UKI & USDAA weekend

We had one more agility weekend this past week with the tollers!  Split the weekend from an indoor UKI trial  and an outdoor USDAA.  I was torn between my greater lover for UKI trials and actually getting to play outside!

Saturday was UKI.  Thanks to her big points she earned from her master standard run at the midwest cup she only needed a single game Q to get out of senior and into the championship level.  Zumi really ended up sailing through senior, especially considering how long we spent in novice!

She managed to earn that in a gambers run on saturday.  Sadly no other Q's.  Nice runs, listening SO well without any over arousal issues at all.  Just a stupid refusal on a backside serp, or doing a bonus backside, or sucking in out of a straight tunnel....  All my fault. 

This was one of my favorite runs on Saturday.  I missed that she didn't make her DW until seeing the video.  Then at the end I don't think I really cued the bonus backside but I sure didn't cue the front of the jump either!

Sunday was a gorgeous day to be outside!
Gamblers was made for Zumi but somehow we still didn't get it. Sigh, zero masters gamblers Q for Zumi so far...

Standard was clean though!  And she listened to her pleading "come, come come" cues for the DW turn! I knew I was going to do a late blind before the aframe but it worked and we managed to be clean!

A super Q in snooker too!

And a jumpers run that she oddly went around the outside of a jump and then sucked in later off another jump.  Maybe just tired at the end of the day?

I thought Vito was running pretty slow in all his runs this weekend.  It wasn't until I got home and actually looked at videos that I saw it didn't look as bad as it felt.  He wasn't fast, but he was still trying.

This was Vito's first run of the day on Saturday and it felt like a death march. But doesn't look too bad!  Video always makes it look better :)

He did seem to get faster over his 3 runs on Saturday.  It doesn't help that jumpers always been his hardest.

But Sunday was definitely slower.  Snooker should have been a super Q run with points but he really was plodding and ran out of time at the 10th weave pole of the last #7 obstacle in the closing.  Oh well.  He made someone else very happy to earn their ADCH with that last super Q!

Standard we did a random backside but at least was faster than that snooker run.

Maybe he's liking indoor trials more now in his old age?! Or he's just Vito and I never know how he's going to feel like moving!

Boykin came along and did pretty well with offering focus to the best of his 4 month old ability!
However when I did let him say hi to people he was way more mouthy and jumpy then he's been recently!!


TEAM 3 Practice

Now that the weather is finally nice and we can train outside I've been doing more TEAM 3 stuff with Zumi again.  All the exercises are very familiar to her and have been for a while.

The challenge we are working on now is putting stuff in sequence.  I'm always amazed at how behavior can break a little when you start jumping right in from one exercise to the next!
We have great flow and connection between exercises, it's just the confidence of getting it correct on the first time without any little warm up!

It's not always the same thing that "breaks" but of course there's always 1 little thing!

So no actual testing yet.  I'll practice going from exercise to exercise, but not always in the same order and no hesitation to break something out and work on the little pieces again before trying the full exercise.

The exercise that has surprised me the most that she's struggled with on the first rep is the retrieve with distraction!  I ALWAYS have Zumi offer to spit out her toy and than work on the dumbbell with the toy on the ground still.  So I was shocked with Zumi several times went for the toy during our test practices.

I think the added difficulties were:
- I was the one to put the toy on the ground, not Zumi offering to drop it

- I practiced ending the heeling portion then going to get the toy where it is located off to the side. 
This must look to Zumi like I'm getting the toy to reward her great heeling when really I'm just going to get it for the distraction piece and plan on playing with her AFTER the retrieve.  I bet if rewarded her with the toy first then set it on the ground it would look more similar to our usual training setup and be easier for her.

Other little issues that have cropped up are
- anticipating the 2nd position change!  A little bit of a suprise as she's done so well with position changes and waiting, but not a huge shock.

- Angled front after the mini go out/directed cones.  Zumi typically has pretty great fronts from cookie tosses and cone sends but this is making me aware that it's not consistent yet on that "first" rep. The one that really counts!

I've been doing a lot more cookie toss fronts in the house and I've been able to replicate some issues.  If there's not much space behind me after the front she's more likely to be slightly off in anticipation of turning for the thrown reward vs being sent through my legs.  And if I put the reward behind her she has a hard time fully turning her back to the reward even if she's not trying to look at it.  Zumi wants to be slightly angled to the pressure.



The Boykin foster is doing well.  Eating things, well mainly wanting to eat things has been a struggle still though.  He's mostly doing well with ignoring items on the floor that aren't dog stuff (huge win!) but he continues to amaze me with what he will try to get into.  Yesterday I left him in his xpen with a nylabone and his bowl of food while I went to get breakfast ready.  When I returned I found he had pried off the rubber bottom of the stainless steel bowl and had ingested a chunk.  Thankfully only a 1in strip.

I've had others tell me that ingesting items is a normal spaniel thing.  I think that's crazy if they are right!  How do they not get blockages?!

Boykin's training is going ok otherwise.  He's super eager and loves his cookies :)  Not jumping up towards hands or just to punch me in general has been a bigger struggle than I can remember with other puppies.  He quickly learned to wait for food delivery and give eye contact, but motion from me results in boings again.  Boingkin is more representative of his name.

It has turned our pivot training into me teaching the "find heel" while I stand still before I teach "maintain heel" while I actually move around the perch.

Here was Splash from a few weeks ago working on actually focusing on his target and not punching me:

And here he is this past week finally working on me taking a step forward to have him maintain heel.  He's still bouncing with my movement but is actually trying to stay on the perch now!

Splash also is doing x1000 better with his recalls!  I know how environmental spaniels can be and Splash certainly was the most tuned into sniffing and staring at things out of the other dogs I've raised!  But he likes his cookies and usually can be snapped out of sniffing to run to me.  Still a long line!

I am undecided still if I'm a spaniel person or not!  He's super sweet, cuddly. Very closely bonded to his people to the point that I'm recommending Splash have regular foster home vacations every month or so just to get him comfortable being with different households and not stressed about it. 
He just spent a weekend with another foster family and did well! 


UKI Midwest Cup

It's been quite the busy month!  We packed up and moved most of our belongings into my parent's basement or into the shed.  Finding time to go back to our house to actually finish cleaning it and empty the garage has been difficult!

But before I dive into some of the updates I wanted to brag on Zumi!  We went to our first "big" competition this last weekend, the UKI Midwest Cup.  It involved our first trial with an overnight stay.  

Zumi wasn't thrilled with the hotel whenever we were by ourselves. She paced and stood at the door, and wouldn't eat any of her food.  But when our roommates were in the room she was happy, relaxed, and seemed to feel more certain that it was where we were supposed to be.  Zumi also decided she could eat kibble as long as it wasn't hers.

I wasn't sure how she would handle the trial environment but she kept her wits about!  Her startline issues seemed even better than they have been at the local shows!  Day 1 had a little pitter patter and at least 1 run with a quick scoot, but by day 2 she was pretty solid!  

Our jumping type runs were our weakest point but that's true in our local shows too.  She tries, just a few wheeee moments where she can't quite turn.  Some my mistakes, some hers. Her 2 standard runs were my favorite.  

My fault for the knocked bar for being in her way, but she listened the whole run!  And even turned off her running dogwalk to get the weaves and not suck in the tunnel!  

Gamblers was a phenomenally smooth run for 3rd place. Sadly I earned her a refusal in the snooker closing which knixed our chances at a medal.

Day 2 really came together for us.  She was much more handler focused overall.  That meant she didn't make up for my handling on that snooker run, but not as wide of turns.

Standard on day 2, biathlon agility, I wasn't thrilled with my conservative handling of a turn after the wall jump but hey at least I avoided the 2 tunnel trap possibilities with it! And I sadly got rewarded for my wussy approach by coming in first place of the 20in class.  So many border collie E's...

But apparently, Zumi got 3rd for biathlon of all the 20 in dogs!  I left the trial for our long drive home before knowing we would be on the podium.

And her final placement for all 8 classes of the cup was 4th in the 20in class!  We made a lot of mistakes, but the courses were eating dogs left and right.   Super, super fun courses but challenging!

I'm glad we went and now I'm even more excited for November's UKI US Open!


The other dogs trialed too

Alright so Vito did CDSP obedience on Saturday for his 2 very happy runs.  Zumi also did 2 runs in obedience and then on Sunday was back with the Corgi for 2 rally runs each.

Lance always loves to show :)  His first run was actually quiet. Only 1 left pivot type sign though :)
The 2nd run had the backup sign 2nd so that got him nice and warmed up for all the barking!

I noticed that a lot of his halts in the 2 runs were quite rocked back and sloppy.  Lack of training? Or a subtle sign of his age creeping up on me?!

Here's his sassy round 2:

Saturday had Zumi's 2 runs in Open.  Her 3rd trial in the open class and definite improvement but yet still a long, long way to go with her vocalizing.

Open run 1:
I need to speak up with my "yes" response to the judge for the go out!  She looked up at me during the wait, but I'm thrilled with her eye contact on me instead of vulturing or whining! No squeal on the go out send either!  I chose not to step over her on the return.

On the retrieves, you will notice my "beg" cues at the start of each one, something I've just started in this last week as it has really helped her not vulture in the agility ring. 
The first ROH my stupid too short throw did not help her calmness!  Only a little pitter patter feet!  Of course the rethrow was too much and she scooted forward.  More vocalizing on the release and a nice punch to my legs on the front.

Scooting and whining on the ROF and of course another bark on the release.  Too much for the Duck.

A very thoughtful recall though!  She actually came at a more controlled pace waiting for that down cue!
Heeling was focused nicely! 

Broad jump...  I apparently am incapable of giving the cue early enough to get a nice jump.  I always feel like I give it too early the few times I convince myself to practice it and then I end up with Zumi jumping straight over it but being so far ahead that she goes all wide and cuts me off....  Better than ticking the jump I suppose.

Run 2:
Order #1 this time.  We didn't quite enter connected.  I think I accidentally said "ok" after the leash removal and while that should not cue a toy, I'm suspicious she was looking for one... 
On the heeling she did the weird thing with wanting to cross behind me as we approach the ring gates to turn left on the far wall.  Recovered pretty well after that though.

Broad jump I'm not sure.  She's pretty much never walked on the boards before!

No scootching on the ROF, but a small whine while she looked back at me.  Barked on the send.
A little more whining and vulturing during the ROH throw and barking on the send.

On the mark for te go out I'm pretty sure she was looking for the db in the judge's hand or at least looking for a retrievable item.  And then I accidentally said "ok" again in response to the judge but thankfully she didn't fully leave!  The scream on the send here didn't surprise me.

Rally on Sunday she did runs in level 3.  Good girl.  A litlte disconnected at the start again of the 2nd run, but still listened and was fully back by the 4th sign. I was super happy that she collected for the recall over 2 jumps :)

I'm happy with Zumi's runs but at the same time I'm also not quite sure what to do for the future.  Progress has been made, especially in practice, but she's still showing the same vocalizing and feet movement on the db sends too much.  And I find it fascinating that if I throw her toy out there she usually is perfect- no vocalizing at all.  She might still patter her feet depending on what toy it is though...
I'm just not sure how to keep progressing and at some point even take it into a trial without the vocalizing!


Vito Does Obedience

Tollers had a CDSP trial this Saturday!  I was so proud of Vito that he deserves his own post!

I entered Vito in 2 runs for the first time in years.  Open and utility!  Apparently, it was even his first time doing open in over 3 years!  I wasn't sure how he would do with the 2nd run as motivation can be hard, but since he's been doing so well with energy in training and choosing to work that I gave it a go.

Open was the first trial.  So happy!!   I'm pretty sure this was by far the most comfortable he has ever been in a trial too.  He said Kristen has a very unassuming presence :)

Such cute forging on the start of his heeling.  I will never tire of seeing him do that in an actual trial!

Good old Vito still has issues with ticking the broad jump with the running version even at a sad 24in!  I was clearly never able to fix that, at least consistently.  Not that we've really done the broad jump in ages.

Skipped front surprised me with how comfortable he was acting in the ring.  Usually that shows up more when he's worried about the judge.

And I forgot to call the early sit for his go out to let me go behind.  I've been wanting Zumi to go all the way and just forgot with Toller.

Then utility in trial 2.  More happiness!! 

I don't know what was up with his sit signal.  Signals are usually turning out to be one of his best exercises, a nice change from the corgi! 
Articles happy.
Gloves I held the mark signal as he was looking at the jump for the first send and was looking at the middle glove for the 2nd send.  Definitely our weakest exercise still.  I have actually been practicing them though!


The Boykin!!

Hello Boykin!

Before you ask, no it's not mine.  I'm not that crazy!  Well I guess I am, as he's still going to be staying with us for awhile!  The Boykin, also known as Splash, is a recently donated service puppy in training! 

I know it's the worst possible time to add a puppy into my household with a 1yr old baby and getting ready to sell our house, but he's a Boykin!!  I've had a few people tell me I would like Boykins and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with one in real life.   They were on my possible future dog list and now I get to see what at least one member of the breed is like!

So far I just love his personality!  But he's also been the most difficult puppy I've ever had in my house.  Not in terms of spastic energy (you can't beat Bubba the schipperke!!!) but in terms of wanting to chew on and eat ALL the things! Yum yum! 

Yes actually trying to chew off pieces of tug toys, carpet, paper.... and swallow them.  I've had puppies want to destroy things but not actually try to ingest. 

And Splash is the mouthiest puppy I've had too.  We are utilizing xpens and very closely supervising him with Netta.  When he's excited he's like a leaping crocodile!

But he's learning rules very quickly.  Lots of opportunities to practice don't chew that, chew this.  Don't bite that, bite this.  Boykin finally cares now when I try to interrupt what he's doing.

He's actually the only puppy I've ever had to use an xpen with.  I know xpens are very common and I've recommended them to many but I've simply have never needed one.  Every place we've lived has always been so small that with a baby gate and a closed door there is just nowhere for the puppy to go and be out of sight!  I've certainly utilized crates when I have had to go shower or something.  
But Boykin is my first puppy who just needs that extra level of management.


Obedience Run Through #3

Cookies for me!  I went to another obedience run through last Friday with Zumi!  That's 3 total this year, a 300% improvement over last year.  Maybe. I'm not sure how math works anymore.  Either way, a win for me!

This time I did a runthrough in the utility ring and in the open ring and did more of a true runthrough in that I did all of the exercises and not just happy ring play and setups.  I happened to be up in the utility ring first.

I remembered to use the correct, left, hand for this time as it's opposite from my other 2 dogs. She did a great pop stand. But took steps as I left her so I went back and we tried it again.  The 2nd time she stood nicely and had no problem with the down, sit, and recall signals.

I tried a total of  canning rings this time, compared to January when I did the electrical plates and a nose touch alert. I skipped the turn and send and started facing the pile with her.  She sniffed nice and calm, but then started to get a little frantic and just grabbed.  After a full reset she went out and found it right away.  Since I wasn't fully sure if it was a random grab or just a confident alert, I did a 3rd send and she did a very nice job in scenting and finding the correct one even though she ended up knocking it into another article and had to work that out.

I had the #2 glove and while Zumi turned nicely with me and waited to look until I gave the mark, she zeroed in on the #3.  I took a step cloer and re-marked her, same thing. Finally with another step closer and another mark she saw the #2 glove and sent nicely.  I tried the gloves again, with #1 this time and she did well.

Moving Stand:
Meh.  She did a nice pop but didn't exactly freeze on landing.  Still, she locked eyes with me during the time entire exam which I was grateful for.  That judge piece is harder to work for by yourself!

Go outs/ Directed Jumping:
I started 3/4ths of the way but saw Zumi was locking onto the corner where the #3 glove was again.  So I moved up to half way.  She did a great job of looking ahead on her mark, but I wasn't fully sure where she was looking.  Definitely not confident in where.  When I sent her she zeroed right in on the middle stanchion and did a nice nose touch.  Yay!  no problem with the directed jumping this time either.  At least we fixed something!

Send #2 I stood at the half way and she again started to look to that right corner before fixing herself.  This time her send wasn't as great. Ended up at the middle nice and close, but did a weird wobby, zig zaggy run.

Overall, improved from January's run through but still a long ways to go!

Then we were up in the open ring!


I borrowed a clip board and had her place her front feet on it at the start.  I was happy to see no front feet movement with about a 12ft toss!

Drop on recall:
A little slow to drop.  I had her backup immediately once her elbows hit.

Retrieve over high:
I grabbed the clip board again.  This time Zumi did do some pattering of her feet and did a squeal when sent.  Did a nice job finding the jump on her way back though from a crooked angle!

The high jump was located fairly close to the broad jump and Zumi was positive she should take the broad jump and then take the high jump on her way back to front.  She did this twice, even with me calling her.  So the judge stood in front of the high jump the 3rd time!  Zumi thought about it still, but came to me directly instead.

She lost some focus briefly on the about and left turns and her sit was broken on the halts.  The halts I'll take blame for as I really suck at footwork when someone is calling a pattern.  I know I didn't give her any warning at all.  But the about turn and left turns surprsied me.  She

Cue Discrimination:
I used the clipboard again at the start and chose to do sit-stand-down.
Zumi did do a stand on cue for me from 15ft, but did her old rear feet still style even with the clipboard under her.  I praised her and walked back to put her feet on the clipboard before going back out to do the down at 30ft.  For the down she looked away at the utility ring and a dog doing articles as I gave my signal only cue.  When followed up with a down she did well.

In January we did primarily play in the ring and more training mode instead of a real run through so I can't really compare the 2 runs.  Certainly more stuff to work on before AKC ready!

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