Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dialectize this!

Here is a couple uh different versions uh my last post, courtesy uh De Dialectizer, dig dis:

Wednesday, Mawch 25, 2009
Photos fwom a spwing wawk Wow, is my @#$%^& point and shoot camewa evew pathetic. And wow, am I evew bad at using it. Twied the auto and spowt settings but neithew did a pawticuwawwy good job. Anyway, took a bunch of photos duwing a wawk on this wovewy spwing day. Hewe awe the ones I wiked fow some weason ow anothew. P.S. Oh, dat scwewy wabbit! Yes, poow Wucy is on weash the whowe time. I've weawned the hawd way (though not the hawdest way, since she's stiww awive...) that in most pwaces if she's wet off weash, within two minutes she'ww be off wike a bat outta heck fowwowing hew hound nose, nevew to be seen again untiw my seawch wucks out and I happen to find hew, fwitting to and fwo in hew stoned hound mode (if you've evew had a scenthound you'ww know exactwy what I'm tawking about; I wondew if tewwiews awe the same way?) and hopefuwwy get cwose enough to get a howd of hew. My heawt just can't take it anymowe, so extenda-weash it is. Oh, dat scwewy wabbit!

Ok, enough Elmer Fudd already. Here's the "hacker" version. (Has anyone NOT come across this... ummm... "writing style" on the web? Too funny.)

\\\\////\\\\////EDNSDDAY, MRACH 25, 2009
PHoTOS FROM A SPRING WALJK W0W, IS MY @#$%^&& POINT 4ND SHOT CAMAR4 EVaR PATEHTIC and wow, amn 1 3var bad at using it!!!!!!!111 tr3id teh aUto and sprot settinzg but nietehr difd a particularly gpood job ANYWAYT, TOOK A BuNCH OF PHOTOZ DURING A W4LK ON YTH1S OLV3KLY SPRINGD AY,,, hree r teh oNez i 7iekd fro sOme resson 0r 4notehr!!!!!!!!!!!11~ YOU ARE LAME p s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111~~~ LOLOLLLOOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111~~ yes, poo rlucy si on leash teh whol3 tim3,,, lolollololoololololo~~~~~~~ ololo ive 7eaarnEd the hard waY ((though not thE ahhrdest way sinc3 shes stIlL live,,, !!!!!!!!!!1~ .. ) thazt in /\/\ost placez if shes let off l34sh, within two jiuntes shhE"77 b3 off li3k a Bat Outrta heX0r followin gharr hound nose, nevar to b eseen again ntil my searcH lXu0rz ou tand i ahppw|\| yo fin dher, flittiing too anD fro inm her stoN3d hoUnd mode (1f ypou'v3 ever had a sceNthound youl7 kjnO\\\\////\\\\//// exaCtyl 2what im talkin gaboput;; i wonsdari f tetrreirs 4r the sam3 w4y?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????? lololo~~ ) A|\|D HOPEFUL7Y GET cLOSE 3nOUGh tO GET A HOLD OF HER... YM J3ART JUST CAN'T TAKE IT 4MYMORE, SO EXTENDA-7EASH IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111~~~~~~

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Photos from a spring walk

Wow, is my @#$%^& point and shoot camera ever pathetic. And wow, am I ever bad at using it. Tried the auto and sport settings but neither did a particularly good job. Anyway, took a bunch of photos during a walk on this lovely spring day. Here are the ones I liked for some reason or another. P.S. Yes, poor Lucy is on leash the whole time. I've learned the hard way (though not the hardest way, since she's still alive...) that in most places if she's let off leash, within two minutes she'll be off like a bat outta heck following her hound nose, never to be seen again until my search lucks out and I happen to find her, flitting to and fro in her stoned hound mode (if you've ever had a scenthound you'll know exactly what I'm talking about; I wonder if terriers are the same way?) and hopefully get close enough to get a hold of her. My heart just can't take it anymore, so extenda-leash it is.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dream Fields trial

Well what do you know, our second trial in a row with a 50% Q rate (3/6). But, unlike last weekend, weave woes were upon us again. Two clean sets, two bumbled sets. Walter's the steady, reliable type in agility, except when it comes to the weaves deparment, where this boy sure keeps me guessing!

Here are all of today's runs, except Team which was filmed on my team partner's video camera which is a lot better than mine; I'll post the link to that run later.

Gamblers (NQ): A theoretically do-able gamble for us with two "out-tunnels" at a frame-tunnel discrimination. He got the first out-tunnel, but the second time I didn't give him enough of a run in so he stalled out. (I ommitted the opening of the run from the video since the camera wasn't zoomed in so a bunch of people's faces got caught in the shot. Wasn't any fancy footwork by either of us in the opening anyway.)

Snooker (Q): Opened with a 5 and two 6s so we wouldn't need the #7 weaves of the closing. Walter was feeling good! I completely forgot to do my planned front cross at #5 in the closing which led to an "oh crap" moment followed soon after by a fleeting moment of shock at no refusal having been called. Must have been within a toenail of being within the refusal zone. I love his weaves in this run - good speed and it looks like he might actually be using his rear end. Ran out of time part way through the weaves but I couldn't have cared less!

Standard #1 (NQ): Good run except botched weaves where he missed a pole towards the end then popped. Might have been due to my rushed/off sync "go-go-go" (I was out of breath by this point - dratted cold), who knows. Didn't bother fixing them.

Standard #2 (NQ): Woops! This run got off to a bad start when I didn't set up his line properly so he ran past the second jump; then when we went back around to the jump he ended up jumping over the wing. This exciting start didn't get caught on video thanks to my %^&* camera having switched itself to photo mode. More botched weaves: skipped a pole in the middle; went back to retry and he popped; finished them off by waving him through. Ugh. From looking at the video it looks like I got too far ahead of him in the weaves. Walter will have to work a little harder at training me to hang back until he's finished weaving.

Team Relay (Q): Tucker (a steady sheltie vet who has had an amazing 100% Q rate so far this year) and Walter strike again! This is the fourth or fifth time the two have teamed up, and the third time they Qd together. So, all three of Walter's Masters Team Qs to date have been with the T-man. For our first two Qs together back in November Tucker had our back, running clean while Walter picked up five faults (weave popping, no surprise), and we were under time enough to Q. This time, for once Walter ran clean (close call right before the weaves though - no idea how he managed to weave right to the end given how slow he was going) and we were under time enough (by less than a second!) to make up for Tucker's tunnel refusal. Nice teamwork, boys! The video will be posted here later.

Jumpers (Q): I was so beat by this time, exhausted by a long day and fighting off the tail end of a cold, but Walter was still doing well so we gave it a go. The leadout was a spur of the moment decision, but it worked out. The run felt good and a few of my front crosses look a tad better than normal in terms of being less late and leaning over a smidge less (goodness help me when I get a small dog - guaranteed I'll be running the entire course hunched over), though still tons of room for improvement. Nat caught this run on video too, from a different angle and on a much nicer camera. Thanks Nat! Here's the video:

Wow, after three back to back trial weekends, it feels strange that our next trial isn't until a month from now. But I have to say I'm looking forward to the break and it will surely be good for Walter too.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The other day while watching some of Walter's agility videos, the following line popped into my head, which could be quite suitable for a t-shirt or something:

"I don't have a velcro dog; my dog has a velcro handler."


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Red Gate practice

Our second group practice where we run some previous Regionals/Nationals courses or Masters courses by judges who'll be judging at this year's Regionals.

First we did this Standard by a judge who'll be at Regionals this year. It was a lot of fun, flubs included.

Then we worked these mini and main gambles from the 2008 BC/Yukon Regionals, though in the teeter-weave gamble the weaves were replaced by a jump and in the other mini there were no weaves as a possible offcourse. He got all of them on his first or second try. Good boy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Morning Star trial - Day 2 - Expert Snooker Bronze - and 3 LAAs!

Well this turned out to be our best trial Q-wise (and weaves-wise, and fun-wise) in a long time, breaking the 50% mark with 6 out of 11 Qs, or 7 clean runs out of 12 if the Team run is included (see yesterday's post). Our Q rate has been pretty low lately with usually one random glitch getting in the way of many Qs. Once upon a time back in the land of Starters and Advanced I would have considered a 50% Q rate to be pretty low for Walter's runs since Qs came really easily for us back then (except for Advanced Standard!), but nowadays I'm a happy camper if we're in the 30% range.

So anyway today we had 6 more runs. No videos from yesterday, but today all but one run got filmed so I'll just post the video. The non-filmed run was another Snooker with a Q. Compared with his waning energy level last weekend, I was happy with Walter's enthusiasm and energy over the weekend, despite it being pretty warm inside the building. He looks better in his final run of today (the Snooker in the video) than in his first run of the day (the first Jumpers in the video). I was especially glad that he did great weaves as the very last obstacle of his very last run of the trial. Usually when he's tired his weave footwork gets messed up and he pops, but here he single strides all the way to the end.

Oh and no dogwalk refusals this weekend although from the hint of worry on his face he's not a huge fan of dogwalks.

So in the end he picked up 2 Standards (out of 3), 3 Snookers (out of 4), 1 Jumpers (out of 4), and no Teams (out of 1). He needed 2 Snookers for his first Expert Bronze title (10 Masters Qs) so he's got a new title, Expert Snooker Bronze. Not surprising that this little momma's boy's first area of "expertise" is Snooker. :-)

Something really exciting happened at the trial today: not one, not two, but THREE dogs -- an All Canadian, a miniature poodle, and a spaniel (?) -- got their Lifetime Achievement Awards today on the VERY SAME COURSE! 100 Masters Standards plus 125 Masters Games = W O W ! There was huge applause and many teary eyes as one dog after the other got their last required Standard Q for their LAA.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Morning Star trial - Day 1

A fun day with Walter now totally comfy at this venue, no scatterbrain moments at all (on his part at least), even in the wide open airy fairy ring. I was really happy that he nailed all five of his weaves today, no popping -- woo hoo!

He was in 6 runs today. Picked up a Q in Standard and Snooker, and he ran clean in Team (yay weaves!) but our partner had some weave troubles so no Q there. Having messed up my fair share of Teams lately due to weave issues, I could totally sympathize! :-)

NQ'd in the other Snooker due to a dropped a bar in the closing leaving us 5 points shy of a Q. Also NQ'd in both Jumpers, one thanks to an early cue sending him into the wrong tunnel end, the other caused by ... ack, can't remember. Oh well.

Supper was the Masala Dosa dish from the Lotus-Heart-Blossoms Vegetarian Restaurant. Though the menu states the dish can be veganized upon request, and I requested, when I went to pick it up I asked if this was the vegan version, just to be sure. She said yes except the soup. So I said thanks but no thanks for the soup, hence the big empty space in the photo. Why oh why would they give someone a non-vegan soup, and not even mention it, when the vegan version of the dish is what was requested? I didn't make a fuss about it, but it made me wonder if they didn't quite know what they were doing, surprising since it's a veggie restaurant. So who knows if the version I got was vegan. Oh well. It tasted ok but was a little bland. Oh yeah and the papadum is in crumbs because a certain dog who shall remain unnamed jumped onto the container. :-)

Ok, back to agility: On to day 2!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Red Gate practice - dogwalk discovery

Took Lucy and Walter for some practice time at Red Gate. Wanted to see what Walter's dogwalk was like after his refusals at Sunday's trial. Today he refused it once, which was the one time he was carrying some speed. Seems we have some confidence building to do with taking the dogwalk at anything faster than a slow lope.

Here's a short video of the few dogwalks (including the refusal) that got taped before the camera battery died.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Guides Canins trial (Complex Sportif de Saint-Lazare)

Walter's prime trialing season is November through March as that's when it's coolest and therefore when Walter most enjoys agility. Unfortunately, that's also when there's the greatest chance of risky driving weather. Well, luck was with us this weekend as the driving weather was good, unlike this time last year.

In the interest of avoiding a 4am wake-up call in complete darkness due to a planned overnight Hydro outage and driving to places unknown in the wee hours of the morning, we made a last-minute decision to drive down Saturday evening. We set up and checked the place out, watched some of the action, then headed over to the Best Motel Ever, otherwise known as Motel Belair. Ok, so the room was tiny, the bathroom narrower than a gnat's closet, and everywhere you look is yet another crudely done handyperson fix-up job, BUT it had everything I like in a motel: a fridge, a microwave, cable tv (what a treat), and a tv with a snooze button. The best part? All of this for $46 plus $5 dog fee! Only catch is, when I checked in the woman asked if I had brought a blanket. I had (as usual, for throwing over the bed). So she said, "Great, so the dog will sleep on the blanket on the floor. I don't want dogs on the bed."


Walter being an obedient pet, sleeping the whole night demurely on the floor. Riiiight.

So, on to the trial. This was our first time at this venue, and typically Walter is always spaced out for his first several runs at a new place so I wasn't expecting much today. What do you know, he didn't have a single spaced out moment all day! Amazing! Right from the start of his first run he ran as though he had been there umpteen times before. That was a real treat. Not to say that we racked up the Qs, but he did get a Q in his first run, a nice flowy Standard, which thanks to Spring Forward weekend set a record for our earliest run ever, at about 6:50am. Well ok technically 7:50am, but it still felt like 6:50 to us.

He would have picked up a second Standard Q except he was nervous of the dogwalk. It's an aluminum dogwalk that's on the narrow and springy side so I guess he remembered the springiness from his first run and decided "nah" for the second time, which caught me by surprise as it was an easy straight on approach. After four or five attempts I switched sides to make it different and then he finally took it. What a brave boy. Rest of the run was good.

Our third run was Snooker and curses, the 12-weaves were #6 so we had to go for four #7s in the opening in order to not have to count on the weaves in the closing. Not sure why I was so paranoid about the weaves since he did them great in both Standards, but oh well. Double curses, the #7 was a three-obstacle combo so it ate up a lot of time and we had a few miscues which ate up more time so the whistle blew just after we started the closing. NQ.

I'd been spying on him every now and then as he spent his down time in the car; the little goof was always sitting up and watching things. At other trials recently he's started to lie down and rest, maybe even sleep, so his energy level has been pretty good the whole day long, but not here, not today. Darn.

Fourth was Jumpers, which was around 2:30pm. Even before we started the run, he wasn't nearly as perky and excited as he had been in his first runs of the day. Sure enough, on the startline he only did a couple of barks instead of his usual "yip yap! yip yip! yip! I am Walter! Hear me bark like a girl!" The course allowed for a number of rear cross opportunities which I wanted to try since we haven't done many rear crosses lately; didn't quite work though since he was on the slow side so my timing was terrible. Missed a jump due to a nearby dummy chute (my fault, didn't bother "fixing" it). Overall he felt sluggish during this run, but especially after the chute call-off (video below) - poor guy looks so dejected. He must have been so sure that the chute was next, and indeed that's where I was leading him, ... sigh. After the run we went out for our traditional post-run game of fetch and tug which Walter usually goes nutso for, but he was more interested in making snow angels than doing much fetching or tugging. :-)

His last run of the day was supposed to be Steeplechase, but since he seemed to be feeling tired and hot (both the facility and the outside temperature had warmed up quite a bit since the morning), I figured he wouldn't have been particularly appreciative of having to run a Steeplechase with not one, but TWO sets of 12-weaves, so I scratched him.

Here's the only run we got on video today, Jumpers. Check out the cool videoing vantage point from the second level!

Just have to say, this facility, which is actually a multi-sport complex complete with ice rink and lots of hyper hockey-gear-clad kids running around in the hallways, is FANTASTIC for agility. Though crating is limited, no matter where you set up you can easily see both rings at all times. Neat upper level balcony for filming. Too bad non-entered dogs aren't allowed in the building (which is why Lucy stayed home), but that's ok; I'll definitely plan to come back next year.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Red Gate practice

The first of six group practices where we set up a previous Regionals or Nationals Standard or Jumpers course plus some mini and main gambles. Today we started with this Standard course, two tries at it. Walter loved the -4 temperature and showed it with a great level of enthusiasm. Fun! For the life of me I couldn't get a particular landing-side rear cross to work smoothly. A different handling strategy worked better. Both sets of 12-weaves were clean, yay! Oh and note to self, if I'm way ahead of Walter at the frame and running fast, good chance his "natural running frame" will naturally not involve the yellow bit!

These are the mini and main gambles we set up afterward. We didn't get around to trying the frame-jump mini gamble, but Walter didn't have trouble with either of the other two, until on another go at the main gamble I asked him to take the offcourse jump to mix it up. After that, I couldn't get him to go back to taking the out jump for the life of me. Heh.

If only the ambient air temperature at all trials could be -4 degrees (or less)!