Monday, April 25, 2011

Summit wins Grand Prix and earns a BYE for the SC Regional

Well it was a successful trip to Utah. Summit earned that last Steeplechase leg to finish qualifying for nationals and he won Grand Prix - earning him a bye to round 2 at the South Central Regional in May - woohoo!!!!

The trial was held outdoors on grass. We got lucky and the weather was almost perfect! Friday Summit had nice runs but for one bar in all 4 classes. The grass was thick and the ground very uneven; there were hills and dips and if there was a low-spot before the jump, the dogs were jumping higher. By Saturday he had figured it out and only dropped one bar. Sunday he had no bars.

I really missed Soleil! She has one more week to go and then she can start going to trials with me again. We have next week off and then three USDAA trials in a row. FRAC in Brighton, ACAT in Pueblo, and then the South Central Regional in Ft. Worth, TX. 

Meanwhile I'll continue to work jump grids twice a week with Mr. Summit as well as jump sequences with variable jump heights (20", 22", and 24") and variable spacing.

Here is Summit's Grand Prix video. The weaves were really off set from the teeter so you had to push your dog out to get the entry (some dogs missed the entry). I also took a step past the weaves in order to set a nicer approach over the jump as well as the approach to the following jump. Some dogs got the tunnel after the a-frame. I made sure I was moving laterally towards the jump after cueing the aframe. I could have cued a much tighter turn over the jump but with the uneven ground, decided to be more conservative and give him plenty of room.

Masters Jumpers - 4th place

Steeplechase Finals - 1 bar, 7th place

A fun Snooker course with pushes to the backside of the jumps

Monday, April 18, 2011

Soleil is growing up...

I love this picture of Soleil at 9 weeks old. Time sure does fly....
Summit and I (along with Jen and Summit's younger brother, Bode) will be heading to Utah this Thursday for a three day USDAA agility trial. Grand Prix, Steeplechase, and double games - can't beat that for FUN! The venue is a beautiful outdoor site with climate-controlled indoor crating. I am sad that Soleil won't be going with me. She came into season this past week. I just can't believe how fast my little girl is growing up! I've never left her at home before and will really miss her this weekend.

Meanwhile, it explains her less than normal amount of focus lately while training. We did get in some training sessions and I've discovered short and fast is the best approach. We started something new this morning - 20/20 training on the travel plank and she caught on very quickly.

So hopefully Summit will get his last Steeplechase Q for USDAA Nationals this weekend and we'll be all set to go to Kentucky in October.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A plan and a video

Linda M. provided some excellent feedback on my videos of Summit's jumpers runs and suggested a training plan. I will revisit the Advanced jump training in DJS and incorporate different jump heights such as 18", 20", 22", and 24". Basically he is 1. jumping way too flat at 20". 2. He lacks the ability (or he is not bothering) to look ahead and adjust his striding between jumps. He jumps with such a flat trajectory and extension that he tends to land too close to the take off side of the following jump. He needs to learn to balance his strides to accomodate different distances between jumps. So jump training begins tomorrow (this morning we had wet snow).

Here is the video of my running Crook (Soleil's half brother)in Jumpers. Unfortunately, Don missed videoing a couple of the jumps at the end but it was basically a straight line and I had to really run hard. I certainly could have tightened up some of his turns but this is only the second time I've run him and I don't have a definite feel for his committment point yet. I love this dog! He is so much fun to run!

Soleil did her first RTH over one jump this morning. We also worked on the 2x2's which I am really enjoying since I can use a toy and she is much happier chasing and tugging than eating Bison lung. I really love watching her think through how to earn reinforcement. I've also noticed she is far more accepting of failure when a toy is involved vs. food.

We were almost done with this training session before I remembered to video. Dang! Will video tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So after having such a great weekend in USDAA, we were back to dropping bars again this past weekend. Three days of AKC and one Q out of six runs. Four NQs because of bars and one refusal (I slipped in the loose dirt and almost fell and pushed Summit off his wp entry). We won Standard on Friday and would have won again on Sunday but for one bar.

Very frustrating but we'll continue to train and condition and practice jump grids and work on my handling and timing and and and .....

.... continue to be one bar short of the QQ's we need for Nationals.

Summit jumps very flat at 20". His jumping is much rounder at 22". Could this be the cause of the bars in AKC? On the other hand, he has had two months off for rehab and perhaps he is not in top condition yet? Does he respect the bars at 22" more than 20"?

I posted on the APHS Forum about considering moving him up to 24" because of his dropping bars at 20". The suggestion was that it was the obstacle spacing in AKC vs. USDAA that was more than likely the cause. So I've incorporated some variance in spacing between jumps in our training. I have also started training him at 24" (nothing new, I used to jump him that height last year in training). I think training at a higher jump height will make him think about jumping (using his rear) as welll as improve his conditioning. He looks really good at 24" and I can tell he is really making the effort to jump rather than just pulling himself over the bars.

Today he had his chiropractic appointment and he was in great shape. Only needing a minor adjustment.

Soleil is beginning DJS at 16". She is not totally confident at 16" yet so we are still at the offering stage. She also started 2x2's class. It is great to have her in a class again. We worked on sit stays inbetween our turn on the poles. She continues to challenge me with her lack of food drive. She is bored now with the bison lung so off to find something new and better.

This weekend at the trial I had her measured by two VMO's (non official measurement). She measured OVER 14"! She may drop down some when her shoulders lay back but it may not be enough to get her under 14". Luckily she is athletic and has some long legs that will make jumping 16" very doable.

I ran Crook (her half brother) in Jumpers on Sunday. We had a bar but he was only one second slower than the winning 20" time. Don did video us and I will post the video of Crook and I as soon as I get it.

Friday Jumpers with weaves - nice run but two bars. Ok so the story about the long start is 1. Summit does not like to face away from the course. He thinks I am placing him in the wrong direction. 2. the jump steward couldn't figure out how to replace the bars on the triple so there was this long delay while waiting for the triple to be reset and argue with my dog about which direction he needed to face.

Friday Standard - 1st place
The judges table count was really fast and I ran out of time to get into position. I should have not released him until I was ready. We had a wide turn to the weaves.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Summit gets GP and Steeplechase Q's for Nationals!

What a great USDAA weekend! Summit placed 2nd in Grand Prix and WON Steeplechase! Now he only needs one more Steeplechase leg to finish qualifying for nationals. But at least he is now qualified to enter both the South Central Regional in May and the Rocky Mtn. Regional in July.

The best news is he only dropped a bar in a single class the entire weekend. It was in the Gamble which was the first class Saturday morning.

He also qualified in Jumpers (2nd place), Standard (2nd place), Pairs Relay (1st place) and got a Snooker Q. In Steeplechase finals I pushed him too hard and he missed the wp entry. I should have kept going on (I usually do) but for some reason (must have been thinking about the time plus faults rule of Round 1), I asked him to repeat the weaves and of course he missed it again, and then a third time. I KNOW this about him.. he does not like to be wrong and stresses up and loses the ability to focus. I thanked the judge and we left the ring since he was way past thinking at that point. I played a game of tug with him after we left the ring so all was good in his world.

I also got to run Crook in Steeplechase. He is Soleil's half brother. He is a puppy from a previous litter and has a different mother. He is young and wicked fast. We won 16" Steeplechase!!!!

Soleil got to play ringside and went shopping at the vendor booths. After sampling many different kinds of homemade treats, Miss picky decided the dehydrated Bison Lung was the winner.

This weekend we have a three-day AKC trial. Our plan is to run well and earn the QQ's for AKC Nationals 2012 which is supposed to be (so far) in Reno, Nevada.

Steeplechase - 1st place 25 seconds

Grand Prix - 2nd place (I was running conservatively for the Q and held his aframe contact). Now that we are Q'd for Nationals I'll be running GP more agresssively for the BYE.

Masters Standard - 2nd place

Masters Jumpers - 2nd place