Monday, January 26, 2009

Sage Double Q's and Summit holds his contacts!

This weekend we were in Monument, Colorado for AKC.
Saturday was beautiful with warm temperatures. Sunday was freezing!

Sage had a great Standard run on Saturday and then a wrong course jump at the very end. In jumpers, I experimented with layering and she had two wrong courses. I don't like to layer with her because when we have too much distance between us, we lose that connection. But what the heck, the run was for fun so I wanted to try it.

I did do the layer with Summit (who I ran after Sage), and it worked beautifully. Different dog....

Summit held ALL his DW and AF contacts and waited for the release cue. I was so pleased!
And Sage did not miss a single contact all weekend.

On Sunday, Sage had a beautiful and fast run in Standard and won the Ex. B class. The jumpers course that afternoon was tricky for a hearing impaired dog. I knew we would have to work hard to qualify on that course. I did almost lose her to an offcourse tunnel but I was able to get her back and we had a very nice finish for 3rd place and a Double Q!

Summit had a very nice jumpers run but I overhandled a jump/tunnel discrimination and sent him over the wrong jump.

So a very good weekend and with several training/performance goals achieved.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

DSA AKC January 17-18

This trial was at JeffCo and 5 minutes from the house which was really nice. The judge was Jean Munger from Chicago. I liked her courses but boy were they tough!

I was so pleased with Sage's runs. No wrong courses on some very tricky sequences. Saturday I pulled her out of the weavepoles by moving laterally too soon and that afternoon in jumpers, I did the same thing again (I KNOW better). Otherwise, she had beautiful runs on Saturday. I was very thrilled with her Saturday Standard run because the course began with jump, dogwalk, tunnel (the correct entrance NOT in the dog's path). This has always been very difficult for us since Sage has running contacts and no verbal directionals. I collected her slightly at the dowside of the dw, let her run through the contact and at the same time, moved laterally towards the correct end of the tunnel. She read that perfectly.
Sunday's standard run was nice too. The beginning was two off set jumps into the weavepoles. Many dogs missed the entry. I decided to stay on the right side and rear-cross the weaves. I led out to the second jump, held my position and as soon as she got the entry, I rear crossed. Later, she was called for a missed AF contact but other than that, the run was very nice. That afternoon she had a smokin' fast Jumpers run and she placed second.

Saturday Standard

Sunday Standard

Sunday Jumpers

I am so proud of my girlie! I have been following Linda Mecklenberg's handling system since last Spring. I was looking for a better way to handle Sage since she is hearing impaired (left ear) and does not triangulate very well (especially indoors). It has taken awhile for me to learn and apply it (Sage already knew it of course:-) but it is really starting to come together and Sage is very happy that I am finally speaking her language.

Summit had two nice Jumpers runs (but with two dropped bars in each). He did have the fastest time in Sunday's jumpers run of all classes combined.
He never made it past the dogwalk in both standard classes since he is releasing himself from the contact. Since this is behavior I am only getting in the ring, I made the decision to leave the ring when he does this. I have gone back to the basics in training to make sure he really understands the release. I am confident he understands the 20/20. So that has been one of our training goals this week. Also, it has been awhile since we've done any jump training so it's back to some foundation jump drills as well.

Other than the dropped bars and dw contact, he had good wp entries and solid startline stays all weekend.

Monday, January 12, 2009

CSPC AKC trial - January 2009

We were in Castle Rock again this weekend but for AKC instead of USDAA.
Saturday was a good day. Summit qualified in Ex. B Standard with a 4th place and Ex. A Jumpers with a 1st place (is that a "baby" double Q? :-)

Saturday's Standard course was very difficult with a lot of challenges. Sage had two wrong courses. I was amazed Summit ran it clean although I ran him second so changed my handling a bit after seeing the mistakes I made with Sage.

Sage did qualify in Jumpers with a beautiful run (might have been 6th or 7th place). Summit's time would have put him in 2nd place in Ex. B. Not bad! Here are the videos of Summit's Ex. A jumpers run and Sage's Ex. B jumpers run. I handled the course the same with both dogs. Summit's time was 22.06 and Sage's time was 23.94.



Sunday's standard course was FUN! A perfect course for Sage! I saw a QQ in our future. Not to be... I rotated too slowly during a front cross at the bottom of the a-frame and sent Sage over the wrong jump:-( Other than that, she had a beautiful run. Again, I ran Summit second and chose not to front cross at the bottom of the a-frame and other than a missed wp entry (the only one for that weekend), he too had a nice run.

Sage missed a wp entry that afternoon in Sunday's jumpers run. But I was really pushing her for speed and put a little too much pressure at the weavepoles and she went in at the second pole.

Summit had a nice jumpers run but dropped the second to last bar. His time would have been the fastes time in both Ex. A and Ex. B classes.

Sage didn't miss a single contact all weekend and Summit got all his wp entries except one. His starline stays were solid and he is collecting better at the table and when I cue front crosses. He is stopping at the bottom of the A-frame with 20/20 and is waiting for the verbal release but is releasing himself at the dogwalk. He also is starting to come off on the side of the contact whenever I move laterally from the dw. Still in the contact zone but not driving to the end like I want him to. So we'll be working on that in our training sessions. I may need to get the target back out to reinforce the bottom position.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Well it was an awesome three days for us!
First, Summit's DAM team placed 4th (cut off was 12 teams). Summit was teamed with Liz and Deuce and Jennifer and Jane. Deuce is another young, blazing-fast BC and Jane is a 4-year-old smooth and steady BC.

This was Summit's second DAM team Qualification for 2009. Sage was not entered in team since she already had two qualifiers.

Saturday, both dogs qualified in Steeplechase! Sage had an amazing Steeplechase run. It was absolutely flawless and her running a-frame contacts were both beautiful. Part of the Steeplechase course was a long line of single jumps to the broadjump and straight into a tunnel where the dog's trajectory over the broadjump sent them to the wrong end. Of course, this is where every handler used their dog's name or "come/here" to directed them into the correct entrance. Not having this verbal cue with Sage, I decelerated slightly to get her attention then moved laterally and cued the correct end of the tunnel. She read it beautifully and didn't even hesitate. I really wish I had a video of that run. Summit also had a nice run but released himself from his 20/20 at the first A-frame (I do make him wait even in tournaments), so I had to get a bit forceful with my verbal cue "You GET it!" I think it really made an impression on him as he waited for the his release from the second A-frame contact - yeah right. (LOL!).

In Grand Prix Sage popped out in the middle of the weavepoles and barked at me - don't know what was up with that - then missed her dogwalk contact (more on that below). Summit had a really nice GP run but dropped a single bar.

Summit also qualified in Advanced Jumpers (2nd place) and Advanced Standard (1st place). So now only needs one more Standard leg for his AAD! He and his Partner, Pika, qualified in Pairs. He was not entered in Snooker or Gamblers since he already has legs in those classes and with him running team, I tried to limit the number of runs in the regular classes.

Summit nailed EVERY SINGLE weavepole entry!!!! One entry he got was totally amazing. It was team gamblers and I turned him 180 degrees off the teeter and towards the weavepoles but before I could straighten him out for a nicer entry, he took off for the weaves. I was fully prepared to call him back to retry but then he nailed the entry! He actually had to slide and pivot back to get the correct entry. It was pretty impressive and I was thrilled to see our three weeks of training wp entries paid off.

Sage had an impressive day on Sunday. She qualified in all three classes (Masters Standard, Pairs, and Snooker). She now just needs one more Standard leg for her MAD.

The most exciting part of the weekend however was Sage only missed ONE dogwalk contact out of the 5 classes she was entered in. My strategy of using deceleration as a collection cue on the downramp of the DW seems to be working. It collects her just enough for me to get her attention and then I cue the bottom of the contact zone. We've been practicing this at home (in addition to the down at the bottom). I did not ask for the down in competition. Even with a sharp turn off the dogwalk to the next obstacle, she was collected enough and focused on me that I did not lose her to an off course obstacle at the dog walk exit as I do when I let her run through at top speed. She was still fast on the dog walk (the collection is simply a break in stride) but now I feel I have the ability to catch up, get her attention, and be able to use a physical cue for the contact zone.

We have an AKC trial this weekend so I am excited to experiment with this. It is not easy, my timing has to be just right (the one time she missed the contact, I decelerated and collected her way too soon and when I released her, she was still very far from the end and strided over the contact zone).

So a very good, successful weekend for us.