Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dream Fields trial

It was cool in the morning but warmed up to a sunny 11 degrees which qualifies as hot in Walter's books. Despite the cool morning, he wasn't as peppy as he usually is in cool weather and was definitely low energy by his last run. I'll limit next season's non-winter trials to four runs max. Probably doesn't help his energy level that we have a rousing session of fetch and tug after every run, but that's the best part so won't give that up of course.

Gamblers: Opening went as planned. Did the teeter mini once but went with him the second time since he was so hesitant the first time. Lucked out with perfect timing arriving at the main gamble - that was fun! As far as Masters gambles go, the main gamble was pretty darn easy, unless you have a fast and/or tunnel loving dog, so Walter did well and got a Q.

Snooker: Walter ran well. It was a nice unSnookery Snooker, so it was fun. Walter didn't slow down / demotivate in all those tunnels as much as I thought he might. Q despite the botched weaves at the end.

Gamblers and Snooker:

Jumpers: The first half felt good though slower than Lucy's run, but the second half turned quite slow. I had walked the last line of the course with a rear cross having never thought to use a front cross, but when I saw someone else use the front with great success I thought I'd give it a try. Weird wavey arm after that but Walter was very forgiving and knew what I meant. Q.


Steeplechase: Walter was slowing down, but fortunately the course had two frames intead of two weaves. But it was a tough-for-us soft side entry so he got the wrong entry. Even on the restarts from a straight approach it took several times before he'd enter at the first pole. On the bright side, he didn't pop once he got the entry. 20 seconds over time, definitely no Q!

Team: I probably would have scratched this run if it weren't Team because Walter's energy level had definitely waned, but we had a go. He easily let me lead way out -- a sure sign that he's tired! Weave issues: twice he entered correctly but immediately popped, then finally he skipped a pole AND popped at the end so we ended up incomplete. Then I sent him over a wrong jump; I think he quite enjoyed our partner's 6" jump height. Heh. On the bright side, he did a great 2o2o on the dogwalk. Our partner is having a-frame issues so they incurred some faults as well.

Only one more trial for Walter this year, which will be his last time over 22" jumps. As of January he'll be a 16" vet. Woo hoo!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Been a while since we had a practice. But given how today's trial with Lucy went, I thought it would be very good to remind Walter about his dogwalk contact in advance of tomorrow's trial.

So I got him all hyped up (easy to do when it's cold, he's fresh, and I'm holding a favourite toy in my hand), sent him over a jump to the dogwalk at a distance, and ran fast past the end of the dogwalk. Walter took the bait! So we did that a few more times and the next times Walter didn't fall for it, good boy. Will make a point of doing this king of thing at least once every practice, however few and far between they are.

Gave him a break, then worked a wee bit on the wrap weave entry using six poles, with distance. Well, not really a wrap entry, but a jump at 90 degrees so the entry was not straight on. He did great so I made it a bit harder, and he still got it. We don't work on weave entries very much so I was surprised he did so well. Soft sided entries are a whole 'nother thing but we'll work on that this winter. Maybe.

That was it, only had him out for about ten minutes total. Was going to do a third session but thought he'd lose his zest so we ended it there.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Morning Star trial, Ta-ta to 2o2o on the teeter

Recently I started thinking of no longer requiring 2o2o from Walter on the teeter. It's not his favourite obstacle; he's slow on it; I think he'd probably hit the yellow most of the time without 2o2o anyway; so really, why not let go of the 2o2o? So I started that this trial, similarly to how we abandoned 2o2o on the frame, just saying "okay" after he tips it. It's much more fun this way, for both of us. Definitely keeping 2o2o on the dogwalk though - we luck out with the a-frame most of the time, but I doubt we'd be so lucky with the dogwalk.

He was in 6 runs on Saturday and 5 on Sunday, for a total of 6 Standard runs, 3 Jumpers, and 2 Snookers. It was a bit cool outside, but bummer -- inside the building was toasty warm most of the time. So Walter wasn't his most fresh or invigorated self, but still a good sport.

Saturday's Standards were tricky and we had several goofs in all of them including botched weaves in all three (two pops and one missed entry). Sunday's Standards were nicer but still gave us trouble. The great news is he did clean weaves in the last two. We ended up with 1 Standard Q. Oh yeah and on a few of the dogwalks he either didn't do 2o2o or self-released, but this probably has little to do with the teeter thing since he did that last weekend too.

We got both Snookers, nothing particularly exciting to write about though. Didn't include any weaves - one course didn't have weaves, and the other had them as #7 so I planned around them.

We got two of the three Jumpers. Of note, one of them was the very first time I got to run Walter AND Lucy on the same course at a trial!!! (Check out Lucy's blog for the details of her fantabulous weekend.)

Got video of most of the runs but won't bother posting most of them since they really weren't particularly exciting. A few goofups I scratched my head about until watching the video back, where it so clearly shows that I sent Walter right over that off course jump, right into the offcourse weaves, and so on.

I will, however, post two videos. First, the Jumpers run on Saturday for which I got to run both dogs! :-))) It was the last event of the day so we were all on the slow side.

And, since Walter's clean Standards are so few and far between, here's that one. Again, not very exciting as it was warm and we were slow, but it shows the current state of our new teeter performance... and oops, the lack of 2o2o on the dogwalk was MY fault - I released him way early in the panic of being so close to a Standard Q. :>

Saturday, October 3, 2009

AARF trial: Bronze, Bronze, and Bronze!

Our annual trip to AARF for their October trial. This year's trial was quite small, but friendly and fun as always. And I was excited to see they now have breakaway tires -- I think of the places we trial at, they're the first and only ones with breakaway tires.

For some reason there were hardly any regular dogs there. In fact, some of the classes had ONLY special/vet dogs. For all of our classes we were within ~5 of the first five dogs in the running order which was a reallllly nice change. Do the walkthrough, get the dog, and go. I liked it!

Friday was fantastic. We had great weather: cloudy and downright chilly. So chilly, in fact, that I was bundled up in my winter coat for much of the day. 7 degrees (45F) in the morning, up to a cool cloudy high of 12 (54F). A bit rainy too in the afternoon. But no complaints from me; Walter LOVES this weather and ran happy and peppy all day.

Friday Jumpers: An offcoursey course but we made it through clean for a Q.

Friday Standard #1: Our first Standard run since spring. A flowy course, Walter did all of his weaves (woo hoo!), and he got a Q. This one little Q gave him three shiny new titles: Expert Standard Bronze (10 Masters Standards), Versatility Bronze (3 expert bronze titles -- he already had Snooker and Jumpers), and Bronze Award of Merit (10 Masters Standards plus 25 Masters Games). AARF is one of the clubs that give out these crazy huge ribbons for the Awards of Merit so I'm glad Walter got his Bronze here. One of the competitors is also a photographer who kindly agreed to take Walter's ribbon photo which I'll add here later.

Friday Gamblers: Didn't try the minis as they weren't our cup of tea, and the main involved a send to a sharp offside weave entry which is certainly beyond our skill set. Walter gave it a good try though.

Friday Steeplechase: This one had two sets of weaves; he popped the first set at the end so I waved him through; second set was clean (woo hoo!). Got his second ever (!) Steeplechase Q.

Friday Standard #2: We had an offcourse jump, but a decent run overall. It was two sets of 6 weaves which Walter didn't have a problem with.

Friday evening we continued our Kingston trial tradition of getting takeout at Lotus Heart Blossoms Vegetarian Restaurant. Tried a new dish this time, Barbequed Tofu Rice Bowl. The tofu was bland (but certainly edible), but the rest of the dish was delicious, with lots of veggies and sauce. Definitely a keeper.

I wanted to file a complaint with Mother Nature on Saturday. The last forecast I had heard was for Saturday to be the same as Friday. Woo hoo! Well, it turned out to be a sunny and hot day reminiscent of friggin July or something! 15 degrees (59F) first thing in the morning, already warmer than Friday's high, going up to a sunny and felt-much-warmer-than 18 degrees (64F). Oh well, what can you do. Walter was in his slow and unsharp mode for all but his first run of the day.

Saturday Gamblers: Did a lateral teeter/chute mini twice, good boy! Then when the buzzer went he ended up going on the dogwalk heading directly AWAY from the gamble. Although he got the main gamble (a distance serpentine with a couple of extra jumps thrown in), we had eaten too much time with that dogwalk mishap so were 3 or 4 seconds over.

Saturday Snooker: We were going along fine until halfway through the closing when he ran past what I thought was an obvious jump. Too bad so sad!

Saturday Standard #1: An early teeter offcourse, followed by great weaves (woo hoo!), then he felt like doing a running dogwalk so we went into training mode.

Saturday Standard #2: A brutal start requiring a lead out to a tough-for-us weave entry. Needless to say I messed that up, then he got the wrong entry AND popped. Oh well. The rest of the run was nothing to write home about. Poor Walter was feeling the heat.

Saturday Jumpers: It was hot, hot, hot. How can 18 degrees feel so darn hot? Walter was slow but ran clean and under time for a Q.

So yeah, yesterday was FUN -- Walter was loving the fall weather and ran with pep and enthusiasm. Today, not so much, just too stinkin' hot so he was flat flat flat, just not fun for either of us when he's flat as a pancake. How dare it be hot on one of our rare cool-weather season trial weekends! Maybe I should consider starting up a new Snow Agility League or something... ;-)