Thursday, December 10, 2009
I have a list started. I have no puppy but I darn sure have a list of possible names. I did this with Sage and Summit. I spent months researching the etymology and examining each name based on how it looks in print and how it sounds (a name sounds very different when spoken softly and when screamed on the course to avoid an off-course tunnel).
Why the obsession with names? I don't know but I take naming my dogs very seriously. I really like the sound of "S" names - Sage and Summit. I am tempted to continue the trend of "S" names (although quite a few on my list do not begin with "S") in addition to sticking with the nature theme of the Rocky Mountain West. The name needs to be no more than two syllables and if longer, needs to be able to be shortened for a call name on the agility course. As a really impressive example of creativity, Summit's name is shortened to "Sum" when I need to verbally get his attention while running a course.
I have a lot of great Border Collie names but somehow they don't quite fit a Sheltie.
So far my favorites are the following names: Soleil (French for sun for a Sable Sheltie); Kite (a rare and endangered Raptor in the British Isles known for graceful flight)...
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
On Saturday, both Sage and Summit double Q'd. Sage placed third in Standard with 38 seconds and around 7th or 8th in jumpers with a time of 25 seconds and double Q number 19.
Summit won Standard with a time of 34 seconds and won jumpers with a time of 23 seconds for double Q number 5.
On Sunday Summit NQ'd with several faults in Standard but had a nice run in Jumpers that afternoon but with one bar (would have been first place). I admit that I walked the course with Sage in mind when I ran Summit, made handling decisions on the fly.
Sage WON Standard and that afternoon, we ran Jumpers to earn her MACH. She had a lovely run (very smooth) except for a missed weavepole entry. It was such a rush to go for that MACH run. I loved the pressure and although it didn't happen that weekend, it will eventually.
Overall I was very pleased with both dogs' performance. A few things to work on to improve. Summit is starting to push his contact behavior in competition again so it's time to start reminding him in training about his release cue. Sage was awesome and very consistent all weekend.
We are taking December off from competition. I have several seminars and workshops planned for Summit and of course, lot's of hikes for all the dogs.
Below are videos from the weekend.
Summit Saturday Standard - 1st place
So in case you are wondering what the fuss is at the startline. Summit did not want to face away from the course. I put him in a down at the first jump (facing away from the rest of the course) and he argued with me, "No Momma, the course goes the other way!" Joan was laughing and I finally just picked him up and placed him down and ran with him.
Sage Saturday Standard - 3rd place
Summit Saturday Jumpers - 1st place
A wide turn into the weavepoles. I ran Sage second and did a front cross two jumps before the weaves which really tightened the turn.
Sage Saturday Jumpers
Summit Sunday Standard - NQ
I ran Summit first. I was not really focused on handling him and had really walked the course for Sage. Needless to say, I made several handling mistakes and sent him off course after the chute.
Sage Sunday Standard run - 1st place
This really was an awesome run!
Sage Sunday Jumpers - almost MACH ;-)
Summit Sunday Jumpers - dropped bar
Friday, November 20, 2009
Couldn't resist posting this picture that Lori took at Nationals. Can you tell they are all related:-)
There is nothing like returning from a big event like Nationals with renewed inspiration and training goals. Having seen and experienced the level of competition, I know what we need to work towards. I also know I have a dog who has the speed, athleticism, and training to be very competitive. I was the weak link in our teamwork last week which is actually a good thing...
I am pretty happy with my execution, but the handling choices I made were not always the best to get the tightest and most efficient lines. It's been a long time since I've taken a group class since I don't really learn anything in the limited amount of time I spend with an instructor in group classes. However, I already have set up private sessions with a top trainer in order to work on my course analysis skills and receive feedback on what we need to work on in training.
We still have snow on the ground so this morning I just worked Summit on jump grids (compression) and lateral leadouts. Once the snow melts and we have dry ground for speed work, I'll set up a course with wide-open sequences that lead into boxes and/or tight turns. One of the skills I need to improve on is cueing relative collection and a turn when I am behind my dog.
I worked Sage on boxes and discriminations. With her being a uni, I find that it is even more important to set a good LOM going into a box and staying on the same side (not RC) since she can't always triangulate well when I call her name to get her attention.
This weekend we'll be relaxing and the dogs will get to hike offleash in the mountains.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I am very proud of both my dogs. Sage had great runs in Team Jumpers, Standard, and Gamblers (didn't get very far in Snooker). She had a fast run in Steeplechase quarterfinals and made it to the Semifinals. She had another great run in Grand Prix quarterfinals but dropped a bar which added 5 seconds to her time, so we didn't make it to the GP semi's.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday morning Sage had a very nice Standard run. However, I released her from the table just before the judge said "GO"! I have no idea why I did that... so we got a fault. I remember thinking, I wonder if she's going to call that - it certainly too her long enough to think about it:-)
Also, because Sage does not have independent contacts, I was not able to get the FC after the chute so did a last minute rear cross (I had walked it with a FC).
Here is my run with Summit. I chose to do a blind out of the tunnel and I almost didn't get there!
Sage qualified in Jumpers that afternoon with a 4th place. I ran the course with Summit first and he took a wrong course jump after the weave poles (insead of jump and turn, he kept going straight). I realized that my lateral motion (to get into position for the FC) actually cued the wrong course jump. So when I ran Sage, I chose to stay on the same side and run down the line to the tunnel. I didn't do this with Summit as I didn't think I could get down there to cue to correct tunnel entrance. Here is Sage's run.
Sunday we had Jumpers in the morning. I ran Summit first and we qualified with a second place.
Here is Sage's run. I think she got 5th or 6th place.
Here is Sage's Sunday Standard run. She got second place and a double Q.
Here is Summit's Sunday Standard run. 1st place and double Q.
I'm almost packed. We leave for Nationals tomorrow!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Throw the Frisbee!
Where did it go?
Where is Summit?
"What do you want? I'm busy."
"Ha! I found it!"
"Oooh, are those more toys?"
"Bleh! I got snow down my throat."
"Who are you laughing at!"
"Can you see me?"
"Weeeee! A snow tunnel!"
"Where is that Frisbee!"
Monday, October 26, 2009
Here is the course map.
The places that got most teams were the #3-4-5 jump sequence in the beginning, #12-13-14 in the middle, and the #16-19 at the end. Lot's of traps and handler motion was restricted. Sage took the #18 jump in the beginning (instead of #4) and Summit took the #2 jump after #16 at the end. I ended up layering twice with Summit (something I do not like to do). I RC'd #4 and sent out to #5 while running on takeoff side of the 270 towards #6. Then RC'd #8 into the poles. Then did a forward send to #13 then took off towards #14 (layering #6). By the time Summit took #16, I was so far behind, as I moved in towards #17, my motion pushed him to take #2.
That afternoon, Summit has a gorgeous standard run but dropped a bar on the triple at the end. I ran the course with Sage with the only purpose of proofing her contacts. She had a wrong course (chute instead of the tunnel) but I wasn't really handling to run clean but to work more distance in her contacts. She didn't miss a single contact and I got some good lateral distance on the dw and the teeter.
Summit's Saturday Standard run
That afternoon, Summit had a nice run in Ex. B FAST. I just wanted the Q and walked for a fast flowing sequence. As it turned out, he missed 1st place by one point. He had 71 points in 23 seconds and First place was 72 points in 29 seconds.
Summit's Ex. B FAST run
Sunday Sage qualified in Standard with 2nd place. We lost some time on the table because she zoned out. It was strange but she wasn't focusing on me and kept looking around and it took some time for me to raise her to a sit.
Sage Sunday Standard run - 2nd place
Summit would have had 1st place but we were called for a refusal at the tunnel. It was dogwalk to tunnel (underneath) and something that I should practice at home. I practice a turn away from a contact to tunnel but not a recall from contact to tunnel and this just felt a bit awkward to me. The rest of the run was nice though.
Summit Sunday Standard - one refusal
The jumpers course that afternoon was FUN! Summit ran clean with a 2nd place (by 100ths of a second). I had confidence that Sage would get double Q number 18 on this jumpers course. Not to happen, I got too far ahead of her going into a box, turned my head to look back for her which opened up my shoulders and she moved away from me and took a wrong jump.
Summit Sunday Jumpers - 2nd place
It was a fun weekend but the courses were really tough and although I love challenges, I could sense some negativity from other competitors. I think the low qualifying rate discouraged many people as team after team (good dogs and handlers) NQ'd all weekend.
We have another weekend off so will plan on a hike in the mountains if the weather is good.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday's standard course was very tough. There were 6 or 7 qualifying runs in the entire Excellent B 20" class . I ran Sage first and she had a wrong course. I ran Summit and he qualified and won the class by 6 full seconds (all the fast dogs NQ'd on this course). When I went to the line with Summit, I knew I would have to handle very aggressively. Being able to not have to run all the way with him to the end of the dogwalk gave me a huge lead out advantage for the ending sequence.
Sage qualified in Jumpers that afternoon with 7th or 8th place and Summit had a refusal on a jump that I did not support. It was a nice course and offered the opportunity to excecute a post turn towards the end. I was quite proud of the post turns I had with both dogs since its something we don't practice. Here is Sage's run.
Saturday Sage had an awesome Standard run and won the class! I changed my mind the last minute to do a recall over the jump after the yellow tunnel instead of the front cross (which I did with Summit). Notice her tight turns and how close I drive to each jump. Don had someone new filming so the video jumps around sometimes.
Here is Summit's run on the same course. I ran him after Sage. What can I say... he suffered from endless tunnel LOOP syndrome. I lied to the judge. After the second time he took the tunnel, I told the judge, "This is the last time, I promise." then he took the tunnel again... sigh. I finally put him in a down in front of the aframe. I think I heard the judge chuckling.
My timing was exactly what was needed for Sage but not for Summit. I drove way too deep when I cued the tunnel after the weaves. Then I had to catch up because he came blasting out the tunnel and I was not in position to cue the next two jumps. Then all that forward motion sent him turning very wide over #2 jump and then of course, my flailing arms and my bad positioning sent him to the tunnel the first time (you can see how I'm very late with the shoulder pull). YIKES! But the rest of the run was nice (although another very wide turn to the triple). I left him on the dogwalk while I ran past the finish jump.
The Jumpers course that afternoon was very challenging (same judge as Friday's Standard course). I ran it with Sage first and qualified with a third place and a double Q! Summit got the wrong course tunnel towards the end (as did the majority of dogs). I actually at some point was moving backwards pulling Sage past the plane of the tunnel entrance (a Snooker move:-) as I didn't have the advantage of saying her name or of using motion since the handlers path was restricted by the first jump in the 180. It was a tight little box and any motion towards the correct jump also cued the tunnel.
Sunday's courses were the nicest of the entire weekend. Sage had a nice standard course but missed the dogwalk contact. She later qualified in Jumpers with a 5th place. Summit had a wrong course jump at the beginning and then won Jumpers that afternoon.
Here is Sage's Standard run
Sage's Jumpers run - 5th place
Summit's Jumpers run - First place
We have next weekend off and will be doing some hiking in the mountains. My training goals this week are to work on some foundation skills with Summit (forward and lateral sends). Really work on my timing of deceleration for tighter turns. I think I will set up a line of jumps and practice running at the start (no leadout) and decelerating at different locations to cue 180 degree turns.
With Sage, I will continue to work on the dogwalk. She is becoming very consistent with her running a-frame but I still have to really manage the end behavior of the dogwalk.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Summit and I had a fairly good weekend but it could have been much better. He had nice runs but with one little thing that kept us from qualifying.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
There were very few qualifying runs on this course. Summit took the wrong course double after the first serpentine. Getting Sage's head after the tunnel was challenging!
Summit, Saturday Standard - 1st place and double Q
36.15 seconds. I liked this run. I was late cueing collection and the turn from the tire to the teeter so he was wide there. The offset serpentine at the end was challenging and NQ'd a lot of dogs (they ran by the middle jump or missed the last jump).
Summit, Saturday jumpers - 1st place and double Q
Even with the spin before the weaves, his time was 22.30 seconds. I had slight lateral motion into him and he read that as a rear cross over the jump before the weaves. I am not liking my conflicting cues just before the rear after the weaves. I use an outside arm to bring him in (should cue a FC) and then drop the arm and step into him laterally to cue the RC. Darn! I'm trying hard not to over use the oustide arm with him (It's an attention cue for Sage and it has carried over to using it to cue convergence with Summit).
Summit, Friday Standard - would have been 2nd place and a double Q
I called his name just as he jumped the double and the bar came down. Duh!!!!!
Summit, Friday Jumpers - 1st place
So what's up with the inchworm (creeping butt) startline. This is fairly new and I don't see it because my back is turned.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday was Excellent only. Both Summit and Sage had nice runs in jumpers. Summit won the class and Sage placed 4th. Summit had a nice standard run but dropped the third to last bar (double) when I called his name as he was clearing the jump. Sage had a wrong course.
Saturday Summit again won jumpers and Sage placed 4th (is that funny weird or what?). Sage NQ'd in standard (called for a refusal - I sent to a jump and didn't support it well enough and she turned off). Summit won standard that afternoon for a double Q with two first places AND earned his MX title! Needless to say I was pretty pleased with my young dog.
Sunday the courses were VERY technical. I will post course maps when I get them transferred to CRCD. I really liked these courses because they had challenges that you normally don't see in AKC. The challenges involved multiple 180 degree wraps, pull throughs, and serpentines. I was excited to run them. I also got some good feedback from my dogs' performance and have some training goals.
Sage ran the jumpers beautifully. It felt smooth and effortless and she handled the technical elements very nicely. She Q'd with 6th place in jumpers. We had a little more difficult time with the standard course but only on one segment of the course (most teams had trouble with this section) but we made it through and the rest of the course ran well. Sage got 3rd place and a double Q! I am not sure but I think this is either #16 or #17 towards her MACH. Getting close.....
Summit did not handle the challenges as well. Part of it was my timing was off as well as my location. But mostly he was just not ready to handle these types of challenges. So we have a whole new level of skills to work on at home.
I do train 180's, serps, pull throughs, etc. with Summit but what made it more challenging this weekend was that the dog was coming into these at full extension and the handler needed to handle these from behind with rear crosses. Rear crosses is a weak skill with both my dogs (since I prefer to be in front). I've been practicing more RC's in training but obviously have more work to do with Summit.
So not a bad weekend with two QQ's and a new title (darn! I forgot to grab one of those pretty purple new title ribbons).
This Thursday night, Jen and I are leaving for Fountain, Colorado for three days of USDAA with DAM team on Friday.
Sage is on a "Witchy Women" team (I did not come up with the name;-) with BC, Jane and JRT, Whim.
Summit's team is called "Red Hots" and very apropo as his teammates are red Cattle Dog, Rita and red Cattle Dog, Lucky!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sage qualified in both Standard runs and I was thrilled to see big improvement in her contacts. I was even able to get some distance and independence on the a-frame on Saturday's standard run. She had a nice jumpers run going on Saturday (for a double Q) but then I left out the first pinwheel (very embarrasing since I had already run the darn course clean with Summit). She got 3rd place in Standard on Sunday but then had a wrong course tunnel in jumpers that afternoon. I knew the chances of her getting the tunnel were pretty high. The course was three jumps straight to a wrong course tunnel requiring a 70 degree turn to the weaves after the third jump. The problem was if you decelerated and got a 90 degree turn off the jump, the dog was faced with the middle third of the weavepoles. So you still had to push out a bit after the jump which cued the tunnel and then use a verbal weave command. It was really windy and Sage just locked onto that tunnel.
Summit had four awesome runs. He got second in Jumpers on Saturday and won Jumpers on Sunday. His Standard run on Saturday was nice but he missed the wp entry. Sunday's Standard was also nice but with a dropped bar (handler caused). The morning sun was in my eyes and I couldn't see the jump (and barely could see my dog), I called out his name and then heard the bar go down. In hindsight, I would have handled the chute to the 270 differently with Summit. With Sage, I have to meet her at tunnel and chute exits to get her head since she does not hear very well when she is in a tunnel. With Summit, I would have stayed on the landing side of the jump for a recall after the chute and then pushed to the next jump and rear crossed to the table.
Summit, Saturday Jumpers - 2nd place
Sage, Saturday Standard - 5th place
Summit, Saturday Standard
Sage, Sunday Standard - 3rd place
Summit, Sunday Jumpers - 1st place
(late and missplaced front cross at the end - I forgot I had planned to fc there:-)
Summit, Sunday Standard
(he was a bit OTT going in the ring, kept pulling hard against his leash).
Friday, September 18, 2009
Summit had an interesting weekend. His DAM team (Bordering on Insanity) did not qualify but all three young dogs on the team had some great moments as well as some not so great moments. Summit had some amazing runs in the regular classes considering I was pushing him and proofing his training. I got some great distance from the teeter (lateral send to the teeter so I could get in a FC), RC's at weaves. I left him in the weaves twice while I moved laterally away in order to FC for a tunnel discrimination. Left him on the dogwalk for another lateral move for a FC. The most fun was in Master's Snooker where I did a lateral send to the #2 tunnel in the closing so I could get in position to back up just past the jump for a tight turn which set him up nicely for the teeter approach.
For some reason Summit was very high at this trial. I'm not sure if it was because it was a Regional or because I was pushing him a little and asking for more obstacle independence. Summit had several runs where he just was not thinking. He had two wrong courses in Team Jumpers and a wrong course in Team Relay. We have our share of mistakes but not usually a wrong course. He also missed his wp entries 4 times - which is also unlike him.