Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Best Friends

Summit - 9 weeks old
Evie (my niece) - 2 years old

Friday, January 22, 2010

We can train!

I went out to the field this morning. Although there is still a sheet of ice and snow between the backyard and the agility field, the upper part of the field has dried out and I have enough space to set up some jump drills. I will need to keep the dogs on leash until we pass the snow/ice section though. Luckily, the pause table (which is where the dog not working waits his/her turn) is free of ice now.

I left the 15' curved tunnel where it was and moved jumps around so I had a three jump sequence to the far end of the tunnel and a single jump to the left of the last jump (to form a 180). I plan to practice forward Sends (180 degree wrap over the jump before the tunnel) and lateral Sends (90 degree turn left over the jump for the 180 sequence) and sometimes cueing extension over all three jumps to the tunnel. This will be good for both dogs.

The area where I had the bounce grid set up is mostly free of ice. I won't be able to do the full drill (three-jump bounce grid, 15 feet to fourth jump, 20 feet (extension) to tunnel and then reverse back), but Summit will at least get to work the three-jump bounce grid.

Of course, I'll also be working basic RTH exercises with Summit over one jump in the ongoing process of reminding him that collection and round jumping is highly rewarded.

The weather is supposed to be fairly nice this weekend so I plan on getting out to the field for lot's of training.
As the picture of Summit suggests, I cannot wait until Spring!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


We were at a one-ring trial this weekend at a venue that is seven minutes from my house. It was a great trial with a great judge and a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Sage was 50 percent each day. I would like to say we had just one thing wrong in the classes we NQ'd in but actually, we had several wrong courses. Unusual for us and at first I was thinking, "Oh no! I have fallen victim to the "one more double Q for our MACH" syndrome. But after really analyzing the courses (this judge is known for nice flowing courses that let the dogs really open up and extend), I realized that they were a bit too wide open for Sage. I ended up having to handle with a lot of lateral distance from her and we had several disconnection points on course. I found this observation interesting and realized that as a team, Sage and I do much better on tighter more technical courses where I can really handle close to her. She reads my lateral motion cues much better when I am closer to her. So she NQ'd Saturday morning in Jumpers, then WON Standard that afternoon with a smokin' time of 38 seconds. Sunday - NQ in Standard and then Q'd in Jumpers that afternoon (6th place I think).

Summit had an awesome weekend. He did very well on these courses. There were a lot of wrong course posibilities which were a non-issue with Summit. Saturday morning he had a great Jumpers run that would have won the class but for one dropped bar. Saturday afternoon he Q'd with 3rd place in Standard with a time of 41 seconds. I was really making him hold his contacts and he did a great job of that. I found it amusing that so many people came up to me later after the results were posted and wanted to know how Sage could have beat Summit by three whole seconds. Well when you watch the videos, you will see how (hint: contacts).

Sunday Summit won Standard with a blazing time of 37.18 seconds. That afternoon he placed 3rd for a double Q. The first double Q he needs for 2011 AKC Nationals (5 more to go).

I am so thrilled to see that Summit and I are becoming more consistent. My goals have been to trust the training and make sure I uphold criteria in the ring, and perfect my timing.

Speaking of training....
I can't believe it's been two months now since I have trained my dogs. The snow has partially melted off the field but the water is not draining well and between soggy muddy grass and sheets of ice, I have not let the dogs out in the back field at all; not even to play. But we've had a couple of private handling sessions and the first week of February, we have my agility club's 4-day seminar. I am co-chair of the club's seminar which has been a lot of work but not only did I get to select the instructors, I will also get to participate all four days.

Anyway, although I'm a little nervous about not training, I haven't really seen any issues in competition - so far.

Here is the video of Sage's 1st place Standard run on Saturday.

And here is Summit's Standard run (3rd place)

Summit's Saturday Jumpers run (one bar)

Summit's winning Sunday Standard run (not holding contacts)

Summit's Sunday Jumpers run (3rd place. 1-4th places separated by 100ths of a second)
He stumbles a little at the end (second jump after the weaves).

We have this weekend off from competition. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some training in. It's supposed to snow though. Maybe we'll just go hiking.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First AKC trial of 2010

Well no MACH for Sage this past weekend but she was 50 percent with nice runs. Sunday she had a gorgeous Standard run in the morning but I rotated out of my FC too soon at the A-frame and pulled her off the contact. That afternoon she was clean (6th place) in Jumpers.

Summit also did well and won Jumpers both days. He had a wrong course tunnel in Standard on Saturday (jump, 90 degree turn to A-frame/tunnel discrimination). I had too much forward motion towards the jump and cued extension and he landed right in front of the tunnel opening. The rest of the run was nice though. Saturday, he left the teeter too early and was called for a contact. I guess I better brush the snow off my teeter and remind him of the criteria for teeter performance - or maybe not. I was pushing the lateral distance on the teeter. His A-frame and DW were flawless.

Here are Summit's two first place jumpers runs.


I'm not too happy with my bending over while cueing the 180 degree turn at #4. Need to stand up straight! In case you're wondering what I'm doing with my vest as I lead out.... Summit had released himself early in Standard that morning (released as soon as I got to my leadout position and turned around) so I was going to train a startline stay in jumpers (we would leave the ring if he didn't wait for the verbal release). As I left him at the startline, I noticed my vest was unzipped and flopping around. I found this irritating and knew I could not run a course with a flopping vest so I was attempting to zip it up as I lead out but couldn't get the zipper aligned... so I guess that was pretty good proofing of his startline. He didn't move until I released him.


I was a bit out of position as he exited the tunnel so had a wide turn to the weaves. Both these courses were a lot of fun. I really like it when judge designs a course that has a combination of tight sequences followed by wide-open sequences where you can really let the dog open up and extend.

Next weekend we have a small one-ring AKC trial at a nice venue seven minutes from my house.
The judge is known for great course so maybe Ms. Sage will MACH.

Friday, January 8, 2010

MAD Summit

Well the dogs and I took the entire month of December off from competition. It was semester break at the University too so I had a lot of time off from work. We spent most of that time hiking and running at the South Mesa, West of Boulder.

I was a bad blogger and a bad trainer (we didn't train at all). But the long break was good for the dogs and I think having time off from agility is good for them physically as well as mentally.

I did end up doing a 1/2 day Stacy Peardot-Goudy seminar with Summit. The seminar was in a nice indoor heated facility with soccer turf. As usual, Stacy set up a wicked European-style course.

So this past weekend was our first trial of the year. Three days of USDAA with DAM team. Summit's team qualified with 6th place which is not bad considering one of our teammates E'd in Team Relay! So Summit has his DAM team Q for 2010 Nationals. He had a nice GP run but missed the wp entry and had a wrong course on a very technical Steeplechase course (only 8 out of the 50 dogs entered made it into the finals). He also Q'd in Snooker (we only got as far as #5 so no Super Q), Second place in Jumpers, second place in Standard, and then Stacy and I won Masters relay by two full seconds!

The best part of the weekend though was Summit earned his MAD!

This weekend we have a two-day AKC trial. Maybe Sage will earn that last double Q for her MACH!


Since we are STILL not sure where USDAA Nationals will be in 2010 (maybe the East Coast), qualifying for the AKC Nationals is a priority this year. Sage is qualified for 2010 but I decided not to take her this year.

I would like Summit to earn his ADCH this year. It depends on how many USDAA trials we travel to since there are only 6 trials locally (within the state).

Sage only needs one more Super Q and a Gamble Q for her ADCH. It would be nice if she could earn her ADCH this year too. Gambles are difficult for her though.