Melanie Miller Seminar

July 12th, 2018

I was lucky enough to attend the Melanie Miller seminar at Stone Hill Training Center in Central Square NY this past week. Zhora and I attended the Masters day on Monday, and on Wednesday Alice and I attended Puppy in the morning and Green Dog/Young Dog in the afternoon.

It was a wonderful two days! I usually feel like if I get one or two things out of a seminar (things I will actually use), then I got my money’s worth. Well, I MORE than got my money’s worth!

The concept of the “mouse line” (which I think comes from Jenny Damm, IIRC), where the handler should be running where a mouse would be running.

The idea of teaching obstacle independence well enough that a step towards the correct obstacle should be enough for the dog to commit to it, allowing the handler to move to where they need to be next.

The idea of me needing to SHUT THE HELL UP and just tell the dog where to go, perhaps reinforce that they are correct with a verbal (like “weave” or “jump”), but not muddy the water with using the wrong verbals or too many verbals.

Zhora did great on a horribly hot and humid day, she came out of her crate raring to go every time, and I only had to really rev her up halfway through her last turn of the day, and she rallied wonderfully. Love her work ethic so much. On one of my turns Melanie said “you’ve got some moves, girl!”, which I took as a compliment!

Alice was a revelation. I haven’t done much of anything with her for a couple of weeks, so I wasn’t expecting much. She did well enough running a course in the afternoon that one of the people who were there all day asked me if she was really the same puppy as in the puppy session in the morning. She worked her butt off! If I am clear with my cues, she knows and does her job, and does it with speed! I really credit the OneMind Dogs puppy stuff I did with her with this for sure. She had a couple of zooms when her brain was getting a bit fried, but she came right back and worked. And I believe in USING the zoomies (you will see in the videos that I just use her momentum to start running where I want her to go), I think this helps with enthusiasm and it also helps with developing the “team” aspect of the sport. She has a really impressive work ethic.

I didn’t get any videos from Zhora’s day, but here are three from Alice’s. Thanks so much to Sue for videoing as always!

Gordon Setter Club AKC Agility Trial

June 30th, 2018

Today marks the end of the qualifying period for the Invitational. The AKC website is current to June 8, at which point Nina was 12 points behind the #5 dog. She’s had some Q’s since then, so now all we can do is wait.

Because we missed 6 months of trialing (Zhora still managed to be in second place with 1,114 points in just 6 months), I decided to head to North Olmsted, where we haven’t been in a couple of years, to try and eke one more Q out of Nina, plus the judge was Alex Davis, one of our favorites, and we missed her at the last trial. We only got in today, and hotels in Cleveland were over $100 this weekend, so I decided to get up at 3 AM and drive.

Zhora earned QQ # 74, Nina double NQ’d. So now we wait.

Nina Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #74, second place to super fast Papillon Blitz, 16 points, 4.44 YPS):

Nina Standard (NQ):

Zhora Standard (part 2 of QQ #74, second place and LESS THAN A SECOND behind super fast Papillon Blitz, 28 points, 3.9 YPS, the dog who came third was called “Bug Powers”, which seems unfair because Spider-Man….):

Youngstown All Breed Training Club AKC Agility Trial

June 24th, 2018

We headed off to one of our favorite trial sites in Niles Ohio this weekend.

Zhora loves trialing there, and LOST HER MIND. It’s a good thing to NQ because your Steady Eddie dog is in berzerker mode! Friday we had no Q’s at all (either dog), Saturday they both got Jumpers, and then today was DOUBLE DOUBLE Q SUNDAY! Nina QQ # 24, Zhora QQ # 73!

Judges Suzi Schmitz and Cynthia Tilly designed some challenging but fun courses, and I had some really nice fast runs with Zhora. In fact she was only ONE SECOND behind Nina in Standard today! Blind crosses are her friends.

Nina Friday Standard (NQ, biting my shoes on the way in means rabies mode…):

Zhora Friday Standard (NQ):

Nina Friday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Friday Jumpers (NQ, oh but I loved this run!!):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Standard (NQ):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (Q, 19 points, 5.125 YPS, she is MUCH better if I carry her in if it’s a tunnel start…):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (Q, poky start but picked up, 14 points, 4.4 YPS):

Nina Sunday Standard (after a false start from the timer. QQ #24, 31 points, 4.04 YPS):

Zhora Sunday Standard (QQ #73, 30 points, 3.989 YPS):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (not recorded, but QQ #24, FOURTH PLACE with some of the fastest 8″ dogs around running, 18 points, 4.95 YPS)

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (QQ #73, 15 points, 4.49 YPS):

Lobo VSVCH!

June 24th, 2018

Lobo (Alkemi Beowulf del Roble LS) earned his AXJ (Agility Excellent Jumpers) title and has now become a Versatile Swedish Vallhund Champion, the first Vallhund to earn this honor with 100% performance titles!!

He and Jan are an amazing team!

CCOC AKC Agility Trial

June 17th, 2018

Judge Mark Upshaw…he talks fast, calls faults like there’s no tomorrow, but his courses are fun and very challenging.

Zhora went 3/4 (not counting FAST), I sent her to the backside of a not-backside jump today and cost us a QQ. Nina went 1/4 but had a lovely JWW Q today.

Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #72, 13 points, 4.4 YPS):

Zhora Saturday FAST (NQ, thought she was committed to the tunnel….she wasn’t):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQ #72, first place out of five qualifiers, including some really fast dogs, she was on fire! 29 points, 3.78 YPS):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (Q, fourth place, 5.05 YPS):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (Q, just a second behind Nina! 4.986 YPS, blind crosses are really the right choice for her!):

Nina Sunday Standard (NQ):

Zhora Sunday Standard (NQ thanks to stupid handler trick):

Alice Agility

June 12th, 2018

Alice is coming along nicely, not worried, learning well, focused. I need to work on obstacle focus, but I’m happy with how she’s doing, especially since right now we’re really only playing one day a week.

WLTC AKC Agility Trial

June 10th, 2018

Judge Mary Mullen designed Mary Mullen courses for us. Fun, flowy and fast. Zhora had her second perfect weekend in a row. Nina had a nice Standard Q and a Jumpers Q, unfortunately not on the same day…it’s going to be very close for Nina for the Invitational this year….skipping 6 months has taken a toll on her standings!

Zhora is a MACHINE just now, and already over half way to MACH4. She’s amazing.

Zhora Friday FAST (Q, first place):

Zhora Friday Standard (part 1 of QQ # 69, second place to World Team Keebler, 27 points, 3.688 YPS):

Nina Friday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Friday Jumpers (part 2 of QQ # 69, second place to WTK, 17 points, 4.41 YPS):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ, nice run):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ # 70, second place to WTK, 17 points, 4.576 YPS):

Nina Saturday Standard (Q, second place to WTK, 33 points, 4.29 YPS):

Zhora Saturday Standard (Part 2 of QQ # 70, third place, 30 points, 3.98 YPS):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (Q, first place, 20 points, 4.959 YPS):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ # 71, second place, 17 points, 4.48 YPS):

Nina Sunday Standard (NQ, nice run, needed to push further out for weaves):

Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ # 71, second place to WTK, 28 points, 3.812 YPS):

Lobo!

June 9th, 2018

Lobo (Alkemi Beowulf del Roble LS) earned his OAJ on Thursday and his AX on Friday! Congratulations to Jan and Lobo!

Alice!

June 2nd, 2018

She’s in a bit of an 8 month old shithead phase, so today we did a bit of much-needed reminders about Crate Games and tricks and relationship building. She’s wonderful anyway, it’s normal testing the boundaries stuff, and it’s quite easy to pull her back to being her usual self. I wanted a strong-willed dog, and Vallhunds are that! She face planted while practicing today and got right back up and went back to work, not much phases her so far, which I love. And she is being great with Sue’s new puppy Blast for such a hellion!

(she is not actually weaving 12 poles, we’re still on wide open channels, but she does do a few in line)

HABOC AKC Agility Trial

May 27th, 2018

Zhora had another PERFECT WEEKEND (the first since the puppy break)! Oksana Syrkin is one of our very favorite judges, her courses aren’t easy, but my dogs love them. If I had repositioned Nina at the start of Saturday Standard, she likely would have stayed and not missed her weaves, when she gets into hyperfocused stare ahead ignore Amanda mode, I know she isn’t really connecting with me. And we might have doubled. Oh well…that one didn’t get recorded, so maybe a good thing.

Nina Saturday Jumpers (second place, 23 points, 5.5 YPS):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #67, 18 points, 4.7 YPS):

Zhora Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQ #67, 3.8 YPS, 28 points):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (5.2 YPS, 22 points, nearly had a runoff with Dana but were in fifth):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #68, 4.9 YPS, 20 points):

Nina Sunday Standard (AUGH! THERE ARE 12 WEAVE POLES! She gets through all the tough stuff…):

Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ #68, 4 YPS, 31 points):