Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Green fee season!

Woo hoo! The first of at least two places I'll be getting green fees at has opened for the season! Stopped in for a quick five minute practice. Discovered that if I veer off laterally from the dogwalk down plank, Walter plants his hands to the side of the plank and risks his back feet not being in the yellow. Guess I'm gonna have to be more specific in setting criteria.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Walter is Tiger Woods

Your daily bit of silliness: Which celebrity is your pet?

Tiger Woods
Athletic & Poised

Calm and cool on the outside, feisty and determined on the inside, Walter is everyman athlete Tiger Woods!

Walter proved at an early age that he had the skills to pay the bills, running circles around the competition when he was just a wee whippersnapper. Thanks to his tremendous successes, Walter has set aside an entire wing of his luxurious shelter just to house his collection of trophies and ribbons. A high-class pet with exquisite taste, Walter prefers to be seen with long-legged female mates, preferably those bred from Scandinavian lines. Unwilling to rest on his haunches, Walter has no time to hang out at the 19th hole and pet himself on the back-he's got a lot more green grass to frolic across before throwing in the towel.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dream Fields trial - Day 2

Our first run of the day wasn't until about 4pm, with the last run at 7:30pm which made for a bit of a long day since Walter didn't nap much before we left home.

First was Steeplechase: It was a very fun course, but Weaveless Walter made an unexpected appearance. He got the entry but didn't do the rest of the poles. Ok, so I take him back again; same thing. Third time he didn't even enter, just ran right past. This is his third trial run where he's done this so from experience I know that there's no point in insisting cause he just ain't gonna do them. The other times this happened it was quite warm, and Walter isn't too fond of the heat, but today it was a nice cool temperature and he was fresh so I wasn't expecting this Mr. Hyde to appear. So on we went. Oh! And, later on in that run he knocked a bar, the second ever bar he's knocked at a trial. Both of these problems may have been related to speed which I was really pushing, it being Steeplechase and all. Fun fun though.

Jumpers: I led out on him, and he held, barking his fool head off as usual, woo hoo! It was a fun run but I failed to sufficiently support the jump following the chute, so he ran past it.

Snooker: Last run of the day and we were both tired but managed to keep it together for 48 points and a Q. Considered leading out again but it really wasn't necessary and I didn't want to push my luck, so I didn't. :-) There were no weaves in this course so I'll never know if he would have been back into weaving mode or not.

Overall I was really happy with how he ran this weekend. Looking forward to the next trial... and the darned snow melting so the practice fields can open! :-D

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dream Fields Trial and Walter's new title

Just one class today:

Advanced Standard: Walter finally got his Advanced Standard title (SAADC), and he did it in style! A flowy, connected run where he could do no wrong; 12 seconds to spare; first place; best run; and a compliment from the judge afterwards who said the run was very smooth. He confidently stuck his dogwalk and teeter contacts, yeah! So he was among the 3 dogs to Q out of the 27 who ran the course.

So, it took him 9 tries to get his first Adv Standard Q, 4 tries to get his 2nd, and 2 tries to get his third. Got lots to work on to try to get our skills up to par for Masters. Homework (once the practice fields open for the season) is to really work on tunnel/contact discriminations which I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty of. And lots of other neat stuff to work on too; so many awesome Masters teams out there to watch and learn from.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Red Gate fun match: gambling fun and (gasp) leading out!

Walter and Lucy shared a spot at today's fun match. Lucy ran the two standards, and Walter took the two gamblers runs. You get two minutes in each run to do whatever the heck you want. I used the time to mostly practice the mini gambles and of course give a try at the end gambles.

Hey guess what, I led out on both of his runs! And guess what, he didn't self-release! Well, on his second run he did scoot forward somewhat, but still. I was very glad. Maybe, just maybe I'll try leading out on him more often in trials, but only if there's a real advantage to doing so, and no more than once per trial at first. (In a year of trials I've only led out on him once, this past January to help him get a tunnel/frame discrimination since those are a definite weakness in our skill set.)

Played around with the jump-teeter-jump mini-gamble. He had no trouble doing the teeter at a distance; we hadn't practiced that sort of thing since the fall so I was glad to see him look so confident.

For the end-gamble, in his first run we did the Advanced version: frame, tunnel, jump. Wasn't sure how he'd handle the lateral distance with the frame but he seemed fine with it. In his second run we did the Masters version: tunnel under the frame, jump, frame, tunnel, jump (last three obstacles same as Advanced). He got both on his first try, yay :-) (although as far as Masters gambles go, that's not exactly a tricky one) I might finally consider entering him in Masters Gamblers this summer or fall, but only after he has a much better handle on discriminations and "out".

For fun, here's a short video from his first run.

Oh yeah, and he had no hesitation at all on the dogwalk today. Hopefully he remembers a happy dogwalk at his next trial.