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).