving him - so he started to spin next to me until i sent him over the jump - he regrouped and except for a few more screwed up cues from me (that resulted in his BC like spinning until he understood where to go), he actually also ran clean... but was 2 seconds over course time due to wasted spins :)

so, they both ran clean - it was nice! just no q's...

tunnelers was next, and berlin went first again - she had a SMOKING run but right before the end, mom was dumb and shot her into the wrong tunnel... she stepped in and came right back out, finished the course well under course time, but off course.

rah - at this point we were both fried. my cues were all over, i was running my ass off to keep up with him and it was disastrous :) i think he took every tunnel about 12 times. i couldnt help but laugh - it was all me.

so that was our first day - i was so proud. i dont think ive ever been so proud to nq on all my runs :) the dogs ran outside!!!! (you know how much i hate to show outside and how crazy distractable rah can be with the critters) and they never even once thought about leaving me in the ring. berlin ignored ALL the people in the ring and focused on her job at hand - no barking at anyone even when they came too close to get her leash!!!!! focus on me and the job at hand. and they ran WITHOUT COLLARS!!! and berlin ran IN THE RAIN.

if you had told me earlier this year, my dogs would be running agility completely naked outside in the rain, i would have thought you were on crack.

sunday was a new day - didnt end up running until later, but i didnt get there until 9:30. and berlin's breeder came out to see us for the day (and be my bucket bitch, handling dogs and holding/taping... LOVE HER!) -
tunnelers - berlin held a one tunnel lead out!! and she would have totally q'd had mom not been so concerned about tunnel end discrimination that she sent her around a tunnel, and then when she did it right, forgot to cross her so i literally threw her into the wrong tunnel turning... UGH! rest of it was beautiful and fast.
rah was MUCH better, but we had problems at the same tunnel berlin had... but we managed to run clean and fast until the last tunnel when i dropped my arm assuming he was going into the tunnel... we know what happens when you assume... we were 2 seconds over time again!

jumpers was crazy and berlin blew her stay - but RAH got a Q!!!! a real life, agility q!!!!!!!!

im so proud of him!!! videos to follow...