Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Oh my my, Walter got all the "out"s and not-"out"s in our short practice today. Can it be that he's not actually fluking his way through it?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

K9 Kup #2

Jumpers: Well, we had a first today when a loose dog ran onto the course while we were running. We were just starting the homestretch when I heard the crowd's "uh ohs" and "oh nos" and saw a white blur out of the corner of my eye so we immediately stopped. Upon seeing the standard poodle Walter was like, "what the heck? what's he doing here?" and was a good boy. Tried to get him to do an obstacle (the chute) on his way out of the ring just to end it on a normal note, but he was not liking that chute and didn't take it. In our re-run, again he ran great but he got what would be a refusal on the chute which was the last obstacle. Oh and I led out on both of the Jumpers runs -- he was scootier than usual (note in the video how far back from the first jump I set him up! lol) but didn't break his stay (well, granted my definition of breaking the stay is verrrrry loose!).

Gamblers: Poor Walter and I couldn't even do the mini-gamble today, nevermind the main one! I think I was being really lazy in my handling, taking it for granted that he would get them. He did get them eventually but only because refusals don't count at K9 Kup. Didn't lead out because there really was no benefit to doing so. Didn't catch this one on video.

Standard: Didn't lead out, again because the opening line was easily done without it. He had a good run but alas, more weave woes! The first go at the six-weaves he just ran right past them, then on the re-try he popped out half-way through! This was a bit surprising because there were only six poles, but on the other hand not that surprising because it was hot and it was the last run of the day. Those were the only weaves we attempted today.

Here's the video of the Jumpers and Standard. My favourite part of the video is his running frame in the Standard: One could almost think his striding had been deliberately trained ;-) Actually it's kind of funny, while running that last line I thought to myself, I'm going to really sprint this line just to see how his frame holds up. And I really felt like I was sprinting. Alas, the video shows I was just poking along as usual. :-D

Thursday, July 10, 2008

All Dogs mini trial

Gamblers: Our first line was a three-jump slice for which I started off the line with him. Well, he had his sights locked on the nearby chute instead so he crossed in front of me to take it; glad we avoided a collision there! Then he couldn't even do the mini gamble which was a simple send to a jump followed by a tunnel, and you were allowed to cross the line after the dog committed to the tunnel. On a good day he should be able to do that but I think our goofed up opening hurt his confidence. The main gamble was pretty neat: send to a-frame facing directly away from you, dog turns right into chute to come back to you, send away over the frame again, then dog turns left to a jump. On a really really good day Walter could probably get that one, but today he came back to me without taking the chute. I think I was in spectator mode and didn't give him instructions in time after the frame. We would have had just enough points to Q (28 pts) if he had done the gamble.

Jumpers: Ooo, a fun course with a few twisty tight bits at the start. Walter was feeling good again and ran really great. Our flub was when I thought he was committed to a jump but then he pulled off at the last minute. Part of the run was caught on video including the part with the goof so it's neat to be able to see exactly what happened, although being not much of an expert the best I can figure is I gave him the tunnel cues too early? If so, on the bright side at least he was being very responsive which sure comes in handy on twisty courses with lots of off-course potential! :-)

(Kindly ignore the part where I scream "Walter argh!")

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dogz trial; the "out" practice pays off!

What has been a fantastic venue for fun matches is now also a fantastic venue for trials! Today's Masters mini trial was Dogz' first ever trial and it went off without a hitch (as far as I could tell, anyway), a great judge and an easygoing, relaxed atmosphere. So fun!

This was Walter's third try at a Masters Gamblers course. Will wonders never cease - he got a Q! His first MG Q; I'm super happy about it (in case you couldn't tell!). The main gamble incorporated an "out tunnel" and I guess all the work we've been doing on that has started to sink in since he nailed it! Tried the jumps/tunnel mini once but he took the wrong end of the tunnel. Didn't try the other mini gamble. For my reference here's our opening sequence: teeter, jump, "double", tried the jumps/tunnel mini but didn't get it, teeter, jump, "double", 4-pt jump, tunnel, 4-pt jump, jump, frame, tunnel, TWEET, frame, jump, main gamble.

Standard #1
Decided in advance that if we hadn't blown the Q by the time we got to the weaves, we'd try them, otherwise we'd just run past them due to the issues we've been having. Well his whole course was really nice, flowy and felt great but yes he popped at the very end of the weaves, so this is our second MS course where one weave pole kept us from a Q. Oh well; if we can fix this weave issue then maybe we'll have a chance. Oh and he did another "out tunnel" at a tunnel/dogwalk discrimination, yay!

Standard #2
This was a nice course but a sucky run. Walter's focus wasn't quite there, or at least our connection wasn't, and he had a look about him that said the heat was maybe getting to him. He didn't even make any effort to weave at all: he passed through two poles and that was it so we just kept going. Tried using "pip" on the dogwalk at a tunnel snaked under it. Didn't quite work as I had to support it with an arm and "tunnel" cue; we'll keep working on it.

Walter was feeling good again! It was our only run of the day where I led out on him, to help get a tricky opening line. His stay was a bit shaky (he scooted forward more than normal) but it seems like after I've led out the first few meters then he settles down and stays put. Let's just say Susan Garrett would so not be impressed. After the first 5 obstacles the judge had us stop and restart because the timer had malfunctioned. When all was said and done it was a really fun run where Walter was listening beautifully, reading the front and rear crosses really well. However, he missed what I thought was an easy, obvious tunnel so no Q but I really didn't care because he had run so well.

In summary, only one Q today but he ran three of the four courses super well, holding 2o2o on all teeters and dogwalks, such a good boy. I had so much fun and hope Mr. Serious Walter did too. To top it off, at the end of the day the judge gave us a really nice compliment :-)

Friday, July 4, 2008


Weaves: 12-wams only. 1st pass, several inches off center: Good. 2nd pass, 2 inches of center: Great! Speedy, enthusiastic, and single-stepped the whole way. 3rd pass, 2 inches off center: Was slower and popped at 10. 4th pass, a few inches wider: Good. Have scratched him from the standards in next week's trial due to the weave popping issues but it was too late to scratch from this Sunday's two standards. Should probably run him past the
weaves but... will give it a try, at least the first run. After that no more weaving in trials until the weather cools this fall and he gets his normal speed back; in the meantime we'll get in lots of wamming.

Out: More progress! Still not 100% by any means but he does seem to be catching on. Used side by side jump and straight tunnel as well as a side by side teeter and jump which he had more trouble with. Sometimes asked him to take the close obstacle to make sure he's actually thinking. Realized today that the trouble we're having learning "out" totally reminds me of the trouble I had getting Walter to graduate from offset wams to fully upright poles back in the fall of 2006. At the time it seemed like it was taking forever and it felt like I'd never be able to teach a dog to weave, but it was the best feeling when he finally did get it, and in retrospect it didn't take that long, just a few weeks of frequent short practices. So hopefully later this summer I'll look back on these initial "out" practices with a grin knowing that he's "got it". :)

Pip: Tried pip from dogwalk to tunnel. At first he steadfastly refused to move from 2o2o when I said pip. Instead, he offered to bow, which is what once upon a time I required for 2o2o. Silly boy. Tried again and this time said "ok" before pip, and he got it no problem. Silly me. Forgot he was trained to require an "ok" before moving from 2o2o.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Practice: Out and pip

Out: Set up a jump and tunnel next to each other, "out over". By jove, there is a slight possibility that he's starting to get the concept.

Pip (turn 180 away from me): How come some things are easy for Walter to understand, like pip, which will maybe come in handy on course once in a blue moon, while other much more useful skills, like out, are a million times harder to get the point across? Today for the first time we tried pip using two obstacles: two jumps side by side, we run together to the first one, then "pip" and he flips away 180 to take the far jump. He was doing pretty
good at that. I'd much rather have a nonexistent pip and a good out though. :)