The Toller's weekend

Vito came to the obedience trial on Friday and I used the opportunity to work on ring entrances in their lovely warm up ring.  The great news is that it took him only 5 minutes or so to decide he was ready to work and enter the ring for a party.  I think the last time we were at this location it was a solid 15 minutes or longer to either keep eye contact long enough for me to start or to explode out of his waiting position.  I need both pieces in order to work him.  Since it was still difficult for him to really explode into work, I pretty much just partied with him in the ring and asked for very little work other than setting up and keeping focus while I removed the leash.  I think the last ring entrance (I did maybe 4 or 5) I had him do a tiny bit of heeling.
So progress, but also shows me that he is definitely not ready for an AKC show at this location.

On Sunday I switched gears and took Vito to a USDAA agility trial.  (Thank goodness the Corgi got his UDX out of the way!).  We had 4 runs at the spot close to our house with the very tight warm up and entrance area.

Wow we actually qualified in a jumpers run!!!  It was a difficult course with quite a few wraps but Vito magically remembered how to do them from the UKI trial and wasn't too sad.

Snooker- Q
Sad Toller.  Could not find any flow since all the reds were at the start and thus it was wrap central.  Did 4 reds at 6-2-6-7 and made it through 6 in the closing before the buzzer ran.  Not happy enough for the speed needed to make it through the closing but enough points at least.

Grand Prix- NQ
Our very first time entered in Grand Prix!  It was a really nice course but Vito crashed the tire as the first obstacle.  Thank GOD for break away tires as he hit it hard.  I quickly decided to keep running as I didn't want to draw attention to the tire issue and create a possible issue for him and he seemed to run out of it pretty well.  Decent speed for him through the course although he blew his dogwalk contact!  I know Vito failed our RDW-turn training but he should have easily been able to handle this course.  Oh well.
Run starts at 15sec with our tire incident:

Standard- NQ
Really hard time starting next to that wall and I even nicely asked the bar setter to move before Vito's run as that would have made it even worse.  But a Happy Toller once started!  Pulled off a jump after the teeter and I just don't think he saw it at all so I kept running.  Same dogwalk turn and he blew it again.  On the positve side there was a double before and a triple after and Vito kept all bars up.  He has a habit of knocking bars after the dogwalk, especially if a spread.

Finally our first Master Jumpers and Snooker Q finished up our MAD title!  


We did it! UDX Corgi!!!

Finally!!!  It's been just over 2 years since Lance finished his Utility title and we started our quest for double Qs.  Year #1 we didn't show a whole lot but had a lot of NQs.  The year of every exercising breaking in utility.  We finished 2012 with 1 lonely UDX leg.  Year #2 we double the amount of shows entered for a total of 19 days and moved our total of UDX legs to 8.  Still lots of NQs on  the sit stay, signals, directed jumping, and even a few "stands" on recall.

Mission accomplished!

And weird side note- Lance has finished every single one of his obedience titles at this particular location.  A place I actually find pretty difficult for the dogs to concentrate due to the high level activity going on around the rings.  Either there's a shared barrier with another ring or there's crowd seating/isles on 3 of the 4 sides for each ring.

Saturday did not go as planned.  It started out pretty good in Open with the attitude department. Lance was forging in a way he hasn't done in, well the 2 years we've been working on the UDX.  Yes there were times his back feet were in line with me.  Fronts were not so good.  And then he made it through 2 minutes of the sit stay and laid down.  Sadness.  Usually if he makes it through the first minute he's fine.  Head was resting nicely on the floor when I returned and he looked very unstressed.

Utility was a meltdown.  Complete opposite in attitude from earlier in the day.  Lots of looking around.  He even missed my cue to heel on the moving stand and needed a 2nd verbal.  On go outs I was at least happy he completed them as he was clearly looking at his Daddy standing in the corner.  BOTH times I needed to cue a second verbal to sit instead of standing and staring at me blankly.  We managed to still be qualifying until signals where upon Lance stood on my signal but then sat as the judge told me to leave.  I stood him again, walked away, and he again sat right as I was turning around.  A repeat of the NOC error.  *Big sigh.*

Sunday was amazing.  Lance was ON in Open and even remembered where heel position was.  Only a a big forge on the right turn-slow time and poor halt.  Amazing fronts and finishes minus 2 fronts.  And the best part is that he held his sit!!!  Q with a 197 but out of placements.
I'm even more proud of him since the stewards had the wrong information on when they were going to put Lance in the ring.  The 2 exhibitors before us both has 2nd dogs so needed their stays separated. I was told they would do the individual exercises as listed, but just not join the first group of stays.  The judge switched that to a more common sense solution of just having them go after Lance and the first stay group.  Luckily I was warming up Lance and was about to put him back in the crate when they started switching the jumps.  Raced back to the crates to grab the dumbbell and raced directly into the ring!

Utility started out a little bit off as he didn't have full Corgi enthusiasm entering the ring and setting up.  Gloves were first and he had a very poor pivot.  But after that he did really well.  Go outs were arched but ended up dead center.  Heeling was lovely and signals were actually done as written!  Fronts and finishes were beautiful!!!  Only 1 crooked front!  Other points were for a dropped article and some walking as I left on the moving stand.   Yes I walked up to the very first person I saw when exiting the ring, a complete stranger, and asked for a high five!

We ended up in a run off for 2nd place!  He did pretty well but wasn't quite on.  Lost to a lovely Labrador who finished his OTCH on that run!  But Lance earned 5 more points with that 3rd place in the big show.

So our big goal is finished!!!  We will definetly keep showing though and learning more along the way.  If Lance finishes an OTCH that will be icing on the cake, but it isn't an official goal of mine.  I really want one, but since we've already exceeded my expectations I can't be disappointed if it doesn't happen.
Vito is here to teach me lots on dealing with stress/anxiety and building up WANT TO in dogs.   Lance is here to teach me how to keep criteria high without losing attitude, and how to fix EVERY single exercise as they crumble under repeated showing.  It's certainly been a journey.


Review- Smiling Dog Freeze Dried Treats

We were recently sent some Smiling Dog freeze dried treats from Natural Pet Warehouse.  We love freeze dried treats around here!  Pretty high value and since they're already dried out there's not a ton of worry about them getting stale from being left in the training bag which may get left in the hot car now and then.

Apparently I've never asked Gracie to hold a food item before.  So confused when I gave her the bag for a photo!  So therefore Gracie got the very first treats from the bag as I opened up for a very quick training session on holding items that smell delicious!


Then Vito was sad as he's normally my bag holding dog since he's the only non stomach-on-legs dog in the house.  (Although Clorazepate sure has increased his food drive a ton!  No hesitation now on food stealing behaviors!)

These are OK to give whole as they're about quarter sized.  But they're extremely easy to break up into fourths.  Crumbling is as you would expect from freeze dried treats but I've certainly had worse.
When I moved to the window to take a size picture, Gracie thought it would be a perfect time to offer her visit with reverse luring.

Vito doesn't officially know that trick but when he saw me give Gracie a reward he shoved his way in too.  The treats definitely appeased him!

Poor Corgi is too short for that trick.  But he did get bonus cookies later in the day when we were outside and sudden gunshots started going off.  Vito doesn't have any noise phobias, yet, but I quickly raced inside to grab the bag for some boom=cookies work.

Overall I really like these treats.  They're American made and have only 2-4 ingredients depending on the flavor.  Right now they're even 39% off at Natural Pet Warehouse!  Actually it looks like almost everything over there is on sale right now, so have a look!


UKI Agility weekend

I love UKI agility.  Super fun courses, great jump heights, and the amazing ability to declare any run a toy run.  The main annoyance for me is how level movements are done all at once versus the ability to move up in one of the games but not the other.  While I compete for fun and don't really care about the titles, it still kinda feels like a waste of money to enter in standard and games when all you really need is one more jumpers Q to be able to move up in everything.

The corgi needed 1 game and 1 jumpers run to move up to Championship so I optimistically only entered him in 3 runs on Saturday and saved his standard rounds for Sunday when we would hopefully be out of senior.  Well it wasn't meant to be.  The NADAC dog actually did very well on the courses but would occasionally take a bonus jump or tunnel on the way over his weekend events.  He ended up qualifying in 3 of the 7 runs but no jumpers Q and no Steeplechase Q either (that game would have separate).  Total errors over the weekend included 1 knocked bar, 2 off courses, 1 pulled off jump, and 1 broken start line.
Yes, the corgi actually tried to break his startline!  I'm pretty sure that is his first, and hopefully only, time he has ever moved off the line in an agility trial.  I gasped, told him he wasn't the Toller, and told him to put his butt back down.  He technically didn't cross the plane of the first jump as he realized the error of his way!

I'm very proud of how Lance handled the courses.  Especially considering he almost never does technical courses even in practice!  I guess we will have at least one more weekend of running almost back to back with Vito!
Jumping on Sat:

Vito continued his happy streak and was a really good boy!  More full speed running occurred on every single course for a total of 7 runs over the 2 days.  Unfortunately Vito said he had no idea what my cue to wrap was.  Several refusals over the courses as he would come to a complete stop in front of the jump and look at me very confused.  Or sometimes he would jump long and also look confused.  No idea where that's coming from as we do quite a bit of wraps in practice to work on acceleration from tight collection!  But the huge plus is that the confusion didn't shut Vito down.  Sad Toller did not not appear!

After his 2nd run, jumpers, on Saturday where we had a few moments of confusions on the wraps or backsides I decided to use a toy for his standard run.  Vito was thrilled and was on fire!  Fastest teeter in a trial ever!  The teeter speed even kinda carried over to Sunday's 2 runs where he actually drove far enough to the end on his teeter that he was actually in his 2o2o before I released him!  Zero death marches on the weaves, all dogwalks were in full extension, and lots of Toller screaming on the start lines!

Vito had one run on Sunday where he felt certain his dogwalk deserved a ball reward.  It was a nice dogwalk :)  I got him to continue with me but then Vito took a bonus dogwalk since clearly dogwalks=ball so we finished before the hard part of the course actually started!

I think I actually managed to get his nicer runs video taped!  Happy Toller!

For those curious about UKI, here's a coursemap from Saturday's Agility (standard) rounds.  This is Senior, basically level 3 of 4.  UKI allows transfers from other organizations so you can start in whatever level of your choosing.

There are only 2 more local UKI trials in mid June and mid August.  Unfortunately both are held at the facility where my dogs were slipping quite a bit on the turf.  We will see what I choose to do.  UKI certainly needs much more support in this area or it's in danger of going away.


The Toller's on a Roll! - CDSP

The Toller had another CDSP trial this weekend and was entered in 1 run each day of Open C.

Awesomeness.  Happy and focused ring entrance and sprint to the first exercise setup.  Enthusiastic jumping on me in between exercises and quick setups for the next one.  

- Mini Go Out: fast, straight target.  But a wide loopy sit (that he's also doing in practice)
- Retrieve over high: fast send.  But knocked dumbbell on pickup and bad front.
- Retrieve on flat: another fast send.  And a bonus jump :)  Actually I super pleased he took the jump since I do way more proofing of bad throws for the ROH and never do any training on not taking it for the ROF.  He also actually worked his front from the crooked angle and was probably his best front of the day.
- Drop on recall: fast recall.  But looked around and stood as I walked away and was slow to drop.  Bonus backing up in a down :)
- Heeling: great drive and focus.  Some forging :) Last halt was slow to sit.
- Broad: cut corner.

Continued awesomeness.  Another happy ring entry and taking off of leash.  He did go to jump on the judge though when the judge went to grab the leash from in front of us. In Vito's defense I was also taken off guard as I was already moving the leash behind me.  The happy jumping on me, quick setups, and fast exercises continued.

- Mini Go Out:  fast and straight target, another wide loopy sit
- Retrieve over high: fast and clean!  Awful front and finish
- Retrieve on flat: fast and actually done on the flat today :) fumbled pickup and bad front
- Drop on recall: I used both verbal and hand signal due to Saturday's slow response. Nice fast drop.
- Heeling: great drive and focus.  Some more forging and the last halt was again slow to sit.
- Broad: cut corner again.  This time the judge didn't NQ us, but took off 10 points.  Apparently he felt bad he gave us the wrong order ("send" vs "forward").  It didn't effect my handling in any way though.

While I had treats in my pocket in case I needed them, I ended up not giving a single cookie either day.  No additional praise was needed either!  So except for the differences in exercises (running broad jump, both hand and verbal used for the drop on recall on sun) Vito continued to show me that AKC is an option for us.

The Corgi
Lance also competed in a round each day of Utility.  I had a plan to train in the ring as needed to work on his go outs and signals since CDSP allows praise and judges are very accepting of training runs.  But Lance did a great job of working for me and I didn't need to do anything to support those 2 exercises!  Go outs were straight and all the way to the barrier (I didn't call his sits until he was in touching distance).  Signals were confident and since the distances were only about 3/4ths of the traditional (CDSP allows judges to use either the long side or the short side of the ring) I didn't give any extra praise.  But I did give him a treat after the signals each day!

I also chose this week to debut our new articles.  CDSP allows the exhibitor to do leather OR metal so there's no mixed pile.  I thought it would be perfect as he didn't have any metal ones to distract him.  Lance is doing pretty well with his little baby shoes but I haven't been mixing them with his canning rings yet as it took some time to build confidence with them.  Technically I bought the shoes as an early UDX title celebration, but as that title didn't happen as planned, maybe they can be our reward from the big NOC event.
Regardless, Lance searched the pile quickly and confidently.  He did drop a shoe on Saturday, but well that's a Lance move anyway.
So 2 Q's towards their new utility championship title.


Your Ideas for AKC Obedience

The deadline for the AKC obedience advisory committee is tomorrow, 4/11.  If you currently compete in  obedience, with any organization, if you used to compete in obedience, or even if you have ever thought about competing in obedience, please submit your ideas for change.  The box is small, so write it out somewhere first and then paste it in, one idea per form.

If you don't know what to say, here are the 10+ ideas I argued for, re-written of course in a more formal tone.


Happy Golden Birthday to the Corgi

The corgi turned 7 years old today!  I can't believe how old that suddenly feels to me and yet it's only 7.  Such an easy boy.

16 months old
The snow is finally melting at our house these last few days so the dogs and I have gotten to explore the empty fields directly behind our house.  Technically not our land, but so close!  We even discovered a little pond that has thawed out now.  Can't wait to see if the water sticks around in the summer!


The Corgi at the National Obedience Championship- Part 2

Pouring rain over the weekend turned to sleet on Sun.
I really couldn't be more proud of the Corgi and how he handled this huge event.  It was a fantastic facility with plenty of crating space, a very large vendor area, and even agility on the other side.  And it sure was busy!  I LOVED watching all the amazing teams and seeing the variety of cues given and handling between exercises.  For the most part dogs were very energized and I saw way more jumping around than I typically do at the Minnesota trials.  The jumping left finish was hugely popular and isn't something I see a lot of teams doing around here.  I also saw quite a few dogs do the bounce up, but then slowly continue the rest of the finish.  Likely the long days got to even the most seasoned teams.

The rows of chairs along the 6 rings made it very easy to hang out and watch the teams in the ring, but they also meant that spectators with their dogs and food could be only a foot away from the gates.  (Though of course everyone was very respectful of the dogs in the ring.)  Since Lance has recently been having spectating issues in between exercises and on setups, it could have been bad.  Thankfully he kept his glancing around to a minimum.  As mentioned in the last post, if heeling was first it was more likely to happen (ring #1 on sat and ring #3 on sun) and also on the wait for articles to be put out.  On Sunday I changed remind them of what they smell like, but it sure seemed like a handy way to make sure he was paying attention to me!

handling slightly on the article send as I remembered I could give Lance my scent before sending him.  I've never really understood why some handlers feel the need to shove their hand in their dog's face and
Lance won a trick contest at the end!

Points lost were in the following categories:
- Fronts and finishes. Started pretty dismal but I think Lance actually improved with almost every new ring.  Of course some were just really bad!  Fronts were hurting worse than finishes by far.  1 Missed finish signal in our first ring day #2.  And 1 no sit in front, also in that first ring day #2.
- Some fumbling of articles (4 of the 8), dumbbells (2 of 8), and gloves (1 of 4)
- No sits on go outs (3 of 8), all were on the first send.
- Pulling up short on go outs, or looking like he was close to doing so (4 of 8), usually on the first send but not always.
- 2 no downs on the signals- one of them 3/4ths of the way, the last one he just sat
- 1 sit on the signal stand- was standing all the way until just right before I turn around to face him :(
- Moving a step or 2 as the judge approached on the moving stand (2 of the 4)
- Curving and looking at the judge while returning with a dumbbell/glove (3 of the many retrieves)
- Glove pivots, mainly the 2 turns to glove #1.
- 1 no send on the very last go out in the last ring.  Didn't even flinch, but happily zoomed on a 2nd cue
- Heeling- laggy and wide that first ring and again on day 2 when heeling was first.  Otherwise some forged halts.  Did somehow lose 4pts under 1 judge when I have no idea how (but most teams were losing major points on heeling in that ring as well who looked awesome).

So major categories to work on:

  1. Focus, especially between exercises.  I've really only recently started re-proofing this with him as I mentioned in an earlier post.  Some issues were exasperated when I started having other people feed him on the group stays so now Lance is more likely to look to people with food.  I'm working on having people crinkle things and over food to him and having Lance learn to maintain focus to my back as he's likely to steal a glance when I'm walking away.  I'm also starting to add in a few games with me turning and tossing him a treat to chase as I get some distance away from him so that he pays more attention to my turned back.  I'm also debating about stealing back my Minders Manner I loaned out and setting that up behind him.  An obvious cue but the Robot is incredibly high value for him.
  2. Fronts and finishes.  never ending :)
  3. Go outs.  Need to continue our operation touch stanchion training.  Also need to continue my recent efforts at adding distractions to the side and behind the gates.  Lance really needs a lot more confidence building on this exercise so I will try an do as much proofing as possible to help build him up.
  4. Sits on go outs.  Not entirely sure what my plan of attack is for this.  I'm pretty sure the no-sits are pure anticipation of the want to jump.  He has a nice solid turn and in practice I occasionally work on calling repeated really short sits just to keep him on his toes.  I also don't do a ton of combined directed jumping with the go out portion, especially recently with out stanchion training.
  5. Signals.  It looks as though our down signal issue may be creeping back in.  That was incredibly difficult to fix last time as he made himself extremely stressed over the exercise.  It doesn't seem as though Lance is really stressing it over now, at least not yet.  I think the cookie tosses as my back is turned might help prevent some building stress as well as rewarding his down signals with the cue to rollover- his favorite trick. So far this is not an issue that has crept back into our practices in any form.

Huge pros from the weekend besides his happy attitude (biggest pro ever!) were:

  1. Holding his stay!  And he even did his stand in between the sit and down (for the 2nd show in a row now!) and held it for the entire minute+ it took for all the rings to be ready!
  2. Being OK with how close judges were.  Other than a few glances/archs on some of the retrieves, Lance didn't seem to mind the increased pressure from the judges.  I felt that most of the (super nice) judges were standing closer than I'm used to, especially on the fronts and finishes.
  3. Heeling- about turns.  Our about turn wideness seems to be fixed!  In the many, many about turns over the weekend Lance only had 2 sight seeing turns.  Both in the same ring where heeling was first and he wasn't quite connected on the first half.

Here are my rough notes from the weekend and our breakdown by exercises.  Of course I didn't get to talk to any of the judges about what the points lost were actually on:


The Corgi at the National Obedience Championship -part 1

We made it!  After almost 17 hours in the car over two days we arrived in Harrisburg, PA on Friday afternoon.  It turns out Minnesota is well represented with 9 dogs entered being the the 3rd largest state entry!  126 total dogs from around the country were entered.

I had heard a few things from my fellow Minnesotans on how the event was run so everything wasn't completely new.  You do each open and utility exercise twice each day with the orders mixed up in each ring.  There were 6 rings this year and since dogs were arranged by jump height, the Corgi started in ring 1.  Two cute little Dachshunds and a Yorkie lead the 4 inchers and Lance started the 8 inchers.  I was amazed to see how friendly and supportive everyone seemed to be of each other.  I think 90% of the people there were smiling and free of compliments towards everyone else.  And I don't think any of the other 10% were in with the shorties!  Lots and lots of happy working dogs were there!

Fellow AMAZING corgi.  No the shirts weren't planned :)

I can't say I had any goals for the long weekend.  I just wanted a happy dog and anything else would be icing on the cake.  If pressed, I was shooting for finishing just above the bottom 1/3rd of dogs.  I knew that we would be woefully unprepared to compete with the high caliber of dogs.

Waiting to go in the first ring of the weekend was nerve wrecking.  I'd love to say the nerves got better after entering 12 times, but only slightly!   Lance must have needed some adjustment time as well as that ring #1 was not our greatest performance.  Of course it just had to be heeling first and Lance took about half of it to multitask heeling with me along with sightseeing the crowd and other rings.  Thankfully he started to pull it together by 2nd half and by ring #2 he was with me completely.

We still had attention issues.  Overall Lance did a fabulous job of ignoring the close crowd but his tendency to look in between exercises was of course exacerbated here.  I also discovered that if heeling was first he wasn't quite ready to handle that in this environment.  But after an exercise or two to settle him in, Lance could really turn it on!  Day 2 he seemed to be ON even more than day 1.  AND he even held his sit stay with 6 rings going on at one time!!!

This event certainly was a test of endurance.  I know I was getting exhausted so I'm sure Lance was too.  But he made me proud with how quickly he turned on and ready to work again and again.  Precision was hit and miss but for the most part his attitude was there.

Overall Lance ended up "NQ"ing on 3 exercises day 1 (signals-sat before I turned around on the stand, signals- 3/4ths of the way down, and 1 go out- got completely lost on the first send).  And on day 2 he was clean until the very last ring of the day where he again failed on 2 exercises (signals- sat on the down, and go outs-didn't move on send #2).  If I think about it optimistically, Lance was clean on 41 out 46 exercises.  Our cumulative score was 1168 out of 1420.  Ouchy NQs!  Hopefully there will be the total scores up on the website before part 2 of my posting on this event.  I'll go over all of our errors this past weekend and my plans going forward.

Here are some snippets of our good moments:

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