Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lesson; Walter in good mood

Took Walter for a 30-minute walk at the dog park before today's lesson and he was much more attentive at today's lesson than at the previous one where he had had no exercise beforehand.

Today we worked on serpentine and threadle stuff and he was happy to play today, even caught me off guard a few times by paying attention to me where I wasn't expecting him to. We seem to be getting the hang of running serps with the one arm waving in and out method.

Homework: work on the "finish right" exercise (see Lucy's blog entry from Thursday) working up to about 5 feet distance and the dog driving around.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Walter and I both were suffering from "Christmas brain" at today's class where we worked on a tunnel/jump/weave sequence. He just didn't seem into it today. He kept popping the weaves around pole 9 and the instructor noticed that he was breaking his footwork, so going back for a refresher in the wams will be a good idea. I need to do some work in teaching him to collect over jumps because he's a long jumper. Also we worked on shaping lines to weave entrances.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Morning Star trial

Today I learned that I'm not one of those people (if there are such people) who love to flit back and forth between rings and dogs, trying not to miss walkthroughs and runs. Our morning was fine, but in the afternoon it got pretty hairy and for one of the courses I only had time to walkthrough - make that run through - once before having to run and grab a dog for another class. Also it was a long day that started too early and ended too late. Agility is not as fun when one is pooped out.

Advanced Team
Walter and his nice little JRT partner ran clean to clinch Walter's Advanced Games title! Also, it means that Walter Q'd in every Advanced Games course he ran. How, then, is it that it took us nine tries before he got his first Advanced Standard Q. :-)

Advanced Standard #1
The good news is he didn't fall for two potential contact traps that I was a bit apprehensive about. But, he got distracted for a moment and missed an easy tunnel entrance. Also, he hopped off the table before lying down.

Masters Snooker
This was his first event in the other ring so this is where it started to get hairy running in the different rings. I had designed a terribly nonflowing course for him which neither of us appreciated. It wasn't very fun and we got whistled off after the fourth red when he took another red. Frankly I was happy to be done with it and get back to the other ring so as not to miss his other run, Advanced Standard #2.

Advanced Standard #2
This is the course I had only had time to run through once. Strangely enough we ran it clean for a Q! It was a decent run unlike his first Advanced Standard Q which he got due to a fluke. So it took him nine tries to get his first Advanced Standard Q and four tries to get his second. It would be nice if this downward trend were to continue, but I won't be holding my breath. :-)

Completely spur of the moment, I led out on him for the first time ever in a trial to help him get a tunnel/frame discrimination. Lo and behold, he held his sit-stay! Barked his high-pitched girly bark like the dickens, but held his stay. The run was slow overall and distracted at one point. It was a really technical Steeplechase and getting late in the day so we were both getting tired I think. He did get some nice lines though including a challenging weave entry.

Masters Jumpers
Last class of the day so I was feeling a bit energized. Walter was attentive and responsive and would have been clean except for succumbing to a chute trap.

In summary, it wasn't his Qyist trial, but he was 100% for all weaves and held 2o2o on all teeters and dogwalks.

Classes entered: 6 (Advanced Team, Advanced Standard 1 and 2, Masters Snooker, Steeplechase, Masters Jumpers)
Qs: 2 (Team and Standard)
Time/SCT: 57.73/71 (Adv Standard #2)
YPS: 3.0 (Adv Standard #2)
Title earned: Special Advanced Games Dog of Canada (SAGDC)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Home practice: weave entries and "out"

Wrap entries
Now that Lucy has learned the wrap entry I'm motivated to get back to Walter's entries, starting with the wrap. He did well today on the 3-weaves at a gentle 6 o'clock entry. I have to keep his weave practices really short because unlike Lucy his enthusiasm for the weaves fades quickly with repetitions.

Taking advantage of having a couple of jumps in the house for a week. Put one jump out and patterned him into taking it while I stood off to the side. Then put a second jump next to the first and continued to ask for the out jump. Also asked him to take the closer jump a few times and he didn't seem to have any problems with any of this today.

Walter's agility goals

I'm not one for New Years resolutions, but I do like to review goals and set new ones, so here goes.

These are the goals I had set for Walter's 2007 agility year, along with a progress report:

Improved drive on the a-frame
I think I forgot about this one, especially after seeing on video the impact of 2o2o on his front end. Will be taking time off of trialing this summer to try to train an actual running contact.

Work through start line stay issues
Done, sort of. At the time I thought it was essential to have a SLS before starting to trial. While a SLS is undeniably a great tool in the toolbox, it's not necessary if you can run and keep up with your non-super-speedy dog. Haven't yet tried to lead out on him in a trial, but running off the line with him hasn't been a problem for the most part. Plus it has the added benefit of making me get more of a cardio workout. :-D

Improved distance work with all obstacles
Not sure what to report with this one since I can't remember specifically training for this lately.

Faster down on the table
Once I found out that the table becomes essentially extinct once you reach Masters, I kind of threw this one out the window :-) That said, I've noticed lately that after he hops onto a new table he likes to take some time to inspect it before lying down.

Proof 2o2o
Stopped requiring 2o2o on the frame early in the fall but still require it on the dogwalk and teeter. He's never missed a contact but occasionally doesn't hold 2o2o. Lots more proofing needed.

Ability to tackle challenging weave entries
Well, Lucy is leaving him in the dust on this one. Haven't done much work on this I'm afraid.

Further develop our agility partnership in general
Well, that's a vague goal if ever there was one.

Done! He earned his SADC and SSGDC this year.

Goals for 2008!

- Add tunnel/contact discriminations to skill set
- Add "out" to skill set
- Add hard and soft weave entries to skill set
- Improve distance skills and have a try at Masters Gamblers
- Take time off trialing this summer to train a running frame
- Achieve fully independent contacts
- It'd be awfully nice to get two more Advanced Standard Qs for his SAADC. Took nine tries to get his first one; I wonder how many more tries we'll need to get two more. :-D