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!

Alice Agility

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

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!

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

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: