Cuyahoga Valley Golden Retriever Club AKC Agility Trial

October 14th, 2018

Clyde Closson (tough but fun courses, tight-ish wheel) and David Nauer (OMG gorgeous wide-open run your ass off courses, I will show to him ANY TIME I CAN) this weekend in Niles. Z earned an Excellent FAST leg, a single JWW leg and two double Q’s. Nina had a standard Q and some fun runs and a walk of shame.

I am loving how Zhora and I are running together, it feels really dialed in. The blind crosses are really working for her.

I’d been really sick earlier in the week and wasn’t 100%, still a bit wheezy and I was running them awfully close together, but it got better as the weekend went on.

Zhora Friday Standard (NQ):

Nina Friday Standard (NQ):

Zhora Friday Jumpers (4th place, 4.83 YPS, 19 points, OMG this course was the MOST FUN EVER):

Nina Friday Jumpers (ONE LOUSY BAR):

Zhora Friday FAST (Q):

Zhora Saturday FAST (NQ, I mishandled the send):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ #84, 4.02 YPS, 31 points):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (QQ #84, 4.48 YPS, 15 points):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Sunday Standard (QQ #85, 3.79 YPS, 27 points):

Nina Sunday Standard (Q, 25 points, close calls!):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (QQ #85, 4.87 YPS, 19 points):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (one bar away from a QQ…):

Erie Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial

September 30th, 2018

Favorite judge and friend Sherry Jefferson designed some fun, fast, interesting courses this weekend. My dogs came off the course smiling every time. LOTS OF RUNNING. Zhora had another perfect weekend, Nina had one Jumpers Q so at least she came home with A Q. Love my girls no matter what.

Zhora was super fast for her, over 5 YPS in Jumpers on Saturday and over 4 YPS in Standard. Beating some very fast dogs and taking two first places on Sunday.

Nina Saturday Jumpers (Q, first place, 22 points, 5.14 YPS):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (QQ #82, second place, 21 points, 5.032 YPS):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ #82, first place, 32 points, 4.136 YPS):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (ONE LOUSY BAR):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (QQ #83, first place, 17 points, 4.7 YPS):

Nina Sunday Standard (I nearly got lost after the kerfuffle at the weaves):

Zhora Sunday Standard (QQ #83, first place, 30 points, 3.932 YPS even with looking at Judge Sherry and having something in her ear at the start):

MACH4 ZHORA!

September 23rd, 2018

How awesome to earn Zhora’s MACH4 under one of our favorite judges (and friend) Alexandra Davis at the National Shiba Club of America’s trial. The courses were tricky, not a gimme in the bunch, but Zhora not only earned her MACH4 yesterday, she had a PERFECT WEEKEND and got a safety QQ today and/or her first QQ for MACH5. She actually got FASTER as the weekend went on!

Nina also had a perfect weekend, of NQ’s, but some beautiful runs.

Zhora is running faster and faster, and in today’s standard course, the top three dogs were within half a second of each other (43.45, 43.62, 43.93). I am getting better at blind crosses and I MUST use them, since Zhora is SO MUCH faster when I do. I am so lucky to have these awesome dogs to play this game with!

Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of MACH4, third place, 17 points, 4.67 YPS):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Standard (part 2 of MACH4, second place, 29 points, 3.89 YPS):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #81, third place, 16 points, 4.586 YPS):

Nina Sunday Standard (ONE LOUSY BAR):

Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ #81, third place, 32 points, 4.029 YPS!!!):

Cora RATO!

September 22nd, 2018

Cora earned her SECOND Barn Hunt title (Open) one day after turning one year old! She and her mum Jan are incredible! Popcorn-who-nearly-died is thriving!!!

Introducing Cora, AKA Alkemi Corona del Roble LS RATO:

Clarion Canine Obedience Club AKC Agility Trial

September 16th, 2018

Judge Candy Nettles set some really tricky courses for us. Zhora came into the weekend needing two QQ’s for MACH4. We got #79 on Saturday, but Sunday she was running really fast for her and I couldn’t get to where I needed to be in standard and she took an off course tunnel. Nina had an AMAZING wild run in Standard on Saturday where she took the weave poles a second time while I was over 20 feet away (and my awesome agility peeps cheered her awesome performance), today she had a lovely, blisteringly fast standard Q. I hope she keeps being crazy and naughty and happy and wild like this for a long, long time.

Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers(QQ # 79, third place, 4.2 YPS, 13 points):

Nina Saturday Standard (WILD but look at those amazing off course long distance weaves!):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ #79, 3.7 YPS, 28 points):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (NQ, nice run):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (first place, 4.7 YPS, 18 points, she beat the fast Papillon!):

Nina Sunday Standard (Q, bit of a gift on the teeter, 3.96 YPS, 30 points):

Zhora Sunday Standard (NQ, off course tunnel, really really nice run otherwise and look at that distance in the weaves!):

Alice Agility (12 Weave Poles!)

September 11th, 2018

Alice is ten days away from being a year old (already!). So I have started jumping her at 8″ and today she did 12 weave poles on Sue’s new offset poles (they’re offset by 1″ which helps with speed and training, the older dogs loved them). For the tiny amount of agility she does each week, this is fine.

One of the many reasons I’m glad Sue and I are training puppies together is that we can check each other (are we doing too much? STOP FIXING THINGS! Quit while you’re ahead. etc.).

Some technical difficulties with video (and my STUPID PHONE that will be replaced next month), but here they are:

Cleveland Shetland Sheepdog Club AKC Agility Trial

September 9th, 2018

Our first trial since the end of July (and Nina’s first in almost eight weeks!). It felt great to be back and I was very happy with how the girls did. Zhora doubled on Friday and then we had some rusty mojo. Nina ran like Nina, which was perfect and all I hoped for. She had a nasty fall in today’s standard run, rolled like a judo black belt and was up and running before I really knew what was happening, leaving me flat footed and too far behind to handle properly (silly me, I wanted to see if she was OK, she wanted to keep running).

Zhora managed to pull off some Q’s on courses with low Q rates and actually placed a couple of times against some of the faster 8″ dogs around!

I am so lucky to have my awesome girls to run with and my dear friend Sue to travel with and my wonderful Jim to tolerate all this!

Judge Dave Hirsch (fun, run and gun!) and Alan Arthur from Texas (TOUGH angles, tough courses, nice guy) gave us some challenging, fun courses.

Zhora Friday Standard (part 1 of QQ #78, second place to world team Keebler, 29 points):

Nina Friday Standard (NQ but so much fun):

Zhora Friday Jumpers (part 2 of QQ #78, 13 points, just a hair behind Nina):

Nina Friday Jumpers (13 points):

Zhora Saturday Standard (NQ):

Nina Saturday Standard (third place, 28 points):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (16 points):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ, some fun fancy schmancy stuff):

Zhora Sunday Standard (third place, 29 points):

Nina Sunday Standard (nasty fall after dogwalk, she is fine):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (NQ, nice run, she doesn’t often drop bars):

Nina Sunday Jumpers (NQ):

Alice Agility

September 2nd, 2018

I was feeling pretty rough this morning (being 50 has many wonderful aspects, but feeling like a sulky, emotional, insomniac teenager with no control over your body temperature isn’t one of them). I am so glad I have a great friend in Sue and so grateful for her generosity in being my training partner. There is NOTHING better for me than getting out, running around, working with my dogs, and getting sweaty from exercise instead of hot flashes!

First, and most importantly, Nina is BACK! She hasn’t done agility in 8 weeks, other than one tiny baby course that I let her run once. Today she got to play properly and BOY was she happy about it! Biting my shoes, nipping my ankles, barking, spinning, and running like a lunatic. Sometimes we all need a reminder that this is about our connection with our dogs, our love for our dogs, and our open-minded and open-hearted understanding of our dogs, and what THEIR quality of life is all about. Nina was INSANELY happy to play her favorite game again. And, for me, that’s all that matters. This really made me recalibrate things, I am just so happy that I get to play with my beloved Ninabean, my first real agility partner, the dog who showed me just how much a dog can love this game. I don’t care if we ever get another QQ (not much, anyway), as long as we get to play this together for as long as she wants to and can.

Second, Alice did a full height teeter! And she ran a small course with jumps at 8″ (she will jump 8″ whether she measures into 8″ Regular or Preferred, at least to start). She knocked one because of a tricky line and a handling issue, but otherwise she managed really well! She’s really coming along, she works really hard, she doesn’t quit, even when I don’t reward when I should, she keeps going. She is a very game little dog, and very tough in her mind and body. Exactly what I was hoping for. I feel very lucky.

Third, Zhora is just three QQ”s from MACH4! She is wonderful She worked really hard today too, and I can tell the difference between her and Nina when it comes to understanding many things, Zhora understands collection and deceleration very well, and works well with both acceleration and deceleration. Nina thinks collection is for suckers.

I am so lucky to have these wonderful, willing, resilient and forgiving dogs.

These videos are just some noodling around with coursework. I love videoing my training, even though I hate watching myself, because I can see what I need to be doing differently, and what is working. You can see Zhora in a crate in the background wagging like crazy and screaming because it’s not her turn. I know many folks hate when their dogs bark like this (so mute the video if you’re one of them), but I don’t mind it. I don’t enjoy barking, but under these circumstances…meh. They can see other dogs working and they want to work. Plus it really helps our dogs not care about dogs barking in a trial situation, and that sure happens!

Lobo and Cora!

August 26th, 2018

Lobo (Alkemi Beowulf del Roble LS) has his Novice Draft Dog title. He is the first Swedish Vallhund to earn this title. Here he is showing off his skills pulling his owner Jan’s grandson:

And here is his niece Cora (formerly Popcorn, now Alkemi Corona del Roble LS) cuddling with the same grandson:

ORBIT!

August 25th, 2018

Orbit (Alkemi Cosmic Curiosity LT) made his debut in United Kennel Club conformation today at the Ontario Shores Kennel Club show in Canandaigua NY. And what a debut! He WON the group in one show and took a group third in the other. AWESOME job Orbit, Jim and Ruth!