Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Weekend Part 2

In addition to tracking last weekend we had 2 days of agility. At least agility went better-2 more QQs and 79 MACH points. We are now maxed out for points and are just looking for QQs.

The first day was cold and Whisper ran well. Notice her collar in the first two runs-it has been been my obedience/performance collar since the early 1990s-Merlin's and Jesse's era. Stolen along with its mate that night at the hotel with all my dog stuff. The jumpers run had her fastest course time to date. She earned 17 MACH points and a 4th place. Her speed was 5.78 yards/sec. Love her weavepole entrances!!!

The standard course was fun and fast. Interesting opening sequence-the decision whether to do a lead out pivot or serpentine the two jumps. Since I wanted to do left handed weavepoles to nail the tunnel entrance I chose to serpentine the two jumps. Funny to watch her rear end in the weavepoles. We are still struggling on the A frame contact though.

The day after the tracking trial another QQ but she is not wearing the collar. Her Jumpers run was very good with a 3rd place but no video available. The standard run she earned a 2nd place and 33 MACH points. We don't have a table lead out and it is obvious we need to work on it. It almost caused us to NQ. Love her weavepoles.

Except for the tracking theft a fun weekend.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This past weekend was one day of agility followed the next day by a TDX test and the last day back to agility again. Agility will be posted in a later blog.
The night before the TDX test my van was broken into and all my dog equipment was stolen, obedience training bag, cool coats, hiking boots, tracking harness,line and fanny pack etc. Everything needed for the test that day as well as all my obedience training gear. I was shocked then furious that someone would take things that have no value except to a dog person. My tracking harness I had had since the late 1980s and had 5 TDXs and 8 TDs on it. My dumbbell had earned 5 CDXs on my dogs. I found out all the hotels in the area were hit that night.

The tracking people were great, everyone came to the rescue and I can't thank the tracking community enough. Whisper wore a German Shepherd's tracking harness, a sheltie's tracking line, a Corgi's fanny pack and boots. People even offered gloves and socks although I had those items. Needless to say I wasn't in a great mood to start the track and I think it carried down the line to Whisper. She didn't want to track that day either. We went to the start line and barely got off the line. She picked up interest as the track went on although kept coming back to me. We found 3 out of the 4 articles, crossed the road twice and paralleled the road once before we ran into trouble we couldn't overcome. She was tracking along side the road in a direction I was worried was wrong and put tension on the line to ask if she was sure. She came off, came back to me and never found the track again. I found out later we were on the track but Whisper must have read my insecurity and tension and stopped. We had completed all but the last 1 1/2 legs of the track-hard to come so close but to fail.

As upset as I was when I discovered everything was stolen I didn't get any photos of the test so the hotel photos will have to add insight into the dogs evening.

I hope whoever stole my stuff appreciates what they got but I am sure they just trashed it once they found out there was nothing resalable.

Where is Echo?

There she is!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

More Agility

Every weekend this month is either agility or tracking. A busy month. Last weekend was agility only and once again quite humbling. Just when you think you know how to handle every situation, a new one comes along to teach you that you are wrong. Either my decisions for handling are getting worse or we are just going through a dry spell. Either way it is frustrating. Our Q rate is remarkably low. To think one time I posted we Qed 75% of the time in Excellent. Well no longer.

This last weekend we were entered in Novice Fast to practice contacts. It doesn't really seem to count Qing in that class. We only Qed one out of four Excellent runs. However the Jumpers run did have a hard weavepole entrance. If I wasn't feeling so discouraged at that point(last run of the weekend) I wouldn't have risked handling the weavepole entrance like we did. A push to the left and a rear cross. It was the best way to handle the course and it worked our only Q that weekend. Maybe sometimes I just have to trust that Whisper knows her job and stop micromanaging situations.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Toe Injury

Swollen toe

Normal toe

Last weekend Lyric ran agility and played ball. The following day I noticed one of her toes was terribly swollen. It was the same toe that had surgery 2 1/2 yrs ago for a torn lateral collateral ligament. I knew it had retorn. It is frustrating as I don't know what she did to tear it. She has lure coursed with no injuries. Chased her foxtail ball endlessly with no injuries and run numerous agility courses with no injury. I bandaged it until I could get back to my clinic and have it looked at by the surgeon. A figure 8 bandage of elasticon works well at holding the toes together.

The following day it was confirmed and she went to surgery. The original surgery looked excellent, enough organized scar tissue to act as a collateral ligment, no arthritis had set in. Hopefully she will do as well post surgery as the first time. But it is now a couple of months of no exercise splints and later bandages.

Plans for future agility will have to be questionable since this is a second tear/surgical correction. Plans for coming out in Open obedience this spring are on hold. Even though she is a big dog she is not a highly active dog and thus is not hard on her body.

The day after surgery Lisa and Darby came down to wish Lyric well and give her a present.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Echo's New TD

This past weekend Echo was in her first tracking test. Since the draw for the TD portion of the test was so early 7:45 AM we arrived the night before and spent the night in a hotel. Bryn and Marie came down for a quick lesson on clicker training sits,downs and recalls. Bryn and Echo also played a bit afterwards.

It is always a good idea to arrive early at the tracking headquarters. The draw started at 7:45 AM and any dog/handler team not present forfeits their spot to an alternate team.

Getting into a tracking test is unlike any other AKC events, it is not first come quaranteed entered. Once entries have closed, a draw is done about 10 days before the trial. However many tracks are available-in Echo's case there were 4 tracks-the first 4 names pulled out a hat are entered. In Echo's test there were 18 dogs entered, only 4 tracks were offered so 14 dogs didn't get in and were on the alternate list. It pays to be early to the draw and not lose your spot by being late. Once that everyone has checked in, the draw happens to determine which track each team will run. The first dog/handler team in catalogue order then pulls a slip of paper with the track they will run. In Echo's case she was third dog picked for the test and we drew 3rd track. What a coincidence.

Then the waiting begins for the tracks to age. California is going through another dry spell and the tracking conditions this year were less than ideal,no moisture and little green vegetation. Once the track has aged sufficiently the dog and handler are taken out to the beginning of the track and allowed to start when ready. Nothing is more humbling than to be at the start flags and know it is just you and your dog-well mostly your dog to navigate the 450-500 yards out in the field, multiple turns and find the glove. Echo started off gangbusters-she loves to track-and completed the track in my fastest time to date 470 yds in 6 1/2 minutes. There really was very little for me to do except hold on and follow her. She got distracted once by some old horse straw but with a little verbal cue went back to tracking. Turns were no problems and I was told she rarely came off the track. Six and one half minutes later she lead me straight to the glove and she eaned her TD! There is a special feeling when you pick up the glove at the end of the track and you and the dog are a proven team.

Ch Aragon Black Ice RN TD

Friday, February 4, 2011

Santa Rosa Agility Part 2

Along with Lyric, Whisper of course ran agility that weekend. In the morning it was cold-you can see her breathe running the Standard courses. Contacts are a continous struggle as it is hard to correct in a trial. She is managing to hit her contacts-but just barely.

The first day by the afternoon it was warm and she was asleep in the car. Dumb mistake assuming she would be ready to compete with no warm up. I took her out of the car to potty, went in the building and did one practice jump and went into the ring. She was slow and as I tried to send her to a jump she just followed me. No QQ.

Learning my lesson the next day we QQed.

All in all agility is a constant learning experience. Just when you think you know what to do and how to handle a situation something comes along to make you humble.

MACH goal
13 QQs
678 MACH points

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Santa Rosa Agility

A couple of weeks ago both Lyric and Whisper were entered in the Santa Rosa trials. Whisper of course in Excellent B Standard and Jumpers(more on her in the next blog) and Lyric in Excellent A Jumpers. Lyric did super and earned her first two legs that weekend. Ever since Lyric got hurt in a tunnel 2 1/2 yrs ago she has hated agility. A friend Lisa(of Darby) copied that run onto a DVD so I could post it here. If you watch with the sound up you can hear her reaction in the second tunnel-and certainly see her changed demeanor coming out of the tunnel. She wanted to be any place but in the ring.

It has been a struggle until recently to get her to willingly play the game again. Starting November of last year-when she earned her Open Jumpers title she has seemed to enjoy the attention and treats that go along with agility. She definitely is still a bit unsure of herself and what to do when the tension and excitment is on but she is now willing to eagerly try. Her two excellent jumpers runs are posted below.