28 September 2009

coats?

I got Kiba and Drifter some fancy-pants not-so-cheap Back on Track Mesh Coats. My PT recommends them. They arrived today and they fit just about perfect. Drifter's tail is kept so low I don't bother putting it through the cute little zippered tail hole. They don't seem to keep the dog's skin too warm so I'll be interested to see if they make a difference.

And they will appreciate it, to be sure, if they do help, since my current philosophy is "work their asses off every day!"

Not in agility, no, but muscles. We do theraball core work, sit up and beg for long periods (currently 12-15 seconds at a time) and working on standing up from the beg. Also climing aframes in slow motion from a stand still. And hiking now that it's cooler. Sometimes we hike 5 miles mostly on-leash in a hilly, rocky, root-filled area to work on muscles and core, and sometimes we hike 20 minutes off leash on hills that are less dangerous to work on other muscles and aerobics. We also do short jump drills in the yard 3 times a week, aframe work for the girls to try to get better behaviors about 3-4 times a week, and work courses at the field once a week. We also get to run and do sprinting fun stuff at the field once a week. I want tired sore dogs right now. Because by the time November comes, they will be fit, crazy, agility machines.

I've been popping Kiba over 26" in the yard some more and she's actually powering over it. Wondering if the doxy might have made some minor improvement to her. I might enter a couple AKC at 26" over the winter *if Drifter doesn't make IFCS*. Then I'd have her and Drifter both vying for spots at Tryouts. We'll see. I may hate the way she does it and put her back down to 16 with the other smidget dogs. Poor little Kiba is just *exactly* the wrong size :-(

Speaking of sizes, how goofy is it that all dogs 17" tall and up have to jump 26" in FCI? Yet they have TWO divisions of small dogs? I mean really, why is it so wrong to have 2 height classes with border collies in them? it's a SPORT not a BREED SHOW! I'd rather see them do a 10-15-21-26 or something like that, to REALLY spread out the heights. Man, Kiba would just ROCK 18" if she was one single inch shorter!!



Could she jump 26?


24 September 2009

trial, frames

So I'm online so much lately with the blackberry and laptop that sometimes I forget to post on here. This is more of a musings and training journal than anything. I almost had video the other weekend but forgot to charge my battery. I do think one of Kiba's runs is on there.

Sunday went "OK" last weekend. No Q's with my mom's dogs. We had a pretty tough Exc JWW course that involved a bunch of front crosses, a long serpentine across the ring, and a 270. Drifter just nailed it, it IS super nice running him at 20" and not needing to worry about giving him lots of space to judge takeoff on every jump. I can handle him pretty aggressively. I am not sure whether or not i'd like to do Tryouts again with him or not, if I don't make the IFCS team. I would love to just make that team, make that our one European "Hurrah" and then let him do 20/22. But if we don't make the team, I'd like to be able to give FCI one more shot. He's still really sound and doing well. And while 26 is certainly harder for him, that is true of every dog to some degree. Is it harder for him than some dogs? Yes, I'm sure. But it's not as hard for him as it is for others. So we'll see. I am entering a few at 26" since as of right now I don't know if I'll make IFCS or not.

Anyhow to finish the beginning of that thought, he nailed that JWW but then had several brain farts in standard so didn't double Q. (broke his stay, jumped on/off the table, then popped his weaves on a slightly early front cross - I walked out at that point, 3 strikes of goofiness is just enough)

The last 2 weeks I've been working on the girls' aframes in the yard. I'm trying to get Seri's more consistent, and giving Kiba one more shot at a running frame. They're actually doing pretty well. I'm starting to see some consistency from Seri, and with the core strength work we've been doing she is showing a bit of improvement in body control over the apex. Kiba is doing well at not popping off ("popcorn dog" I call her!). I've just been using a jump about 10-12' following the frame to get them to focus forward, along with a pvc bar placed on whatever slat I'm using to help each particular dog control their striding. It's not always in the same place. Sometimes I have it up high to work on Kiba's stride over the top being longer, sometimes it's down low in the spot where Seri lands when she 2-strides so I can discourage that. sometimes with Seri it's on the UP ramp near the top to back her off so she doesn't get so close that she shaves chest hair off! I don't ever actually "train" them to step over the stride regulator - in fact I don't really use it to "train" them to "regulate" their stride. I use it to "encourage" them to shift their behavior slightly, and I never leave it in the same spot more than 5-1o reps before moving it again. I like to get rid of it as soon as possible and I try to use the jump to focus them forward. I've found that once they can stop thinking about what they're doing and just thoughtlessly drive down and forward, while balancing for something else and taking cues from me, it all usually comes together just fine.

It's pretty warm today, after a stretch of very autumnal weather. I'd just been starting to take them to the park again but it's too warm today so maybe tomorrow. No trial this weekend.

19 September 2009

DVGSD day 1

My father went to the hospital for 2 and 1/2 days this past week. If you don't know me real well, you probably don't know, but he's been living at home for a while now with a bad liver. He's on the transplant list but his levels aren't *quite* low enough to get a new liver yet in our (very populated) area. Well this week his kidney levels had dropped so the doc called and wanted him brought in for supervision. So even though he's home already, my mother stayed home to keep an eye on him and I showed Schiz and Singe for her today (Trig's in heat).

Last night Drifter fell off the dogwalk in the backyard. It was the stupidest thing. He was walking slowly, I was walking next to him, and he turned his head and looked at me, lost his footing in the rear, and just went kaflump right over the side. Of course then his striding was off because he was a little worried. I gave him a bit of aspirin last night and this morning just in case, but he ran just fine, won Standard moving at 5.14YPS (thanks to our faster table, YAY for Drifter suddenly deciding to love cookies!), and probably won JWW but I didn't check before I left. That's double Q number 16, I'm happy we're finally closing in on MACH, we should actually have it before AKC Nationals this year. I would feel kind of silly running my 7-year old super-talented dog with no MACH title still (most Nationals dogs have MACH's already!). Kiba's on 13 but she's younger so I'm not as bothered.
Seri was running at 26" now, in Excellent A. She ran the course great in both runs except she is just not looking where she's going and judging her jumps. Bar-knocking fool. Screaming and all.
Singe was pretty good, almost got around Standard for me but popped her weaves at pole 4 which is just weird. Knocked a couple bars in jumpers.
Schiz hit one bar in jumpers and then qualified but spent so long barking at me on the table that she only got THREE points for time - she was over 67 seconds!!

I also wanted to mention that after much hemming and hawing and stubborness, I have decided that I am willing to part with Drake. He is currently living with someone who was on the list for a puppy if we repeated the breeding. She's had him for about a week, and if she likes working with him and he continues to get along in her house, then she will keep him and i will sign him over. This really simplifies my life, having 3 dogs who are already mostly trained. I am sad to see him go, he was a real lover-boy of a dog in the house, but he really needs someone to spend a lot of time with him and lay down a good foundation. Now my tentative plan will be to wait until Drifter's ready to retire from heavy work (he turns 7 on Friday the 25th!), and breed Seri to keep a pup. I'm estimating that I will do this around 2011-2012. Preferably 2012. Not sure who I'd breed her to, and of course it would depend on her breeder/co-owner at least not nay-saying (she and I may have differing opinions). Right now I'm thinking of just putting her and Drifter together. Her neck would complement him, and while neither has the perfect shoulder layback, neither is bad. But he has great body control, strength, and awareness, and she just really doesn't. He also is a nice solid size, she's a giraffe, and their temperaments would mesh well I think. Anyways it's a thought, I also have my eye on some other dogs I might like. I've got time, now. I do hope that the woman keeps Drake, she's a great home, she's very nice and is a good trainer.

18 September 2009

still waiting

I didn't trial last weekend. This weekend I have a local (1 hour away) akc trial. Drifter is entered at 20" for the last time so I am going to try to just get more QQ's towards his MACH. He's finally up to 15 so only 5 more to go.

I've started whipping them all into shape. They saw Ria yesterday and all were a little tight above the shoulders, possibly fron running full tilt around the field. Drifter's pelvis has been in for 6+ months now without any slipping and his iliopsoas remains strong and flexible.

There is only one event left in the IFCS point collection before AZ. As of today I am stillhanging onto 2nd place. There are a couple other dogs with 1 event left who can pass my total. 1 of them I fully expect to pass me, as she's only 16 points back. The next is 19 so she may also pass me but I'm pretty sure I can get more points in AZ than that dog so if I'm in 4th by 10 points I may be ok. Other dogs still with an event to go are 30+ points back so even if they have a fab weekend they won't pass me by much. I'm happy to see 6 or 7 dogs in my height who must all be planning to attend this final event - the more to spread points out, the better for me! Especially considering that this final trial had the potential to be *tiny* based on its location.

07 September 2009

Nationals and Teams

I had a decent weekend. Drifter went 3 for 4, smacking the panel jump in standard on Saturday. Sunday he got the 6th and final Double Q he needed for AKC Nationals 2010. This means over 2 weekends, in 10 runs he qualified 9 times. 90% Q rate for 2 weekends is just fabulous, I guess he's really loving 20". Sorry to say he's not staying there for long. I withdrew from an AKC trial in early October as I don't want him doing too much 20" before we head out to Arizona for USDAA Nationals.

Also I'm not liking the way the IFCS point system is going to end up. I may still win my way on, but I'll have to do it at Nationals. I have already begun my ramping up of Drifter's fitness program. What I don't like is this; you earn points at 4-star and Regional events. OK. But you earn them up to 9th place (in my height) no matter how big the event is. Got 15 dogs in your height? Just don't be the lower 6 dogs and you get points. Got 60 dogs in your height? Well you better kick ass then. So say it's Snooker. You're at a 4-star with 15 dogs in your height. You get 40 points. Yay you got 8th place for 2 points! Now you're at a big Regional. You get 40 points. Sorry, that's 28th place. How is that fair? It's not. And I can't jet set around the country going where I please because I still have a job and I already stretch my vacation hours by doing what I do.

Sad to say, but I would rather have a system like AKC, where you qualify to try out locally, then everyone is compared against each other at 2 large events where everyone is head to head and you all run the same courses. (Those being AKC Nationals and World Team Tryouts). I would rather USDAA just do this. Qualify by, say, collecting at least XX number of points placing at Regionals, then attend Nationals and win your way on, and then hell, have a Tryouts! Tryouts are EXCITING and people like to watch them. It's fair.

On that note as well, I am hoping to maybe try to plan to hit Tryouts again as a contingency plan. I'd have to feel really secure in his jumping at 26" though, as we'd have to do AKC Nationals at that height. We will see. I don't like local courses at 26", but the Nationals courses weren't too scrunchy and he did fine at 24 out there, even went clean in the ISC at 26 on Friday (well I smashed a jump standard but HE didn't hit any bars)

03 September 2009

plans

I'm hoping Drifter gets his final double Q this weekend so I can move on mentally and really focus on preparing for AZ. I've got my schedule set now, assuming we don't need to enter an AKC trial in October last-minute (and that I can withdraw from the one I'm currently entered in). Then I can do 2 USDAA shows in October in order to prepare. I know it sounds like forever, but USDAA Nationals (Cynosport Games, whatever) are only about 10 weeks away. I have to finish planning my long lonely drive out (yes, alone!). But more than anything I need to get Drifter completely OVER prepared, including fitness, jumping skills, handling, contacts, weaves, everything. I want to so much more ready than we were for AKC Tryouts. I was ready for those, i want the next step up this time. With 2 extra IFCS-point gathering classes, there's 72 points for the taking (usually there's a potential 54) so there is a bit of room to overtake top people IF and only IF we can place high a lot. He's fast enough that he will if he stays clean. Especially at 26", there are very few dogs who can run with him. I want him ready to push.

Aside from that I've been proofing Seri's dogwalk and working on her bars. Kiba seems a little less heat tolerant on the antibiotics so I've been keeping her work sessions short. Once she's off the meds in 10 days I will start ramping up her fitness level and get her back up to jumping 22" again. She's not in the running for IFCS but I'd love to get her into one of the Final rounds this year. She's definitely fast enough.


Also I have been thinking; if I DON'T make the IFCS Team, I may go to a few trials where I know the footing is good and see if we can get some Q's towards Tryouts at 26". We'll see. Depends on where we are, how he looks, how he's holding up, if I can afford the trials, etc. I did think about doing the ISC classes in NC in January, and then entering the ones at Nationals at 26" as well, and maybe we'd win one of those and get invited. Or actually if I remember right, if you place top 3 at Nationals in 26" you get invited? That would be cool. I could do that. We'll see. This whole thing is just a "what if" that I was thinking of. After the 2 bad weekends in MD in July, I was very depressed about the whole thing. But I have to keep in mind that the footing is very bad down there, worse than Tryouts, and that some of the spacing was pretty tight (even though the rings are average size). I will wait till AZ is over and done. If I make the IFCS team it's not even something to think about. I can just go to England and be happy. Then let him jump 20/22 afterwards and focus on Seri. I was originally hoping Seri might get Q'ed for Tryouts for next spring, but she's still being goofy a lot so she won't be ready yet. Maybe for spring 2011. Hopefully.