Monday, December 29, 2008

Couple of videos from the November AKC trial

Just received these videos from the trial in Black Forest in November. The first one is Sunday's Standard run (Excellent B). Nice run with one refusal (weaves). The second run is Saturday's Open Jumpers.

In hindsight, I would have liked to have led out from the table to front cross the landing side of the jump before the tunnel which would have put me ahead of Summit as he came blasting out of the tunnel into the weaves. The tunnel was off-set enough that when the dog exited, if the handler was too far behind, the dog curled into the handler and away from the poles. A lot of experienced dogs missed the wp entry. Overall, I was very happy with this run. Summit had a good startline stay and contacts. I am glad that I've been incorporating sprint intervals in my daily runs:-)

This past month I've been training weave pole entries with both dogs. I set up a set of 6 poles in the middle of the field and have been working on round-the-clock entries, forward sends, lateral sends, rear crosses, pushes, and pulls into the weaves. I've also started to bring both dogs out to train at the same time. The dog that is not working waits on the pause table. I really like this as I can train longer by rotating back and forth between the two dogs. I usually train 5 minutes or so before switching out dogs. Sage is a very good girl, waiting patiently and calmly on the table. Summit is also good when it's his turn to wait on the table, although he can get a bit vocal sometimes.

This weekend is the 3-day USDAA trial in Castle Rock. Summit is on DAM team (Sage is not entered in DAM since she already has two DAM qualifications for 2009).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Family pictures

Jimmy, Summit's brother, playing in the deep Canadian snow

Carolyn Lewis (Summit's Breeder) sent some pictures taken after the snowstorm in Ontario. Shown are Summit's Aunt, cousins, mom, and brother. Then Kim Dash in Florida, who owns Cedar Firewalker, sent some pictures of Walker who turned 1-year-old in November. Walker is a littermate brother of Dash and is Summit's cousin.

Summit's Family

Cedar Firewalker "Walker" in Florida

Sunday, December 14, 2008

There is just nothing better than hiking with dogs!

Laura, Elaine, and I hiked with the dogs on Saturday (three humans and 6 Border Collies). It was a great day for a hike and Laura brought along her new camera and got some great candid shots. The only one missing is Taz (Sage's bro) who is spending a couple months up in Alberta, Canada training with Scott Glen.

Sage with her Uncle, Ben


Summit and Callie

Starting out...

Elaine with Sophie, Craig, Sage, and Summit

Elaine and Ben


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Frustration or... Retraining Sucks

So Monday night I took the dogs to the FRAC drop-in at Boulder Co. Fairgrounds. I had goals for each dog and my goal for Sage was to see if I could generalize the down at the end of the contacts in a different environment from home.

The environment was pretty laid back but at least they had an electronic "go" and I performed our competition ringside and startline routine in order to hopefully replicate a trial environment. The course started with a jump to dogwalk. Sage ran the dogwalk contact and was into the wrong course tunnel before I could attempt to cue the down. We repeated the dogwalk and same performance except she did not go into the tunnel this time. I brought her back and took her up the side and cued the down and she immediately went into the down. We continued on and she ran the rest of the course beautifully and had a nice running a-frame, and nailed a difficult wp entry.

Of course, this was just one drop-in session and I plan to return to the next one. But I was a bit disappointed that she didn't down on the second try. Maybe it's a lot to ask of a dog who has a two-year reinforcement history of running the dogwalk

I will of course take it on the road some more...
The other day though, I got to thinking...
How is it that I can run this fast dog clean on almost every course (we rarely have a wrong course) without verbal directional cues (the only verbal cues I use are her release cues and "tunnel" in the case of a discrimination.  I can do it because Sage responds 100 percent to my motion to tell her which direction to go. I use acceleration to cue extension, deceleration and/or lateral motion to cue turns (front crosses and rear crosses), and I rely on forward and lateral sends to allow me to get downstream and stay ahead of her on the course.

So can I use motion to cue contact behavior? Not sure.
Sage has a pretty nice running dogwalk. Our issue has been it's so fast that if there is a wrong course obstacle directly in front of the dw, she will take it before I can catch up. However... if I could somehow use deceleration on the dogwalk to at least get her to break stride and slow down enough for me to catch up and redirect her...

If I'm behind her on a straight line of jumps on a course with a turn coming up on say.. jump 4, Sage will respond to my deceleration and collect her stride and prepare to turn in the direction of my lateral movement.

I might experiment with this at the next drop-in session. I will however continue to practice the dw at home with the down at the bottom because I like how it shifts her weight to the rear.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Summit earns his OAJ title!!!

Well Mr. Summit is FINALLY out of Open Jumpers!
He earned that final jumpers leg at the SCAC AKC trial at Latigo.
This was the last trial of the year and I did not enter Sage this weekend, just Summit. I normally wouldn't travel that far this time of year for an AKC trial but I really wanted to get him out of Open jumpers.

Saturday, we had Jumpers first and Summit had a beautiful run .... BUT... dropped bar:-(

That afternoon in Excellent B Standard, he broke his startline so we left the ring.

Sunday morning was Excellent B Standard and he had a perfect startline stay and a great run but missed his wp entry (many experienced dogs missed this wp entry also). I was very happy with his run - it was so smooth and I really felt like my timing was good and Summit read my motion cues perfectly.

So the last class was jumpers. This was our last chance to earn that last leg. We did it! The run was very nice and Summit earned his OAJ title. Don sent me the video (actually it's a Dartfish Overlay of Summit and Indy). I was very happy to see him collecting and turning tighter. We've been working on collection for a very long time and it's nice to start seeing it in the ring.

***So why was I so eager to get him out of Open Jumpers?
Because we do so many two and three-ring trials and there are always conflicts. I may still ocassionally have conflicts with him in Ex. A jumpers but at least I won't have to worry about walking the course since it's the same course for both dogs.

CASA de Canine USDAA - Lawrence, Kansas

The holiday has kept me pretty busy so behind on the updates...

On November 20th, Judy and I travelled to Lawrence, Kansas to the CASA de Canine USDAA trial. This was the first time I had gone to this trial and was really impressed with the venue, the club, and will certainly be back next year!

Sage was on DAM team with Shar/Tar'n and Judy/Sisu. We qualified with 5th place.

I originally wasn't going to put Summit on a team. I didn't think he was ready yet and it is nice to be able to take him off the course when he breaks his SLS. But Norm/Fln' needed teamates and so we put Summit and Fln' on a team and did a draw for another teammate (an experienced BC). Well not only did Summit's team qualify but we placed 4th!!!! Summit and Fln' had great runs with minor faults and NO E's! So Summit is qualified in team now for 2009.

Sage had great runs all weekend and not a single missed contact. Her handler tried a few goofy moves and sent her over a wrong course jump in Master's standard. But she qualified in Master's Gamblers and Steeplechase. She also earned her TM title!!!
She was only entered in one class on Sunday since I knew the three days with Team would be a lot for her. It was a good decision as she seemed fine Monday morning - no stiffness in the shoulders at all.

Summit had some really nice runs in team and qualified in Advanced Gamblers and Snooker. He had a lovely jumpers run and standard but with a dropped bar in each. He lost his head in Steeplechase and we left the course after he ignored my motion - actually I was standing still while he continued forward to take two more jumps including the broadjump... from the backside :-/

It was a great weekend with nice weather and the fairgrounds had a lot of open space where you could let your dogs off leash to run and play. There were lot of Colorado competitors at this trial also, which was really nice.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sage Double Q's and qualifies for AKC Nationals!!!

This weekend we competed close to home at the MHACB AKC trial.
It was weird because the judge had a family emergency and had to cancel so the club had to get a new judge at the last minute. The new judge used the previous judges courses. I thought the courses on Saturday were ok (although the qualifying rate was low and people were grumbling). But Sunday's courses were downright ugly! There was a LOT of grumbling on Sunday and even the judge hinted during his briefings he tried to tweak as much as possible to make them a bit more friendly.

I hate it when a course begins with a very tight pinwheel. How demotivating is that for the dog? Both the standard and jumpers courses began with tight 4-jump pinwheels. The dog is released from the startline just go in a little circle to nowwhere!

Rant aside...

On Saturday Sage qualified in jumpers with a 4th place. I fell on the course and Sage almost came to a complete stop so we lost a lot of time there. There was a fairly straight tunnel to the tire with a 90 degree turn off the tire. I was concerned about the safety of the tight turn off the tire and so my shoulders were rotated towards Sage with my opposite arm out to cue a turn as soon as she came blasting out of the tunnel towards the tire. She collected nicely for the turn as she headed to the tire and my feet slipped out from under me (loose dirt) as I finished rotating for the front cross and down I went. Sage came through the tire, and headed towards me. I quickly jumped up and took off to finish the last 4 jumps (another pinwheel).

That afternoon she qualified in standard with a second place and earned the last double Q to finish qualifying for AKC Nationals 2009!

Sunday morning, the standard course was just plain ugly. Many dogs got the wrong end of a tunnel (weaves, 90 degree turn over a single jump and into the far end of the tunnel), almost all handlers ran past the jump and tried to pull their dogs past the wrong tunnel entrance. Many dogs took the wrong end anyway. There was another tunnel trap coming off the a-frame as well.

I ran the course with Summit first and he missed his wp entry, then got the wrong end of the tunnel. Once we got past that, the rest of his run was fairly nice although a bit OTT.

I left Sage in the weaves and moved laterally so I could front cross the landing side of the jump before the tunnel. Sage got the correct end of the tunnel. It was a beautiful run and she qualified with 1st place. There were only 4 Q's in the entire 20" class! Sage was the only fast dog to qualify.

That afternoon in jumpers, (opening was tunnel into a 4-jump pinwheel - another stupid circle!), Sage and I got through the more technical parts of the course and then I sent her out to a jump and turned and left too soon for the finish and she pulled off. Darn! we were 4 jumps from the end. So no QQ on Sunday.


... well Mr. Summit had a lot of fun this weekend. He missed every single weave pole entrance. He had a beautiful standard run on Saturday but missed his wp entry. I have not been training weave poles with him in quite awhile since his weaves have always been solid with very few missed entries. Guess we'll be working on those this week.

However, he had SOLID startline stays and CONTACTS! I delayed the release from all his contacts this weekend to reinforce the verbal release from 20/20.

We are heading out to Kansas on Thursday for the CASA de CANINE USDAA trial.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hiking in Boulder

We had the weekend off from competition so of course....

...we did a long hike in the mountains. The weather was perfect. Sunny and cool in the morning and warming up to mid '70's by the afternoon. On this hike there are plenty of creeks so the dogs get to cool down and play in the water.

I brought home some very tired dogs at the end of the day.

A beautiful view from the trail

Three happy dogs taking a break on a very large boulder

Summit relaxing at the "Spa"

Sage hiding in the tall grass

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LPDTC AKC trial - October 2008

This was a one-ring trial and it was so nice to not have ring conflicts and just relax. Sage had nice runs but no Q's. I think it's the nature of the QQ requirement in AKC. Since Sage has enough MACH points for TWO MACH'S, if we don't qualify in standard, I will use jumpers for experimenting and proofing new training. Sage is running very well - our NQ's are always because of a contact (either DW or AF) because I'm letting her run them. However, since I've been letting her run through, she has not had any shoulder soreness. So that is GOOD! and confirms that I made the right decision to retrain to 4-on-the-floor and "break" the 20/20.

Summit had really nice runs too. He qualified in Ex. A Standard and earned his AX title. He also qualified in Open Jumpers for his second leg in that class. His YPS was 7.39! Wow!

Here is a video of the run...

For the first time, Summit was pushing the contacts by releasing himself after the 20/20. This week its CONTACT BOOT CAMP!
He's had such solid contacts that I've taken them for granted and haven't trained them in several months. So this week I've gone back and rewarded 20/20 by tugging on the end of the contact as well as proofed the verbal release (Rachel Sanders' method).

We have next weekend off so will be spending some time relaxing and hiking in the mountains.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Private lesson with Stacy Peardot-Goudy

Well this morning Sage and I had a private lesson with Stacy. It was awesome as usual! Stacy was very pleased with Sage's progress with the MP by itself and when we put it at the end of the dogwalk and a-frame. She said now we need to start progressing onto the next stage...

1. I need to pair the MP with the contact obstacle. In other words, Sage does not receive reinforcement from just downing on the MP, she must perform the obstacle followed by the down on the MP to receive the reward. In the session, I was bringing Sage around to the side of the down ramp of the DW and she bypassed the DW and just ran to the MP and laid down. Stacy said that does NOT get rewarded anymore.

2. Now I need to add a release and make it very black and white for Sage. I decided to stick with the same word I use for her startline and table release. I thought of changing it to something different but Stacy said using the same release cue would be fine.
3. I need to start asking for speed over the contacts now and adding a tunnel or a few jumps before the contact obstacle.

4. I need to start fading the MP. We are committed through the weekend of Nov. 22nd (CASA) but I have pulled her from Latigo after that so that I can work on fading the MP. Once I start to fade the MP, I can no longer allow her to run through the contacts at a trial. However, I'll have plenty of fun matches to generalize her new contact behavior before January.

RMATC AKC agility trial

Well we had a great weekend! Summit had some really nice runs with another Q in Excellent A Standard on Saturday (he dropped a bar on Sunday). We are really starting to become a more consistent team. As I learn to handle his speed and as he gains confidence, the runs just keep getting better and better.

Sage and I had good runs also. She won Standard on Sunday and qualified in Jumpers for a double Q.

I'm still letting her run through the contacts at trials. Right now, the mouse pad is the cue to perform the down so in absence of the MP at trials, I'm still ok to let her run the contacts without the down. I did pull her from the November 28-29 trial in order to have 6 weeks to fade the MP and attend matches to generalize it before the FRAAD USDAA trial in January.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Update on Sage's contact training

Sage LOVES her mousepad! I can barely get the darn thing on the ground and she runs to lay down on it. She will drive ahead to the MP, recall, and down on the MP with my running past.

Meanwhile, I've had her running through the contact zone under a hoop for both DW and AF. Both obstacles are now at full height (AF at AKC height).

Last week I decided to put the mousepad about 12 feet from the bottom of the DW contact. I sent her over the last 6 feet of the down ramp of the DW while I stood still. She ran through the contact and immediately to the MP and layed down. Perfect!

We've backchained the DW and the AF and I've gradually moved the MP closer to the bottom of the contact. This morning, I moved the MP back to about 3 feet of the bottom of the contacts. Sage is still running through with speed and downing on the MP.

We practice sends, recalls, and my running past. I have noticed though that if I am off to the side standing still, she will down on the MP slightly facing me (not facing straight ahead). I can go back and put up the gates to keep her straight (which I might do) or just let it be. All I want is a down, I'm not sure if I want to be picky about where she is facing if I am standing off to the side. If I was ever to be in that position at a trial, it would be because I wanted her to turn off the contact obstacle anyway.

I have not put the down on the MP on a verbal cue yet. I still haven't thought of a good hand signal to pair with a verbal cue (in case I need it). Right now, Sage is offering the down when she sees the MP.

At trials, she is running through the contacts and out of 6 runs last weekend, only missed ONE DW contact. Not bad!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sage's DAM team qualifies for 2009!

This past weekend was the 3-day ACAT USDAA trial and the first opportunity in Colorado for 2009 DAM team qualification. Friday was team only and Sage's team ROCKED!
Our team name was Bordering on Insanity and consisted of three BC's - Sage, Jane (with Jen), and Rain (with Alan). It was pretty exciting as we were consistently sitting in 10th place and just below the qualifying break off. Rain and Alan E'd in jumpers and Sage E'd in standard. Finally it all changed with the last class of the day - Team Relay. All three dogs ran clean with no E's. We waited while the results were announced. There were 12 qualifying teams out of 27 teams competing and Bordering on Insanity ended up with 9th place! We were thrilled!

So now Sage is qualified for 2009 Nationals in DAM team.

Saturday and Sunday was regular classes and tournaments. Sage missed a wp entrance in Steeplechase and her final time just missed the cut off by 1 second. She had a smokin' Grand Prix run but missed the dw contact. Sage (with Rob and Petey) had a great Pairs Relay run and got 1st place! Sage also qualified in jumpers with 7th place.

Summit had a nice Advanced standard run but dropped a bar. He qualified in Snooker with 1st place (he got all three 7's) and Advanced Pairs (with Hannah and Stardust). He had an awesome jumpers run until the end when I fell down on the grass. I jumped up to finish the run and couldn't remember which jump we left off and so sent him over a jump he had already taken (drats!). His startline stays were perfect the entire weekend!

Contact Training

So after some long thought, I've decided to retrain Sage's contacts to a modified moving. 20/20 (which she performs in training but recently not at trials) is very hard on her shoulders. So I've decided that 4-on-the-floor makes much more sense. Because Sage can't hear verbal directionals, I must have a stop at the bottom - especially at the DW.

First I needed to "break" the stop of 20/20 at home. For several weeks I've been running her over the DW, under a hoop, and to her motivator on the ground about 15 feet from the end of the DW. Gradually I've raised the DW and so far, she is striding through without stopping. I did the same for the AF.

Here are a couple of picture of the DW after the first week. I started with it completely flat on the ground and have been gradually raising it higher.

Separately, I have shaped the down on the mousepad. Sage learned this very quickly and is now driving ahead to the mousepad and laying down. Now I need to figure out some sort of hand signal to put it on cue.

Meanwhile in trials, I've just let her run through the contacts. She strides through yellow about 80 percent of the time. I plan to put the mousepad at the end of the contacts after trial season.

FRAAD AKC Trial - September 2008

Both Sage and Summit has some great runs last weekend. Sage qualified in all her jumpers runs but blew the DW contact in standard so no QQ's.

Summit had some nice standard runs in Ex. A but no Qs. He qualified in Open jumpers (his first leg in Open jumpers!) with a 1st place by 5 seconds. This course had a difficult and tight serpentine and many dogs did not get the middle jump or took the wrong end of the tunnel. Summit's Saturday jumpers run was also very smooth but I sent him over the wrong jump at the end by moving forward too quickly rather than waiting until he turned toward me out of the tunnel.

Here is a video of both jumpers runs.



The Excellent jumpers course on Sunday was very similar to Open with the same serpentine. This is how I handled it with Sage.

Sage took 3rd place with that jumpers run (out of 52 dogs).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It was a lovely weekend for an outdoor trial. The early Fall weather was crisp and cool. Not too warm. In fact, maybe the weather was too perfect....

Saturday Mr. Summit was POSESSED! Or else he's been drinking my coffee in the morning. We had jumpers first thing in the morning (never good to have jumpers first). I think we had a wrong course and I know there were several dropped bars. Hmmm... then followed his debut in Excellent A Standard. More craziness but the second half of the course was very nice.

Sunday I had my dog back. He had a lovely standard run in the morning (one dropped bar and one refusal) but nailed a particularly difficult wp entrance that many Excellent B dogs failed. You had to send your dog into a box at a diagonal and turn them into the wp while layering a jump. I do not like to layer but going into the box pushed your dog over the wrong jump. I was very happy with Summit's performance. At the end, I pulled him off a jump as he came out of the chute. I was in such a hurry to get ahead of him for a turn after a straight line of jumps. It turned out that I didn't need the distance after all and he had a nice turn to the finish jump.

His Jumpers run that afternoon was very nice. I love watching videos of the runs afterwards. I really thought I had decelerated and moved laterally to cue relative collection and the turn. Watching the video, I was very late with my lateral motion and there was no deceleration at all. Combined with my location and inside arm, I cued my dog to take the red jump. After the weavepoles, the run went very well. Summit collected and had some really nice turns.

Sage and I did not have as good a weekend as we usually do. First Sage's handler gets LOST on Saturday's Jumpers run. It was a lovely course with very nice flow! How the heck could one get lost on a course like that? Anyway, standard went better that afternoon... however Sage blew both her contacts. Not surprising since her 20/20 has been disintegrating quite rapidly over the past 6 months. I have been going back and forth debating whether to retrain her for running or modified running over both obstacles. Meanwhile, I've just been managing them in trials. She often strides through the yellow on the AF but will miss the DW contact about 60 percent of the time. More on that later when I've figured out what I want to do.
Sunday's standard run she blew the a-frame contact. She had a nice jumpers run that afternoon. She missed her wp entry but her time would have put her in second place in the Ex. B class. I didn't think she was running that fast but she had some very nice tight turns. I have to say, I am very pleased with how we are working together as a team on the course. She is reading my motion, position, and hand cues extremely well and I've been able to limit the verbal commands I use with her!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Tired Bode

Just had to share this picture that Jen sent of Bode after a morning training session followed by a hike on Mt. Sanitas. I would say this is one tired puppers!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sage qualifies for USDAA Nationals!!!!

Both dogs did very well at FRAC's USDAA trial this past weekend. The big news is Sage earned that last Steeplechase Q to finish qualifying for the 2008 USDAA nationals! She had a blazing fast Grand Prix run (clean) and earned a 4th place. She also earned two Masters Jumpers Q's (6th and 7th place) and a Master's pairs Q with Judy and Sisu.

Summit qualified in Steeplechase on Friday and in round two on Sunday had a blazing fast run earning 4th place in the finals (with a dropped bar)! I only entered him in Steeplechase for fun and so that he would get to have a run on Friday (which was Master's classes only). He had a beautiful smooth Advanced Jumpers run but dropped one bar. He qualified in Advanced Standard with a nice run and 2nd place and was one point short of qualifying in Snooker.

Judy and I camped at the site which the dogs' loved since they could run around and play in the evenings.

The other big news is that Sisu earned her MAD!!!! She needed one last Masters Standard leg and got it with a typical fast and furious run Sisu-style on Sunday. Judy was so happy that she accidentally threw Sisu's special toy up on the roof of the arena. Luckily, a very nice cowboy who worked at the fairgrounds was kind enough to put an extension ladder on the bed of his pickup truck and climb up to the roof to retrieve Sisu's big red ball.

It was a very fun weekend and FRAC put on an excellent trial with the best worker lunches I have ever had.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summit earns his OA title!

Summit had two very nice Open Standard runs this past weekend at the MHGRC trial with a score of 95 and 100 and a 1st and 2nd place earning his Open Agility title. He also qualified in Ex. A FAST with a second place.

His 3/4 brother, Bode, was at the trial and Jen got a cute picture of the two siblings. Bode is 9 weeks old.

Sage had some nice runs also. No QQ's but her Q rate was about 50 %. I did end up scratching her from two FAST runs as it was just too hot and I had ring conflicts. It was a very nice trial even with the record-breaking HOT temperatures.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Throw the toy!

The original plan was to hike, but with the temperatures in the high 90's and 100's, we decided a trip to the lake would be just the thing! Summit's 7 mos. old cousin decided to join us. I took my camera and got some great shots of Dash and Summit.
Meanwhile, Jen is flying out to Ontario, Canada this afternoon to pick up her new puppy, Bode. He is a Tru x Divot puppy (Tru is Summit's mom and Divot is Summit's great-uncle). Bode is very cute and reminds me a lot of Summit. He is a "thinker" and really crazy about his toys. I can't wait to see the little puppers when they return.
Next weekend is the AKC trial in Latigo!

Dash racing back with her frisbee

Look what Summit "caught" in the lake!

The cousins posing for a picture

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

USDAA Rocky Mountain Regionals

This was my first Regional competition. Since Sage is already qualified in DAM team and since I didn't want to risk re-injuring her shoulder, I did not enter her in the Regional. I am confident I made the right decision but I really missed running my girlie and she would have done so well on many of the courses. I would really have liked to seen how she would have done on the Team Snooker and Team Jumpers - two very challenging but fun courses.

Summit was entered in DAM team and the regular classes. Since I have never entered him in a tournament before at the local level, he was not qualified to run in Steeplechase or Grand Prix at the Regional. But between all the Team classes, regular classes, and my being responsible for hospitality at this trial, I am glad I was only running one dog.

On Friday, Summit qualified with a first place in Starters Jumpers and earned his AD title! This was the last leg we were waiting for to get his title. The course was very nice and not so wide-open with straight lines. It was actually the more technical Starters Jumpers course I have seen and which is why we did so well. Summit collected nicely and had tight turns. He had a lovely run in Advanced Standard except for taking the tunnel (4 times!) instead of the dw (note to self - train verbal tunnel/contact cues for discriminations).

He had some nice runs in Team Standard and Team Jumpers but did not run clean. This was the first time he has run Master's level courses in competition and I thought he did very well. They were some tough courses too.

Saturday Summit had a blazing-fast smooth Advanced Standard run but dropped ONE bar! He did well in the Team classes and even made it to the closing in the very tough Team Snooker course. He dropped the bar on the #4 jump but many Masters-level dogs did not make it that far. However, the highlight of our day was the 60-foot lead out I did. It was the best way to handle that Snooker course by starting with the farthest red. Summit not only held his stay but recalled to heel without taking any of the "options" on the way. What a good boy!

Sunday, I could tell my little guy was mentally tired. He only had three runs on Sunday but I had already decided to scratch him from Starters Snooker. He had a little meltdown in Team Relay and he had no collection in his Advanced Standard run and dropped two bars. This was a very big weekend for such a young dog. Three rings with many runs per day. It was hot and humid and luckily, we had the lake near by so he could swim. There were also a lot of conflicts so many time he would finish a run and immediately we would go to another ring to start another run.

Brad was there on Friday and Saturday taking pictures and got some really great shots of Summit in the weavepoles.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Group IV Terrier Club AKC trial - Memorial Day weekend

So off the Salt Lake City for the 3-day trial at the beautiful Lynnleah Farm. This is one of my favorite trial sites. Next year I plan on attending all of the USDAA trials that are held at The Farm.
Sage had some really nice runs on Friday and Saturday (no QQ's). By Sunday, she was popping out of WP again and dropping bars. She also refused the practice jump right before the last class of the day on Sunday. So Ms. Sage is taking some time off to heal. She has another appt. with Dr. Jay next Thursday. I have pulled her from the USDAA Regionals over the 4th of July weekend.

Summit qualified in Open FAST on Friday and moved up to Excellent A FAST on Saturday. He fell off the DW during the Send portion so did not Q. I took him through several tunnels to finish the course. There were like 10 dogs who fell off the DW that day. The judge at one point went over and looked at it. I was told it was slick but I never did have a chance to look feel it.

Sunday Summit earned his first Q in Excellent A Fast! He also earned his first Q in Open Jumpers. He had some really nice runs this whole weekend.
I am learning that when I relax and not try and "race" Summit, he keeps the bars up. He is so fast that I think I need to hurry up and get somewhere on the course and when I start becoming frantic, he flattens out. So what I think about when I go to the line with him is Relax.....

Landing gear UP!


Sage saw Dr. Jay that following Thursday (the soonest I could get her in as he was out of town). Sage had a tendon popped out in her shoulder and was "stuck" somewhere (my "chiro speak" is not very good). So she had limited mobility in her left shoulder. This explained the dropped bars and wp popping. It was pretty bad but he got it to pop back in and said she was good. We were travelling to Salt Lake City the next day for a three-day AKC trial and he said she should be fine but keep a good eye on her.

Poor girlie!

USDAA Pueblo, Colorado

I'm a bad blogger! I'm way behind in updates....

Sage started off the weekend popping out of her weavepoles and dropping bars. Very unusual for her. Sage is a lovely jumper and might drop a single bar every 5 trials or so. She's also pretty consistent weaver. On Sunday in Master's Standard, she dropped two bars on the course and popped out of the wp again. I pulled her from the rest of her classes and made an appt. with her chiropractor for that following week.

Summit did very well. We had good startline stays all weekend. He qualified in Starters Gamblers twice, Snooker, and pairs. He earned his Starters Pairs title and moved up to Advanced. He only needed that one jumpers leg to earn his AD but he dropped the first bar (the course was jump - tunnel!). He did not qualify in any of his Advanced Standard classes but only had minor faults - handler-caused.

Jennifer's husband, Brad, was there taking pictures and did a wonderful job!

I love this picture of Summit's sliding teeter!

Monday, May 12, 2008

IKC AKC trial

So I forgot to blog about the AKC trial we travelled to the first weekend in May. Summit qualified in Novice Jumpers all three days and earned his NAJ title!

Sage had nice runs but no QQ's.

Here is a picture taken at the trial by Doghouse Arts. If you look closely, you can see the spittle foaming on the side of Summit's mouth. Is he having fun or what! (double-click on the photo to view the large version).

FRAC USDAA agility trial May 10-11

This trial was held outdoors at the beautiful Adam's County fairgrounds. I love this site because of the acres of grassy field and the large lake which the dogs love to swim in.

Saturday was cloudy, windy, and cold. No swimming that day. The dogs had fun though and brought home some ribbons. Sage just needs one last Steeplechase Q to finish qualifying for Nationals. She had a beautiful run but dropped the very FIRST bar! :-(((

Summit had a fast and smooth Standard run but dropped a bar on the triple. He had a great opening run in Gamblers but did not get the gamble which was a long straight line of jumps. I got too far behind him and he curled back to me, crossing the line. I did not want to send him back out without forward motion so we just took the last finish jump and celebrated.

Sage had a nice pairs run but her partner had two wrong courses so we didn't qualify. Summit and his partner qualified in Starters pairs with a second place! This is his second pairs leg.

We arrived early Sunday morning to find the tent covered with a thin sheet of ice. The sprinklers came on in the night and since it was so cold, there was ice everywhere... on the grass, tarps, and tents. It gradually warmed up and by mid-day was in the 70's.

The dogs did great. Sage had a very nice Standard run but missed her DW contact. She missed her Snooker Q by one point because I forgot the next obstacle in the closing and she took the tunnel instead. She had a beautiful jumpers run and placed third.
Summit placed first in Starters Standard with a smokin' fast run and earned his Starters Standard title. He is moved up to Advanced for this next weekend.

Summit had several milestones at this trial:
1. Good start line stays with no early releases (so he got to stay and play on every course)
2. Awesome table performance. He is collecting nicely to get on the table (even once flying out of a tunnel to the table). No sliding off and performed an immediate down (he still screams WOO WOO at me though - he SO doesn't like to stop).

A fun weekend and as usual, lot's of training ideas for the week.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

MHGRC AKC trial April 11-13

So it was a bit hard to play in QQ land after having so much fun in USDAA last weekend. I love playing agility no matter what venue. However, in USDAA it is so much fun to push for speed without having to worry about playing it safe because you have a QQ on the line.

Well Friday was Excellent only so only Sage got to play. She had a wrong course in both her standard and jumpers runs. Her standard run was actually very nice but somehow we had a miscommunication and she spun in the wrong direction upon landing and then back-jumped. I probably could have done more to save it but was busy thinking, "Why did she think I was going to rear-cross?" Oh well. Here is the video.

On Saturday Sage was 3 for 3! She qualified in FAST with a 4th place and earned her XF title. She qualified in Standard with a 3rd place and qualified in JWW with another 3rd place. Wow!!! This brings her to 7 QQ (and thousands of Mach points but we won't go there;-)
I was really happy with both her standard and Jumpers runs - especially since Jumpers was a bit technical in the middle. FAST was ok and she did great on the Send Bonus. However, after the Send she missed a wp entry and so I wasted many minutes determined to get her in the weaves when I really should have just gone on to the finish since she already had plenty of points to qualify. Here are the videos of Standard and Jumpers.

On Sunday, Sage had a pretty nice run going in Standard and then she missed her A-frame contact (fyi- Sage does not have independent contacts. I didn't know enough to train them and her contact behavior is dependent on my position. So if I get too far behind her and can't be there to cue 2O/2O, she can miss the contact zone. Good thing I can run fast and usually have no problem meeting her at the end of the A-frame or DW). Now Summit-man does have independent contacts which is a good thing since there is no possible way for me to beat him to the end of a DW.

Here is the video of Sage's Sunday Jumpers run. It was a very nice run and fast. She had a great time and placed 6th (out of 58 dogs). Second through 6th place were all separated by 100's of a second. Talk about CLOSE!

Ok, now to report on the Summit-man....
He had some brilliant moments out there on the course and he had some YEEEHAW moments. Especially when it came to having to assume a control position on the table (well at least he doesn't slide off the end now). He argued with me on the table one too many times in a standard run and so had to leave the course;-(
He had two GREAT jumpers runs. Saturday's jumpers run was very nice and smooth. I wish I had a video of it but Don missed it. Sundays jumpers run was nice. He had a refusal on a jump (caused by his handler) and he dropped a bar (caused by his handler). Hmm.... maybe Mr. Summit needs a new handler????
Here is the video of Sunday's Jumpers run.

It was a super-fun weekend! The Golden Retriever club did an awsome job of organizing such a huge (over 900 entries) three-ring trial.

FRAC USDAA agility trial April 5-6

I forgot to update this blog after the trial!
Sage had an awsome weekend! She qualified in Grand Prix and Steeplechase BOTH! She had one 5 second fault in GP but placed 6th in Steeplechase and had a great run in round two but dropped a bar.

She is in Masters now for all classes but since we were already paired with a friend and her BC in Advanced, we didn't move up in Masters pairs for this trial. Sage and Jane won the Advanced Pairs Relay class with a clean run! Sage had a fast jumpers run with a 4th place on Sunday!

The Summit-man had some good runs as well as some crazy moments on the course. He had a great run in Starters Gamblers, got the gamble and then dropped the very last bar in the gamble. He ran clean in Starters Standard and won his class. He paired with another young BC in Starters pairs and they won that class.

Sunday he was starting to have a meltdown and had some zooming moments in standard and jumpers. He did have a nice snooker run going but dropped a bar during the closing and we were 3 points shy of qualifying.

So now Sage only needs one more Steeplechase leg to qualify for 2008 Nationals!!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


This past weekend, the dogs and I travelled down to Albuquerque, New Mexico with Judy and Sisu for the SWAT USDAA trial. It was a two-ring trial held outdoors in a soccer field. A beautiful location and the weather was awsome! Sunny and warm.

My goal for this trial was to earn an Advanced Gamblers and Snooker leg so Sage could finish her AAD title and also (hopefully) to earn a Q in Steeplechase or Grand Prix to qualify for Nationals. Well Sage had a wrong course in both tournament classes;-( both were tunnels which is unusual for her. In all fairness, the Steeplechase course was tight and very technical. I thought I was walking an AKC Excellent-level standard course. There were not a lot of Q's on that course. But the GP course was very nice and flowing and my lack of full rotation in a FC sent Sage to the wrong course tunnel.

Sage did Q in Gamblers and Snooker though and finished her AAD title! The Gamble was a bit tricky for us but doable. The Snookers course was a nightmare. Very difficult and even the closing sequence was tricky. I was bummed when I looked at the coursemap as I wanted this Q so badly. Snooker is what always holds us up from moving to the next level. It's been a hard game for me to learn but I'm really starting to enjoy it and it's quickly becoming my favorite of all the games.

There were very few qualifying runs in the Masters Snooker class which was identical to the Advanced course. To make matters worse, I was 5 dogs from running Summit in Starters Snooker in ring 2 and Advanced Snooker was being run at the same time in ring one. Judy held Summit while I quickly walked the Advanced course, then Shar went and got Sage out of her crate and warmed her up while I waited to run Summit. Just as I was getting ready to go in the ring with Summit, I heard the gate steward calling Sage's name in ring one. Yikes! They knew I had a conflict but the class was small. I quickly stepped into the ring with Summit, made it to the second red jump and for a split second, forgot where I was sending him next (I had two courses in my brain), and he backjumped the second red. Whistle goes off and I run off the course, quickly hand him to Judy and run over to ring one where Shar was holding Sage. I really needed to clear my mind at this time and just focus on the advanced Snooker course and try and remember what my strategy was.

I still can't believe it but we ran that course clean and somewhat smoothly (as smooth as a Snooker run can be anyway). Sage got the Advanced Snooker leg with a First Place. We did not max the points (only taking 3 reds) but Sage was the only dog that qualified in the 22" class so hence the first place.

Summit did really well at this trial. This was his first USDAA trial as well as his first one outdoors. Some dogs (like Sage) can get the zoomies at their first outdoor trial but Summit stayed focused. He only dropped one bar out of the five classes (cause by my yelling a command while he went over the jump). Not bad for the first time jumping 22" in competition. His contacts were solid and his table was good (no sliding off the backside).

He had some really nice runs with minor faults and managed to run a perfect standard course and place on Sunday.

We arrived home about 11:00 pm Sunday night. I had two very tired dogs. I was exhausted. This was the first time running two dogs in USDAA (and Summit was not even entered in the tournaments). I had 14 runs over two days. A very fun weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hiking in the high country

On Sunday Laura, Elaine, and I decided to do the "big hike" since a lot of the snow had melted up in the mountains. The hike took most of the day and I brought home some very tired doggies. My legs were a bit sore this morning from all the climbing. When it's not an agility competition weekend, I like to take my dogs up in the mountains for a hike. It allows them to run, play, sniff, roll in nasty dead stuff and.... well, just be dogs.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Last weekend was the 3-day (Friday Excellent only) AKC trial. Sage did well on Friday and took 2nd place in Standard and 3rd place in Excellent FAST but had a wrong course in Jumpers so no QQ. Saturday and Sunday we were just not connecting as a team. We had a wrong course in three of our runs that weekend. Lately I've been focusing Sage's training on distance work and obstacle focus in preparation for Master's gamblers and Excellent FAST. I think I need to back off all of the distance training and balance it with some close technical drills and discriminations that require more handler focus. Oh well.... I tend to to get a bit obsessive and in anticipation of her moving up to the Masters level in gamblers and FAST, overdid the distance training. Maybe....

Summit did very well for his second trial. Saturday he qualified in Novice FAST and earned his NF title. He had a nice jumpers run but took the wrong end of the tunnel. His Novice Standard run was absolutely amazing (I didn't think we would experience a run like that until much later). He earned a 1st place and his NA title.

Sunday he qualified with a smokin' run in Open FAST. But then in his jumpers run I had to take him off the course when he blew his SLS. He waited for his release in Standard but slid off the table and missed his wp entry twice - I think his young brain was a little fried by then.

Here are links to some of the videos from the trial. Unfortunately, Don didn't get Summit's Novice Standard run on film. It would be fun to re-live it!

Sage's Excellent B Standard run
Summit's Novice Jumpers run
Summit's Open FAST run (starts just after the send bonus)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rhonda Carter seminar

The dogs and I participated in a Rhonda Carter seminar Friday and Saturday. Summit's session was on Friday (Advanced handling) and Sage's session was on Saturday (Master's Coursework with distance).

As usual, I learned a ton from Rhonda. She had a lot of really good insights about Summit and some great training drills to teach him collection. This also came up in the Joan Meyer seminar last month - teaching Summit to collect.

We've had a lot of snow and ice this Winter in Colorado and so I've only been able to train 1-2 jump drills and box work with Summit. Naturally, he was collected while doing these close exercises. So now we are working on jump drills and grids incorporating extension and collection.

Saturday was Sage's turn. It was a very fun class with only six participants. Rhonda showed us how much time we can save on the course by knowing where we can send our dogs out to perform independently which leaves us free to meet them at another part of the course. I wasn't sure I could just throw Sage out there to perform independently while I left for another part of the course. Sage did amazing! Rhonda said, "Trust the training and the dog." It's hard though. Since I'm a fast runner, I am used to running at Sage's head throughout most of a course. But I could see how much faster she was by my sending her out and getting ahead of her. Rhonda also helped me with setting a LOM for Sage. Since she is a uni, I don't tend to use verbal directionals since she doesn't triangulate well while we are running a course (she does have a verbal release from the startline and table). Rhonds said this will let Sage know where she is going several obstacles ahead.

No more seminars for awhile but these last two gave me a lot to work on. Our next seminar is with Susan Garrett in June.

Here is my favorite picture of Summit from last weeks CKC trial.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sage's Jumpers run

Sage also did well at CKC and although she didn't qualify in any of her Standard runs, she Q'd in all her Jumpers and earned two legs in Excellent A FAST. Her Sunday JWW run was beautiful and fast and earned her a 1st place in the Ex B 20" class (out of 72 dogs).

Here is a video of her Jumpers run.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Summit's Debut

Summit, my 20-month-old Border Collie debuted at the big CKC AKC trial this past weekend. CKC is a very large show with conformation, obedience, rally, and three rings of agility.

My only goal was to give him ring experience and hope for a solid startline stay, contacts, and weavepoles. My little guy did absolutely fabulous! He never broke his SLS and with two exceptions, nailed all his wp entries at speed. His contacts were solid too.

I also learned a lot about what we need to train. First on our list is the TABLE (table approaches at speed) and a faster down. A leadout from a chute or tunnel as the first obstacle would have been nice to have this weekend. Also need to work more on his driving ahead of me on a straight line of jumps.

He came home with a 1st place ribbon in Novice Jumpers, 2nd and 4th places in Standard, and a 2nd and 3rd place in FAST.