Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dreamfields trial

I wasn't overly optimistic about coming home with any Qs today since three of Walter's five classes have mandatory weaves and the other two classes are Gamblers where ya never know what you're gonna get. Walter has however been practicing his weaves at home almost every day for the past few weeks -- a quick pass or two before breakfast and supper.

First up were Gamblers 1 and 2 and the main gambles were potentially something Walter could have gotten. The first gamble was a tunnel passing under the dogwalk, layered tire, far side of a c-shaped tunnel, dogwalk, jump. Walter checked in with me after the tire and while I was trying to redirect him out to the tunnel he stepped on the dogwalk. Tweet. The second gamble was a teeter heading at a sharp angle away from the line, then a lateral jump, turn left towards the line for a jump and then two more jumps close to the line. He did the teeter but crept in towards me while in 2o2o so didn't have a hope of seeing the far jump. Tweet.

Standard 1, Standard 2, and Team: In Standard 1, the weaves were the #4 obstacle in. Well, lo and behold he didn't pop! So then the pressure was on for the rest of the course since we now had a chance at a Q. Walter got the job done, pretty slow but still well under time so he got his first Masters Standard Q after three almost-clean MS runs save for popped weaves. Standard 2, yes! another clean set of weaves! But we had already goofed earlier in the course with a refusal at a tunnel and taking the frame instead of tunnel at a discrimination. Our Team partner was Tucker, a debonair sheltie. Walter ran according to plan (and yes! another clean set of weaves!) but I had walked the course wrong and included a bonus jump. Our partner got an offcourse, so it's just as well.

I was so glad and surprised that Walter did three sets of flawless 12-weaves, especially since it was warm and humid. For all the weaves I hung back to let him get the entry which was marked with 'yes', then followed along at his side saying a steady 'gogogo' through to the end. I never used to do anything like clapping or tongue-trilling or saying anthing while he weaved, but given his popping issues I've been open to trying anything. We've been using the 'gogogo' in practice recently too. I wonder if it helps him know that yes he's doing the right thing, so just keep going. Anyway it seemed to help today. Oh and for all three sets of weaves today he was on my left side in case that has anything to do with it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weave practice at field

12 straight weaves, nice coolish and cloudy evening. Said "yesgogogogo" every time. Popped halfway through on first try. Then, it was hit or miss as to whether he'd pop towards the end or not. Seemed to do better with me on right side which is the opposite of how he used to be.

Only did the one session because it was getting dark.

Walter has a WORLD-CLASS startline stay!

Got a kick out of seeing a dog competing at the FCI agility worlds who has the same scootchy-butt startline stay as Walter, only minus the barking.

Here's Walter's startline stay:

And here's the world-class dog's startline stay (the first dog in the video):


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Weaves: Took a different approach this time. Put two sets of six weaves and a set of 12 slightly angled wams at different spots in the field. Included one or two sets as part of a few different 6-8 obstacle sequences. The idea is that the weaves are just part of sequences, not a big deal, so just do them, darn it! ;-) He did just great on all attempts, no popping, woo hoo!

"Out": Was going to set up a little sequence we saw at this weekend's trial, but it turns out a similar sequence was already set up. It's just a c-shaped tunnel with a few jumps along the outside of it. You take the jumps on the outside. It looked a little bit like this:
- C
At the trial, about half the people ran with their dogs between the jumps and tunnel (that's what I did). Others had cooler skills to rely on and layered the jumps behind the tunnel. So today we worked the "out over" skill. Ok we don't have that skill yet apparently! He kept wanting to take the tunnel, but once he took the first jump then the rest weren't a problem. Gotta keep working on our "out"s.

"Pip" (turn 180 away from me): Frame/dogwalk to tunnel/chute are coming along really well, but today he had trouble with frame to jump. He wasn't responding to the "pip" and instead went ahead to some non-obvious jump out in front of us. Tried pip on the flat and it was weak there too so we'll need to do more maintenance work.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

All Dogs trial - day 2

First up was Gamblers, first thing in the morning. The main gamble included 12 weaves so I wasn't very optimistic. Well, even our opening was pathetic. We couldn't even get the very do-able mini-gamble of jump-tunnel-jump; he kept doing his best sheltie imitation and spinned in front of the tunnel. And overall we weren't in tune and had only 21 points in the opening. Yikes. We didn't try the other do-able mini gamble of jump to frame because it was raining and the frame was known to be slippery even when dry. On to the closing: the #1 was right at the exit gate and Walter could not be convinced that in fact the run was not yet over and demanded his end-of-run reward. So we didn't even get to the weaves! Ha!

Jumpers: About a 4 hour wait between Gamblers and Jumpers might be part of the reason that his usual crispness wasn't quite there. Not a terrible run, but an uncharacteristic knocked bar in the opening line; also took the far end of a c-shaped tunnel instead of the correct close end. Video below.

Standard: I hereby declare a new title which Walter has proudly earned: WlSMADC (Weaveless Special Masters Agility Dog of Canada). Haha! This was the third MS run in which our only glitch was the weaves. It was really hot and humid and the sun had just come out but I thought he had a chance of doing the weaves because they were only #3 in. Shortly before his run I hosed him down and pumped him up with his soccer ball that he gets in practice for doing clean weaves. I made sure to hang back and send him ahead to the weaves but he popped 5 or 6 poles through, then weaved between a few more poles of his own accord. "Good try" and we continued with the rest of the open and flowing course which he handled really well including sticking his teeter and dw.

Here's video of the only run that was filmed, today's Jumpers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

All Dogs trial - Day 1

Yay, the September two-day trial at one of our favourite venues!

After hearing earlier this week about the tragic, sudden, and unexpected loss of a local agility competitor's wonderful dog who should have had many, many more years of life, the concept of really enjoying the day regardless of the q situation or other "problems" was fresh in mind.

Jumpers: One glitch where I inadvertently pulled him off a jump in anticipation of a sharp turn to the tunnel to the left. Otherwise a good run in typical Walter style.

Snooker: With Walter's weave-popping issues and the 12-weaves being almost always #7, Snooker for Walter and me is becoming a simple game of how-to-do-the-#6-three-times-for-the-Q. (Ok, to add some spice maybe I should try for four #6s sometime.) This was a nice course with the teeter as #6 and the obstacles were all spread out so not a lot of offcourse potential. Walter is really a great dog for Snooker (when he hasn't got it in mind to pay his dues to the zero points club) so he made my job easy and yes we got our Q, as unexciting as it must have been to watch. :-D Didn't bother asking him to do the weaves in the closing -- if he's only got a finite number of clean weaves in him I'd rather save them for Standard and Team!

Standard: I had signed him up for this in the hopes that it would be a cool or even better, downright COLD weekend so that Walter would have a chance of doing some clean weaves. Bummer, it was a nice hot day so no surprise, weave issues. But the saving grace is at least it wasn't our THIRD MS run botched only by botched weaves: he had pulled a strange manoeuvre earlier in the run by exiting the tunnel from the same end from whence he had entered.

Gamblers: This was a totally doable gamble for us (a couple of jumps and a tunnel to a laterally distant teeter followed by an out-over with two side by side jumps -- exactly the sort of thing we've been working on), and in fact he actually did complete the main gamble, but a bit of a glitch between the jumps and tunnel ate up some time so he was over time. One of the mini gambles was right up our alley too: tunnel to dogwalk at lateral distance; he had no problems with that and sort-of held 2o2o so he did it twice so we had plenty of opening points. Certainly I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get the Q, but at the same time WOO HOO! he did the gamble, timer be darned. Plus at the end of a long day, for him to have any go/out oomph left in him was fantastic.

Another try at Gamblers, Jumpers, and Standard tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Practice - weaves

Hoo boy, Walter's weaves were nowhere to be seen tonight. Popped towards the end every time we tried the 8-poles. To get any success I had to bring them down to 6 poles. Dang! Also played around with some miscellaneous distance stuff.