Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Butterflies

One week to go until Nike's debut trial!

<3 my rotten red girl!


I'm not concerned about "the Q" - I do want her to have fun and not check out/stress out.

We've hit the location that this trial is going to be at a couple of times now to practice, just to get her as used to the venue as she can be.

When practicing agility at work now she is getting much more consistent with working and not checking out. I'm also making a point of actually working through the Fenzi Classes we are "taking" this month:
Jumping Gymnasics and Tapping the Hidden Potential





If that wasn't enough dog related goings on; Nike and I are also enrolling in a 6 week agility class at a new location to hopefully help generalize our agility behaviors to new places with new distractions. We aren't in a very high level class and I may or may not continue with classes, but right now I wanted to tone down the difficulty and make it easy for her to win to build confidence. Maybe I'll be bored to tears but hopefully not.

Class starts tonight! So exciting!



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Confidence Building

Something very much on my mind.

Alicia, an agility friend I had the privilege of meeting and training with last winter summed it up very well in this blog here: Are you Nagging Your Dog?

If it is not exceedingly clear to Nike how to earn reinforcement, then she has zero patience to work through something. She does not work through confusion - she'll leave.



So:

Ignore the bad, celebrate the good and of course, the dog is never wrong. If she gets something wrong, stop on something she can do and and reward that.

Build the dog up.

In an online class with Sarah Stremming, she talks about a dog stepping to the line with their human partner and giving 110% playing the game with reckless abandon. Never take for granted what you are asking the dog for.

That focus, the relationship and the trust necessary for that are built. They're nurtured and grown into that. Sometimes it's like a delicate flower that needs some pretty specific needs met to grow and thrive. Other times maybe (due to the dog's desire to do-the-thing) more like a weed that seems to thrive in very desolate conditions.

The dog is always right. They are trying. When they get it wrong it is a direct reflection of your training (or coaching.) Pay the dog!




So:

As we embark on this chapter of Nike's career and start to test performance with some agility trials, remember this. Do not correct mistakes on course, build confidence. Do not worry about anything but the dog beside you and making her feel like playing this game with you is the best thing in the world.

Run fast, give it your all!

Be brave, you can do this!

Fly high! The journey will take your breath away.


No matter what happens, it'll be fun!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Aaand ... Back!

I stopped blogging about stuff last August, so it's fitting that I start again in August, right?!

Stuff happened, but really, nothing has changed. Back this week from holidays in the 'Pass. 9 days of 30 degree heat, no smoke (from the crazy forest fires) and no work. It was great. Time to get stuff back on track and try turning over a "new leaf"so to speak.


1) Facebook is an EPIC time waste. STOP wasting so much time on it. Hence the blogging. Pictures can go here. Training stuff goes here - and really I don't share that stuff on FB anyway.

2) It's helpful to be able to look back on things. Nice to look back on things where I'm not as concerned about other people's reactions/thoughts.

3) STOP caring about what other people think. My dog - our journey. Was it what I thought it was going to be going in? Nope. But that is not the point, the point is getting to where I want to be.



Also, Survey Monkey for class improvement.

So. Journal the training with the dogs. Take pictures. Synopsis here - once a week.


Monday, August 29, 2016

2016 Summer Fun

With no summer vacation to Farragut this year for August 20-28 I bounced around between Calgary and the Pass for a week of "holidays." Finally hit up Island Lake Lodge on some decent days for photos and hiking. So nice up there!

Evening on 21-Aug:




Lunch time on 28-Aug:


In honor of the original photo from 2 years ago where we briefly saw Island Lake Lodge (and were  promptly hooked on the views) the original 3 came hiking and we did "family" photos again - Nike unfortunately doesn't do family photos yet!


The in no apparent order:











Thursday, July 7, 2016

2016 AAC Regional Championships

AAC Regionals were hosted by Calgary Agility Association (CAA - the agility club I belong to) this year in Calgary at the Rugby Union. This might have been Baxter's last Regionals. So this was a nice bit of symmetry, since the first Regional event I had ever seen (I volunteered, as Baxter and I had just started taking classes) was hosted here in 2011.

Back to the "standard" 2 days of competition with Steeplechase on Friday to warm up if you do things like that. The venue was nice. Fantastic grass, but windy as all heck since it's on top of a hill. There was also no off-leash, which I don't appreciate, since I use that to help rev Spencer up and then reward him after as well.



They also drew the courses and the orders we would run on Friday night. Our group ended up running Standard first each morning followed by Jumpers and then Gamblers. I didn't really appreciate having Standard first both days.

After the fiasco last year with the photographer, I still signed up this year to get the photo packages even after it was announced that it would be the same photographer. I think I'm a little disappointed in the photos, definitely better than last year, but again, I have been sent "professional" photos in which my dogs are out of focus. Oh well. Maybe I will learn.

Exhausting waiting for the closing ceremonies

During the lead up into Regionals I had things other than agility on my mind. We practiced maybe once a month for the 3 months before Regionals. It might have showed a little. Baxter at least apparently forgot how to weave, but it was mostly my fault for not practicing.

Baxter's Results


Despite not practicing, Baxter ran great all weekend for me. On Saturday we had a weave bobble that cost us a clean run there, but we had a lovely Jumpers and would have got the final Gamble if he had hit the DW contact (so close!) He did get 35 points in that Gamble even if we didn't get the main!





On Sunday it was pretty much a repeat of Sat. Another weave bobble in Standard (popping the second pole again), lovely Jumpers and decent Gamblers where I really messed up his closing where he might have gotten the "hard part."

Baxter ended up placing first in all events except for Standard 1, where he placed second. He ended up the 6" Veteran Regional Champion with 463.15 points! Good boy Fluff!!

I wish I would have gotten a picture of his name engraved on the trophy. I don't care that much about winning (although it is nice) but what I do care about is that we are "immortalized" on that trophy as a team.



Baxter's Regional/National Stats:

2013 Regionals 6" Specials 1st Place: 448.50 points 3/6 clean runs, no gambles
2013 Nationals 6" Specials 2nd Place: 439.44 points 2/6 clean runs, no gambles
2014 Regionals 6" Specials 3rd Place: 405.79 points 3/6 clean runs, no gambles
2015 Regionals 6" Veterans 1st Place: 510.80 points 4/6 clean runs, GOT A GAMBLE!!!
2016 Regionals 6" Veterans 1st Place: 463.15 points 2/6 clean runs, no gambles


Spencer's Results


SO proud of my baby black dog this year! Spencer was a furry little rock star and the weather was about perfect for him - or at least it wasn't raining and cold!

In our warm up round, he ended up scaring himself good on the teeter, which was my bad, so I had to remember extra support there for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday he was doing great in Standard (DW second obstacle!) until it was teeter into the weaves and they were fairly close together. He popped the second pole when the teeter tipped back into position after he got off of it and he was a little worried for the rest of his run. The finish on Standard 1 was nice though. Jumpers was lovely and then in Gamble he was a rock star. When he is on, he is a good little gamble dog! Not only did he get a mini twice, he also got the main in Gamblers 1 and got a whopping 78 points!



The ONLY photo in which Spencer actually looks happy

Sunday we started off really good and he was driving in Standard 2. Got and nailed the weaves that Baxter missed. However, on a flat jump he didn't see it and wasn't on approach to it. I thought we were called on that as a refusal (we weren't) so I was a little upset with myself and not handling as much as I know I should have been. It was teeter, jump, tunnel. So Spencer is off because of the teeter again and slow over the jump. I thought the straight tunnel was obvious, but this is Spencer we're talking about here, and I didn't support it so he didn't take it. We did get a refusal for that one!

Again, Jumpers was nice and in Gamblers he got a tunnel/DW mini where I had to stay roughly in the middle of the DW while he went to the end. He rocked that one twice! Unfortunately he didn't get the main, but he was still a rockstar in my eyes!

Third year was apparently the charm, and Spencer traded in his 2nd places to place first in 6" Specials, winning a Regional Championship for the first time with 470.33 points! SO proud of my baby black dog. He has come so far from the little puddle of puppy shut down on the floor that I brought home, and like Baxter, our partnership is immortalized as well on the trophy.



Spencer's Regional/National Stats:

2013 Regionals 10" Regulars 4th Place: 398.66 points 2/6 clean runs, no gambles
2013 Nationals 10" Regulars 12th Place: 419.25 points 3/6 clean runs, no gambles
2014 Regionals 6" Specials 2nd Place: 434.79 points 3/6 clean runs, no gambles
2015 Regionals 6" Specials 2nd Place: 422.27 points, 4/6 clean runs, technically no gambles, SO CLOSE
2016 Regionals 6" Specials 1st Place: 470.33 points, 3/6 clean runs, GOT A GAMBLE!!

My heart might not have been there going into Regionals, but after set up, I got my mental game together and we gave it the best we had with basically no preparation leading into it. So proud of how my little dogs did this weekend!


Bestest boys!






Monday, March 7, 2016

Off Leash Fun

To celebrate the beautiful day on Friday (and to tire out certain unnamed puppy's) we headed out to Wet Noses for some field time.

Fitting in

Since Nike doesn't have her full set of puppy shots yet, this is as close as I want to come to running around fields where I know there have been other dogs. Also, the fact you rent for a hour and you get the fully fenced field to yourself is awesome. Means I can work on recalls with good levels of distraction, but not be too worried about puppy misbehavior.

The dogs were crazy. Spencer was zooming around for nearly 45 minutes before he toned it down a little! It makes Nike SO MAD that she can't catch him (which might be good, since she should start to run more efficiently and less bouncy!)

Hopefully signs of future friendship?!


She's only "caught" him since he stopped and changed direction to come back


Penny is the only dog who will play with Nike in the house. So the girls stick together a bit. Penny runs naked now though, as Nike will grab her collar and drag her around the house!



Not to leave the rest of the dogs out ...

SO MUCH happy!

Aww Fluff <3

Baby fluff!


Piglet!