Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The power of long walks!

This morning, at about 7:00am, we went for a good looong walk. When we got back home, Mika lay down on the couch, Wall-e lay down nearby beside the table, and I joined Mika on the couch with a good book. And that's what we've all been doing most of the day -- just relaxing! Amazing what a nice long walk can do to tire dogs out, even high-energy Wall-e. It's my summer vacation from school and it's very nice to have a break.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Mika's CKC agility trial June 28, 2009

Intermediate JWW #1 - NQ

This was our fastest run! We had so much fun with this run. Mika had so much drive and enthusiasm.

Novice Standard - Q, 1st place, AGN title!

Another very fun run! (Even though I told sent Mika onto the table after the dog walk when she was supposed to turn right over the jump....) Great contacts in this run. Fast chute too, even though in CKC the chute is 12 feet long, which she isn't used to. My handling was horrid in this run, but like always, Mika rose above my handling and got her AGN (Agility Novice) title! Yes, Mika was still in Novice in CKC because there are only 2 CKC trials a year in our area.

Intermediate JWW #2 - NQ

Really nice weaves! Even though this run wasn't perfect, Mika tried her hardest, and it was getting hot so I really can't blame her for the mistakes.

Love my girlie.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"The look"

Wall-e's "sneaky look..." I wonder what he's planning...

Photos in the backyard

Resting beside the pool

The only photo of Mika that turned out decent

Ripping the label off an old water bottle

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wall-e's "shades"

Wall-e's ready for summer!

Wall-e's weaves update

I've been working on Wall-e's weaves every day. I've had the channels at 3" for a couple of weeks now. He's still single-striding! The only problem is that he always crosses over his paws at least once throughout the channels. (He's gone through one channel without crossing over his feet, but that was a couple weeks ago, and he hasn't done it since.) So to help him with his striding, I've begun to introduce him to WAM's (weave-a-matics). I found this photo on Google Images to show the non-agility readers what WAM's are:

The only difference is that the ones I set up are stick-in-the-ground, and I use 12 instead of 6. WAM's are supposed to help dogs with their single-striding. Right now, since I'm still getting him used to the WAM's (which he's never used before), my WAM's are more like a hybrid of channels and WAM's. They're like WAM's in the sense that they're slanted, but they're like channels too because they have a 2" channel between them, to help Wall-e get familiar with the WAM's. I'll decrease the channel a couple more times by 1" each session, until they become real WAM's.

I actually started off with the WAM's at a 45 degree angle, but after our last session (which went great!!) I changed the angle to what it is in the photo. Wall-e hasn't tried them out yet with this harder angle, but we'll see how he does with it later today.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wall-e's first fun match

We had lots of fun at Wall-e's first fun match. He's progressing so quickly, and is already speedy most of the time! (He'll get faster as time goes on. He's already gotten a bit faster since this video!) My little mister rocks! I'm so excited for his future. He's a blast to train, and is exactly what I wanted in a second dog!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cute pic -- Mika and Wall-e in the crate

I was playing a shaping game with the dogs a couple days ago and Mika offered to go inside the soft crate that we keep set up in the family room. Wall-e immediately followed her inside! It was so cute, so I just had to grab the camera and take a photo:

Wall-e had his first fun match yesterday! I'll make the video and write a post about it soon. Gotta go take Wall-e in the backyard now so he can run around and play (read: chase bikes and cars, we have a fenced yard of course!).


Saturday, June 20, 2009

My little girl has so much drive!

We just came back from the field not too long ago, and WOW, Mika had so much drive today! We practiced the A-frame with stride regulators, and a distance exercise with a 90 degree on-side weave entry (12 poles). She was zooming through the whole exercise, like really ZOOMING!

I'm feeling very proud of myself now! :) The whole time we trained today, I never unintentionally told Mika that she was wrong, not once! When we practiced the A-frame (two reps) I sent her into a tunnel before the A-frame to get some speed on the A-frame... She went into the wrong end of the tunnel both times, but I quickly adjusted to get into position to run ahead of the A-frame even though she went in the wrong end. And in the distance/weave exercise (again, 2 reps), she entered at the 2nd pole of the weaves both reps and popped at the 11th pole both reps (because she had a wrong entry), but I threw her food tube for her both times! (
They were awesomely fast weaves, by the way) Very happy with myself right now, which doesn't happen often...I sometimes worry that I stress Mika, but today, I didn't do anything to make her stress!! :D

I'm not worried about her wrong weave entry, even though she never did get it today. I stopped after 2 reps even though she never got it right (but she doesn't know that...in her mind, everything she does is right!), sticking to my rule of no more than 2 reps, just like I stuck to my rule of never letting Mika know that she made a mistake. Mika isn't the best at 90 degree on-side entries, because when I trained her weaves two and a half years ago (using hand gestures to direct her through straight poles) I only trained 0 degree, or straight, entries. So when we encounter 90 degree (or more) on-side entries, I try to handle the entry for Mika and push her out to help her get the entry from an easier angle. Today I didn't push her out enough, so that's why she didn't get her entry. Completely my fault! (As it always is)

Wall-e's fun match is tomorrow. In his first run, I'm planning on just training his teeter, since it's a great quality teeter at this venue. In his second run, we'll run the jumps and tunnels on the Standard course, skipping all the other obstacles since I haven't fully trained all his obstacles yet.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Get the paper

About an hour ago I taught Mika how to fetch a few sheets of the newspaper (rolled up into a skinny cylinder). I love teaching Mika tricks, she's SO enthusiastic! She learned the trick in only less than a minute. I say "Get the paper!" as I throw the paper about 10 feet away from me. She races after it, sometimes barking as she grabs the paper in her mouth, then gallops back to me, very happy!!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mika's AAC agility trial June 14, 2009

Highlight of this trial...Mika's speed in the chute has improved AMAZINGLY!! She used to trot through it, but all of a sudden at this trial she was really racing through it!!

We didn't get either main gamble, but it was fun, and Mika was happy! I like having Gamblers outdoors because then I don't have to have any restrictions. (I don't do the teeter when we do Gamblers indoors because of Mika's bad experience two years ago...although I do think that she's perfectly fine with the teeter indoors now, I don't want to take any chances of her having another bad experience. Yes, I'm extremely, extremely cautious about Mika's teeter!!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wall-e's weaves update

Wall-e's channel weaves are currently open at 3" (with guide wires around most of them to help him get his entries and stay in the poles). He attacks those weaves, single-striding through them, making the guide wires shake and sometimes the poles too! He's still figuring out his single-striding. Like most single-striding dogs who are just starting out, sometimes he steps over his feet as he tries to figure out the correct striding, but he's been improving! I won't narrow the channel any further until he consistently has the correct single-striding.

This morning I put a jump at a 30 degree angle to the weaves, and then put the target off to the right side at the end of the weaves instead of straight ahead. He missed his entry a couple of times, so I helped him for most of the reps, but for the fourth (and last) rep I let him try his entry independently, and he got it! He popped the weaves once at the 11th pole to get to his target, but didn't do it again.

I'll post a training video as soon as I can. Wall-e has his first fun match on Sunday -- we're not running the courses or anything, I just want to get him used to doing agility in the trial environment. I'll only do 10" jumps and tunnels with him, and probably train the teeter a bit too.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Wall-e's birthday video

Very belated birthday video.

One word to describe this dog...FUN!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Retrieving stationary objects

Quick, quick update...have to go potty Mika before we leave for the trial in an hour! (2 Advanced Gamblers)

I've been teaching Wall-e how to retrieve objects that are lying on the ground. He knows how to retrieve objects that I've thrown, but he doesn't yet know how to look for objects on the ground when I say the object's name and bring it to me.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

2009 AAC Regionals

Yes, I finally wrote a post about Regionals, even though it is two weeks late!

We had three awesome days at Regionals. It was so much fun to run Mika, hang out with both dogs, and watch lots of runs! My friend Ashley came all the way from Florida to visit us, thanks Ashley -- it was awesome! So much fun, you HAVE to come again!


So the Friday of Regionals, we had our warm-up run. It had been raining previously so the contacts were REALLY slippery. Every dog that I saw who went on all three contacts fell off at least one of them. Yes, I'm serious! So for Mika's safety, I just did tunnels.


On Saturday we had Standard #1, Jumpers #1, and Gamblers #1. Saturday was a bit of a "messy day" because of our weird Standard and Gamblers runs. Our Standard run was VERY unorganized, thanks to my bad handling...I sent her off-course twice, and it was just generally a really strange run. She did have an awesome teeter and weaves though, and sent into the tunnel after the weaves beautifully as I ran into position after the tunnel

Our Jumpers #1 run was great! -- if it was a real trial, it would have been our first Masters Q!! 7th place!

In our Gamblers #1 run, Mika was kind of acting "off" and was a bit distracted, not really into it, and I also didn't hear the buzzer for the main gamble.


On Sunday...what an awesome day! Jumpers #2, Gamblers #2, and Standard #2. Our Jumpers #2 run was a blast, very fast, just one knocked bar (Mika's once-in-a-lifetime bar!). Mika was at her best, and in a great "agility mood!"

Then Gamblers #2... OH. MY. GOSH. I am still in awe and shock...Mika got the main gamble, PERFECTLY!! Yes, a Masters gamble with a send to an off-side weave entry!!! And there were TWELVE poles, and she didn't pop!! :D :D SO proud of my girlie, can't even describe!!! 6th place!

At that point, we needed about 45 more points to qualify for Nationals. There was one run left -- Standard #2. Let's see what happened...

Well, it had been crazy weather all weekend (in summary...lots of rain, wet, puddles, and hail, yes, HAIL). Sunday was no exception. It was pouring and freezing cold when Standard #2 began. If the rain had kept up, Mika might not have ran (this is one dog who really hates the rain and the wet!). But, the rain stopped, less than five minutes before our run!! (Thank you God!) It was still really cold and wet, though. Luckily I had some home-cooked salmon from Lynn (thank you!!) to motivate Mika. She loved that salmon!! I stuffed a nice big piece into her mouth just before we stepped into the ring, and she ran amazingly...wow, what a special dog to brave the wet and run for me. 3rd place too...not that it's the placement that matters, it really doesn't matter to me...I was just so amazed at Mika!

Overall, we got 6th place overall in 10" Specials (20 dogs total), and qualified for Nationals!!! It was our first time at Regionals, but Mika ran so, so well, and I was thrilled with her!! Couldn't be more proud of my girl <3

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wall-e 1st birthday photo!

I'm so sorry for not writing on this blog in so long!! I've just been so busy.

Wall-e celebrated his first birthday on May 29. He had lots of fun doing lots of training (one of his very favourite things to do!), agility, and hanging out at Regionals! Here's just one of the cute photos my mom took (as I stood behind her holding up treats):

Of course Wall-e had to have a birthday hat on. I'm not big on "dressing up" the dogs -- I just put hats on them on birthdays and Christmas, and Mika has her sweaters because she gets cold really easily.

Oh, by the way...Mika qualified for Nationals!! :D Go Mika!!! A post on Regionals will come, don't worry!