Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Poor Summit

It's been awhile since I posted on the blog. The weekend of the USDAA trial (and four days after his Chiropractic adjustment), Summit was dropping bars even more frequently than at the previous trial. He also missed two straight forward easy weavepole entries. So after having Stacy watch his jumping for me (he was pulling with his front again), I scratched him for the rest of the weekend. However, I was in charge of hospitality for this trial so I had be at the site from 7:00 a.m. until the last class ran. AND on top of that, I was really sick (flu, fever, and then head and chest cold by Sunday). So not the best weekend. I did play with Soleil ringside and we practiced our heeling and turns on the flat in a very busy exciting environment.

Summit saw a rehab vet the following Thursday for a complete work up and the prognosis is a pulled hamstring muscle (probably from compensating when the hip was locked). So that is actually good news that it isn't anything more serious and that he'll only be off work for about four weeks (although I may cancel his entry for a trial that is five weeks out just to be conservative). He is getting once a week PT appointments and at home, stretching, icing, and ball work.

Soliel is continuing to run the plank with only a couple of jumps (one was when I decided to try carrying the toy in my hand and throwing it as she exited the plank. Won't be doing that anymore). I've also been working on her heel work and turns using the binder clip idea from Mary Ellen's Foundation DVD. I was amazed how quickly Soleil caught on to nose targetting the binder clip. In one session she went to offering to nose touch the binder clip in my hand to walking at my side and targeting the clip on my pants.  What a smart girlie.

*Note to self - if you train heeling with binder clips in the morning before work, don't forget to take them off your pants. It really does generate some strange stares and comments from students and faculty.

Here are a couple of videos of our heel work with a couple of recalls to side.

She is so much fun and she loves to train.

Monday she attended her first agility class. It is an advanced level foundation class. She was very focused when we worked even though there were several puppies in the class who she knew and played with as well as her sister, Belle. After the class, we let Soleil and Belle off leash to play (indoor building).

This week I will continue the heel work (switching to the smaller binder clips), more running plank work (I'm going back to using a stationary target at the end of the plank - food and toys), and working turns on the flat (emphasis on rear crosses), and simple sends around a jump stanchion (followed by a FC or Pull).

Last, here is a cute video I took while sitting at the kitchen table and just happened to have my video camera handy. The tall cupboard is where the dog's toys, treats, brushes, etc. are kept. I noticed the tennis balls were out of the cupboard the other day and two of my Border Collies were carrying them around. I wondered how they got them out of the cupboard.... well here is the culprit. Except this time, it's not tennis balls she's stealing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dropped bars and Running Contacts

So the title sounds like a wild crazy Border Collie running amuck on the course. However, the dropped bars pertain to Summit and the running contacts to Soleil.

We were at a three-day AKC trial over the holiday. Indoors on nice sport turf. The courses were challenging all weekend and Summit and I had the best runs we've had ever. We were a solid team (well except for Sunday's afternoon jumpers when I pushed too hard through a turn and caused a WC). But overall I was thrilled with how well we did. The disturbing part was we ended up with a single Q all three days because of one, two, or even three bars. At first I thought he was slipping on the turf but we had shown at this same venue last Spring and Summit dropped a single bar out of six runs. So it wasn't the ground. Many other people at the trial also shared a concern since we usually don't have that many bars on the ground.

I was able to get Summit in to his chiropractor on Tuesday and his left hip was locked up and he was compensating on his right front which also caused wrists and elbow to be out of alignment. Dr. Jay adjusted him and was able to free up the hip. He said he should be ok this weekend but wants to see him again next week.

I knew there had to be something physical causing the bars. Another reason I never correct my dogs in the ring. With the exception of using negative punishment for lack of impulse control (start lines and contacts), I never blame my dogs. And even startlines and contacts need to be thoroughly trained and proofed before expecting the same performance under stress and pressure in the ring.

Anyway, here are a few videos from the weekend. The first is a standard run (one bar), then a jumpers run (first place), and finally Sunday's jumpers run with the wrong course towards the end. I almost have to say Sunday's jumpers run is my favorite for two reasons:
1. I loved that I could leave early at the second jump (with the LoPush) in order to get ahead of him going in to the box. There were few Q's on this course and the reason was most had problems getting the dog through the box with out the wrong course jump or the tunnel.
2. I liked the line I set in the box and how Summit turns over the jumps going in the right direction versus how most dogs landed facing in the direction of the tunnel and the handler had to use a strong call off.

We had a smokin' run going and at the end, I moved forward too soon (needed to use patience there) and did not let my dog land and turn before starting forward motion which cued the wrong jump.

Standard  - one bar

Jumpers with weaves - first place

Jumpers with three boxes - wrong course

Soleil has been doing plank work for a week now. I bought a video camera and started recording the sessions a few days ago. The video below is with the plank raised 4.5 inches. After many sessions at 100 percent, I raised the plank to 6.5 inches. I video taped this session but haven't uploaded to youtube yet. There were two attempts that I thought might be jumps but when I viewed the video in slow motion, she was clearly running but just had more extension over the board than she usually has.

She loves to train RC's and barks excitedly when we get ready for another attempt on the plank. Here is the video at 4.5 inches (notice the peanut gallery behind the French doors).

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is USDAA (yay!). Hoping to get that second GP leg for Nationals.