30 August 2009

Berks recap

3 days of AKC. Relatively small trial, all 4-16" walked together and they almost couldve walked all 20-26" but there were just a few too many.

Drifter was jumping 20" and he was just fabulous. His stays are getting a little worse but that's not a big deal. He was lovely in every run and was 6 for 6 for 3 double-Q's. So he entered the weekend needing 4 for Nationals and now only needs 1 more.

Kiba went 5 for 6 with 1 knocked bar, so she got the last 2 doubles that she needed for Nationals. Nice to be done after only 5 shows!

Seri was pretty wild. As usual her handling is fine, a little wide here and there but no off courses. Weaves were great. But she's getting sloppy with her bars and keeps running off the dogwalk. I am going to stop running her at all, even in training, until she can stop reliably in the ring.

Anyway, feeling good about not needing to enter tons more AKC, which means I can concentrate on USDAA for October to prepare for those Nationals: very important for Drifter for IFCS.

29 August 2009

Berks Day 2

Drifter double-Qed again today so he's now got 4 for the year. Didn't see any of the weird takeoff choices today so I assume that was just an adjustment to the lower height thing. His table was slow so he only got 4th in standard. Kiba won std (2 second faster than Drifter but she's at 16) but then she had a weird misstep in JWW and crashed a bar. No big deal since its so unusual for her. Seri was a wild thing. She is getting overobsessive outside the ring, pulling, refusing to look at me, etc. If only akc would let me use a head halter! Annoying! Regardless, she almost Qed in each class, one bar late in JWW and a big goofy flyoff in standard. Oh well. She's also sort of mixing her 2 dogwalk criterias but I think that will sort out.

28 August 2009

Surely not

Am I the only one who thinks it's really weird that it's common practice in agility circles to buy border collie puppies from breeders who don't actually do anything with their dogs?

Not saying everyone does this, but it's a popular thing. Lots of breeders selling lots of pups to agility homes, but the parents either don't do agility (or anything, really), or are bad at it. Why would I want a puppy from parents who sit in the house/kennel/crate all day and never proved themselves? How do I know they have the right mind for agility? This is a sport that requires just the right kind of mind in a dog, not just a pretty body. And while I think there are lots of different types of mindsets that can be successful in agility (soft, hard-headed, careful, crazy, etc), there are others that just never quite make it. If the parents don't do something that requires speed AND brains (not flyball, thank-you-very-much, that's a great side-sport but tells me nothing of the dog's ability to learn and make decisions at speed taking the handler into account) then I'm not interested. I will consider working (sheep-working) dogs if I think they have the "want to" for agility (some don't but can still be great sheepdogs).

Idle thought on an afternoon off. I had an Excellent-only trial today, it started at noon and I was done by 2:45pm! Both dogs double-Q'ed, so I'm getting closer to being done for Nationals. Kiba got #5 so she only needs 1 more, which is great cuz I didn't enter her in all the trials to save some cash. Drifter got #3 so he's halfway. He loved jumping 20 although I did see him make some odd takeoff decisions. Unless it continues I will attribute that to him being used to 26.

26 August 2009

waiting

So now that I've completed my 4 4-star events, I have to wait while the last ones occur and everyone else who's trying for the team collects what points they can. Already I'm a bit worried. 3 of the 4 remaining events are relatively small, meaning dogs who go to several of them could potentially garner points with faulted runs. At the same time I am feeling bad that I "wasted" a few points by correcting knocked bars up at the Riverside trial. If I had pushed harder I couldve probably gained an extra 5-8 points and that could be all we miss it by when all is said and done. So instead I am hoping that lots of competitive 26's go compete at these events and spread the points out a lot. I am also going to up the fitness and jump training in preparation for Nationals as that will be my chance to regain points over dogs who commonly have faults or aren't quite as fast.

23 August 2009

Aussie Show Line BC's, a whole 'nother breed?

This is from a research project doing an extensive study regarding noise phobia and other genetic issues in border collies and a few other breeds. The study can be found here, I have simply copy+pasted some of it for the side information it found. So to repeat, this is NOT my work!


The following is verbatim from their website:

"Unrooted phylogenetic network constructed by Bayesian analysis, based on 4200 SNPs spread evenly across the canine genome. Blue = German Shepherd Dogs, purple = Portuguese Water Dogs, green = Australian Shepherds, pink = show Border Collies, red = working Border Collies.

To conduct proper studies of association between genes and behavior, we must first check for "stratification" (population substructure) within our breed samples. This is a question of immediate concern in breeds that are "split," or contain subpopulations that are bred for very different purposes. If we do not account for such structure before conducting association analyses, it is possible to obtain spurious associations between genotypes and behavior that reflect breed splits (such as show vs. working) rather than actual functional significance.

We included a small number of kennel club registered show Border Collies (primarily of Australasian breeding) in our Border Collie sample for genotyping, the remainder of which was made up of ISDS and ABCA (working registries) registered dogs. Our phylogenetic, clustering, and principal components analyses all suggest a genetic split within the breed between working and show Border Collies that is probably as large as the genetic distances between some breeds. We hope to collect samples from more geographical regions, and from different populations of Border Collies (working, show, and sport), to further explore these findings."

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So essentially in order to make sure a split within the breed did not skew their study, they listed dogs of OZ/Show descent separately to see if the genetics were different, and they most certainly were.

If you didn't know, the kennel club in Australia has been registering and showing border collies in the breed ring since the 40's and 50's, setting an official national standard around 1963. Sometime during that period, the stud books were closed. There was therefore some inbreeding and linebreeding taking place, and much showring showing. 60+ years is a long time to keep a breed separate; many breeds have been formed in much less time. So it should come as no surprise that the stockier, fluffier, loose-eyed broad-headed border collies from the show ring are not completely similar genetically to the rangey, all-kinds-of-coated, hard-eyed, narrow-headed dogs that still work sheep for a living worldwide.

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ALL information from the study should be considered copyrighted and is owned by the Canine Behavioral Genetics study. For more information please visit their website.


P.S. - this doesn't mean I *hate* show border collies. I know some nice ones. They aren't my cup of tea though. I like the weird personalities and structure and other things inherent in dogs from working lines, even though YES technically my dogs aren't "working dogs" anymore. I know that.

15 August 2009

dogs bikes and vampires

Currently Drifter is in 1st place for 26" IFCS point collection. Now there's 4 or so events left to go, so a few competitive may come up and pass us, but it feels good to be up there for now. Also we all have to compete against each other (and everybody else!) at Nationals in AZ in November. Should make Nationals interesting!

I am off this weekend and the next before doing a 3-day local AKC the last weekend of August. This will be my first all low-height trial; Drifter's at 20", Kiba at 16", and even Seri at 20" to help get her out of Open and Exc A as quick as possible.

Drifter only has 2 double Q's towards AKC Nationals, but hopefully jumping 20" should eliminate 90% of our faults (one bar!) and we should collect them pretty quickly from here on out. Kiba already has 4 double Q's and only needs 2 more. I'm hoping she gets them in the next 2 trials over 5 days of trialing. Her overall 2Q rate is about 50% so she is perfectly capable of doing so. Really, at 20", Drifter should be too.
Seri has 2 legs in each class of Open, so should be up into Exc A pretty soon at least. The next 2 trials she's still entered at 20", then we have a weekend off, and after that she's back up at 26" just in case I can push to get her Q'ed for Tryouts. We'll see on that one. She was a goofus last weekend. Been reminding her about dogwalks, she was coming off early, blending "run" with "stop" and coming up with "slow down and then leap off the side". Not the right equation, sorry! So I've been emphasizing the stop a lot, as that's what we'll use in 95% of our runs. it's a fast stop, no creepy creepy or anything.

I bought a mountain bike yesterday, couldn't go crazy but got a Specialized Hardock. It's really nice, and tomorrow Sharon and I are going out on a trail (former railroad). She's sore from trialing and I don't have all my bicycle muscles yet, so we'll take it easy. Should be fun though!
I even got the weird bike shorts with padding for your butt bones! Weird!

Also I have been really loving the BBC series "Being Human", about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost sharing a place in Bristol. All trying to be as human as possible. It's interesting and fun. And then today I found an On Demand anime series I liked called Darker Than Black. Always happy to find new stuff to watch, although Being Human is still running weekly and not on DVD here in the US yet, and Darker than Black is out on DVD, but not in a box and I'm not buying 6 DVD's individually at $17 when boxes are usually $50 or so (On Demand only had 5 episodes).

11 August 2009

Chicago/North Central Regional

Drifter had a pretty good weekend. I stayed positive with him and we collected 33 points towards IFCS. This places us temporarily in 1st place. There are a few dogs who are still in contention and almost certain to pass us, who haven't completed the 4 eve3nts yet. Then everyone competes against each other at Nationals.

We ran 9 classes.
Friday: Masters Standard - 1st and Q
Team Standard, 2nd by .01 of a second.
Team Gamblers - I put one closing jump in the opening, and wouldn't you know he knocked it, so we didn't place. If he had left it up, we would have been 2nd assuming we did the closing OK.
So day 1 = 8 points

Saturday
Team Jumpers - he had a fabulous run but I can't push him so 7th place. 3 points.
Team Snooker - I had time to do 3 7's but wasn't sure of that during planning so I did a 6 and 2 7's, still got 4th place. 6 points.
Steeplechase Rd 1 - this judge's courses all had some tight spacing and interesting angles that made it tough for big dogs. This course he handled well but hit a jump on a weird angle/space after the broad jump. Round 1 though, so we still got into Rd 2 no problem. Fastest 26" time that I saw.
GP Round 1. Nice open course. Ran full speed flawlessly and didn't let up. 1st place for 9 points.
So day 2 = 18 points for 26 so far.

Sunday Team Relay he was a butthead waiting to go (last) but once I released him he was perfect again.
Steeplechase Round 2; another tough course, although not tightly spaced. Great except he stepped on the last board of the broad jump pretty badly, also making his landing afterward kind of funky. However only 2 dogs were clean so he still got 3rd. 7 points. which made 33 for the weekend, 118 overall for our 4 events. Now we're done collecting till Nationals.

Some of Drifter's runs can be seen here, thanks to Dudley and Greg.
(Team Jumpers, Masters Standard, Steeplechase Rd 1, Steeplechase Rd 2)

Seri was a wild lulu monkey all weekend, knocking bars, leaping off dogwalks, and generally being a goof. However she didn't ONCE go off course, so that's something I guess. She made me re-assess whether it's the right decision to take her along to AZ for Nationals, but honestly she's not usually just a wild animal so I guess I'll drag her along. She will be in quarterfinals for everything, but what the hell, who knows what might happen.

02 August 2009

yesterday and today

Yesterday I was not feeling motivated, and totally enjoyed my day of lazy fun. DJ made breakfast, we watched all 5 Torchwood: Children of Earth episodes (a little over 6 hours!), then went down to Philly to see a concert. DJ loves country and I don't mind it, so we saw Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. It was a lot of fun, they both did quite a few songs and Keith ran around the floor (where we were) several times and even stood in the middle of the audience for a song. Didn't get done till after 11, which meant it took till about midnight to escape the sports complex (we were at the Wachovia Center, but Billy Joel and Elton John were playing the ball park across the street!). So we got home right at 1am.

Because I was feeling lazy, I did no packing or training yesterday. I did let the dogs out to run early in the morning when I got up, but figured I'd train Sunday (today) or Monday. Well today I woke up and it's STORMING and pouring rain. Well. That's just offensive. I need to clean out the van in preparation for the trip to IL coming up this week as well. So I started laundry and can do my indoor packing, but hopefully it will let up sometime this afternoon so I can do my outside chore and let the dogs out again. I can do some jumping exercises even in a half-hour break in the backyard, don't need several hours.

After the van's cleaned out we need to go drop it off at the garage so it can get its oil changed and a new set of tires all around, probably going to be a $700 event. It needs tires really badly though. Driving it in storms like we are currently experiencing can be a white-knuckle experience right now, as it hydroplanes really easily in standing water. So new tires for the trip.

01 August 2009

Something you may or may not know about me

I can be very obsessive. When I decide I want to buy something, I research it. Thoroughly. And as I research (online) I usually start upgrading what I want to buy. So I'm having fun with this mountain bike idea. I really enjoyed riding my bike as a kid, and also have a blast when I ride the dorky folding bike out at Cynosport in AZ. Combined with my at least mostly-retained sense of balance and skill set from riding horses cross country also as a teen, and I'm really looking forward to riding my future mountain bike on the trail. I have access to several off-road hiking/biking trails, along with the easier more relaxed bike/walking trail that travels 40 or so miles from here to Philly, which would be cool as well.

Now I'm not looking to race, but I AM looking for a bike that will fit me (comes in a small size), stand up to the test of me off-roading on it, look good, and last a while.

Also my birthday is September 1st so I got DJ and my mom to promise to kick in some cash to help out, thanks guys!
So here's the bikes I will be looking at when I get back from the Regional in IL next week:
Gary Fisher Marlin (black) and Marlin GS (available for $650 locally)
Trek 4500 (probably white) and 4500 WSD (locally $630)
Specialized Rockhopper base and Myka HT Comp ($640)

Each pair listed is a men's and a women's version which have pretty much the same components, not sure which will fit me, will have to ride them first.

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Agility wise, I tried not to overdo it this week as I wanted to make sure they had recovered from running on the slick floor last weekend. I need to clean out the car, train, and pack this weekend. Since I had "away" trials the last 3 weekends I am not really finding myself that motivated this morning to go out yet, so I may train tomorrow if the weather permits, or even Monday. Tuesday I am going out to see Ria, then have class, and Wednesday we are leaving in the afternoon.