Thursday, August 27, 2009

herding instinct test

Just a very quick update: There was a misunderstanding (my fault) with Wall-e's herding instinct test that was supposed to be today, so it'll be in September instead.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nationals photos

Kindly stole this post idea from manymuddypaws :)

Our professional action photos, taken by the great TTL Photography, have been up for a few days now. I love them, they're even better than the Regionals photos :D

I love so many of them and I'd buy them all if I could, but I'm limiting myself to 3 photos. I'm trying to choose between 11, 13, 14, 16 (her huge grin is impossible to resist!), 17, 19, and 22. Which ones do you like?

Nationals photos

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mika and Wall-e agility training Aug. 17 to 22

Some of their agility training from the past week. (You'll see that I'm trying a new running contact method with Wall-e to encourage him to hit lower in the contact.) They're both doing amazing, and I'm especially impressed at Mika's weaves!! :D

Also, Wall-e is getting herding instinct tested on Thursday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shadow's ice cream

My cat Shadow is enjoying some ice cream

Monday, August 17, 2009

fun video of Mika and Wall-e

A quick video of Mika and Wall-e doing some fun stuff! Basically a recap of what they did last week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

2x2 weaves

At Nationals I bought the Shaping Success book by Susan Garrett, at the Clean Run vendor. it's an awesome book. At the back of the book it has a complete 2x2 (a method of teaching the weaves) guide. I've been wanting to do 2x2 for a while but never had any real references for it. So I've been working through the steps with Wall-e, as channels and WAM's aren't really working for him anymore. We're at the last step that uses 2 poles -- I think it's Step 5.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Wall-e swimming

Wall-e went for his second swim in the pool today, sporting the spiffy life-jacket that he and Mika share. Mika didn't go in today because 1) she doesn't like the pool, no way! and 2) she has some nasty hot spots on three of her paws and I'm trying to keep them dry. They're healing quickly though, and she should be back to her normal exercise routine by next week.

Fun match, classes, and muffins

Wall-e had his second fun match on Sunday. He's awesome! He had that teeter fly-off because he thought it was a DW. He got all the rest of the teeters perfectly though.

Guess what I used as rewards at the fun match...Rollover dog treats, cheese, sausage, sweet potato...and a bit of a blueberry muffin! Yes, a muffin! He LOVES muffins. At Nationals a couple weeks ago my grandmother was bending over to take some muffins out of a plastic bag, and Wall-e was right behind her. Wall-e stuck his head right between her legs, grabbed a big chunk of a muffin, and trotted away with his prize!! It was the funniest thing! Then a couple days before the fun match, my brother took out a muffin (I think they were the same muffins my grandmother brought) and put it in a bowl. He put the bowl on the coffee table while he went to get something. Wall-e went over to the muffin and proceeded to eat the top of it, and managed to eat most of the top before it was taken away from him. Since he seems to be pretty muffin-crazy, I used the rest of the top of that muffin at his fun match for a GREAT reward!

He's also taking some puppy foundation classes for agility. I guess he's not really a puppy anymore (14 1/2 months) but I got him in November last year, and the place where the classes are held is too far to drive during the school year. Now that it's summer, I have a lot more time on my hands, so we're taking the classes now. Wall-e and I love the foundation classes. They're great because they get him familiar with a venue that he'll be trialing at next year, and they encourage me to continue his foundation training even though he's old enough to be doing "real agility" now.

Quick descriptions of the classes we've had so far:

Class #1
Only the humans went to this class, no dogs. We talked about different elements of good dog training among other puppy-related things, and were given binders which, by the end of the course, will be filled with pages of very useful information and journals. (Each week we are given behaviours to train and fill out our training journals.)

Class #2
Puppies came to this class. The other puppies in this class are a BC, two aussies, a springer, and a Portuguese Water Dog. Wall-e is definitely the oldest by far -- the second oldest is a now 18 week old old rescue aussie. Wall-e doesn't mind at all, and LOVES the puppies. (He especially loves socializing with them before class.) This class we worked on getting the puppies playing in that environment and back-end awareness with a PVC ladder.

Class #3
Lots of back-end awareness stuff, first with a perch (a.k.a. the "elephant" trick). Wall-e did AMAZING, and the instructor said he had perfect back-end awareness! Yay Wall-e! Then we shaped the puppies to put 4 paws on a balance disc, first a big one and then a small one. Wall-e was the only dog who was able to put all 4 paws on the small disc. I'm glad that all the foundation training I did with him is really paying off. We ended the class with getting the puppies familiar with a wobble board. He loved the wobble board and had no worries about the movement.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 AAC Nationals -- Sunday

Whew, haven't written on this blog in over a week. I realized that I still haven't posted about Sunday of here we go.

Sunday's runs:


Mika took off from the start line soo fast! This was her fastest ever Masters run, 30.09 seconds, but with an off-course! If we hadn't had the off-course it would have been around 27 seconds, I'm sure! Wow. And I actually had nice front crosses in this run too, good timing. Yay! :) Although I could have run a little faster. Better handling than usual overall, though.


I'm sure Mika knew what the main gamble was already even in the opening -- she ran away to race over the teeter when I was trying to direct her over a jump! And this is the dog who was scared to death of the teeter two years ago! We got really far in the main gamble and I even directed her in the right tunnel entrance. The only thing that got us was the send over the jump after the tunnel. I was THRILLED that she got that teeter though, almost 20 feet away from me!!!


Even though we were both tired (physically and mentally) we still had a great, smooth run! I handled the pull to the DW differently than everybody else I watched; I actually kind of jogged backwards instead of doing a front cross. I think this worked better for Mika than doing a front cross would have. We messed up the first set of 6 weaves, which was our only mistake (well, my mistake, I handled the weave entry too much, I should have let Mika try it on her own). I was really happy with Mika for doing so great on this course!

I love my dog. I can't believe that this is the dog that people told me would never be able to compete because of her teeter and stress problems. Nothing is impossible -- Mika's proved it.

~Nat and Mika

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

2009 AAC Nationals -- Saturday

We had a great time at Nationals, and I got to spend lots of time with my special girl. It felt really great to be able to compete with all of the really talented handlers!

These are short descriptions of Saturday's runs:


I stepped on Mika's paw after directed her over the off-course dog walk (very unclear handling). Thankfully she wasn't affected by my stepping on her paw in the least, and gave me a really nice fast run!


It was hot as we ran this Jumpers course, so she was just a bit slower in some parts (by her standards). I'm surprised that she had a nice burst of speed in one part! I remember that last summer when it was hot she would run a lot slower. What a great dog, it's amazing how much her drive for agility has increased. We got 3 refusals, although one of them I don't think should have been called -- but whatever, it really doesn't matter! (The joys of not having any goals of clean runs or placing -- I honestly didn't care about any mistakes that we made.)


We got some great distance from the weaves in the mini gamble, woot! (Only in one direction.) In the main gamble she was supposed to take the tunnel after the tire, but of course she saw a jump and what did my jump-loving dog do? Take the jump! Whenever there's a choice between a tunnel and a jump, she'll always choose the jump...that's Mika!

I'll write about Sunday's runs as soon as I can.