Friday, July 30, 2010

Revealed: No Country for Animals

Do animals have any rights in Canada?

Revealed: No Country for Animals examines Canada’s deplorable record on animal welfare and looks at the people who are fighting to bring about much-needed change.

This documentary introduces viewers to some of the people who are fighting to bring about change in this country. There’s Nicole Joncas challenging the Quebec courts to close their horrific puppy mills, or Twyla Francois, armed with an undercover camera, campaigning vigorously to bring attention to the mistreatment of farm animals. We meet Canada’s first lawyer to specialize in animal law, and a new, young generation dedicated to the fight to improve the lives of animals through legal and educational means.

This documentary will enlighten and enrage you and will leave you wondering how humane our society really is.

I missed this on TV, but am watching it on the link below to watch it.

Revealed: No Country for Animals

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mika, flying A-frame dog

For probably the first time ever, we went to the field twice today. Once at 7:00am, once at 4:00pm. The first time we went, Mika and Wall-e worked on the A-frame, on-side weave entries, and dog walk/tunnel discrimination (all stuff that Wall-e needs for his class).

But it was our afternoon session that completely amazed me.

Mika trained first this time. I ran her over the DW a couple times first. (Well, she ran over it by herself the first time!) Then it was on to the AF. The first rep wasn't a true running AF, so I rewarded her quickly and then went back to do it again. I held her by her stifles (back knees) to rev her up like I often do, saying my usual "Reeaadyy...settt...GO!!" She took off like a bullet. And WOW. WOW. Can I say it again? WOW. She zoooomed over to the AF, strided up, and FLEW down. FLEW. What I remember most is her back legs straight out behind her as she soared through the air. And then I remember seeing her back paws hit the yellow at the top slat of the contact zone. Mika. did. a. flying. A-frame.

We must have looked like crazy people to the cars passing by. I screamed out, "GOOD GIRL, GOOD GIRL!!" to a hyperactive Mika who soaked up my approval eagerly, but who really just wanted me to throw that darn food tube. Which I did. I threw it and threw it and rewarded her until it was empty.

A one-hit AF probably isn't a performance that'd be safe long-term, but I'm sure that Mika won't be doing it again. I'm perfectly happy with a 2-hit running AF with a nice jump over the apex (not a ginormous, soaring Superman impersonation like she did today). I'm just so thrilled (and shocked!) that she did it today because I've been wanting a jump over the apex for years, and what did she do? She exceeded my expectations, as she's done countless time. Ohhh yes, she gave me a jump, but she gave me a BIG jump!

(Mika, by the way, is only 12.75" tall. I swear to God. Can you say -gasp-?)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wall-e's first sequencing class

On Monday, Wall-e and I had our first Starters sequencing class.

The first exercise that we did involved a lateral lead-out with a curved tunnel. The dog was left in a stay in front of the left tunnel entrance, while the handler led-out in front of the right entrance and released the dog to the left entrance. (Am I confusing anyone yet!) Wall-e ran to me the first couple of times, but when I stood in the middle of the tunnel, he got it.

Then there was an S-shaped sequence involved the teeter, jumps, the A-frame, and 12 poles. Wall-e did a tunnel instead of the AF because his AF is still under construction. His weaves were funny in class for some reason. The first time we tried this sequence, he went through the first and second poles, but hadn't collected himself enough to make the turn to the third pole. The second time we tried it, he entered at the second pole. I was kicking myself afterward because I called him out of the poles a couple times to send him through again, instead of letting him finish the sequence like I do at the field. Next time I'm really going to try to act like I do at the field, though.

The last thing we did was run a whole course that included the exercises that we'd run. Wall-e did everything beautifully, except for the dog walk, strangely! There was a tunnel wrapped around the entrance ramp, which he'd never seen before. When I cued him to go up the DW, he started to go up, then jumped off the up-plank when he saw the tunnel underneath him. The instructor said to lure him up with my hand, which I did. Once he realized that it was still a DW and wasn't some weird tunnel-DW hybrid, he was fine. He didn't have his usual speed, but he was good and stopped for his 2o2o. Next week I'll try to get to class a bit earlier to practice the DW and get his normal speed.

The rest of the sequence went great. He even got his weave entry the first time, although he was slow and uncertain. (I shouldn't have called him out before....) He stayed in the poles when I did a front cross at the end and finished with a nice send to a tunnel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CKC Trial July 24, '10

Mika didn't run. As we were at the car getting ready for her first run, she saw a black Standard Poodle about 20-30 feet away, ran over, and snapped at him. Augh. We went over to the ring. I did our usual mental warm-up and she seemed focused again. So I went in the ring, still distracted from her reaction, but thinking that it was over with and we would do this run. As I began to lead out, Mika saw a Tibetan Terrier walking past the ring behind her and immediately ran over to the side of the ring, trying to find a way out. I called her and she started to come back to me, but just before I could grab her, she spotted the dog again and ran through the entrance of the ring. She raced over to the dog and started a scuffle, but to my relief, the owner pulled her dog away. I called Mika and this time she came all the way to me. We were excused from the run (but I would have excused ourselves anyway).

I'm lucky that I know the owners of the poodle and the Tibetan, and they were very forgiving. I wouldn't have blamed them if they were upset, but they didn't act upset in the least. I pulled Mika from her remaining two runs, both for her safety and for the safety of other dogs.

Things to change...well, Mika will be wearing a Gentle Leader to the ring from now on. It definitely helps keep her calm. (When she pulls on her regular agility leash, it makes her more excited and potentially reactive.) I'll be taking her for individual walks to work more on her reactivity to other dogs, like I did when we were getting ready for SuperDogs last year.

It's amazing; Mika is so much more reactive with big black dogs. She always has been. My guess is that it's because she was lunged at by a black lab mix in a pet store when she was 10 weeks old. She ran the other way, screaming and terrified. At the trial, the poodle was a big black dog. With the tibetan, she must have still been in that reactive state of mind. She's seen that dog before and hasn't minded him.

Later that day, I walked Mika around the trial a couple of times to play our reactivity games. In our second session, we were setting under the shade tent in front of the same ring she had run out of that morning. There were about five other dogs around her, some only a couple feet away, and she was lying calmly in her down-stay, staring at me. She didn't even offer a glance at one of the dogs, so I knew that she was feeling super-comfortable in that situation. Then, she saw a big black Whippet walking over, about 50 feet away. She stood up, completely tense, stared intensely at the Whippet, growling. I picked her up (I had to, or else she would have gone nuts) and brought her as far away as I could.

Hah, she's totally fine with 5 strange dogs crowded around her, but when she sees a big black dog 50 feet away, she loses it! What a dog! :)

Okay, onto Wall-e's runs. It was his very first CKC trial and he got his first Novice Jumpers with Weaves Q. The run was 19.71 seconds!! Our second run, another JWW, was fast too, but we missed some jumps. At the end of the run, he LEAPED into the air so high that I could have caught him. He knows how to have fun!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wall-e AAC Trial July 8, '10

Never wrote about this trial! Whoops!! It was awhile ago....

Wall-e was entered in two Starters Gamblers runs, his very first try at Gamblers. In the first run, I did a fairly long lead-out and he stayed sitting beautifully. We did several jumps and a couple of teeters before the person timing told us to restart because the timer had malfunctioned. All right, back to the start! Wall-e got up from his stay this time, but I'm trying to keep everything fun for him, so I didn't tell him to sit again. But what a great run!! It was his first run with the teeter and first run with weaves. He did all of them perfectly and awesomely!! The gamble had tunnel sends, so I didn't handle it from behind the line (he'd been having some refusals on tunnel sends in training).

In our next run, I started with him instead of leading out because I thought there wasn't really any need for a lead-out. He seemed a bit confused about where to go after the first jump, though, so I probably should have led-out. Note to self -- always lead out with Wall-e! This run felt messy, but it was still good. I would have tried the gamble (only jumps), but I didn't heard the gamble buzzer. Other people didn't hear it either. It was pretty quiet.

He was a good boy! Will post the runs with the video of our CKC trial that both dogs are running at tomorrow.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mika's latest groom

Mika got another haircut on Thursday last week. The groomer always puts a bandanna on her. It's always a different bandanna every time and it often corresponds with a nearby holiday or the season. This time it's yellow, great for summer!

(I shouldn't have taken these photos into the sun, but I hadn't planned to do that; I was taking photos of Wall-e and saw Mika standing nearby, so I turned around and snapped some shots. Oh well, she still looks pretty!)

Mika and Wall-e also went swimming in the pool a few times last week. (Mostly Wall-e because he doesn't mind swimming as much as Mika does.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mika MADC video

Forgot to say that she was running kind of slow because it was HOT, especially for this country, haha!

(In the video it says "June." It should say "July.")

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mika AAC Trial July 4, '10

This is pretty late, sorry!

Well, it's finally here...Mika and I got our Master Agility Dog of Canada (MADC) title :) Nothing really more to say other than how proud I am of her. The video will be up soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!


I realized that I've never blogged about one of my new(ish)-found loves; freestyle.

Canine freestyle is quite a new sport; it was born about 20 years ago. There are 2 main types of freestyle: musical freestyle and heelwork to music (HWTM). Basically, musical freestyle is all about tricks, while HWTM is (you guessed it) all about heeling. Both types of freestyle are performed in time to music.

This is one of the most well-known musical freestyle routines, by Carolyn Scott and her late golden, Rookie:

And this is an example of heelwork to music:

I discovered freestyle soon after I discovered agility, but I just started to get more serious about it this year. Musical freestyle is the one I'm into. Mika, being the flashier trick dog, is my main freestyle dog for now, but I might try HWTM with Wall-e one day; he's great at heeling, whereas Mika's version of heeling is bouncing/galloping along beside me!

I choreographed our very first routine a couple months ago. It's perfect for Mika because it's fast and involves a lot of motion. The song is "Get Up And Dance" by Faber Drive.

I'll admit it...I'm terrible at dancing. The good thing about freestyle, though, it that the attention is mostly on the dog and if the dog is flashy, she'll make up for the human's lack of dancing skills!

Sadly, there are no freestyle competitions in my area that I know of. I guess that's kind of a good thing though, since the judges generally don't appreciate barking in the routines :)