Thursday, May 27, 2010


In the middle of the night on Tuesday, May 25th, four Sheltie puppies were born. Three girls and one boy.
Momma and pups are doing well.

Here is a video of the little boy...

And more...

I've only seen two short little videos of the boy yet I'm in love with him already. How can that be?

A friend and I are leaving early tomorrow morning for a three-day AKC trial in Amarillo, Texas. This will be the first road trip without Sage. I know she'll be happy she's not going (she hates car rides) but I will miss her.

I will post pictures of the puppies soon. In addition to the sire being a former member of the U.S. World Team. I found out that a half sister and cousin of the mom are on this year's world teams for the FCI World Championships. One on the U.S. team and one on the Canadian team. Very cool.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What a weekend!

 I've had an intense two weeks at work and haven't had time to write updates on the blog. Luckily most of the research classes I was teaching were in the evening so I had time to train the dogs every morning (the weather has been perfect). I have continued to train Summit with the bars at 20" and 22" (I randomly mix them up throughout a course). I've really been working on my arms (and I'm proud to say that the few bars he dropped this weekend were not because of a flinging arm as you'll see in the videos). We had USDAA a couple weekends ago and out of 11 runs, Summit dropped ONE bar. This was outdoors on grass. He had some Q's in the regular classes but we did not get that final GP qualifier for Nationals. He missed a wp entry that he had already nailed in Masters Standard (that section of the course was the same in GP). I took the entry for granted (not an easy entry) and verbally cued the weaves while I turned and took off too soon and he entered in at the second pole. We still have plenty of chances left for the GP leg this Summer.

This week I got to relax at a three-day AKC trial. Two rings, indoors...

I am really happy with our runs all three days. With the exception of a single bar in three of our classes, the runs were very nice. Of course, after watching the videos, I see places where I could have tightened up a turn here and there (its funny how you *think* you decelerated early enough when you are out there). But overall, we had no other faults but a bar.

Jumpers with Weaves - one bar (would have been 1st place). Standard - one bar (would have been 2nd place).
Jumpers with Weaves - one bar (would have been 1st place). Standard - 1st place by 1.5 seconds!
Jumpers with Weaves - 2nd place. Standard - 2nd place. Double Q!

I have watched carefully when he dropped the bars this weekend and it seems when he is turning over the bar in extension (for the most part, the Saturday jumpers bar he was jumping into a wall) and I am ahead of him. Something we have been working on at home.

Friday Jumpers with Weaves

Friday Standard - I was late picking him up from the tunnel and as I rotated out of the FC (trying to stay out of his way), I said "weave" and hoped he'd find his entry independently. He did!

Saturday Jumpers with Weaves - he dropped the bar on the jump facing the wall.

Saturday Standard - 34.10 seconds. 1st place!

Sunday Jumpers with Weaves - 2nd place by two 100ths of a second

Sunday Standard - 2nd place and Double Q! (yes, I whipped out the OA at the jump before the teal tunnel. Last minute weakness as I watched so many dogs not read the turning cue and take the third jump past the tunnel. Also pushed him out too far to the red jump).

I am so glad I have video of our runs. It is so hard to remember everything you did out there while running the dog (it goes by too fast). I am thrilled to see the large improvement in my arms. I am happy with the lines I set. I do see where I had thought I had decelerated soon enough, I did not and cued more extension in the turns than intended (resulting in some wide turns). Fairly happy with the placement of my front crosses (except for Saturday's jumpers run where I went too far out after the weaves-pinwheel section and place my front cross too far from the take-off side of the yellow jump).

This Friday I leave for Amarillo, Texas for a three-day AKC trial over Memorial Day weekend. I have heard great things about this venue (indoor soccer field) and look forward to going.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Joan Meyer Seminar and a run in the mountains

Last Friday I participated in a 4-hour seminar taught by Joan Meyer. It was excellent as usual and I really received some helpful feedback on my handling. So you guessed it..... ARMS!

Joan had a challenging course set up and at first we all ran it while she watched. Then she talked about the different cues we use to get our dogs around a course (the usual - motion, shoulders, arms, eye contact, verbal, etc.).

She next had us run the same course but removed one of the cues (arms). So with our arms bungied to our sides (we could move our shoulders but arms were stuck straight down), we ran the course again. This really impressed upon me how much impact motion and shoulders have on the dog. Summit responded very well and in fact, I was able to successfully cue a forward send without moving my arms. Imagine that!

The next time, we ran the course without using verbal cues. The only verbal we were allowed to use was the startline release word and the release from contacts (if your dog had stopped contacts). This was familar to me and the results were not surprising since I train my dogs using very little if any verbals anyway.

The last time we ran this particular course, we were allowed to use all cues. However, we had to carry an opened bottle of water (the little shorties) in the inside hand (so everytime there was a change of sides, you had to pass the water bottle from one hand to the other). I know this sounds silly and actually, I've heard of instructors making their students carry a bottle or cup of water while handling a course, but this really made an impression on me. It SHOWED me how it should feel to keep my arms level and quiet while handling my dog around a course.

We ran two other courses (a jumpers and then another standard) before we were done. There were some challenging weave pole entries and Summit nailed every single one. I actually sent him to the weaves on one of the courses because if you crowded the dog, they could miss the entry since it was at a severe angle and close to a wall. Summit drove ahead and corrected his approach slightly and entered correctly. YAY 2x2's!!!

I also got the opportunity to execute a rear cross on the flat and happy to report that Summit read it perfectly (dog was exiting a tunnel and needed to make a 160 degree turn left to the teeter).

This week I have a jumpers course set up and have been practicing front crosses, pulls, and wraps (simple, nothing complicated or technical) focusing on my handling and keeping arms low without flinging or chopping motions.

Saturday I took the dogs for a run in the mountains. We ran for 4 hours on the trails West of Boulder. I am continually amazed how so many runners can run in our beautiful mountains with an Ipod. I like listening to all the sounds of the forest. It was a great day although Sunday, I woke up a little stiff (hamstrings) but otherwise felt good.

This weekend we have USDAA. First outdoor trial in Colorado and the weather is supposed to be nice. Hoping to get that last GP leg for Nationals.