Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Soleil makes the national Grand Prix Finals and earns 6th place!

Finally getting around to posting Soleil's GP finals video. It was a very competitive 16" group this year at the USDAA Nationals in Murfreesboro, Tenessee. It was the largest nationals in history and the competition was stiff. Summit had a gorgeous Grand Prix semi-finals but just missed the cut-off to make it into the finals. Soleil also ended up 6th place overall in the 16" International Biathlon (she placed 4th in the standard run).

This year nationals is in Central California (near San Francisco) outdoors on soccer turf. So happy that it will be outdoors this year!

Monday, January 21, 2013

MACH 2 Summit!!!

Summit earned his MACH 2 this weekend at the Denver Samoyed Association AKC agility trial. He needed two more QQ's and he was 4/4 with all 1st places this weekend. Sunday's Jumpers run that afternoon (and our MACH run) was the most technical of the weekend and there were many NQ's so it was a lot of fun to run it clean to earn his MACH 2.

After USDAA Nationals, I gave Summit three months off. No, he wasn't injured (a lot of people were asking me if he was ok). But we traveled and competed a lot in 2012 to earn byes for USDAA Nationals and now that he is 6 years old, a three-month break from agility (yes, no training either) would do him good. He did continue to go running with me and hiking. He also does ball work twice a week; so he did stay in good condition. About 3 weeks before our first competition, I started to work him over jumps to prepare him for his first competition the second week of January. Watching his videos, his jumping is spectacular! I've never seen him look so good. Definitely the time off was needed. I will continue to give him 3 months off annually.

And not to leave her out... here is little Soleil's jumpers run on Sunday too. I handled the course a bit differently with her. Not sure why... just seemed the best way for her. She is slipping in her turns (loose dirt on hard-pack) but still 1st place by several seconds.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Double Q's for both dogs at the MHGRC AKC trial!

Three days of competition for Soleil and two days for Summit (he tore his pad on Saturday so had to stay home on Sunday).

Friday was 0/4. Summit had nice runs but dropped a bar in Standard and a bar in Jumpers. Soleil had a wrong course in Jumpers and a refusal in Standard (I didn't anticipate how fast she would come shooting out of a tunnel and so was too far behind to cue the next obstacle).

Saturday, both dogs qualified in both their runs. Summit won Standard and placed 2nd in Jumpers. Soleil placed in both Excellent A Standard and Excellent B Jumpers but I can't remember the places. She did earn her Ex. A title and moved up to Ex. B in Standard. So now she is in Ex. B in both classes and those double qualifiers actually count towards Nationals now.

When I got Summit out of his crate to put him in the car, he was limping. Turned out he burned a pad and although not serious and he was fine the next morning, I left him at home. He has the RM Regionals in two weeks.

Sunday Soleil ran her first course in Excellent B. She qualified with a 2nd place. That afternoon she ran clean in Jumpers (5th place I think) to earn her first REAL QQ!

I can't believe the maturity and focus on this baby girl! She is not even two years old yet. My goals are still to proof our training in the ring and to have fun (no pressure) but she is performing like a much more experienced dog. I am still working on my timing; especially with front crosses. In Saturday's Standard video, I am quite late in cueing the turn in two of the front crosses. She takes it in stride though and figures eventually, I will get it right ;-)

Here are some videos from the weekend.

Soleil Friday Jumpers
She did not respond to my lateral motion. Typical baby dog. I remember Summit doing this when cued a turn with lateral motion in a box. The forward motion component is stronger and as you can see, I have way more foreward motion than lateral when she commits to the jump before the turn. In hindsight, I should have moved much closer to this jump so that my lateral motion would be more obvious.

Summit Saturday Standard
I liked this course because there were so many different ways to handle it. I could not get the FC after the tunnel so improvised with a funky little wrap on the flat to cue the table.

Summit Jumpers with Weaves
I find it interesting that for the most part, I choose the same strategy for both dogs.

Soleil Excellent A Standard
How many LATE front crosses can you count!

Soleil Jumpers with Weaves
Ok, this is a beautiful run.

Soleil Sunday Excellent B Standard
Her first Q in Excellent B Standard and her first real QQ!Jen missed the first part of the run which was jump-aframe-jump-jump-panel...

Soleil Sunday Jumpers with Weaves
Nice run except that I overhandled the tunnel end discrimination (really, there wasn't much of a discrimination) and I almost pulled her off.

We have two weeks off and then head down to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Rocky Mountain Regionals!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Soleil's AKC Weekend!

Soleil had a very good weekend at the Terrier Club AKC trial. She is maturing so much and handling the excitement and pressure of a two ring trial much better. She was quite focused and her course times are improving as I'm setting lines for her instead of cueing one obstacle at a time.

3rd place in Ex. B Jumpers
NQ in Standard (refusal)

3rd place in Ex. B Jumpers
1st place in Ex. A Standard (woohoo! a baby QQ)!

NQ in Ex. B Jumpers (bar)
1st place in Ex. A Standard (one more leg for her title)

I'm still learning how to handle her around a course and what combination of cues is best. Unlike Summit, the more I run with her and get in her space, the more excited she gets and the tighter she turns. A good example is Friday's Jumpers. I needed to move farther into the pinwheel so that I could show more deceleration and then motion driving out to cue a tighter turn.

Saturday Standard (I don't have video of Saturday Jumpers). Naughty girl sat up from her down on the table ;-)

Sunday Standard (Jen missed the first part of the run which was a 180 into the weaves).

Summit had some nice runs this weekend (he was 50 percent as he dropped a bar in one class each day so no QQ's). He is already qualified for AKC nationals 2013 so my focus has been on Soleil in AKC.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's been happening?

A lot has been going on the past month! Work has been keeping me extremely busy and now that the weather has been nice the last four weeks, I've actually got in a lot of training with both the dogs.

Soleil is coming along nicely. She was entered in her second USDAA trial two weekends ago. Her baby dog DAM team ended up 7th place with a Q! She qualified in Steeplechase with a 3rd place which was her second Q. Other than running under the tire at the start, she had a nice GP run on a tough course. So Soleil is now qualified for USDAA Nationals in DAM team and Steeplechase. She just needs one more GP leg to finish nationals qualification.

Summit's team WON! He also won Steeplechase round one and Steeplechase Finals. He wasn't entered in GP since he has both the legs he needs for Nationals. He is now qualified for Nationals in all three events.

Tomorrow we have a three-day AKC trial. Soleil is now in Excellent B Jumpers and Excellent A Standard. Her teeter is looking good now and she drives at full speed on the dogwalk into 20/20 (the earlier confusion between the 4-on the teeter and 20/20 on the dogwalk resolved itself). All it took was mileage on different equipment in different locations. Her aframe isn't exactly where I want it yet. She is extending nicely on the aframe at home but in different locations, she doesn't get as much extension over the apex and although she does not miss the contact zone, she is leaving higher in the yellow than I would like. But this is a confidence issue and again, with mileage and experience, I think it will improve over time.


Soleil - focus is now on tightening up turns. Especially to the left. I watched ST's Cik & Cap video and have started training this with Soleil. I use "ZIP" and I have chosen just to use the single verbal to cue the wrap. I will rely on physical cues to tell her which direction. Interesting that even wrapping around a pole, her turns to the left are more challenging for her so we work left turns twice as much as right.

Summit - We've been practicing a lot of blind crosses and blind cross wraps. Which means I've also spent some time reinforcing side cues. I like how the blind crosses allow me to get out of there and downstream much quicker than if I had chosen to front cross. This week I focused on the different cue combinations for the blind cross wrap and the regular wrap.

Here is Soleil's Excellent A Jumpers with Weaves video from CKC (about three weeks ago). I love how she barks at me at the startline!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Agility Season Begins!

This weekend begins the 2012 Agility season for us. Friday, Sunday, and Monday Summit and Soleil are entered in AKC. Summit has had seven weeks off from training and competition. Soleil has had lot's of training, proofing, and fun matches since her last competition and she is coming along so well!

We have two back-to-back weekends of AKC and then the third weekend is our first USDAA trial for the 2012 qualifying period. This will also be Soleil's very first USDAA trial. I am excited to run her on USDAA courses! I also entered her in Steeplechase and Grand Prix with the goals to get her qualified for Nationals since they are in Denver in 2012.

We went to a fun match on Monday and here are the videos.

Soleil's first run-through. I'm very happy with her dogwalk contact. She is really driving forward into 20/20 position. She tested her startline stay in both rounds. I was wondering when that would happen - she's been so perfect at the startline. I was a little worried ;-)

Round two. I wanted to get in a few more aframes. Also wanted to avoid the table because not only was it really slippery but it sucked up 5 seconds of course time. Both my dogs attempted it though...

Summit had a turn and he was sooo happy to play!

I am looking for a baby dog DAM team for Soleil for the FRAT March trial and the Rocky Mountain Regional in Albuquerque, NM. - Any takers?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

It was an intense several months and although I was pretty good at posting video and updates on FB, blogging takes such more mental effort that with work being so intense these past several months, it was hard to find the time (and mental energy) to post.

I mainly want to update on Soleil's training and competition. She has done three AKC trials this year. The first two I just entered her in jumpers with weaves as I didn't think her dogwalk had been proofed enough for the ring. She moved up to Open at her second trial. She had her third AKC trial in November and was entered in standard for the first time. She had a really nice run and qualified with one refusal (she came back out of the chute barrel) and her dogwalk contact was good. She was absolutely WILD in jumpers both days and fell off the aframe her first standard run. That makes two dogwalks and an aframe she has fallen off of. Hopefully, she is now savvy enough to pay attention to where her feet are and not just going as fast as she can.

We have been struggling the last couple months with her generalizing the behavior between the teeter (4-on) and the dogwalk (2on/2off). She would often stop at the end of the dw with 4-0n. I brought back the nose target and we worked on reinforcing the nose touch to the target at the end of the dogwalk (I previously had faded the target once she was running a full dogwalk and think I faded it too quickly).

Here is an earlier video of her dogwalk during a standard run at a DOCNA trial.

Here is a video of her recent standard run (the first weekend in December).

It's taken some time but I'm happy with her progression. I haven't gotten to the stage yet of really proofing the release on the dogwalk. I've just been focusing on her driving with speed into the 20/20 position.

I'm starting to Send her to turning obstacles so that I can get ahead to set the line to the next sequence. She is really sending with confidence adn I feel like I'm not so late with my front crosses as much.

I have to say that I am thrilled with her jumping form. She rarely ever drops a bar and she is very good at judging her take off.

Convergence is something we need to work on. She doesn't always like to come in to me and can wing out with a wide turn instead of coming in. Although she is very good at converging over the middle jump of a serpentine when I am recalling (vs. pulling).

Our next competition is the New Years weekend. It's a 4-day trial but I only entered the dogs in three days. Meanwhile, Soleil has participated in several fun matches at different locations with different equipment. She is really starting to understand her job. Summit has been on Winter break. No training or competing but lot's of conditioning.

Here is Miss Soleil's jumpers run at her last trial. In hindsight, I should have trusted her sending skills and front crossed on the landing side of the purple jump instead of on the flat. This really slowed her down.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Updates and Soleil's Second AKC and DOCNA Trial

Work is still taking up a lot of my time but I though I needed to post an update on our training and trialing.

A couple of weeks ago at the Terry-All AKC trial, Summit double-Q'd on Saturday. He would have QQ'd on Friday but he slid off the table (it was really slick and he wasn't the only dog to slide off). Sunday he had a bar in Standard. He was 50 percent Friday and Sunday. I am thrilled with our consistency. Now that I'm running a baby dog, I can appreciate how much of a team Summit and I have become.

Soleil did well too. She had a bar in Novice jumpers on Friday and then earned her title on Saturday. She ran her first Open jumpers course on Sunday and had a bar but it was a very nice run.

This past weekend she was entered in a DOCNA trial. She had some really nice runs and a couple of "Sheltie OTT" runs. She is getting very excited while in the ring. I'm still learning what works for her warmup routine. I tugged with her before a couple of runs and others, I tried food and keeping her calm. I think right now the food is the best choice.

Here are a few videos from the weekend.

Summit Friday Standard - he slid off the slick table. Poor guy really tried to hang on.

Summit Friday JWW

Summit Saturday Standard - QQ

Soleil Saturday Jumpers - 1st place and NAJ title. Don missed most of the run but did get the ending and her amazing wp entry.

Here are a few videos from last weekend's DOCNA trial
Soleil Beginners Standard - 1st place. She sometimes confuses the teeter behavior (4-on) with the dogwalk (2-on). I think she'll work through it as she gets more ring experience.

Soleil Jumpers run - 1st place

A short cameo of Soleil and I waiting for our turn in the ring. Thanks Don!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

MACH Summit and Soleil's AKC Debute

I have been SO busy at work (and teaching) that blogging has just not been happening this last month. However, I just had to write about our wonderful weekend at the FRAAD AKC trial.

Summit just needed one more QQ for his MACH (and two more for Nationals). Friday was Excellent only and he was clean in Standard but that afternoon, he dropped a bar in Jumpers. Saturday he triple Q'd and earned his MACH!!!! He is now MACH ADCH Cedar Pinnacle View! (the third Q was in FAST which he won).

Could it get any better?

Sunday Summit double Q'd AGAIN to finish qualifying for 2012 AKC Nationals!

Could it get any better?

This weekend was also Soleil's AKC debut! Saturday she qualified and placed third in Novice Jumpers and Sunday, she won Novice Jumpers.

Could it get any better?

Soleil's first official measurement is under 14"!!! She will continue to jump 16" in competition (since she measures into that height class in USDAA). However, if her second and final measurement is under 14", she will get to jump 12" at AKC Nationals. She will be at the top of her class height-wise vs. the bottom.

So here is some video to share our wonderful weekend.

First is Summit's MACH run. The best part of this video is at the end. He grabs his leash as usual and I tug with him. Then Liz hands me my MACH bar for our victory lap. I ask him to release the leash, I drop it on the ground, he immediately picks it up again. I ask him to release, I drop it on the ground, he pounces on it and then does a play bow - he thinks this is a fun new game! I am thinking, "How do I do our victory lap when he has a leash in his mouth?" Finally the judge says, "Give me your leash."

Soleil's Saturday Jumpers with Weaves run. I thought she did a great job considering the busy venue (three rings) and the loud announcement during her run. I'm doing my best to give plenty of forward cues and not worrying about tight turns. I was so happy to her get her weave entry on the first try as well as keeping up all the bars. The sand in the back of the arena where the double was located was pretty deep.

Soleil's Sunday Jumpers run. I was so focused on my dog that I forgot where the course went (you see me decelerate suddenly before the left turn to the yellow jump). Again she nailed her weave entry the first time and kept up all the bars.

We have two weeks off (there are trials both weekends but I did not enter them - will spend time off hiking in the mountains instead).

Our next AKC trial is in three weeks and Soleil is entered in Jumpers again all three days.