Monday, April 20, 2009

This is how my dogs spend their time when not competing in agility trials

They stare off into far vistas while posing so majestically against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
Stalking prey for that next meal.
More stalking...
Uh... can I have a private moment here to roll in the snow.

Aaaah that feels so good.

Is this what they mean by Spring Thaw?

Time to sneak up and POUNCE on Sage!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Videos from MHGRC AKC trial

So here are some of the videos from last weekend's AKC trial.
But first I have to tell you when I watched Summit's Saturday Standard run I laughed until I cried! Ok, so it wasn't so funny THEN but watching it now on video is hilarious. Watch carefully the Start. He just knows that I am facing him in the wrong direction (away from the course). "But MOM! You are facing me the WRONG way, I know I'm supposed to lay down in front of that jump that faces the rest of the course". You can see me trying get him to face the tunnel and he keeps wanting to turn and face the jump behind him. I finally gave up and said "Go Tunnel" and pushed him into the tunnel. Guess I should practice that kind of start set-up at home (tunnel entrance that faces away from the rest of the course). Oh well, that's what I get for having a dog who's a thinker!

The next video is his Friday Jumpers run. He Qualified with first place but I'm not happy with my handling. I forgot where I was going after I sent him to the green tunnel and had to catch up and cued the turn and front cross very late for a wide turn. Then the two jumps before the weaves, I changed my mind from a FC to a RC at the last minute but didn't let him know in time so another wide turn into the weaves. He is such a good boy and does quite well in spite of his handler's late cues:-)

Here is his Saturday's jumpers run. I like this one. Too bad about the bar, that would have been a double Q for Summit!

Here is Sage's Saturday Standard run for third place and a double Q. No problems with this girly facing away from the course at the start. Her motto is "tunnel anytime-anywhere!"

And here is her Sunday Jumpers run. Too bad about the dropped bar at the Start.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back-to-back double Q's

This weekend we were in Castle Rock for a three-day AKC trial.
Friday Sage qualified in Standard and again in Jumpers with a fourth place and a double Q!

On Saturday she qualified in Standard with a third place and in Jumpers (I forget her placement) for another double Q! That puts her at 13 QQ's towards her MACH title.

On Sunday, we had Jumpers first and she had a lovely run but dropped the first bar. So since a double Q was not on the line (and she certainly does not need any more speed points), I decided to use our standard run for training and proofing. I left her in the weaves and moved away laterally towards the next obstacle. Oops, she popped out of the weaves. The next to proof was her running a-frame contact. I ran ahead of her to the a-frame and instead of managing the downside, I moved away laterally (because of the wrong-course jump directly in front of the a-frame) to cue the correct jump just to the left. She ran through the contact, turned left, and took the correct jump. I was very pleased to see that. So no Q's on Sunday but the Standard run gave me some excellent feedback.

Mr. Summit had an amazing two days on Friday and Saturday! This is the first trial that he has been in Excellent B in both classes (he moved up from Ex. A Jumpers from the last trial). Friday's Standard run was very nice - smooth, he collected nicely for tight turns, I left him on the table for a nice lead out. I did overhandle a section of the course by bringing up my outside arm to get his attention and of course, he saw that as a cue to come in and threadled the jumps for a wrong course. I didn't do that with Sage - not sure why I felt the need to use my offside arm with Summit.

That afternoon he qualified in Jumpers for first place and his first Q in Ex. B Jumpers. I felt that I was late with several turning cues and so he had some wide turns on a couple areas on the course.

On Saturday, he qualified in Standard with a Second place and a VERY nice run. Then that afternoon he had a beautiful Jumpers run but dropped a bar on the double. That would have been a double Q. Too funny, at this stage, QQ's are not my goal with my young dog so I thought it was pretty fantastic that he came so close to getting one.

On Sunday though, my young dog had lost his mind. He had a crazy Jumpers run that included three dropped bars, one wrong course, and NO collection. At one point towards the end of the run, I recalled him to my side for a sit and gave him a few moments to settle down and let his eyes stop spinning, then we finished the last four jumps. I guess if I could say one good thing about that run was after a very wide turn (again not reading my collection cue), he was completely out of position to get the weavepole entry. Nope, he actually turned back slightly and collected and got the entry. Pretty impressive.

His Standard run that afternoon was better. He actually had a very nice run about 3/4 of the way through until he dropped the panel, I was too far behind to cue the rear cross at the chute so he came out of the chute turning in the wrong direction (a lot of dogs did this), then missed the jump because of the spin. So a wrong course. Then he dropped the bars on the triple at the finish. I'm not too happy with the bar-dropping.

Our training goals for the next couple weeks:
Summit - we'll be doing a lot of RTH drills working on collection and revisiting jumping basics. I'll balance that with the zig zag drill to work on keeping the bars up while in extension.

Sage - hmmm.... I'll think of something fun. But she's pretty darn perfect:-)

It was a great weekend and fun to see both my dogs in the top 4 placements in several of the same classes.

I'll post some videos when I get them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bo-Tyne Eyes on Me "Focus"

I was cleaning out some of the files on my computer and came across these two videos of Summit's sire, Focus. He is one of the fastest Border Collies in flyball (Canada and U.S.). I guess you can see where Summit gets his speed and his dark red color.

Here he is playing ball with Lynda Verna of Bo-Tyne (Focus' breeder in Ontario, Canada).

And a picture of me with Focus in Ontario, Canada when I flew out to pick up Summit-puppers.

Monday, April 6, 2009

FRAC USDAA - Loveland, Colorado

Well Sagey-girl is on a roll. We had another two-day USDAA trial this weekend. Saturday Sage qualified in Masters Standard, Snooker, Grand Prix, and Steeplechase! All her runs were smooth and flowing. The only class she did not qualify in was Masters Gamblers. She had a nice opening but did not get the gamble. Sunday she qualified in Masters Standard again! plus Pairs Relay, and had a really awesome run in Steeplechase finals but with one bar down.

She did not miss a single contact all weekend and she ran some really tough Standard courses. Tight turns with some pretty severe angles. Sunday's Masters Standard course had a very difficult weavepole entry. Many dogs missed the entry (including Summit) but Sage got it and qualified with 4th place.

Summit also had a good weekend. Not as many qualifying runs as Sage but only because of minor faults. He had a really nice GP run but I dropped my arm too soon at the 180 and he came in between the two jumps earning a refusal. Masters Standard he took a wrong jump at the very end. I did not see that jump as a wrong course possibility and put too much forward motion rotating out of a front cross and sent him over the incorrect jump. So basically we are at that stage of "just-one-thing" on otherwise very smooth runs.

I did get several leadouts from the table this weekend and some very long leadouts from the startline. He is showing a lot of impulse control on the course - I think my baby dog is growing up.

This was his first trial at Master's level. He did qualify in Masters Gamblers with a 4th place.

So here is my little Summit brag for the weekend. He qualified in Steeplechase with a THIRD PLACE!!!! The cutoff for qualifying was 19th place. Kim and Steeple (who just won the AKC Nationals) won with Stacy and Wally taking second place. Tenths of a second separated 1st -4th places. I was so proud of my young dog. Not bad for having stopped contacts on the a-frame (although I did release him as soon as he was in position).

He also qualified in Masters Pairs Relay and had a really nice, smooth opening in Snooker but dropped the #3 bar in the closing.

So it was a very good weekend and I am especially pleased with Sage's consistency. She now only needs one more GP qualifier for Nationals.

Next weekend we will be at Castle Rock for the MHGRC AKC trial.