Utility attempt #2

Attempt #2 and another NQ.  I'm still thrilled at how much fun he is having in the ring!  I think Lance did a bit better yesterday even though we were closer to qualifying today.  Video:


Signals-
Forgier than yesterday.  Took a step after I left him on the stand but other than that he did great. 

Articles
The pile was in the middle today so no looking at the open ring and no extra jumps!  The first send was great and Lance confidently brought me back the right one.  The 2nd send he doubted himself and mouthed a wrong one the few times before deciding on the correct one.  But once again he brought them both back without stopping and looking me for reassurance!

Glove
#1 again.  Nice job but he mouthed the glove as he sat in front of me.  Lance almost never mouths objects in practice so this surprised me.

Moving Stand
Again Lance moved as I left him and a little bit again during the exam.  I would chalk it up to the extroidinary amount of pressure the judge was putting on all the teams during this exercise but since Lance did it yesterday and during our grad open runs I don't think that's the case.

Directed Jumping- NQ
Again Lance went to left corner of the ring but at least this time he didn't start to curl back to me and we were given the closest jump.  The 2nd time he went to the same spot and then took the same jump.  I had just started practicing off centered jumping in practice but haven't done enough of it I guess. 

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Our AKC Utility Debut!

Today was Lance's, and mine, debut in AKC Utility!  I was very nervous but Lance seemed to have a blast and once again even through in some bonus jumps :)  We didn't qualify, wrong article, but I am thrilled with his performance today.  Tomorrow we try again.  Video below:


 Signals
Way less forging than the last few trials!!!! Crappy halt but I'll take blame for not really doing my footwork.  Awesome job on the signals!

Articles- NQ
Creative corgi!  Lance saw the dumbbell throw from the open ring and when sent he took the jump and went looking for it.  He came back over it right away and started working the pile.  Unforunately he brought back the wrong one, but on the positive side he was confident!  The second send he again hopped over the jump and went looking for that dumbbell.  This time he spent more time looking so I called him back and then gave him a point to the pile.  He brought back the correct one this time :)

Gloves
Yay, he didn't even look at the jump on the way back!  He did finish on the judge's order though instead of waiting for mine.

Moving stand
More forging and he took a few extra steps when I left and the front feet on the exam.  Forged finish.

Directed Jumping
Nice confident run out between the jumps but then veered off to where the glove was and started coming back.  Then the judge nicely pointed out that I could move away from the gates and give him some room to finish :)  The 2nd go out he again ran out happily and made it closer to the gate before starting to turn back to me.

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Running

I've started running with the toller.  To those who know me well it's a jaw dropping moment as I have always hated running.  Sure I swam competitively for 16yrs, but never running.  Short sprints around the agility field is fine but that at least is running as part of a larger goal, and it's short.

Alas what started me running was to increase Vito's exercise and endurance.  I'm hoping that doing so will help with his anxiety issues.  I suppose I could just throw a ball for him but he gets so worked up at the mere sight of one that I'm terrified he's going to have a heart attack after only 2 throws.  I was thinking lowering the intensity but increasing the duration would be more beneficial for him.

And that leads to goal #2 of getting myself in shape.  Since I haven't worked out in years I'm overdue.  I started the Couch to 5K program to ease me into it and I'm happy to report that I'm now done with week 4!  And even bigger news is so far I don't absolutely hate it!  I'm pretty sure my "running" speed is the same as my fast walking speed but I suppose that's a goal to work on after I can get some duration of running.

Vito has been an excellent running partner.  I'm using an over the shoulder leash I have that keeps him nice and close while leaving my hands free.  In the beginning it was a bit hard as I'm encouraging Vito to run on the grass instead of the sidewalk and this has always been against the rules in our walking.  I don't like it when dogs wander all over other people's yards so I've never let my dog's stray from the walkway.  It took Vito a few days to get the new rule but now he's doing pretty well.  He rarely pulls and I can see him trying so hard when a squirrel refuses to move until the last second!

The only thing I'm not sure on is how long I can keep it up now that summer is over.  I hate cold and my Raynaud's has already started.  But at least by posting now I get credit for what I did!

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Fiona 4.5 months

Fiona has really been frustrating me lately.  She's like Jekyl/Hyde with her extremely bossy, manipulative, bouncy side and then her submissive, sensitive side.  The last two weeks her submissive side has been winning out and dealing with it is not my strength.  Here's hoping it's just a silly phase and will go away quickly!

She did at least pass her CGC this past month and this week she passed the level 3 test for puppy raiser classes.  Of course the lv3 pass was not the prettiest as it alternated between periods of brilliance to times of flopping over on her back and looking like I beat her.  This video was taking on one of her better days last week.


Overall she is doing really well with her training.  She's about 90% on one of my most important skills I use all the time, boundary training.  Fiona can stay in my cubicle, even when I'm not there, while other dogs, people, or even cats walk by.  Everything else is just fun.


Even when the cat decides to chew on her.

 

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Disc Dog State Championship

This past weekend the boys and I went camping for the MN Disc Dog State Championship.  Vito and I did our very first freestyle routine and some how managed to win the novice division. I'm not sure how since it was very evident that we had no actual routine planned and Vito didn't actually catch much of anything besides a few flips.  Of course he always has a blast.  I felt like an idiot.


We had a lot of these

 And a few of these

Vito got minimal points in T&C and Longshot was a complete bust.  I just wasn't able to get the disc out far enough ahead of him for Vito to catch it.  Instead he did his typical out running of the disc and leaping at it when he's underneath it.
We have one catch picture!!!

Pairs Catch-22 seemed to be our game though!  Adam, Vito, and I were a team and took turns tossing disc in opposite directions.  It was perfect for Vito since we were able to throw the next disc as he was running back and thus the disc was way out in front of him to actually judge take off. 

Lance escaped from his spot and ran over to us during the pairs award (3rd).  Adam figured he could stay since he's like a little mascot.

Thanks to Adam, JG, Emily, and Larry for the pictures!

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Fiona and the Ferrets

Fi has always been in love with the ferrets and it seems as though she has finally won them over.  Opie will still bite her and refuse to let go at times (I always laugh as I walk over to rescue her!) but Zoe is falling in love.  I guess she just has a thing for labs as she's starting to do the same thing to Fiona as she did to Chuck.  It's just not quite to the same level as cuteness, yet.

I found this video I had made of Chuck and Zoe awhile back but never got around to uploading and posting it.  It almost makes me miss the Chuckles, almost.


I'm trying to get video of Fiona and Zoe but the lighting in our new place is horrible and of course it's made worse with a black dog.  You'll just have to take my word on the cuteness.

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Giving Up.

The corgi and I are giving up.  True running contacts are apparently not meant for us.  Between his body structure, love of flying, and tendency to stress, slow down, and then completely shut down when trying to figure it out it's just not working.

Thanks to Loretta's suggestions on giving him complete control of offering starting the dogwalk plank without any release cue from me and shutting up my praise which was putting too much pressure on him, I am able to get him happy again fairly quickly.  But then a few weeks later we go through it all again.  I am just not a good enough trainer to communicate what I want to him.

We are also giving up on the aframe.  Without someone to help me lower it we haven't been able to practice it as much as we need to.  And even with a completely lowered aframe I can't get Lance to clear the apex nicely and do clean striding.  He stutters and it hasn't gone away even with increased confidence.  At least Lance has never gotten stressed out on the aframe but I still can't get what I want.

I guess I could go back to our 4 on the floor for the dogwalk since that seemed to work ok there, but the crashing into the ground on the aframe is what started this 6 month project.  Since I have completely destroyed my dog by retraining so many times I think we are going to go to managed contacts for both.  I haven't decided how I'm going to manage them yet but that training will at least be on me and not my dog.  Now Lance can just run carefree, no stress.  It might put a damper on gambles but any other course I should be able to beat him to the bottom and handle as needed.  And if I'm not there, well Lance can just have fun flying!

I always thought I hated managed contacts but I guess I just don't like the people who don't admit that they have one.  Those who scream at their dogs to touch and then get really upset when the dog misses.  They say they have a running contact but the poor dogs have no idea what they're supposed to do.  Maybe since I am going to completely own my managed contacts it will be ok?  Or do I need to train a 4 On for the aframe and something for the dogwalk?

I want a happy corgi!

Photo by Anna Kucera

On a happier note, Lance ran hoopers and weavers on Friday at the NADAC trial.  He had fun

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First USDAA Trial

This weekend I entered the land of border collies and running skirts, otherwise known as USDAA.  Well the skirts were only seen on Saturday, today was long pants and jackets.  It certainly was a different crowd than the NADAC and CPE trials we've been to but since agility people are amazing we had no problem finding nice people to video tape us and letting us move into their tents.  Vito ran 4 events yesterday and today.

Saturday did not go so well.  Vito would rather eat grass than play his ball during warm ups and was extremely distracted and unresponsive to attempts to play.  At one point during a run he actually stopped to sniff the grass and avoided a jump.  He knocked a ton of bars and had very slow weaves and popped out.  On the postive side his running dogwalks and aframes were all fabulous.  I almost pulled him the last run but decided I would use his willingness to play with a ball as the deciding factor.  And Vito was starting to wake up a bit and really wanted his ball!  During the run he actually broke his startline and I couldn't have been more pleased with that!  He started out really well although he started to slow down by the mid point.

Today I decided not to give Vito his Alprazolam in the morning to see if that would make a difference.  I didn't think anything was physically wrong with him and he had just seen a chiropractor a week ago.  If things started the same as Saturday I had decided to scratch runs as needed or leave mid run.

The good news is that I seemed to have my dog back!  Vito was very excited to be at the trial and very much wanted his toy during warm ups.  I can't say that our runs were all that brilliant but he was happy to be there and was even running full speed at certain points.  His one dogwalk and most jumps stayed up today as well.

Quick clip of running contacts and his first 2 runs on Sunday:


A few of the things I need to work on:
- Vito needs to see more doubles and tripples in practice.  And in general needs more practice jumping 22 if I'm going to keep doing USDAA.
- More work with a full height table.  The table is rarely out in practice and almost never raised.

Things that are hopefully a confidence issue and will go away as he gets in more trials:
- Speed in weave poles during trials
- Attention at startline.  Not getting distracted by the judge walking over to us and then back out, and the need for Vito to say hello when the course leads close to him.  Not searching for Daddy or Grandma when he knows they're watching.
- Speed in general at trials.

Run by run breakdown of the weekend

Saturday

Gamblers, Q- The run itself wasn't horrible.  He biffed it on the first jump and actually land on his head but then recovered.  He knocked a lot of bars, missed and popped out of the weaves, but had lovely aframes, a gorgeous dogwalk even if it wasn't the fastest, and we got the easy gamble.  Somehow we even got just enough points to qualify.  I wanted to chalk up the substandard run to the fall.

Standard, E-  I thought I had him at the start line since there was a delay and Vito started a tiny bit of excited screaming.  But the weaves were second and Vito first missed the entry, then really slowed down and popped out, and then finally completed them on the 3rd try but again slowed down.  Knocked the triple on a rear cross.  He avoided the table to go sniff the number and didn't do his auto down.  But another really nice dogwalk and turned when I called him on the flat.  I was over too far after the tunnel and had to move out of his way and we just ran by two obstacles.

Snooker, NQ- disaster.  During the run he seemed to do ok for the first few obstacles but then started major sniffing and avoiding a jump.  I got him over it and we finished our opening ok although not pretty since he couldn't do any rear crosses.  Knocked #4 in the closing.

Jumpers, NQ-  Broke his startline!  He started out really well although he started to slow down by the mid point.  I set him in the wrong end of the tunnel and he knocked a bar.  But at least we ended with a happy Vito!

Sunday

Gamblers, NQ- Happy dog, and really running!  He seemed to trip over his feet while getting on the teeter but when I asked him if he was ok he stepped into his 2o2o.  I was then really late in cuing a wrap and tried to plot where to go next instead of looking at my dog so he went around behind me as the buzzer went off.  We fix things, start the gamble and I don't even know what possessed me to handle it so stupidly, and we blow an easy gamble.

Standard, Q- Just as we were getting ready to start the judge walked over and moved the ring post back a bit to give us more room at the startline.  Vito watched him walk all the way up and then all the way back out.  I could tell that he was going to head off for him as soon as we started.  At least Vito was nice enough to run fast through the first 3 obstacles until we got to where the judge was standing and he could go say hi. He came back to me before making any contact at least.  I think he then stumbled or did something in the chute as he came out with zero speed and thus kinda ruined my rear cross.  Weaves were faster than yesterday although still kinda slow and he at least got onto the table right away.  DW was great!! 

Snooker, Q- Grandma was here to visit and Vito decided to fixate on her presence.  It was harder getting him to focus on me instead of sniffing the air for her or looking around on the startline.  At least he ran with me and didn't run off to look!  While my course wasn't very technical it had a few wraps that Vito slowed down on a bit and at one point in the beginning he decided to yell at me instead of jumping.  He also didn't read one of my last front crosses and crossed behind me and thus made me rear cross the #7 tunnel that he decided to turn around it.  It didn't get a whistle so I put him back in and finished.

Jumpers, NQ- More fixation on Grandma at the start.  But he ran fast until the first turn.  He ran by one of the jumps and knocked the double.

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

Email: lkwaudby (at) gmail.com

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