Monday, March 30, 2009

Wall-e's last agility class

Wall-e had his last beginner agility class yesterday -- and he also turned 10 months old yesterday! He's growing up so fast and doesn't look like a puppy anymore. (but still acts like it!!) Here's a sequence that we ran:

He was great! Not as fast as last class because I was rewarding him more so he didn't have a chance to really run, but he was still fast. The PVC poles (stride regulator) and jump bar on top of the lowered A-frame are meant to teach them to jump over the apex of the A-frame to help them learn where to stride. I love Wall-e's A-frame performance :D

Also, almost all of the snow in the backyard is melted! There's enough grass to actually do agility now. Today I practiced rear crosses with a low jump in the backyard with Wall-e. It was his first time training rear crosses with a jump (we've done a lot of work with rear crosses on the flat, with no obstacles). He made the connection between rear crosses on the flat and rear crosses with a jump REALLY quickly, only making one mistake (a spin after the jump)! I gave him one treat for the mistake, to keep his speed and confidence high, but jackpotted when he got it right. He's really such a fun little guy!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mika agility trial March 22 - Day 2

All right, it's finally posted!

Masters Standard 1
She was so driven in that first run. Her speed was so much better than it's ever been at a trial, and even better than it often is in practice! I noticed in this run that she wanted to go off-course more than usual (which proved right in the other runs). I think she's developed this mindset that she should take whatever obstacle she sees first unless I call her. Which there's nothing wrong with, because it means she's becoming more confident. Our only mistake in this run was a skipped pole in the weaves.

Masters Standard 2
Yuck. Bad handling in this run! That front cross between the tire and the jump was much too late, which is why she wasn't sure where to go after. I should have rear crossed at the A-frame. Okay, I now officially vow to use rear crosses as my primary cross instead of front crosses! I'll still use front crosses, but only when I'm SURE that I can get ahead of her. In this run the mistakes were a missed contact on the A-frame (which the judge didn't call...) and two off-courses, but she got her weaves, good girl!

Masters Jumpers
Great speed! We just have to work more on wrapping jumps. There were a lot of almost-off courses, and a couple real off-courses (wrong end of tunnel and off-course jump at the end), but at least she's becoming a lot more confident at taking obstacles that are at a distance from me!

So...0% Q rate at this trial...but you know what? I'm happier with how she did at this trial than at almost any other of our trials. Why? Because she had the speed and confidence that I've been trying to get for a long time. AWESOME job Mika!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mika agility trial March 21 - Day 1

(Since I haven't made the video for Day 2 of the trial yet, I'll post it at a later date.)

I was really happy with Mika -- it was definitely her best trial in terms of drive and speed! 0/4 Q's, but oh well, I was much happier than I would have been if she'd Q'd 4/4 at a slower speed. She was crazy, even going off-course four times over the weekend!! For Mika, going off-course is a great thing, because it means that she's getting more confident in taking obstacles that are far away from me. She was really happy to be trialling again.

So, this run specifically -- Advanced Gamblers, our only run on Saturday. We tried the mini-gamble and we got it -- it even included a weave entry at 15' away, and Mika aced it both times we tried the mini-gamble! I guess her ability to find entries is better than I thought ;) I blew it for the main gamble...I sent her over the jump and then through the tunnel like I was supposed to, but then my body was telling her to go straight after exiting the tunnel and take a jump, even though she was supposed to turn to go over the dog walk. Oops :)

I'll post about the 3 other runs, which were on Sunday, when I make the video.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wall-e got microchipped

Just a quick update: Wall-e got microchipped today. I was a bit concerned because I wasn't allowed to go in the room with him (thought he might be scared) but he came back completely happy and his normal self. He even wanted to go back in the room! (He probably saw other dogs -- he loves other dogs.)


Monday, March 16, 2009

Great class!

Wall-e had his fifth agility class yesterday. Wow...fifth class already...they all went by so fast! Only one more to go.

Anyway, Wall-e was showing TONS of drive yesterday! We did a few short sequences (most of the dogs are already doing great with all the obstacles). Wall-e follows my handling really well already for a green (inexperienced) 9 month old!

The first sequence was a line of four low jumps (set just far apart that the big dogs bounced them), a left turn to an S-shaped tunnel, then a jump. I led out in front of the line of jumps. Wall-e bounced the first three jumps in the line (which is especially tough for him because he tends to jump round) and did 1 stride in between the third and fourth jumps. I did a front cross as he was going over the last jump, and he zoomed into the tunnel. I rewarded him after the tunnel, and then there was the jump, and the sequence was done. Good boy Wall-e! He ran it perfectly!

The second sequence was the same, except with a tunnel added at the end. The instructor told us to do a front cross at the exit of the S-shaped tunnel instead of at the entry. Oh boy...well, I tried to make the front cross, but Wall-e was just so darn fast through that tunnel that I almost collided into him! Whoops. Now I know that I can't use front crosses with him unless I can get into position ;) Oh well, he was a very good boy!

The third and final sequence was the same as the last one, except that a straight tunnel replaced the line of jumps, and the jump after the S-shaped tunnel was removed. So, three tunnels! I decided to do a rear cross at the entry of the S-shaped tunnel instead of a front cross at the exit. Wall-e raced through the first tunnel, made the turn to the second tunnel and galloped in. As soon as he was inside the tunnel I rear crossed him, but green as he is, he turned around and came out of the tunnel the same way he went in. "Oh, I guess I'm not supposed to take this tunnel if she's running away from it!" I sent him back in the tunnel and ran to the third tunnel, calling "Wall-e!" He raced over and blasted through the tunnel, banking the inside curve. Wow. Talk about fast! He was probably faster than Mika in all three of the sequences! :D

Wall-e is sure to be a really fun and really fast agility partner. I can't wait until the field opens (which should be soon, because the snow is rapidly melting!!) so that we can train more often. :)


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Update on preparing for Regionals

An update on Mika's training for the AAC Regionals and my handling "re-learning":

my handling -- This has improved a lot, and I feel like I am handling a lot more smoothly now. It doesn't feel awkward anymore, and I don't feel like I am scrambling into position (thanks to Susan Garrett's Success With One Jump DVD!). We'll see if my "new" handling is consistent when we get some more practice in.

more control of Mika -- Definitely, although I think that's because my handling has improved.

great weave entries -- A bit of an improvement. Not much. We really should work on this more.

correct tunnel entrances -- Yes!! Again, something that has been improved thanks to my improved handling.

Our trial on March 21&22 should be a test of my improved handling skills.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mika running a practice Nationals course

VERY happy with her! She got her weave entry both runs and didn't pop out either! She also listened to my handling really well (as always), but no off-courses or almost-off-courses. I'm seeing tons of progress in my handling. (Yep, I forgot a few jumps in the first run, no big deal, I got it the second time!) She did miss the dog walk contact in the first run, and hit it kinda weird in the second run, with one paw. We'll be working on that at home with the plank. Her weaves and great speed made up for the blown contact, though! :)


Friday, March 6, 2009

Photo update

Wall-e jumping at his fourth agility class. This photo was taken from a video.

Wall-e's awesome running A-frame (another photo taken from a video)

on the table