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.