30 April 2013

Yesterday we went to a friend's house. She lives a couple hours away so I only brought Seri and Strafe, since Kiba is not a big fan of riding in the car more than necessary. We went on a 3+ hour hike, that basically went up a long hill, walked around the top of the hill for a bit, then walked down the long hill again. Great workout for the dogs. Seri is still tired today - it was really a bit more than she's in shape for but with her being prohibited from running and hyperextending her wrist for another week or so, it was good to wear her out slowly. Strafe handled it really well, he is pretty fit and definitely feeling ready for Tryouts. He's had his last toenail trim, his foot hair all trimmed off as well, and thinned out his long, thick hair in the places where it annoys me by being so long and thick.

Today Kiba is going to vet for a check up; she is drinking and peeing a lot. This has been an on and off again thing for over a year - last year in the winter I ran blood work, urinalysis, and urine culture with zero results so I just concluded that perhaps it was due to the forced air heat, which she's never lived with before, drying her skin out and making her feel thirsty. But this winter for some reason it has seemed worse now that it's spring - the heat is on less often and the air is not so dry anymore. Strange. I doubt we'll find anything, but it's worth at least getting her checked out. Funny little dog.

After that I'll begin to do laundry so I can pack for Tryouts tomorrow!

by Agility Gallery

26 April 2013

by Agility Gallery


Strafe has it.

By Sharon Gilligan
And good looks.

He also has those.

I didn't train those though, they came with him!


Nice 4 mile hike today with some hills. Beautiful weather right now, warm but cool, sunny but not oppressive. I love weather like this.

25 April 2013

25 April 2013

Tuesday I took Seri herding for the first time in about 5 years. It is my thought that perhaps she and I can take this up as a hobby instead of agility. "Back in the day" (about 5-6 years ago) I used to take Drifter to work sheep every week, to the point where he could do most of the basic functions (short outruns, wearing, we were learning inside flanks and driving and penning). But I was still working full time and we reached a point in our agility career that we needed to "buckle down" and really focus on that (with great results). Now that I'm not working a regular job anymore I have a much more flexible schedule so I am going to try again.

Seri had a great time, she ran really fast, as expected, but this instructor was willing to let us work in a larger field rather than in a tight round pen, which seems to be what Seri needed. The sheep respond to her from quite far away (especially since she's a bit wild right now) but on her second short session we got some pretty good work out of her for a beginner, she was balancing and by "kicking" her out wide on approach, she was even gathering them and bringing them straight back fairly well (if you ignore the all-out run speed, anyway). So I was happy, she was happy.

And then later in the day she stood up from a nap and was lame. Again. Mostly her left wrist. Again. So I am going to hold up on taking her back to sheep for a few weeks, to give the wrist time to fully recover - I think it is still a bit sore from the crash less than 2 weeks ago. So we will do 2 weeks "no galloping" - in other words I won't allow her the opportunity to hyperextend or twist her wrist for 2 weeks before easing her back into faster work, and when I do I will use one of our support wraps. I am going to get her fitted for a custom one that should do the trick a little better than the generic ones I already own. If that doesn't help her long-term then we will have to look at prolotherapy or HA or cortisone injections more seriously. Crazy reckless girl dog.

In other news, we leave for Tryouts in only one week. I haven't been this excited for an agility event in a good long time. I actually had a weird dream about it last night! Very unusual for me. Yesterday Strafe and I got our last PT check-up before the event (of course our PT will be there too to keep tabs on us), and we are ready to go. Our last real practice is out of the way, Strafe is running really well. The next week will be spent on nice walks in the park and a few very short training sessions on either one jump or a few contacts or weaves at a time.

Hiking photo op with a friend (he's Seri's cousin actually!), nice clear picture thanks to Sharon G!

22 April 2013

Why I did not apply for the AWC in South Africa

I know my opinion does not carry weight as strongly as some others who have spoken out, but I just wanted to explain my thoughts on the entire situation.

Here are some opinions floating around the internet, and my personal response to them:

"The USA has to fly really far every year, so what difference does it make whether it's to SA or to Europe?"
Well.... it's about twice as far to SA, that's the difference. When I fly from here on the east coast of the US (I usually fly out of one of the big New York City airports) to most of Europe, it takes about 8 hours on the plane. For me, that's a pretty long ride, but  not unreasonable. Even for my dog, who generally goes about 10 hours per night between going "out", he is in the crate from drop off to pick up, for about 10 to 12 hours. I feel this is a long, but not unreasonablly so, length of time to be in the crate. So far I've never had a dog soil the crate when being in it, and all my cargo flights have involved the dog being in the crate for 12 hours or less.
A non-stop flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg takes almost 16 hours. And I do not live near Atlanta, I would have to connect on a 2 or 3 hour flight just to get down there. So that is 18 to 20 hours in flight, plus the 2-3 hours ahead that I must drop my dog off with the airline... plus at least an hour to connect flights (2 hours to be safe that the dog is transferred properly), you can see how this is adding up? We are already at 24 hours minimum, and if customs keeps my dog for an hour afterwards... that is just too much, to me. I understand how someone whose dog is comfortable with their crate and airline travel might take the risk, but I am personally not comfortable with my dog being stuck in his crate for an entire day.
PS I have just checked and even the team from Japan can get from Tokyo to Frankfurt on a 12 hour flight. I have to admit I am a bit offended at some of the Europeans saying things like "10 hours in cargo is abusive", as that implies that all USA and Japanese and SA Team members are abusing their dogs. Thankfully I think most people are not saying things like this ;)

"It's not a world championship if it is in Europe every year"
Well, I understand this viewpoint, I really do. And if it were only people flying on planes, I would probably support this idea. But it's not just people, it's dogs. Dogs in a cargo hold for a long, long time. And people paying more money (flights to SA are more expensive than flights to Europe, at least for me and also for my dog). Add to that, the idea that only one country will not have to fly to get there, and it just seems impractical. I also would be very uncertain about having this event here in the USA, even though flights are a lot shorter for Europeans, simply because it seems silly to move it away from the vast majority of competitors.

Also I have to admit that the lack of AKC financial support is another factor for me. Just my human airline ticket is currently listed for about $1800... this is a $5,000 to $8,000 trip, easily.

Overall, I am sad that I am going to miss out on the first chance for my amazing young dog to try out for our AWC team, but I have neither the money nor the inclination to fly my dog that far. Instead we are going to try our hardest to win a spot on the USA EO Team this year, and if we really do well, maybe a sponsored spot by the AKC. I look forward to the "short" 8 hour flight to Belgium, and the huge, fun, exciting event that is the EO (it will be my first time attending). And hopefully next year we will try hard to make that AWC Team and fly to Luxembourg to compete! Strafe is young and we should have many good years ahead of us!

20 April 2013

Structure. A statement.

I disagree with the concept that a slightly straighter shoulder is better for agility than a well-angulated one.

For some reason I keep seeing people saying this, that the shoulder should not be TOO angulated. I am speaking mostly about border collies, although "structure", in general, can be applied to any breed. But in my breed, I have never seen a shoulder that is "too angulated".

Not going to lecture, just putting that out there. It is my strong belief that "over-angulation of the shoulders" is a myth in border collies.

Not the best picture or stack, but the face and markings are not too distracting. Over-angulated? Nope, he's just right. How could having full range of flexibility in the shoulders possibly harm this dog's agility performance? And indeed, he has great flexibility of stride, the ability to collect and turn on a dime, and much more.

Anyway, just a peeve of mine that seems to be popping up a lot lately. I think a really great shoulder is kind of rare in BC's so I wish people would appreciate it a little bit more!

PS (edited to add): this does not mean that a great dog can't overcome their structure in some ways, but I do think structure matters, especially with the level of competition and athleticism in the sport today!

PPS here's an agility picture :)
Strafe flexing his shoulders;)
by Agility Gallery

19 April 2013

This morning between rain showers I took Strafe and Kiba out to the agility ring. Strafe did a little bit of collected bounce grids at about his shoulder height, just for fitness. With Kiba I've been working on her new verbal, just testing to see if I can get her to understand it. And I can't say it's going super well so far. I started out by saying "turn!" and rewarding her really strongly for coming towards me (not hard, since that was her initial response to an unknown but excited sounding verbal cue). Then I started saying it around obstacles and rewarding her for coming off them rather than taking them. Lately we've been walking around the ring and when she looks at things I say "TURN!" and when she starts coming towards me I run away and she chases me and then gets the toy. That part is going pretty well. When I add speed or sequencing it all falls apart very quickly. After some thought, I decided that rather than making it a verbal cue that means "don't take anything at all and come straight to me", it might be easier to train a cue that means "wrap the next jump wing and come back to me" since she usually loses me after things like lateral sends, where I am not really close to her and she picks the obstacle she seems to THINK is next, and then I can't call her off it anymore (she seems to think me calling her is me calling her TO the off course obstacle, which she will wrap every so nicely before returning). So I decided to make "turn" into a wrap type of cue. I don't even care if she turns tight on it - I just want it to mean "jump that jump and then find me", rather than "jump and continue on the line you see". But after today's first session I am not optimistic that this will work for her. I will continue trying for a few more weeks, but as I've said previously, I'm not one to continue on a path that isn't showing success or at least forward progress; it's too frustrating for both dog and handler. So today I used the short jump grid I had set from Strafe, and put the bars on the ground. I stood right next to the first wing, and said "turn! turn! turn!" and sometimes Kiba wrapped the wing and came back to me, and we had a party. But if I moved back a little bit, she always locked onto 2 jumps in a row and it took 3 or 4 tries before she could figure out how to just take one (bars on the ground, mind you!). Since she already understands that "turn" means come back to me, this was fairly discouraging. But I will continue playing with it and see how it goes. I did enter her in an AKC trial at the end of May, at her regular height of 16" - I did consider dropping her to P12" but I just don't think the jump height matters that much anymore. And I'm afraid if she's running even faster at 12" it will be even harder to turn her off the wrong obstacles as well. As I've always said about Kiba - if she can't jump 16" anymore she will retire.

Strafe, on the other hand, is sometimes so careful on the jump grids that if he even touches the bar once he will then throw on the brakes and attempt to add an entire stride in a tiny space just so he can be sure to avoid hitting it again... when all I really want for him is a good workout! Funny boy!

Photo by Agility Gallery

18 April 2013

Because I'm feeling lazy, here's the link to most of my runs with Strafe at the seminar the last 2 days. We had a lot of fun and it was a perfect practice a few weeks before Tryouts. I feel like we're really ready, although (not on video) he was running off his dogwalk sometimes, so I will proof that a little bit, and of course we will continue our fitness regime!

Seri checked out pretty well with the PT. He loosened up her wrist and a couple other minor tight spots, but really, she was on her way to healing up and is good to go now. No major damage done. I am content in my decision not to run her on a "serious" circuit of trialing, however, she is (aside from the jump crash) doing really well in training, so I am thinking I may run her at the Regional just for fun. Especially since I am leaning towards not running Kiba. I don't know if I want the pressure of running Kiba, who is getting so difficult but whom I still take seriously. Seri is difficult but I am very light-hearted about running her, and her vision is not in question.... who knows. I have not totally decided yet.

A good consistent running dogwalk is usually 5 strides from start to finish. On video I counted Strafe's stopped dogwalk, and it varies from 6 to 8 strides, generally being 6 or 7 unless I really growl at him or he had no speed going up the first ramp. I am pretty happy with that; I felt that at Nationals the stop did not really hurt us, and if at Tryouts we have hard turns after the DW then I think our 1 or 2 extra strides on the ramp will probably evenly match the extra 1 or 2 strides after the ramp that dogs who have a running behavior will have to perform. Strafe decelerates on the ramp, they will have to do so on the ground. Each has its moments of advantage, but overall I'm happy I've taught the stop. My life is a lot easier; backsides after the DW don't cause major anxiety and neither do all kinds of handling maneuvers around the ramps.

Photo by Agility Gallery

14 April 2013

catching up, and Kiba's jumping again

Spent the last 24 hours with a visiting friend. Did some training and went for a nice hike.(and after she left I got back to mowing after the nice winter break). Tomorrow we'll do another nice hike and otherwise rest up before the seminar. I expect to be doing some good, hard running at the seminar Tues and Wed, and to avoid rush hour on the drive back and forth (about 55 miles each way but no highways, annoyingly), I am staying in a hotel.

I was originally thinking I'd bring Kiba with me, and run her in the seminar on a course or two, but I am thinking now that I don't want to do that after all. I've been having trouble getting Kiba to understand the new verbal cue (and haven't really trained it enough yet to be really using it in sequences yet) so I wouldn't say we're really ready to try again. Additionally, one of my PT's will be there Wed and I'd like to maybe have him take a look at Seri and make sure her wrist is OK and that the crash on the jump didn't cause any other issues, so she can come back off semi-rest (field walks only).

Additionally, I've been reviewing some of Kiba's videos from the last couple years, comparing to how she is running now, and there is a pretty drastic difference (to me).

Some runs I collected previously from January 2010 at 22", April and June 2011 at 16"

Here are a few runs from September 2011 and March 2012.

Compare to her jumping at WAO in May 2012 at 20"

And her jumping at AKC trials in July 2012 at 16"

And Kiba's NAC runs from this year 2013 which I linked here previously

I'm sure some of you are thinking "it doesn't look so bad" but when I've got a dog who, at 3 years old, got 6QQ's before even finishing her MX and MXJ, who several years in a row has gotten all 5 USDAA Tournament Q's in a row without a single NQ (2 Grand Prix's, 2 Steeplechases, and Team), a dog who made the WAO Team, who won 3 classes at a single AKC Nationals, who has been in multiple National Finals.... and now I can't even do a front cross, or place her between 8 and 15 feet in front of the first jump... I have to say the right verbal, on time, or she has a 50/50 shot of clearing the spread jump.... a dog who used to be so reliable she has been 2nd and 3rd overall Team at USDAA Nationals and WON the PVP Overall in Performance... and now she is locking onto off courses and seeming unable to call off them....

I also am concurrently running a dog with a ton of potential, who does not have a problem with spreads, who does not need every corner to be shaped from the takeoff side or done with a rear cross... who doesn't lock onto anything and has excellent vision.

So what I'm struggling with is "do I continue to run Kiba with a lowered chance of success, if it also sometimes has the risk of messing up my handling or making me question the way I run Strafe?"

Normally I would welcome the challenge of running a "different" dog, but Kiba is becoming so difficult, while Strafe is becoming so easy, that what happens is that I tend to focus a LOT on how to run Kiba, and not so much on Strafe. Not my goal, not my intention, but it happened in Tulsa.

So what this rambling post is starting to say is that... Kiba may be retiring. I feel like there must be something strange going on, to have 4 border collies who are all relatively healthy, and I am only running one dog. But while I do feel I tend to err on the conservative side, I would like to keep it that way and continue to have  happy, healthy dogs...

12 April 2013

just a random update post

A friend and I went for a long, hot hike yesterday. The weathermen originally predicted it would stay under 70F but they kept raising the projection and it ended up being over 80F and sunny out there (something like 26C?). I chose a hike that wound along the big creek, so the dogs had fun playing in the water every 20 minutes or so, and everybody managed to stay relatively cool. We walked about 2 hours and 15 minutes, but I'm sure at least 15min of that was playing in the water. We did run a course of agility before-hand, but I didn't over-do it with Strafe. He ran great! Seri face-plowed through a jump and hurt her wrist a little. She is a dork. Seems better today but I will rest her a few days just in case.

"You mean, I should NOT try to take off 30 feet away from the spread jump??!"
Today it was much cooler and raining for half the day, so I just took Strafe and I, dressed in our rain gear, for a 45 minute leash walk on the park roads. Not a long walk for us, but it is a nice downhill slope, a short level walk along the creek, then a nice long uphill section, so it is still a good walk for conditioning purposes, even if we are not tired at the end of it.

This weekend will be more hiking and a few very short training sessions, along with some core and strengthening work. Tues/Wed I am attending a seminar with Anna Eiffert, this is a great chance for Strafe and I to run some difficult courses on turf that is at least a little bit similar to what we'll see at Tryouts. Anna has recently been up to Finland to train with Jaakko and Janita so I am expecting that we will practicing some familiar OneMind maneuvers, which suits me just fine!

Photo by Lynne Brubaker

10 April 2013

My next online course at AU is posted.

CLICK HERE for info.

I will be discussing how to train and perform different types of "european" turns, which generally involve spinning or turning "against" the dog's path. We will also talk about when to use them, what types of dogs benefit most from the different maneuvers, and how to keep them "true" by not over-using them for every danged turn on the course (a pet peeve of mine).

08 April 2013

Internalizing External Factors

I know that mostly I just blog about random stuff, my life as it revolves around agility. Or rather, agility is my life, really...

But I've also had this floating around my head and brewing for a few days so I thought I'd write it out here. First off, let me say that "mental game" is not something I generally teach very much, because I have never really needed to learn much about it. Confidence is not something I've particularly lacked, and performance under pressure and in front of other people is something I learned to deal with early in life and it just doesn't bother me. I get more of a thrill watching my YouTube videos and finally HEARING the crowd than I did in person running the course when I blocked the crowd out. However, sometimes I try to spend a bit of time analyzing things, and this is one of those times.

In my mind, there are two main types of factors that affect performance. External factors would be forces that are out of your control - the surface, the equipment, the judging, the course design. Internal factors are ones that you control -your training, your fitness, your handling, and of course how you deal with all of the external factors. If you allow external factors to dictate your success, you will always be at the mercy of luck. Rather than rely on fortune, I try to take away something useful from every event where an external factor "defeated" me. So you won't hear me complaining about course design, or surface, or whatever very much. This does not mean I thought the surface was "great", it just means that I do not ever want to blame my success or lack thereof on something like "the dirt". The dirt did not defeat me. Another handler, with a dog who handled the dirt better than my dog, defeated me! I don't blame the judge for calling my borderline see-saw flyoff, I go home and make my dog's see-saw performance so reliable that it will not get called again. I can control how fit my dog is, how well he performs the obstacles, even how tightly he turns. I can give him experience on all kinds of surfaces, both good and bad. I can train ridiculous weave entries and contact approaches. I can practice handling ridiculously hard sequences, and try to keep myself fit. That way when I do arrive at the trial, if some external factor puts pressure on my "game", I know I can deal with it. I don't have to go home blaming some outside force for my lack of success.

Blaming external factors too much can lead to a case of the "but for's"... runs where the dog would have won "but for" slipping and knocking the bar, "but for" that "bad flyoff call", "but for" the ridiculous weave entry... It is totally OK to compare your dog's time to the winner. That is simply being competitive. But to think that having a "but for" run means you are at the top is to fool yourself. Having a "but for" run may initially upset me, but usually immediately afterwards I go into anger/motivation mode, and I spend the next little while planning how to fix this gap in my training or fitness regime. That particular external factor will not defeat me again! Next time I am faced with it, perhaps I will succeed, perhaps I will fail, but being prepared for it, it is ME that will take the blame either way.

Here is an example - Strafe slipped entering the weaves in Challenger Round just a few weeks ago. BUT FOR that slip, we might have placed 2nd or better (I don't think he would have won, but for the sake of this argument let's say it was possible). I admit I was disappointed when it happened. I admit I used my video software to see how much time he spent in the poles. But I am not complaining that "the surface is the reason my dog didn't win!", instead I am saying "I need to get him more experience entering the weave poles at high speed and with high arousal levels, especially with a slippery surface". Here is how I internalize it - Strafe did not slip because of the surface, Strafe slipped because he is inexperienced at dealing with such a surface. Do you see the huge difference? I compare his time with and without the slip because he is a young dog, we are a young team, and I am still getting a grasp of how fast he is. It is great to be able to compare if you can do so objectively! But I harbor no ill will towards "the dirt" in Tulsa.

Another brief example - when I went to WAO last year I saw the most ridiculous weave entry, like ever. The tunnel opening was 2 or 3 feet from the weave entry, and it was a tough entry even without the tunnel being present. Unfortunately Kiba was off course before we got to that part, but I was pretty sure she'd fail the weave entry with the tunnel so close. So I spent the following month of June working on difficult and independent weave entries and exits, especially with Strafe, so that he would regard them as "normal" from of a young age. I came home saying "wow that was a hard entry, I can't WAIT to train that!"

KESS AKC Trial wrap

I had only entered Strafe in this trial, but ended up also running my mother's 2 dogs as well. Strafe was perfect on Saturday, getting 2nd in Jumpers among a tough crowd, and winning the standard course when I pushed him a little. I was very pleased. Sunday I knew I needed to hold my contacts rather than try to win, and so I did that, but he also hit a bar in each run despite seeming to feel pretty good physically. This was our last trial before Tryouts in less than a month's time, so I am going to be using the next 3 weeks to double down on Strafe's fitness level, especially on some sprint work and bounce grids to increase his "power" level a bit.

My mother's dogs were really good for me; both went 3 for 4 over the weekend with one QQ, and the wild terrier actually won all 3 classes in which she qualified.

I have decided on Kiba's short term plans now - she comes with me to the seminar I am running in next week, and will run her instead of Strafe on one or two courses to see if I can get her around. Then I will run her in an AKC trial at the end of May, and the USDAA Regional in June that I mentioned previously. I will try to closely analyze her performance in each of these, and draw a final conclusion from that.

04 April 2013

A good day, plus some math and thoughts about breeding

First off, it was in the low 50's and sunny day (that's about 11C for my European friends). With the sun it was a beautiful day and we made the most of it with a long hike in the sunshine - we probably hiked about 7.5 miles (12km); we were out about 2 and 1/2 hours. Me, my 2 fitter dogs (Seri and Drifter are not up for that long of a hike, but I'm working on getting at least Seri up to it), and a friend and her dogs. It is a nice feeling to be tired at the end of a day, although I was pretty happy that neither myself, Kiba, or Strafe seemed to be dragging or slowing down in the least at the end of it. I actually had to keep calling Kiba back, she was excited to hike with friends since we usually go alone, and she was trying to go just a little too fast for the first hour or so!

Tomorrow we will take a slightly easier day, with several 15-20min walks in the field only. Saturday and Sunday Strafe and I are trialing in AKC, our first trial since AKC Nationals. Hopefully we can pick up a QQ or two and some points towards next year's event. I am probably also running my mother's 2 dogs since she managed to injure herself and wants to let it heal.

Here is a picture of my dog to break up this post!

by Great Dane Photos
My friend said that Kiba is always smiling when doing agility. A great incentive to attempt to continue running her!

And now a meandering blurb about breeding (well, about epilepsy in border collies, and how I view it): read only if you're interested!

03 April 2013

Tentative decision

Regarding Kiba - I have tentatively decided to retire her from most AKC competition. I think that attempting to collect all the necessary points, Q's, and double Q's will be too difficult for her, and the consitency required at Nationals is probably also too  much to ask. However, I am going to attempt to finish out the year in USDAA, so that Cynosport Games in TN would be her last big event. To this end I am going to spend the next 2 months working on a few things I think I will need to be able to run her, and then she will run Team and the other events at the "local" Regional in June, and that will be my deciding event - if we can figure out how to run with some consistency, most of the bars staying up, and in a manner that seems safe, then I will attempt to continue running her and possibly reevaluate running in AKC. If she struggles to focus on my motion, hits bars, and generally runs like she did in Tulsa, I will probably retire her.

Strafe is feeling great, and he is my only dog entered in the AKC trial this weekend. We are really focusing on conditioning and fitness in general with him. To that end we are working on increasing our hiking time again (trying to do at least 80min, at least 4 times a week, with hills), working on jump grids that require some extra "push" about once a week, doing some walking up/down the stairs, short sprints, etc. All things to build up his core, back, and rear end especially. I was happy with his performance at Nationals and he held up pretty well; I was happy to see him leaving some strides out and pushing himself a little. So we are continuing in that vein.

If you're wondering about my other dogs - Drifter is feeling fine, he goes for walks in my field every day with the other dogs, and gets to play at agility training once or twice a week with low jumps. Seri is doing pretty great, actually, I have just decided that it is not worth the  money to enter her in trials just to run her with an increased risk of injury and a low risk of success. She is beginning to join us on the longer hikes, and she trains full height agility once or twice a week as well. Last week she got to sub in for a student's dog in class, which she very much enjoyed.

On the puppy front, it is looking like next winter for me to go back to Europe and bring home a little half-brother (or sister?) of Strafe. There is a likely stud chosen, but nothing is written in stone yet.

Strafe had several bitches possibly lined up for breeding this spring but all of them came into heat at just the wrong time in one way or another, so we've ended up having no breedings. I am OK with that, as I told his breeder - I got him primarily for agility, not for breeding.

01 April 2013

Had fun teaching in CT, they kept it to a small group and they had a lot of laughs, and worked very hard!

I finally got most of my videos from the NAC.

Strafe's Rounds 1 to 3, plus Challenger:

Kiba's Time 2 Beat run:

And I put together Kiba's Rounds 1 to 3, a lot of disappointment happened in those runs, and while maybe in full speed her jumping doesn't look so bad, keep a close eye on the slow motion parts.

For comparison, here are Kiba's runs from last year's NAC, she does not seem to have as much trouble tracking me for handling maneuvers, although she did run around that jump in the Finals, that is mostly my fault but still, my other dogs probably would have "saved" me there...

ETA: I've watched last year's video for Kiba a few times, and I have to say that to me, the difference in how she runs is fairly striking. Last year I could front, blind, or rear cross in almost any situation without worrying about bars; I could send her laterally and only in the warm-up run did she look at an off course obstacle, most of the time she sent and came right back (like a normal dog); I did not need a special verbal cue for spread jumps and she did not hit any bars; I see a lot less super early launching on jumps in general, although I can still see the early takeoffs and occasional odd stutter-strides; I was able to leave her in a "normal" place for the lead-out, and she could clear the first jump; she seems more flexible around the course in general to me - she is not locking on, launching, then coming back, she is just jumping.

Good food for thought.