Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun in the snow

We had our first heavy snow fall on Thursday. The campus was closed, so after lunch I took the dogs out to the back field to play a game of snow Frisbee. The snow was about 17 inches deep and we lost the Frisbee several times. It's amazing how just a half hour of running in deep snow will tire dogs out. They were content to nap the rest of the afternoon.

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!"

Happy dogs!

Monday, October 26, 2009

LPDTC AKC - A weekend of nice runs but not many Q's

Another weekend of AKC. Saturday morning we had a wicked jumpers course. Both my dogs NQ'd on this course. There were 5 qualifying runs in the 20" class (out of 45 dogs), zero qualifying runs in the 24 inch class, 3 qualifying runs in the 16" class....

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

I know, she is NOT a Border Collie

This is the VERY precocious Mira. She was born last month - a single female puppy. I have been on the list for over a year now (which fit my timeline of a puppy in late 2009 or 2010). But there was no puppy for me this time since I only want a male. Another breeding is planned for Spring 2010. Hopefully there will be a little boy for me.
The sire is a national champion and has been on the US World Team several times. Momma goes back to some great performance and working (herding) lines.
I love my Border Collies and my family has had BC's since I was 5 years old. But I have always yearned for a small dog and I am looking forward to the different challenges I will face in motivation, training, and handling.
I already have a name picked out for my little Sable boy - whenever he arrives...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TAKC AKC trial - Sage earns QQ #17. Summit has a tunnel fixation

It was a pretty good three-day weekend. Sage and I had good teamwork! Summit had some nice runs and some not so nice runs. I'm seeing a new confidence level in my young dog which is resulting in some wrong courses and wide turns. I'm also finding I need to adjust my timing better between the two dogs. This has been a challenge for me. Sage's committment point is much later than Summit's. With him, I have too much forward motion and I'm driving in too deep which is resulting in his not collecting enough for turns.

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

Just one little thing.... USDAA trial, Fountain, Colorado

We were in Fountain, Colorado (about 2 hours South of Denver) for three days of USDAA competition. Friday was DAM team. Sage's team ROCKED! and we ended up with 4th place overall. Summit's team did not Q but we ended up just below the qualifying cut off.
Friday morning it was 33 degrees and the sprinklers had not been turned off in the park. The grass, equipment, and tents were covered with ice. Team jumpers was first and the class was delayed an hour in order to allow the sun to melt off the ice. I had an elimination with both my dogs. I was slipping and sliding all over the wet grass - I couldn't keep my feet under me. Sage popped out of the last weavepole and I didn't see it and cued the next jump (tweet!) and Summit took the wrong course tunnel because I was so late with my front cross, I actually cued extension and the tunnel that was in his path (tweet!). We weren't alone though, I think every team had a teammember that E'd on that course.
The rest of the day went well and the grass eventually dried out. So Sage has her DAM team qualifier for 2010 Nationals.
Saturday morning both my dogs got a very difficult gamble. I was confident that Summit would get it but was pleasantly surprised when Sage got it too. Then Sage qualified in Grand Prix with a 5th place. She had a really nice Snooker run going. We had completed all four 7's and were starting the closing... I didn't support the #4 jump (depressed angle) and she went around it. She had a wrong course in Steeplechase. Sage was only entered in two classes on Sunday. The gamble was not something I train with either one of my dogs so we just practiced contacts and I crossed the line to do the gamble obstacles. She later qualified in Snooker but dropped a bar in the last 7 so she didn't get a chance at a Super Q.

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.
We had two opportunities to earn that last Standard leg for his MAD title but it didn't happen. Saturday, he slipped off the end of the wet dogwalk and then stepped back on (wrong course) but the run was very nice. Sunday I misplaced a front cross and so was out of position to push to the tire and he missed it. In Grand Prix, I pushed him past his weavepole entrance and he went in at the second pole (otherwise beautiful run). Saturday Jumpers I had a flying arm episode and sent him over a wrong course jump, Steeplechase - not sure why but he took the wrong end of the tunnel from the a-frame. He did have a beautiful run in Masters pairs and we took 6th place. He also had a nice Jumpers run on Sunday with a 4th place.
So my goals for improving my handling ... watch my arms (keep them low). Be more careful with front cross placement (location after rotation and which direction my shoulders will be facing). Incorporate more rear crosses with Summit.
Training goals for Summit: work more on his understanding of collection and turning cues when I am behind.
Training goals for Sage: None - she's perfect:-)
The highlights of the weekend:
Sage had awesome contacts.
Summit only dropped one bar the entire three days.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Videos from FRAAD AKC

Sage, Sunday Jumpers - 6th place and Double Q
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.