Archive for the ‘vallhunds’ Category

Alice Backyard Agility

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

A few videos of Alice running an open 12 weave channel to the Manners Minder (we also work 2 x 2’s, but they’re not in this video, she can fairly reliably weave four poles straight up now). There’s also a little of her targeting a mat as early stages of our running dogwalk.

I am varying my position in relation to her and the weaves with every repetition, and I even do some rear crosses in the videos. The OMD folks say you should start varying your position and working on independence from the very beginning, because that way that’s how things just are from the start.

One of the things I love about this puppy (almost 11 months old now) is that she is SO resilient. We had some technical difficulties with the Manners Minder and she just goes with it (at least she knows verbal markers so she knows when she’s right even if the MM doesn’t think she is!). I also love how she pounces at it to try and get it to feed her.

I love that she ignores the neighbor dog barking at her too!

Really loving training her, and really excited about her!

Channel Weaves Back:

Channel Weaves Side:

Channel Weaves Front (with rear crosses):

Mat Work:

Alice Agility: Teeter, Dogwalk, Sequencing

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

The hot weather broke somewhat so Sue and I took advantage of it and worked the puppies!

Alice is doing great! She’s 10.5 months old now, and she’s for sure in a bit of a young teenager phase, where she knows how to do the equipment so doesn’t really always think she needs me. She is already building speed and she has a ton of confidence. You will see in one of the teeter videos that she comes onto it too fast for her liking out of a tunnel, so she bails off. I absolutely encourage this because safety is way more important than qualifying. You can see the next time she runs onto the teeter with speed, she checks herself.

She worked on the teeter with the TipAssist quite a while ago (at least 2 months ago), but today we lowered the teeter for the babies and had them run the full length. She’s played the “go bang” game in the past also, and has done a lot of work on the baby teeter and also different balancing things so she is confident with unstable surfaces.

I had to walk her down and lead her back to the crate twice today because she didn’t think her turn was over when I said it was…but basically she’s a really easy puppy. That said, she needs a job, and thrives on work, and would be unhappy (and probably a PITA) if she didn’t have an outlet for her working drive. I wanted working dogs, I got working dogs.

I am definitely finding that the OneMind Dogs folks are really right that you need to start adding difficulty right away, like as soon as you have the dog working the obstacle, you add another obstacle, you add distance from the handler and changing handler positions right away. You up your reward rate, but I am definitely finding that this has made the process really flow well for Alice, she has been running sequences since she was really tiny (like 10-12 weeks old, with bars on the ground), so she already has some fluency with chaining obstacles together, and this has made it really easy for her to add new obstacles into sequences as she learns them (this was the first time she’s done a full (lowered) teeter on her own (i.e. without me lowering it slowly for her), and as soon as she’d done it a few times, I right away added other obstacles before and after (same with the a-frame), so now it’s just another obstacle she’s added to her repertoire. She still goes through the side of the tire occasionally, but other than that she is really working incredibly well.

I’m really amazed at how quickly she is coming together already. Love her!

Sequencing:

Teeter:

Short sequence with teeter:

Alice Agility

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

It’s HOT here. But holy cow, when I bred this litter I wanted sane, correct Vallhunds with serious working drive. I got what I wanted IN SPADES. Alice literally DEMANDS to work and she will keep working and working until I make her stop. This is not to say she doesn’t get puppy brain, because of course she does, but holy moly am I loving working with her!

Here are some videos from training today. We worked the lowered a-frame and Alice says “no problem!”, she’s running over it enthusiastically and taking it well in a small sequence. She’s also working 2 x 2 weaves really well at home so I put them in a speed circle and small sequence to help her start seeing them as an obstacle in sequence early on (a mistake I made with Zhora is NOT doing this until we started trialing and this weakness in our training popped out). This puppy is already COLLECTING to go into the 2 x 2! The 2 x 2 speed circle is something I got from my training partner and BFF Sue Verbocy, and it’s ENORMOUSLY helpful to the dog in learning how to collect, learning how to see weaves as an obstacle in a course, and just generally helps with fluency with weaves. You can do it even with babies once they are performing one set of 2 x 2’s well, since you can do it with just single sets of 2 x 2’s (as I did here) and other obstacles in between, so it’s not hard on their growing bodies.

She is at the stage where she has the taste for how fun agility can be, so she often makes her own decisions about what she’ll do, but that’s normal and just something we will work through. Overall I am beyond impressed with how well she’s doing at this very early stage! She’s only 10.5 months old!

(please excuse the barking, the adult dogs wanted it to be their turn, nothing like training with barking dogs to make actual trial environments seem tranquil by comparison….)

A-frame using the Manners Minder:

Various sequences with 2 x 2’s:

Alice Baby Channel Weaves

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Here is a short video of 10 month old Alice running through a wide open set of channel weaves (they’re stick in the ground poles set as channels). I misplaced one reward throw partway through this session and so she was popping out where the misplaced reward was (prior to that she’d been blasting through all the way). Just goes to show you how critical reward placement can be! VERY pleased with her. She is MAD when we stop working, she will work for as long as I want her to. Quitting while she’s still wanting more is easy, since she always wants more! I have to be strict with myself about stopping sooner rather than later and avoiding “just one more” syndrome.

She’s working two sets of 2 x 2 poles set apart from each other, and wide open channels. This way she is getting the idea of weave poles with no real stress on her body. I am making sure to move around myself so my position and movement (or lack thereof) are not a factor. I am really aiming for solid independent weave performance.

I actually videoed after we’d already been working for a bit, so this is towards the end of the (very short) session. It’s hard to throw accurately while videoing so I will use a tripod next time.

She’s in season but other than making her more cuddly than usual (she is the least cuddly of my Vallhunds usually), it hasn’t really affected her.

Tamarack Lake Agility Club AKC Agility Trial

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Mary Mullen. Tough courses. But so much fun. Zhora had a perfect weekend, even though Mary was maybe a little kinder than she needed to be on the table in Standard today.

SO proud of my girl. She earned Nina-level points this weekend.

We’re off until September. 3 QQ’s to go for MACH4!

Saturday Jumpers (QQ #76, third place, 21 points, 5.245 YPS, career high YPS to date!):

Saturday FAST (NQ):

Saturday Standard (QQ #76, third place, 29 points, 3.853 YPS):

Sunday Jumpers (QQ #77, 19 points, 4.691 YPS):

Sunday Standard (QQ #77, first place, 27 points, 3.653 YPS, very low Q rate on this course):

Greater Pittsburgh Golden Retriever Club AKC Agility Trial

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Nina’s scratched from this weekend and next thanks to a newly-diagnosed heart murmur. Until we know what it is (appointment with cardiologist is August 16th, also my wedding anniversary). Regardless of what it is, she will return to agility, since for her it’s a quality of life issue for sure, she loves agility more than anything. I just want to know what we’re dealing with.

I can feel myself using some of the concepts Melanie Miller taught me! And they’re helping!

So Zhora came out to play with Judge Sherry Jefferson on her own. One bar yesterday cost us a perfect weekend. Today she double Q’d even while practically swiveling her head on her neck like Linda Blair in The Exorcist to watch Sherry (she LOVES Sherry). Our Standard run today was just a thing of beauty, fast (she came second), accurate, connected.

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (Q, third place, 14 points kinda poky, 4.34 YPS):

Zhora Saturday Standard (NQ, nice run):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (QQ 75, third place, 17 points that’s more like it! 4.56 YPS, watch for head swiveling to see Meatball Sherry):

Zhora Sunday Standard (QQ 75, second place, 33 points, 4.18 YPS, really enjoyed this run):

Oops They Did It Again

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

YEAH THEY DID! And comfortably too!

(Nina was diagnosed with a new heart murmur on Monday, we’re going to a cardiologist on August 16th, I am keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that she will be able to attend the Invitational this year. She has no symptoms, she is 100% her normal bouncy self)

Melanie Miller Seminar

Thursday, 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

Saturday, 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

Sunday, 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):