Archive for the ‘C litter’ Category

Alice Agility (12 Weave Poles!)

Tuesday, 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:

Alice Agility

Sunday, 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!

Sunday, 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!

Saturday, 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!

Alice Agility

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

Sue and I had a puppy training morning. It’s a good idea to get the puppies out on their own, away from the big dogs occasionally.

We worked a jump grid and a course Sue picked up at a Theresa Rector seminar. I need to remember to be crisp and clear with my handling. I tend to do things slower than I need to, and muddier than I should. We’re a work in progress!

Teeter:

Jump Grid:

Focus Forward:

Jump Grid:

Jump Grid:

Theresa Rector Course (in which she forgives a VERY late blind cross! She is a very forgiving dog to work with):

Tunnel Call Off (this is huge, since switching between handler focus and obstacle focus is most definitely a work in progress, especially if the obstacle is a tunnel!);

Connection work:

Alice Agility

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

So it was hot so Sue and I just did some noodling around with the puppies. Alice did 6 poles straight up for the first time ever, incuding as part of a sequence! I’d say she had about a 70% success rate, which is HUGE at this stage, as far as I’m concerned, and many of the misses were handler errors.

BPIG is 11 months old today. I love this puppy so much, I so hope I don’t mess her up! She is very forgiving and not worried about mistakes, which is what you really hope for in a sport dog! That Puppy Culture stuff really works – a jump standard blew over today while she was working and so she RAN OVER TO IT AND CLIMBED ON IT…no fear.

Typically we do SOME work every day (she demands it), and we rarely do the same work two days in a row (this is for both mental and physical reasons). Today was the first time she has EVER done 6 poles straight up, she has done 4 a couple of times, 2 separated sets of 2×2’s several times, and a single set of 2×2’s many times. She has also done an open channel of 12 poles several times. We are working around the clock entries with a single set of 2×2’s and the wide open channels. We only work weaves maybe 3 times per week for sessions lasting less than 15 minutes. Weaves have a mental and a physical (muscle memory) component, and I am trying to work them enough that she can start to develop both parts without overdoing it (repeated high speed weaving is very hard on the dog’s body, but short, slower sessions like this are unlikely to be harmful). It is a huge bonus that she does not get frustrated and does not get overwhelmed. Like her father, if she doesn’t get it, she thinks it through and tries again (Zhora is more a “bark at it and keep throwing yourself at it until you get it right” sort of dog). I am not taxing her excellent work ethic, but I am also not handling her with kid gloves, she genuinely likes to work and she likes a challenge. She is not afraid to be wrong, but she is also still a puppy, so I need to be aware of what is a learning issue she needs to work through vs what is a puppy brain on tilt where she needs a break. Sue and I normally do several short sessions with our puppies in a given training session, they rarely work more than 5 minutes at a time.

At home in addition to the channel weaves and 2×2 and running dogwalk mat work, we are also working on hind end awareness exercises including pivoting with the front feet on a balance disc, and the Linda Mecklenburg one jump exercise (which is also helping with her hind end awareness in addition to starting to develop her jumping skill). Most sessions are 5 minutes at most. I am thrilled with how she is doing so far!

Here are a few training videos from today:

6 weave poles from a jump:

6 weave poles:

A bit faster, unsuccessful (she is SO unafraid to be wrong, I LOVE that):

Unsuccessful, rewarded anyway:

6 weaves from a jump:

Jump, 6 poles, push (I mishandled the backside):

A just for the hell of it attempt at 12 poles:

Tunnel exercises:

Short sequence with weaves:

Short sequences with 2×2 and weaves:

Sequence with dogwalk and frying puppy brain (last one, playtime after this!):

OMG ALICE!

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Today, at the St. Catharines & District Kennel & Obedience Club Canadian Kennel Club show, Alice won Best of Winners for a point, and THEN SHE WON BEST PUPPY IN GROUP!

I thought the judge was walking over to give the ribbon to the top Mudi in Canada who was beside us. She wasn’t. When she said “thank you all for showing me your puppies today, my best puppy in group is the Swedish Vallhund” I nearly burst into tears. I am so proud of this puppy! Showing in breed is way less fun than playing agility, but she’s a real trooper, she loves to work no matter what the work is, she really inherited her parents’ lack of quit 😉 , she showed her heart out all day (and we had two shows today). She still had a happy face and a spring in her step even after a long LONG day of showing.

This actually puts her (temporarily, I’m sure) into the #2 spot overall, making her the #2 Vallhund in Ontario currently!

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: