Monday, June 28, 2010

DAPPR USDAA - Black Forest Regional Park

Since I don't have the photos from the Regionals yet, a puppy picture should suffice. This is the boy relaxing on someone's arm. Is he not the CUTEST little boy ever!

This weekend we were playing in USDAA at a beautiful park in the Black Forest area of Colorado Springs. This trial was hosted by a new club and since this was their first USDAA trial, they were only able to offer titling classes - no tournaments. But we had double games which meant two chances to get those Jumpers legs for Summit and a Snooker Super Q for Sage. Well, the opposite happened. Summit got the Super Q and Sage got the Jumpers leg.
Sage was entered in Snooker and Jumpers each day. The Snooker course had three combinations with the #6 combination consisting of jump-a-frame-tunnel. I planned a course of two #7's (weaves) and a #6. She missed her a-frame contact in the opening (but got it in the closing) so she ended up with a Q but not a SQ. Sunday's Snooker course was TIGHT and there was no room to move and since motion is how I cue Sage, well.... we did not have success getting a Super Q or a Q for that matter. She never made it to the second red before we had a wrong course.

Sage had a nice jumpers run on Sunday and that finished her Jumpers Championship title!!!!  So Sage is still needing that last SQ for her ADCH.

Summit was absolutely brilliant on Saturday. He WON Gamblers, placed 2nd in Standard, and 3rd place in Snooker for a SQ!  We had a refusal in Jumpers and I scratched him from Pairs (with the kind permission of our pairs partner) because the trial ran very late and I had to get home.

On Sunday, since the trial ran so late on Saturday, they decided to run both rings at the same time. I looked at the Gamble and it was not something I would ever attempt with my dog (dog came out of a tunnel and had to be pushed out to take the tunnel under the a-frame. The Gamble line was in front of a jump perpendicular to the a-frame/tunnel discrimination so the handler had to layer two obstacles plus expect the dog to diverge away from the handler - that was not happening with my dog) so I scratched from Gamblers so I could spend the extra time walking the Snooker course in the other ring.  Summit had a great opening in Snooker (even though the judge got in our way twice!) but then he dropped the #3 bar in the closing. He had a great Standard run but I moved to quickly from a pull from A-frame to tunnel and he spun away from the tunnel (didn't I say he was brilliant!). He had a beautiful Jumpers run on a tough technical course which would have been a 1st place but dropped the very last bar. At the end of the day, we qualified in Pairs with a 2nd place.

So it was a very successful weekend and I am very happy with both my dogs' runs. Jen got video of some of our runs so I'll post those as soon as I get them.

We have two weeks off and so will be spending that time hiking and swimming. I plan to take some time off from agility training also to give them a complete break.

Of course, I can't end this blog entry without including two more puppy pictures. Guess who they are?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Puppy Breath!

Close up photo of the BOY

On Tuesday, I drove up to Nederland to visit the puppies. They are four weeks old now! How time flies... and they are starting to look like dogs instead of hamsters. Their personalities are starting to develop too. When I arrived, the breeder woke them up and fed them in the kitchen. Then we took them outside to the dog run to let them play and I was able to get some nice pictures.

I had initially planned to spend an hour there but by the time the pups started to fall asleep, it had been two hours! Where did the time go? The boy was the last to fall asleep. The three girls had curled up together while the boy decided to nurse on Momma and then continued to explore around the pen. Eventually, he did fall asleep on my lap.

All the puppies are confident and curious about everything. There is one tiny little girl who is just so darn cute and frisky. If I wanted a girl....

Little girl sleeping

The pups are starting to eat solid food but still nursing on Momma. The four of them outweigh her now. She is such a good mother.

Snack time

The boy taking a break on Joy's lap

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rocky Mountain Regionals - Summit earns a Steeplechase bye

The Rocky Mountain Regional competition was a blast! First, Donna and I hauled her trailer so we could stay on the site. This was my first experience doing the "RV" thing and it was so much fun to have one's house just a short walk from the rings. Second, the hosting club did an amazing job which included a free barbecue dinner for all competitors Saturday night. Third, it was so cool seeing so many competitive teams from the West coast competing, and Fourth... Summit was amazing!

Summit and I had very consistent and fast runs. I am so thrilled with our teamwork this weekend. Friday he had a clean run in Steeplechase round one and placed 4th. Saturday he had a very nice run in Grand Prix round one and placed 4th. He then followed that with a smokin' fast run in the Steeplechase Finals and placed 3rd earning him a bye into the semi-finals at Nationals. He is also fully qualified for Nationals now since he got that last GP leg. He had a pretty nice run in GP Finals but dropped the second bar and then we had a wrong course towards the end of the run (I think I had stopped handling aggressively when he dropped the bar at the beginning of the run). It was a very tough course and I'm happy with how well we did on the challenges.

We also did DAM team but did not qualify since our team had two E's. All three of us were already qualified in DAM team so only did team for fun this weekend.

Summit also earned Q's in the regular titling classes. A Snooker Q (not a super Q since we dinked around on part of the opening and the buzzer went off before we finished the #7 in the closing). A Standard Q with a second place, and a Gamblers Q with 7th place.

Jen was able to film several of our runs.

Team Standard. This was a challenging course and many teams got an elimination.

Team Jumpers. Challenging course - Summit had a nice run with one bar.

Steeplechase round one - 4th place qualifying for the Finals.

Grand Prix round one. I was being a little conservative as I wanted that last qualifier for Nationals. We placed 4th (with my holding his dogwalk contact).

Steeplechase Finals - 3rd place and bye! Very wide turn after the broad jump. Most fast dogs went very wide here. 1. handler was behind the dog 2. handler cueing extension over the broad jump and no time to decelerate to cue collection over the jump. Many dogs also missed the following jump which was at a very shallow angle and a big dog stride took them past the plane of the jump. Some handlers chose to wait and pull (basically recalling their dog back to them and then turning and cueing the jump). I walked it for both and decided to do the front cross which would ensure that Summit wouldn't miss the jump.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A SUPER agility weekend

Summit and I were down in Castle Rock, Colorado for a three day AKC trial. In short, out of the total six runs, he came home with FIVE 1st places and TWO double Qualifiers. I am so pleased with our consistency this weekend and the bars all stayed up!

The courses were nice and flowing but challenging. I liked all three judges this weekend and enjoyed the different style of challenges in each of their courses. I'm happy with my handling in all classes except Sunday's Standard run (I OVER handled a tunnel end discrimination and ended up pulling Summit off the tunnel completely). 

Here are the videos. The courses had challenging lines with potential wrong courses. Places where the dog really opened up and extended and then had to collect again for the more technical sequences. In several courses, having independent weave poles (so handler could get downstream ahead of the dog) was critical with a fast dog.

Friday's jumpers run. The last sequence (the turn to the double and last 4 jumps) was challenging. The 4 jumps were off set in a zig zag and if the handler wasn't in the right position, the dogs either missed the second to last jump or the finish jump. Thankfully, I've worked a lot of the APHS zig zag exercises.

This was a really fun course and FAST. Summit's time was 35 seconds. Quite a few dogs missed the teal jump before the panel (it was off set enough the handler didn't set a good line, the dogs didn't take it). Quite a few dogs also popped out of the weave poles since they were weaving into the wall.

Saturday Jumpers with weaves. I liked the opening in this Jumpers course. The second jump (#3) of the 180 was off-set a couple feet so you had to push out more than a typical 180. Also, lot's of wrong course options after the weave poles; especially the line after the weaves. I had to use no motion as Summit took the yellow jump (3rd jump after the weaves) until he landed and I got his head. If the handler turned their shoulders too soon, the dogs continued on that line and took the jump in their path instead of turning and taking the orange jump. The ending was fun and I love how Summit read the wrap and turned over the bar. It would have been even more perfect if I hadn't BENT OVER! (must stand up straight when cueing wraps).

Saturday's Standard run. I really don't like long lead outs like this but I didn't like any other options but the LOP. Again, if you couldn't leave your dog in the weaves to get ahead and set a LOM to the table, the dogs had two wrong course options - the aframe and the chute. Many took the aframe if the handler was behind. Since I could leave Summit on the dogwalk, I chose to move laterally and FC the jump before the aframe (I wanted to be on the other side). But a pull worked well there too but then the handler couldn't get the FC after the tunnel and so FC'd the end of the teeter.

Sunday's jumpers course. The beginning was tough. MANY dogs missed the weave entry. I liked both the double FC (landing side of yellow and landing side of red) as well as a rear at the weaves. I chose to FC the yellow to shape my dog's path to slice the red so he landed seeing the weaves. He came over the yellow with a little too much extension and so landed a bit behind me and I had to wrap him around but it did set a really nice line to the weavepoles. Must practice this more.
The rest of the course was a bit strange (outer circle followed by inner circle). Some wrong course opportunities but most faults were bars as dogs were in extension the entire time. I am very happy to see Summit keeping those bars up.

We are leaving Thursday morning for Salt Lake City, Utah (Farmington) for the USDAA Rocky Mountain Regional competition. Summit has a fun DAM team with Donna/Indy (BC) and Kat/Whim (JRT). Should be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dustin 12/6/95 - 6/7/10

A great dog has passed away. He had an incredible agility career and was an amazing dog. He had a lot of heart... even in the last year that he battled cancer.


SCH JCH GCH RCH,STCH-bronze, TM-gold


He is the grandsire of my puppy. He will be missed but he lives on in all his kids and grandkids.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just a quick post of puppy pictures

It was a busy weekend! Saturday I took Sage and Summit for a 13 mile run in the mtns. West of Boulder. It was supposed to be just 9 miles but we ended up going farther than intended (I can't resist those inviting side trails). Sunday was a busy day. Jen and I got together in the morning for a two hour training session with the boys - Summit and Bode (who is Summit's half brother and two years younger).

Then I drove up to Ault (about an hour North of Denver) to pick up two ewes (mutton for the dogs) and liver, kidney, and hearts. I buy meat for the dogs and lamb for us from a local sheep farmer.

On my way back from the sheep farm, I drove up to Nederland, Colorado to visit the puppies. This was my first visit. They are all so adorable. There is one small female who is so darn cute. Then there is Big Bertha who is the largest puppy and then there is THE BOY. He looks like he's going to be dark like his Daddy.

My camera did not take very good pictures indoors with the dim light but here are a few. After the visit, we went for a short hike in the National Forest and Summit tasted Moose dung for the first time.

The boy

The boy in front, tiny girl in back

This week we have a three-day AKC trial and then the following week, heading to Salt Lake City, Utah for the USDAA Rocky Mtn. Regionals.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A fun weekend in Texas and a puppy video

Summit and I spent the Memorial Day Weekend at a fun AKC trial in Amarillo, Texas. The hosting club and venue were great! The courses were.... interesting. Very tight with lot's of traps for the big, long striding dogs. The small dogs did well all weekend but the large dogs did not. There was some grumbling from handlers who run large (non BC) breeds in the the 24" class and watching those dogs try and crank their bodies around on the tight turns on the course, I could understand why they were not happy.

Some of the challenges we saw this weekend I was not completely comfortable with. Normally, I walk a course with confidence in my strategy and with the knowledge that my dog and I have the skills to handle the challenges. This weekend, on all three Standard courses, I did not feel this way. We had a wrong course on each Standard run all weekend and qualified in Jumpers. The wrong courses in Standard were the result in the handlers path being very restricted while handling the dog through a box with wrong course options presented upon the dog landing from the previous jump. These were tough challenges for the big dogs (20" & 24" classes). But I brought home the course maps and have set up some of the challenges. Restricting the handler's path (mostly with the weaves) seemed to be a favorite theme of the judge at this trial. So something to practice more.

I couldn't help thinking about my puppy all weekend and then I got this video Tuesday morning. The first two puppies are girls and the boy (no white on the face and big white collar) is the third puppy climbing over the breeder's leg. He's very strong and doesn't need any help. Very determined I must say. I am going to go visit them on Sunday on my way back from a sheep farm (picking up mutton for the dogs). I'm bringing my camera so I can get pictures of the Mom and all the pups.

We have this weekend off so will spend some time hiking in the mountains and perhaps I'll have time to get some yard work done!