Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

New dog!

Meet Pancho! Here's his writeup on the BARK website (that's the rescue group Walter came from):

If you're a dog and your ear itches and you need to scratch it, BUT some very interesting doggie play is suddenly occurring 30 feet away, what do you do? WELL, if you are little PANCHO, you keep that hind paw glued to your ear and run at all speed... on three legs! What a cutie this boy is, quite an original :0) Pancho is about a year old and weighs just 20 lbs. We think he is an Eskimo - Chihuahua or MinPin mix and his character is typical for his breeds. He is an affectionate, comical and smart little sweetie. He loves to cuddle, loves to play with toys, loves to be part of everything we are doing.... and yet he respects boundaries and isn't pushy or overly needy. He is just a very sociable and "interactive" boy. He is vetted, neutered and microchipped. Pancho is a bit insecure and needs time to get used to new people. Once that is done however - and it is not difficult - he is very friendly and loving with them. He needs a patient person who will give him time to adapt. Pancho is fine with our cats. He gets along with the other dogs and plays with them a lot. His favourite companions appear to be small and medium sized females. He also loves to play with toys and will chase a ball quite happily. Pancho is potty and crate trained. He is food and toy motivated and very smart, so calm, positive and consistent leadership should make training him a breeze! Pancho will make a wonderful companion for playing, walking and enjoying life with a family that has another dog or is home at least part time. His small size makes him quite easy to bring along just about anywhere!
Doesn't he sound neat? Ok, maybe the fact that he kinda looks like a mini-Walter makes me a bit biased. But if this were two years from now, I definitely would have inquired to find out more about this little guy. He seems to meet everything on my wish list for my next dog: small, a rescue, a mutt, about a year old, good with cats, build suitable for agility, likes toys, good with dogs... But with Lucy 6 years old and Walter 5, I need a few more years between them and a future new dog, otherwise I'd end up having three geriatric dogs at the same time. Can you say "VET BILLS"!

So in a few years I'll definitely start keeping my eyes open for a new dog like Pancho!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nationals videos

Here's the video from Sunday at Nationals. Walter's jumps look particularly choppy in the Jumpers run. Will keep an eye on that for sure.

Also, I forgot to post a link to Walter on tv! How could I forget Walter's 15 milliseconds of fame! A local news station aired a montage of clips from the prequalifier, in which Walter appears twice. The video quality is attrocious: I filmed my tv while it was playing, and the rabbit ears were not in a very cooperative mood so the picture was a tad fuzzy. This link opens the video in You Tube. If you want to skip to the parts with Walter, just click on "1:03" and "2:09" in the video description section.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fun match

Played around at a fun match over easy 16" jumps. After last weekend I didn't want to do anything technical, just keeping it easy and fun, so instead of Masters we ran the Advanced Standard with the added element of some distance. We had fun :-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Woo hoo: Wider weaves!

As of September 1st 2010, the required weave spacing in AAC must be 24". Currently the permitted spacing is between 18" and 21". There was some discussion about weave spacing earlier in the year on the Yahoo list, and though I emailed my Regional Director to express my support of changing to 24" weaves, I didn't really expect anything to change, so this news was a welcome surprise!

Here's an article from Clean Run about weave spacing.

And here's a really neat video showing dogs of all sizes going through 20" weaves and then through 24" weaves.

I rarely practice weaves with Walter (nevermind weave entries) because it just seems so hard on his body. Definitely looking forward to trying the new wider weaves!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

AAC Nationals - Day 2

If yesterday's 6:30am start was painfully early, today's 6am start was downright brutal! (Though necessary given the 600 dogs running.) The last time my alarm was set for 4:30am was for driving to Kingston for a trial. For much of the morning I walked around feeling like if I closed my eyes for two seconds I'd be out like a light.

First class of the day was Jumpers. I didn't really like this course - it seemed like a big boring (not necessarily easy, just boring) jump grid exercise. Come to think of it, it's the first time I've come across a course that I actually found uninteresting. Anyway, we managed a clean run.

Then it was Gamblers. It was a fun opening including both minis. Like yesterday, the main was definitely doable, but I messed up and once again sent him into the wrong end of the tunnel. A bit disappointing that I messed up both main gambles, but oh well!

Finally, Standard. A wretched rear cross toward the start with Walter jumping almost from a standstill! What a good dog to put up with my bumbling, I tell ya. I had planned a front cross there but got caught in spectator mode. Popped the first set of 6-weaves but did the second set great, yay!

And thus concluded our time in the 2009 Nationals rings. We ended with 382 points, in 20th place out of 29 dogs in the 22" Specials class.

Here's the video of today's runs:

Overall, Walter ran well although of course he slows right down in the summer heat (not that he's super speedy to begin with!), and he was comfortable and happy as evidenced by his typical startline barking. He wasn't too distracted as he sometimes is at a new venue and was comfy enough to do 2o2o on his teeters and dogwalks. But my handling was definitely sub par this weekend (even for my low standards) - rough and choppy, getting in Walter's way, sending him the wrong way, and so on. Oh and our startline stay, which already was nothing to write home about, really went to pot as I didn't want to delay things by insisting that he sit before releasing him. Will have to work on that for sure!

Walter was super-good at hanging around in his shade tent as well as in the sometimes-really-crowded main areas. If it weren't for the supervised isolation aspect, with a little more work he could maybe even pass the Canine Good Neighbour test! He sure has come a long way in the manners department.

On a side note, I'm thinking about dropping him to vet's next year. He doesn't need the extra time, but it'd be nice to have the option of running him at 16" especially in the summer -- I think he'd like that. If he's spry and fresh in the winter then he could still jump 22" for winter trials if he really wanted to. I dunno. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, what a fun way to spend a weekend with my dog and friends. Hanging out, doing some agility, watching a lot of great runs... All a 20-minute drive from home! A bunch of the top dogs were local, including the dog who won Walter's class, who also won last year's Nationals - amazing! The winner of the prestigious 26" class was also a local dog, and what I think is pretty funky is that this dog, who thinks nothing of flitting off to Europe once or twice a year to compete in the worlds, also plays flyball. How many world team agility dogs are also allowed to play flyball? Nifty eh.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

AAC Nationals - Day 1

The 2009 AAC Nationals are being held right in our backyard, at the Nepean National Equestrian Park! Almost 600 dogs entered in the six-ring circus. It was a warm, sunny day, but not too humid.

First up was Standard (link opens up the course map in a new window). Managed to get in a bit of a leadout to help him up the dogwalk. Near collision after the #2 tunnel! The weave entry was a problem, no surprise there, but amazingly after that he weaved all the way without popping! Of course, I forgot to rear cross the weaves and then messed up the out-jump right after by giving him no cue for it whatsoever.

Next was Jumpers. Didn't get quite as much of a leadout as I wanted and then didn't run fast enough to get ahead and failed to cue for jump #5, so Walter goes shooting toward the offcourse tunnel. A hard calloff (sorry Walter!!) for which I'm still hanging my head in shame! :-( "Come" to think of it, "COME!!" doesn't sound too different from "TUNNel!!" -- poor dog must have been so confused. Since when do I say "come" in agility anyway? Sigh. Poor Walter deflatedly managed the rest of the course and we got in a decent rear cross at jump #12.

Finally, Gamblers. I didn't try the teeter mini because I wasn't crazy about the approach angle to the teeter, but the weave mini was certainly doable. But, Walter was once again in last-pole-popping mode. The final gamble was definitely doable but I gave him WAY too "get out" to get him off the tire and over the jump so he was understandably quite certain that I also meant to get out to the far side of the #4 tunnel. What a good dog!

Here's the video, but it's not all that exciting, what with my bumbling, pokey handling and Walter in summer slow mode.

At the end of the day Walter had his first ever chiropractic session. So many people in the dog sports world including a ton of local folks swear by chiro (and massage of course), not only for treatment but also for prevention, so I figured why not? He wasn't too sure about the guy bear-hugging him for so long, but of course he was a very good boy and just waited patiently until it was over.

Back for three more runs tomorrow!