Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's still February

I should be driving home from Luce's class right now ... but am really feeling yucky right now. Fighting a cold and it feels like it is winning. I want to go tomorrow night for Blaze's class as he needs it more so I stayed home tonight.

The Keystone trial was 2 weekends ago. It went well. I was happy with most of my runs with Luce even though we only Q'd once (GP!) Should have gotten the gamble ... it was a jump, tunnel, redirect to the teeter then on to a jump. I wasn't sure Luce would go to the tunnel, but she did. She came out wide and I told her teeter ... she was so wide that I thought she was going to go past the plane and go on sideways, but she veered over enough ... had I just said "teeter" one more time .... but she sheered off at the last minute!

Grand Prix was next and we got it all ... I was very pleased with her weave poles ... fast straight on entrance. Standard after that ... and could she get the stinkin' weaves? No! And it was one of those runs that I did not feel good about. I felt like I was "saving" every other obstacle. However, she got all of her contacts in all 3 runs which was good. Even gave me a 2on/2off in gamblers which pleasantly surprised the heck out of me :-)

Monday was Snooker first ... I still don't know what I did to get whistled off :-) Gotta love Snooker :-) Jumpers ... ack, I went straight when I should have turned and so did Luce. My fault! We did a Mulligan Run after the trial was over and Luce and I got it that time.

She is such a good girl. So easy to travel with, so easy to have by ringside. She wasn't always like this, but she sure is now!

Didn't bring Blaze ... indoors at such a big trial would be too much and we still have a LOT of work to do before we should be thinking of entering any trials.

Blaze had class the last two weeks. Blaze's Aframe two weeks ago. Can we say "flying dog"? Well, he did touch yellow going up and going down. Needs to work on contacts when someone is there in judging position apparently.

Last week I discovered that he can't do the tire if it is the first obstacle. Add that to the ever growing list of stuff to work on. Also have to work on recall to heel stuff as he apparently has forgotten most of it. Sigh.

Went to a Sends & Recalls seminar this past weekend ... same one that I audited back in December. Didn't get a working spot, so audited 2 of the 3 days so that I can fix this stuff in my head a little better. It was a good seminar but I would have liked to have tried this all with Blaze as I learn better by doing. I didn't get a chance to go on Friday which was the basic foundation recalls and sends, so I'm sure how much that changed. I heard a little of it did ... I wish I could have gone just to get that part fixed in my head as well.

I wanted to get to the Kruisin barn this week, but that isn't going to happen. We were supposed to have carpet people here today to measure ... now they aren't coming until Friday and won't be installing until next week sometime. However, Rosemarie did invite me for Sunday, so we will get a chance to work again. We have a trial the weekend of the 14th, so it would be nice for Luce and I to get some practice in. I do have to say that I think we are running better as a team lately ... practicing with Blaze has improved my handling of Luce. But that isn't going to get us those two remaining gamble legs!

I've been looking over the agility calendar - would have liked to go up to New York for two different 3 day trials (double gamblers at each!) but just can't do the first one. Evan is coming home from Duquesne the day I would need to leave and I just found out that Hugh will be doing a drivers ed event then too. So, I'll just go to Saratoga. I'll need to find a team for Luce to make it worth while - if we get the Team Q, that will be her Bronze Accomplished Tournament Dog title! I didn't like the site 2 years ago at Saratoga but the new one is supposed to be WAY better. Before I got Blaze it wouldn't have mattered, but that boy needs room for playing with the ball!

Evan and I will be driving up to Canada on Wednesday for Dad's surgery so I might not even see it until I get back late Sunday night. Which means the furniture might not be put back where it belongs either .... I just hope this carpet is the right color because the "surprise" dining room carpet is definitely wrong :-(

Okay, gonna go and drink more fluids and get some sleep.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Agility Class & Training Session

Got back from almost 2 weeks in Canada last weekend. Then catch up on work, laundry ... you know, the usual.

Luce's agility class on Wednesday night was cancelled due to ice, however, Blaze's class on Thursday night was a go. And then on Saturday I met up at Rosemarie's with a couple of people for a training session. I really envy Rosemarie her indoor :-)


Thursday night we had Mary Ellen and Alaina. I REALLY NEED to work on Blaze's start line stay. Okay, I can do that. He was releasing when I raise my hand. I worked on that on Saturday and I can see some improvement. That is something I can work on in the house. It is supposed to warm up above freezing for today only, so hopefully I can pry one of the jumps out of the ground, or even get the shed doors open, and bring a jump inside.

Blaze is dropping bars. One jump work. So, more use for a jump inside. He tends to do it when jumping very extended or very collected. I can work on the collected part in the house, but not the extended. I also noticed on Saturday, that if I can be very, very calm and quiet, he drops fewer bars. However, and Jean had the same problem with T, also a "baby dog", when I am trying to move into position to handle the next bit, then the bars go flying.

I also noticed, that whereas Blaze can find obstacles here in the yard or up at the Kruisin barn, he had problems the first sequence in class and then on Saturday. He isn't used to looking for obstacles so he ends up running by them. So, that will mean going to run throughs etc. But now now ... there is more training to be done.

While dogs did Mary Ellen's sequence, others went over to Alaina to work on dogwalk contacts. Alaina gave me some good pointers, the most important being to visualize what I want in the end contact behaviour. What I want Most important. I am willing to accept a foot or two off of the plank. I am not good enough (or let's face it, patient enough!!) to enforce all paws on. What I really want out of the dogwalk and teeter, is Blaze in a down and one elbow on the plank and at least one back leg. I need to train myself to see it as soon as it happens and give him a verbal marker, which will be "yes" Then ping pong the duration. So, I also need to pry either the teeter board or travel plank out of the ice and bring that inside also.

We also worked on the aframe on Saturday where I realized that I will accept a different performance. There, I want a down, but I don't care if his elbows are off the board ... I want the back feet ON, but given the steepness, I can accept that he might not be able to stop with elbows on. If they ARE on, fine, but he has to have his elbows touching a surface.

I was very please that he is landing ON the aframe very softly and running up. I hope he keeps that!

Luce was happy to do some agility again and running with her is so comfortable! She doesn't have the distance that Blaze does and doesn't have the "twitchiness" either. But she also understands more. One of the sequences was much easier for Luce and Zen than it was for Blaze and T due to their experience. However, Blaze can get weave pole entries that Luce can't.

It was nice to get into "agility mode" again!