31 March 2009

I am currently in the process of uploading Nationals videos to YouTube, they should all be up in the next hour.

30 March 2009

I'm home - the short of it

Well I'm finally back. I'm fairly pleased with both dogs. Friday they both ran clean but not particularly fast in ISC JWW (Drifter was 11th, Kiba about 25th or so). ISC Standard was an adventure - with Drifter I ran over a jump standard and the next time through he didn't see the jump (it was a pull-in part of a serpentine so it just visually didn't make sense without a jump standard). Kiba was just a dork in ISC STD, no getting around it. Anyways I got back to the hotel early that night, but Pennsylvania ended up 2nd in State Team without me. Go PA!
Saturday was a good day, with both dogs going clean in the first 2 rounds. Drifter was 2nd in Standard, then 5th in Jumpers (but of course they only have rosettes to 4th!). He was 2nd overall at the end of Saturday. Kiba was 10th and 11th in her two classes, putting her 6th overall (out of like 250 dogs in 20"). Sunday morning Kiba was the 13th dog to run in Hybrid, and she gutted out another clean run. She did have one great big wide corner where she didn't read my cue, so I was a bit nervous about my time being down, but we still ended up 9th overall in 20" after 3 rounds. Not bad for a dog who just turned 4 last December, was in Open this time last year, and measures into the 16" class:-)
Drifter flew off the see-saw in Hybrid, which meant we had to run Challenger round. We pushed hard for tight corners and fast lines in Challenger, but he dropped a bar. Still, over the weekend he only dropped one bar out of all 6 classes, and flew off a see-saw. I can't really blame him for my mistake in ISC Std, so those are really his only two faults. He handled flawlessly all weekend, and really looked "together". All 3 dogwalks were gorgeous and perfect and fast. In fact I was a bit peeved that everyone fawned over another dog's running dogwalks. Guess I'm just not interesting! I was also peeved when I heard someone suggested that Drifter does not turn tightly. Now, yes, he does turn tighter now than he used to, but he's never been a dog to run way out wide around corners, so that annoyed me a bit. I will upload the videos over the next few days, and it is quite obvious from them that he does NOT go wide on 95% of his corners. He is, in fact, tighter than most dogs!

Anyhow, i was happy with both of them. Finals was a course that was deceptively hard. The discrimination got many, many handlers. Kiba was super-hyped by the crowd noise, and I was apparently incorrect in assuming she would not fly off hte see-saw (that was her very first fly-off, ever!). From there she got wilder, and while she continued to handle well and turned in a blazing-fast time (I think the 3rd-fastest of all dogs), she went on to knock 2 bars and miss the aframe contact. Oh well! She did very well for a young dog. I was worried the noise would bother her, but she handled it fine. Of course, in AKC's weird scoring method for Finals, EVERY fault is 18 points off. So all the dogs who had an off-course just got a score of 82, instead of an elimination like in USDAA. So even though Kiba stayed on course and had a great time, she still ended up at the bottom of the heap (16th out of 18) because all the off course dogs beat her score. I think that's totally bogus. But that's AKC for ya, always with the weird scoring.

I'll post detailed analysis of the runs as I get the videos up, which I won't be doing till tomorrow at the earliest. I have every run on tape except Drifter's ISC Std where I clobbered the jump.

24 March 2009

Last Post before Nationals

I've been kinda busy this week. Well mostly. I finished up my packing and taught class tonight. I've been on Facebook a bit more, but mostly just not online as much as I was before.

Anyhow, Diann will be pleased (or disgusted) to hear that not only did I enjoy "Must Love Dogs" but I also purchased and watched Twilight, and enjoyed that too.
Then again, I always did have a thing for vampire stuff. Even corny ones. Like Twilight.

Moving on. . . had some good practice sessions in the last two days, trying to maintain teamwork and dogwalks and weaves. I feel ready. This is a vacation for me (since I don't get REAL vacations). So I'm definitely looking forward to it. I'm already a bit sad that I probably can't go next year (unless someone wants to sponsor me for the insane cost to qualify? What, no takers?)

Anyway, I won't have any internet access all weekend, so I will direct all enquiries to Diann G. She's coming just to watch, so she'll have PLENTY of time to check in on me and tell everybody how everything's going. Also agilityvision is doing a live video feed (I think it's $20) but I don't think it's every ring.

See ya!

22 March 2009

Had a pretty busy weekend, for a weekend home. Most weekends home I am content to hang around and do very little "stuff", and enjoy it. Especially after the insane amount of trialing I chugged through during the latter half of last year.

Yesterday I worked the dogs in the yard a bit in the morning, going back over Kiba's iffy weave entries and Drifter's questionable dogwalks. We had a pretty good session, I worked on finding the right amount of push on Kiba's line to get her soft side entry (normally I'd train it instead, but with Nationals in a week I want to know what I need to do). For Drifter's dogwalk I worked on encouraging forwardness on the first two ramps and a firm "touch" (his old foot target word) command on the bottom plank. It worked pretty well, actually; it was just enough to get him to focus down and toss an extra stride on the end, which is all I really wanted. I also worked on his full-out 90-degree dogwalk-weave, which he does quite well.

After my morning session, DJ and I headed out, first stopping at Kohls for some running pants, then at Borders for the third book in a series I just started. I like this author and I know I will read them quickly. I was dismayed to find that this particular book was only in hardcover, but since I've already started the first book and like it a lot, I went ahead and splurged. So I have 2 and 1/2 books of a series, plus the newest Dexter book to read at Nationals. Staying by myself and only having 2 runs per day with 2 dogs, I will probably get plenty of reading in. I find it a wonderful way to stay relaxed, and it also keeps the dogs relaxed by my being there with them. After our two shopping stops we went to the theater by the King of Prussia mall (2nd largest in the country, by the way) and saw Watchmen in IMAX. I really enjoyed it. DJ has the full comic, and I read it last summer and enjoyed it a lot too. They changed the ending up a bit in the movie, but the spirit of it and actual outcome are almost the same, they changed the "vehicle of destruction" you could say. Still, we very much enjoyed it. I thought Rohrshach, in particular, was a very well played character who acted and sounded exactly as I had envisioned him.

when I got back I did one more brief work session in the yard, again getting decent results from both dogs.

Today I met with Sharon for some course work at Julie's. Both my dogs were a bit out of it, really, but I was happy with their obstacle performances, including Drifter's dogwalk. And I've found in the past that a poor training session is in no way a predictor of poor trial results, so I really don't let it bother me too much. When I got back, I spent the better part of 2 hours stripping everything out of the van, cleaning it, vacuuming it, putting stuff back in, then having it washed. Looks much better now. I left out the 2 (of 4) rearmost crates and put in a big fluffy dog bed instead. I am planning to take Drifter and Kiba with me to work on Wednesday to give me a head start on my drive to Raleigh, and I thought it would be nice if they could hang out together in a larger area in the back of the van, instead of being stuck in their crates the whole time.
After that I started laundry and got stuck watching romantic comedies. That, by the way, is all DJ's fault. He started me watching this stuff, and now I love it. Saw "Must Love Dogs" for the first time this afternoon, it was great. Love Mr. Cusack, he's very good at the moody broken up dude attitude. Anyways, tomorrow and Tuesday will be for finishing packing, then Tuesday evening I teach class, then Wednesday I leave! I'm excited to be on my own for the trip, actually. Even getting my own hotel room! At a comfy Hampton too. Ahhhhh relaxing!

20 March 2009

Remember me?

I used to post all the time, but now that I'm not posting at work and have class and other stuff to do when I get back, it's been hard to squeeze in blogging time. Monday after work I took Drifter and Kiba for a short (50minutes) walk in the park. I climbed that hellish hill I found back in January because I heard people talking off on my normal trails. I was sort of dreading it because I had set out only intending on a casual walk, and the last time I went up that hill it was dreadful. Well apparently I'm in better shape now, because I chugged right up the whole thing. i was breathing hard, definitely, but I didn't have to stop to catch my breath at all and didnt' feel tired afterwards. Tuesday and Wednesday I worked my dogs a bit and taught class. Drifter's dogwalk continues to cause me no small amount of anxiety. At the training field he wants to skip a stride on the down ramp, as he was doing once in a while at home. Skipping that stride means he comes across the top ramp, goes over the 2nd apex, hits ONCE in the middle of the ramp, and leaves again. I've been trying to convey that this is unacceptable behavior by picking him up and putting him back in the car, but he just didn't seem to get it. So I gave up (sort of) and ended up going back and adding his old foot target back on (it's a 2" by 2" piece of plexiglass, hardly obvious), back-chained a few times, then worked with that in place. MUCH better. Such a dork. It's almost like he just doesn't want me to relax about the damned obstacle. Like he is deliberately making me work it over and over with a slightly different slant. I know he doesn't do it on purpose, but some days it sure seems like it!
Kiba, on the other hand, had a brain fart and couldn't remember how to enter the weaves from a severe soft-side entry. Why do they always do things like this before a big event??

Thursday (yesterday) I went out to see Ria with Drifter, Kiba, and myself. Drifter had some mild tightness behind his shoulders, which was a bit unusual. So now I'm wondering if that was the cause of the dogwalk iffiness, or if it was an effect of the numerous repetitions I had done. I guess I'll never know. I don't plan to drill DW's again before nationals. I will work courses on Sunday and integrate the DW into them and if he does it well, I am just going to pretend nothing was wrong. Kiba was in pretty good shape as well, except for a small tightening in her upper back (she always has a bit of tightness in her back - I know I've said i wouldn't, but I am considering doing 16 in AKC with her next year to preserve her body). Then I had my shoulder worked on. I'm a mess. The shoulder pulls everything around it tight, from my neck down to the middle of my back. She had trouble believing I didn't get headaches from my neck being so ridiculously tight. But I don't. I also have full range of motion with my right arm, although certain motions have little strength behind them, and certain other motions cause a clicking or grinding sound. Anyway. I'm in much worse shape than the dogs. The months at 26" didn't seem to have any ill effect on Drifter's body, as he looked pretty darn good overall.

Tomorrow I plan to pull everything out of the van and clean it. Pull out all the old course maps, all the AKC armband numbers, the audiobooks I never listened to, the dirt from the muddy pawprints, etc. I'm going to vacuum. i'm going to take it to a car wash. Then I'm going to put 2 crates back in, and in the back make a nice snuggly bed area because I may bring them to work with me on Wednesday to get a head start on my drive down to Raleigh.

proof that Kiba actually was bigger than Seri, for a few weeks (Seri is 11 weeks here)

16 March 2009

Paws in Motion USDAA Day 2

A good day, overall.

I did bring my camera, however I only got one run on tape, and it was unspectacular so I'm not going to bother uploading it (youtube=pain in the ass).

First up was Drifter's Grand Prix. I pressured myself on this run. I WANTED this run. It was a fairly tough course too, which was good, made me think. I've found I perform best with Drifter if I hype myself up *just enough* to get some adrenaline going. I am SO relaxed and chill that I am not edgey enough sometimes. Drifter likes it when I'm edgey and he rises to the occasion. Not saying we often NQ because I'm so relaxed I mess up, on the contrary I hardly ever really mess up, but I think Drifter can feel it somehow. Anyway, he ran clean and gorgeous and we won 26"! SO glad, because now he has 1 each of steeplechase and GP, so he's Q'ed for Regionals. And with the girls both having their Q's for Nationals (2 of each) I feel that I don't need to attend several USDAA trials I was planing, which will save me probably $1000 or so all told. I may hit an AKC trial instead, but maybe not. I can't quite take the whole time off though, I'd go mad. I think it will be good to change our practice time/trial time ratio though. I really like what I am seeing this year from my dogs, and the only real difference is more consistent practice time on really tough courses.

Anyway, Drifter and kiba also Q'd in Masters Gamblers (no surprise there), Kiba q'ed in Jumpers again and I totally forgot to go see where she placed. Then I hung around for 2nd round of steeplechase. Seri's 26" class was relatively small, since many dogs faulted in the first round, and one dog had left for home (long drive). Seri had a great run but knocked one bar and ended up 2nd place, still good for $56 (140 dogs entered!). Kiba had a fantastic run in 22" and won by a good margin, good for another $98, so I came home very happy that I stayed. So a good day, Drifter won GP, Kiba won Steeplechase and Seri got a 2nd. Whew!

I promise to try to get more video at AKC Nationals, which is our next trial. Thursday we have the pre-nationals PT appointment with Ria, home over the weekend to work out kinks, then I leave next Wednesday! So soon, I can hardly believe it!

14 March 2009

Paws in Motion USDAA Day 1 Recap

I deliberately entered only classes in the first half of the day today, and BOY am I glad i did! The schedule had Starters in 2 rings at once, and then Masters in 2 rings at once, and Steeplechase in the middle. It was sort of crazy. Lots of people, lots of dogs. Tough courses too. Steeplechase wasn't bad except there was a line with a broad jump (the new USDAA-spec one, very tall and vertical looking), and then you had to either rear cross the broad jump, or somehow beat them down the line and push to the tunnel. Tough! Rest of the course was nice, but since my dogs hadn't seen such an imposing looking broad jump I was a little afraid to rear cross it.

Anyway, here's how the day went. Oh. I forgot my camera. Sorry!
Seri in Starters Standard; She was whacko going in and I was worried about the spacing in a couple places, but she was pretty under control for Her Royal Insanity, and ran picture perfect for a Q and 1st (35 seconds!).
Next was Kiba in Steeplechase Round 1 (yes, it was FIRST). I felt like she wasn't quite "all there", and she spun at one point, anticipating a rear cross when it was only a pull. Then she missed the 2nd aframe contact. She also ticked the broad jump, but didn't knock it, and the judge actually was judging this properly (meaning you have to displace a board to get faulted). So she ended with 5 faults and a decent time for a Q.
I scratched Seri from Starters Jumps about then, because it was going to conflict with my two 26" Steeplechase runs, and her now-finished AD title made the run irrelevant.
Next was Drifter in Steeplechase. As usual he bit some dirt going into the ring. when I released him he barely brushed the first jump and it fell very late. Then he knocked another bar later and I realized he was HACKING on the dirt stuck in his throat. I paused and chided him for being ridiculous and he went HACK HACK. Idiot! So 10 faults, no Q.
Seri's steeplechase was a thing of. . well, not beauty, but she got around clean somehow! She almost fell on her face like 3 times, but each time managed to recover and leap up over the 26" bar without touching it. She was REALLY close to the wrong end of the tunnel before my screaming call got her to call off it, but that was the only thing she did 'wrong' (not faulted in steeplechase) so she was clean for a Q.
Drifter in Jumpers was next. Jumpers was an odd course, it was big and open till you got to number 14, when it turned into a pull-through-180-270 to the end course. hardly anybody went clean. Drifter was actually GORGEOUS except I was overly anxious on the pull-through and didnt' shut my mouth and he knocked that bar. I believe the dogs who Q'ed went the long way around that jump, instead of through the middle. Drifter's time was 24.68, the winning dog's time was 27.7, if that tells you anthing. In jumpers. with no weaves, that is a huge margin. So he got 4th anyway. He then ran clean in a relatively twisty standard course, with a pretty good (although not exceptional) dogwalk contact. Only a little slow on the table. Won that one.
Kiba's standard was good except she did the same aframe-run-straight even though I was pushing her off the end that she did last weekend. Strange, something I'll have to work on. So then i went into training mode (although later I was told I didn't actually get a refusal and was clean!). She was sort of jumpy on the table, and I deliberately twitched my knees slightly to test her and sure enough OFF she popped! So i corrected that. Then we finished and she spun the wrong way out of a tunnel towards the end too. Odd. Her Jumpers went really well though, and I was quieter on the jump of the pull-through, and she finished clean with 25.20, not quite catching Drifter's time but probably good enough for 1st, since most people were chickening out and going the super-long way around that jump to avoid the pull-through.

I was done right around 1pm. I WILL remember the camera tomorrow!

13 March 2009

USDAA Announces:

The 2009 Cynosport World Games will take place November 11-15, 2009. The event is returning to Scottsdale, Arizona, two weeks later on the calendar than in the previous two years in order to avoid end-of-October heat. The event will once again be webcast through USDAA.com.

We researched many new sites for the 2009 Games, but we were unable to find a facility that met our criteria that was available on dates that would work with the current tournament season schedule. Since choosing a particular facility may necessitate an earlier regional season, we will look at 2010 with that in mind, and know when the championships will be before the regional schedule is finalized. The search for an eastern or central site for 2010 continues in hopes that it can be announced at the Cynosport World Games this November.



Kiba prays to the agility gods for a closer site next year

12 March 2009

AKC Nationals, so soon!

In two weeks I will be done running the State Team ISC classes! I can't believe it's only 2 weeks away. At the same time, it's very surreal for me, like I still don't quite believe I'm going. Not that I am shocked I qualified or anything like that - I can do anything! - I think it's more tied into the idea that I'm used to the winter months being a time off from big events. Usually I have a big gap between USDAA Nationals (sorry, CYNOSPORT GAMES), and the SE Regional in Perry. That's a big gap - usually my winters/springs are just time spent prepping, fixing things that have slipped training-wise, and just garnering tournament Q's. This winter I've had to be much more serious, keeping the dogs in shape, going to the PT as regularly as I can afford (you try $50 per dog with 3 dogs and a person needing it!), and generally keeping handling and obstacle performances in tip top shape. The good news it that both smoothies are pretty solid on most of their handling and obstacles. They both have their minor issues, like Drifter's one bad weave entry (although he's 100% great on all but one exact tough entry which I know about so I compensate for it!), and Kiba's tendency to over-run me slightly on tight lead-outs (working on that). But my point is, we are ready. Drifter's dogwalk will probably continue to make me nervous till the day I retire him. It's not that I'm constantly retraining it so much as I'm constantly refining it, or even evolving it. Anyway, I'm psyched to go to AKC Nationals, I've never gone before, I just hope we can pull off the consistency necessary to do well. I feel that both of my dogs are now two of the fastest in the country, even little Kiba who I had sort of written off as a 2-year old. she's now posting ridiculous good times and winning grand prix's right and left.

So my goals are lofty, I'd like to at least put in a good showing in the ISC classes (I am going to Tryouts, after all!). But most of all I want to make Finals with both dogs. Kiba may have to get in through the first three rounds; I've heard the Challenger round can be insanely competitive, and while Kiba CAN rock the house, she's not always the fastest thing on certain courses and if I have to push her contacts she may miss. I'd much rather just run clean 3 times and know she'll get in the top 17 speedwise. Drifter is in the same situation except that with him i am more confident of his ability to win the Challenger round should that be the position we find ourselves in. He's fast:-)

10 March 2009

Wow...

guess there isn't much going on in the agility world this weekend aside from Paws in Motion. They are running 3 rings, indoors (USDAA) with a Steeplechase and GP, and they ended up with 357 dogs, 2600 runs, and anticipate running till 9-10pm both days. The Steeplechase has 140 dogs and GP has 128! I'm thinking I'll stick around Sunday and run the 2nd round of Steeplechase for the cash! Should be $100 or so on the win!
i'm also VERY glad I had the foresight to not enter the last few classes each day; I'm only in stuff that should be done by early afternoon. Phew!

Vet and the last video from the weekend




Yesterday I took Drifter to the vet. I needed to get his Rabies vaccine with his microchip ID on the certificate. it's been 3 years since he was done anyway, so I didn't feel too bad about getting it done. The only thing that will upset me is if I am so lucky as to make both FCI and then IFCS world teams, because then he'll have to get another one done before May 2010, and I'll be a little uncomforable with that (unless the IFCS location only requires a titer, which we don't know since they haven't actually announced the location yet - last I heard was possibly London or somewhere else in UK). He weighed 39.4 lbs, just about perfect. He's touched 40 once in the past, but this is really the perfect weight for him. I can't believe back when he was 3 and he won the Northeast Regional for the first time (2006) he only weighed 33 lbs! That was when I drew the line in the sand and said from then on, he was going to learn to eat. and he did. Just took a little patience and apathy from me (trust me, it's really hard to take away a scrawny dog's food, but it WORKS eventually!). Anyway, I also had blood drawn and had them run the Heartworm/Lyme disease SNAP test and he was clear for those, and I had them drain his anal glands. He's my only dog that doesn't manage to do so on his own; they impact now and then.

So I just need to finish out my competition record and I can send in my entire Tryouts entry!

09 March 2009

Drifter's dogwalk, and another video

Drifter missed a dogwalk contact Saturday. I came home that afternoon and drilled it, adding in a "touch" cue hoping to just get him to shift his weight and throw an extra stride on, but all I got at the trial Sunday was a less-crappy DW, instead of a good one. Very frustrating. He was doing great all fall, but it seems like every time I am convinced he "has it" something different pops up. At this point I don't even think he does it at home the same way he does it at trials or even at training. Of course I am not going to add a stop (he's 6, that wouldn't work anyway), and I spent over a year trying to re-introduce the "touch" cue with little success. So the only real choice open to me is to drill it at full speed and work on getting him to adjust at the top of the down ramp instead of just skipping and hitting once on it and leaving. He needs to adjust at the top of the downramp/end of the top ramp, then put one solid stride on the down. This is when his DW looks the best. He CAN do the whole thing in 4 strides, but it should be 5 to be comfortable, and 6 for a turn. (yes, it IS hard to count, I can only do it on video!) I don't count strides in training, I just watch his adjustment and down ramp hit placement. I want a FULL stride on the down, which requires him to adjust as he comes up to it. I did a lot of reps Sat/Sun and today, and met with some success. I don't think he knows quite what I'm getting at though. With only 3 weeks and 1 trial left before AKC Nationals, I'm a bit worried! Today we go to the vet to get our Rabies certificate with Microchip ID on it so we can send in our Tryouts entry.

Sunday videos:

Next week i will put all the runs for each dog on a single video. hopefully the length won't make it take any longer for youtube to upload (not really possible, since youtube is taking forever with 40 second clips!)



08 March 2009

JWW from Saturday




and Kiba, her MXJ run, and the video is wrong, I actually got 2nd not 1st.

Finally - Kiba's Std from Saturday

youtube hates me

I tried to upload the 2nd video for OVER AN HOUR last night before giving up. I am trying again currently but if it doesn't work I will try using Blogger and just posting them here for now.

Short of it for today; I realized this morning that Kiba's JWW leg yesterday was her MXJ! Oh, and she got 2nd instead of 1st. She had another great JWW run this morning except she hit one bar on a funny push-out. Then she qualified in standard (almost had a run-by on the table but saved it) which was her MX! So she won't actually be going to Nationals with only an AX AXJ, but it's still funny that she got 6 double Q's and didn't get 10 of each leg:-)

Seri was better today, but still no Q's.

Drifter had a poetry-in-motion JWW run for another 1st and Q, then was a dork in standard, giving me a so-so dogwalk and a knocked bar. Oh well. He is in dogwalk boot camp for the next 3 weeks. His striding has been funny on the last ramp, he isn't adjusting at the top of that ramp like he used to, so I'm working on reinforcing that particular behavior - if he puts one good stride on the down he's almost 100% in the yellow. It's when he skips it and tries to just land and go that he misses badly (did that in GP Finals)

07 March 2009

YouTube. Now in Super-Duper-Extra-Slow!

Seri's Nov JWW run. The rest of the videos might be a while. Youtube is apparently having a slow day.

TBAC Day 1

TBAC Day 1
I'm currently uploading the videos to YouTube but the mpegs always take forEVER so I'll add a post with them later on.

First up Drifter 24" Standard. This course wasn't bad overall, but had a couple spots where you had to dance around a jump or a judge in your way. Still, I was excited about the dogwalk being on a long straight line after the weaves. Drifter started out well, all the way to #15 dogwalk, where he proceeded to hit once on the down ramp (our new issue, apparently) and pop off, NOT taking the tunnel afterwards. This is especially strange because usually once I've told him "GO TUNNEL" pretty much nothing can stop him from stampeding down the ramp and into the tunnel. This time I got nothing - a pop and some hesitation, he didn't really focus on the tunnel at all. He leapt off and came straight to me. Whether he was confused or whether he knew he'd done it wrong, I don't know, but I immediately told him to lie down and walked off the course. i did not get this monstrosity on video - my videographer kept pushing the wrong button:-)

Next up was Seri's 24" Novice JWW. She was absolutely nutso in the building today. Quivering and whining before she went in (and she was the 5th dog in the class!). Even so, she stayed with me and worked hard for the weave entry, handled well, just dropped two bars. She rushes and ends up too close to the jumps. Oh well. Video to come on this one, and it's LOUD.

Kiba's Exc standard - I handled the opening slightly different from Drifter because Kiba is not at skilled as going out over a jump and coming right back without "shopping" her other options as Drifter is. I planned a flip/push off the bottom of the aframe to a chute. Well something got up her butt and she flew off the aframe straight ahead and to the left while I was turning hard to the right. Strange but true. Kiba went off course. Video to come. Rest of the run was ok, I briefly corrected her see-saw because she didn't wait for my release, but it was a very brief pause.

In Excellent JWW there were a lot of front/rear cross options, and I felt that the ending especially was easily doable either way, but because I've been trying to handle seriously and push for things, i decided to all the fronts. Very few people did. And Drifter was fabulous. i believe he had the fastest time of everybody, and he was the fastest 24" dog by 2 seconds. Video on the way.

Seri's Novice Standard was sort of a train wreck. I did not get video but it really wasn't worth videoing anyway. She sort of ran/fell/flew off the bottom of the dogwalk, missing the contact entirely. Then she ran off at a right angle away from me and ran through a tunnel before realizing i was standing waiting for her and coming back. Then she was better but still just totally didnt' see the see-saw the first time. Sigh. One day she'll grow up!

Kiba's JWW was almost as lovely as Drifter's, just one or two mildly wide corners. His time was 25.71, and she was hot on his heels at 26.03. The slight wideness made the difference. I left before the class was over but I'm assuming she won. Got this on video too.

I am surprised by the number of people who keep asking me why I don't run her in 16" to blow all the 16's away at Nationals. And someone who doesn't know me at all asked why I didn't run 16 so I could win. Well the answer's the same - Kiba can win 20", and that's what I'd rather win! When she gets older or has physical issues with the jumps, then I will drop her right away. i am the absolute first person to be upset about other people keeping their dogs up at higher heights longer than they should, but for now Kiba's doing just fine.

06 March 2009

Park and Dream Park

well the snow's melting. and while there is definitely mud, it is not as deep as it could have been, I guess. Yesterday I took Drifter and Kiba to the park for an hour walk, and today I took Drifter, Kiba, and Seri for a half hour run (whenever Seri comes, it's a "run", without her, it's a "walk").

Seri especially is REALLY funny with the horse jumps. They are usually sort of stacked logs held up by smaller logs on the side, or sometimes something else, but usually wooden, and usually 2 feet high or less (if you're agility-only, that's 24":-). Every time we round a corner and there's a horse jump in the next "lane" (it's a big circlular-ish area with different wide lanes with horse jumps in them) Seri and Kiba RUN full-bore up to the jump - Kiba jumps it and then just wanders around waiting for me. But Seri runs AROUND it and goes to the other side of it, runs up to the base of it, and stares at me over the jump. "should I jump it mama? can I? Please? now? now? how bout now?" and she'll stand there staring at me across the log for however long it takes me to catch up. Kiba does it sometimes too, but if I don't tell her to jump it, Kiba wanders off. Seri just waits. It is so freaking cute I want a pic, but I don't really want to lug my camera up there just for a couple shots. Maybe next time. Maybe not.

I have to get up at 5am tomorrow to get to the trial in time to have Seri measured and walk Drifter's standard course. Exc Std 26/24 starts running at 7:45. Luckily even with Seri's classes (Nov!) I'll be out of there by 1pm. Sunday will be the longer day; I have to be there around 8 for Seri's first run, but 24/26 is last in Exc and so is Seri's other run in another ring, so I'm scheduled to be there till almost 5pm. Ick. At least I have 3 dogs, so a little bit busier than a normal AKC trial with just the two Exc dogs.

Don't know if I can get all my runs recorded since my designated taper (mother) won't be there all day like I will, since she has a 16 and 20 dog, no 24's.

04 March 2009

Nothing much


Nothing much going on right now. Of course the instant we decide it is safe to move our classes outside, the sky dumps 8 inches of snow on us. It's been very slowly melting since Monday morning, and it the temperature is supposed to climb over the weekend (near 60!) so I'm hopeful that the ground will be clear by class-time next Tuesday.

Today I printed out the Tryouts premium, and filled in my 4 double Q dates and my 8 std and JWW legs. (we've never, ever qualified and been under the minimum YPS). 6 of the first 8 JWW legs were over 6 YPS (on twisty AKC courses, with weave poles, I'm happy with that). Interesting how we went through a summer streak of lots of STD legs then a fall streak of lots of JWW legs. My Q rate doesn't look too horrible, I double Q'ed generally once a month, and considering I only showed 24" AKC from July to September, then in November, we did garner a good bit of Q's (something like 24-25 total). His standard YPS is usually 4.75-4.95, also a very good, high range.

I haven't completely streamlined my full competition history, as I can send that in after AKC Nationals so it will be fully completed. I also want to apply for a passport sometime soon so i can be sure to have it in case I make either team. I've never been farther out of the country than Ontario before!

I ended up renting a stall for AKC Nationals with someone who asked. It sounds like a nice way to go, pay $45 for a nice enclosed space, closer to the rings. It will just be 2 people with 4 border collies.

I have an AKC trial this weekend, then USDAA next weekend, a weekend off, then AKC Nationals. My dogs are not as fit as I wish they were; the bad weather has not helped my cause. I think they were fitter overall in early February then they are now, the rain/mud/snow/ice was horrible through most of February, but I'm hoping that with only mud and maybe slightly warmer weather I can just muck through the park and get back into the swing of 2-hour hikes again. the uneven terrain really beefed up their muscles.

03 March 2009

Dogwalk Experiment

an experiment in dogwalk fun. filmed Saturday, obviously before the snow hit.

02 March 2009

and here's Seri

Holy crap she's crazy. These are only the best ones, I cut out a few nutsoid ones where she sort of flew through the air and missed the contact and half the board. She hit most of them though. This was her first time on 5'6" in a while too, might have made her worse. I will have to film her at 5'10" sometime to compare.

Kiba's aframe study from 2/24/09

Kiba's aframe is much less consistent than Drifter's. She just sort of comes over running and then I tell her what to do at the end - slow down, run, whatever. For your amusement, here it is (no flying squirrel frames in practice, sorry)

Tryouts

So I haven't sent in my Tryouts entry yet. I need to get Drifter his Rabies vacc with microchip number on the paper. I keep putting that off, although I do want to also get him Lyme/Heartworm snap tested and anal glands expressed, all before AKC Nationals. So I think I'll try to get him done the Monday after Paws in Motion. I wanted to give him a couple days to recover from the vacc (he hasn't had any vaccines since spring 2006, and that was just the 3-year rabies). I don't vaccinate my adult dogs unless I need to for something (after their 16-month boosters I mean). Kiba won't get her Rabies renewed unless she makes the IFCS team.

anyhow, I was looking at the drive to MN, and its about 18 hours. Ick. So I looked at flights and the flight out is only 3+ hours. However. Flying a dog cargo is FAR from cheap. our flight to AZ in fall 2006 cost us 250 per dog, per direction. That's 500 for the dog. So 500 for Drifter, 250 for my flight, 60 for the rental car, 40 or so for long-term parking, and I'm looking at 850.
Driving I have to take into account 2 extra nights in a hotel so maybe 150, gas but here's the catch; with only one dog I will put a crate in the back seat of my Civic, and merrily make 35+ mpg! For 2400 miles of trip, at a pessimistic $2.10 per gallon, that's onlky $150. Even if I figure in how much money I'd lose by taking unpaid vacation for 2 extra days from work for the driving, I still SAVE $300 by driving rather than flying. isn't that nuts?