Friday, May 27, 2011

SC Regional Report and Soleil Weaves 12 Poles!

We returned home from Texas Monday afternoon. Since then I've had to play catch-up at work and just now have a chance to post. I loved the venue and the competition! Unfortunately, I was very sick Sat. and Sun. and wasn't able to handle my best. We did not get a bye in either Steeplechase or GP but we did get a team Q and our team won the relay. In Steeplechase finals, many teams had wrong courses. It was a tough course. I am happy to say we had a really nice run but Summit dropped a bar so no bye to Nationals. GP I overhandled a tunnel/DW discrimination and he came into me by-passing the dw for a refusal so no bye in GP. Summit had some really nice team runs and placements. I've posted our Team Relay run below. Our team won 22" Relay by over a full second. First to run is Stacy, then me, and Donna is third. Notice how differently Stacy and I handled the wrap to the aframe. She wanted to wrap to the outside so that Sobe (who had a running a-frame) had a straighter approach to the obstacle. For Summit, I liked the wrap to the inside as I knew I would get a tighter turn with him as opposed to the FC's.

Indy sips a Sobe on the Summit - team relay, 1st place

Soleil has been weaving 6 poles for awhile and on Tuesday, I added a second set of 6 poles. This morning, I began to move the poles closer until they became a single set of 12 poles. We ended this morning's training session with her weaving 12 straight poles. Tomorrow, we'll continue to proof entries from different locations, my motion (and lack of), and my position.

First is a short video of what Soleil is like when we go out the back door to train. Since I had the video camera with me I thought I would film. Her enthusiasm is so cute. She loves to go outside and train.

We have several weeks off before we trial again. My focus is now on AKC since we still need to get those 6 double Q's for nationals.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

USDAA weekend, a dance routine, and road trip to Texas

We were down in Pueblo this weekend for two days of USDAA. Summit did really well and he only had one bar the entire weekend. He got a GP Q, Snooker Q, and a Gamble Q. He also placed 2nd in round one of Steeplechase and then placed 2nd again in the Steeplechase Finals.

I love this venue. It's a large soccer field at the University and provides lot's of room for dogs to run off leash. Soleil was SUCH a GOOD girlie off leash. Stacy and I went out to the far end of the field with her new puppy, Witness, and Soleil. They played for a bit (well, Soleil herded Wit while he ran around with a toy in his mouth). All of a sudden, a BC goes flashing by chasing a ball. Soleil's chase drive kicked in and she took off after the BC, I called her name and she started to slow down, I called her name again and she immediately turned and came running back to me. I have never had to test her recall under those circumstances before and was very pleased with the result. She did take off after the dog one more time a few minutes later and that time she came back on my first recall.

Here is Summit's Steeplechase round 1 run. Jen and Bode (Summit's brother) took first!
In case you're wondering why the FC before the tunnel followed by the RC on the flat vs. just staying on the inside. The angle of the double posed a safety issue for dogs blasting out of the tunnel (they could hit the wing).

Steeplechase Finals - 2nd place (first place Kim Terrill and Steeple)
The straight line following the weaves was difficult. You had to set the LOM to move laterally into the dog's path and then a forward send to the last jump cueing the turn to the left with lateral motion (one step) away from the dog's path. Many dogs turned right over that jump.

Here is GP. I don't know where we ended up - maybe 6th place I think? I kind of ran this conservatively. Not sure why since I had intended to go for a BYE for our RM Regional.
I didn't know this until I looked at the video but he fell sideways on his right shoulder before the last jump. I think he's pretty amazing for falling that hard and then recovering enough to keep up the bar.

Donna, Jen, and I are teaming for the Rocky Mtn. Regionals and Nationals. Our team name is Triple Threat and we decided we needed a dance routine. Here is a sneak peak....

... hmmm, I think we need more practice.

Leaving for Ft. Worth, Texas tomorrow for the South Central Regional! This will be a large event because of the IFCS qualifying period. Looking forward to a new venue and seeing some spectacular handlers and dogs!

My team is the same from Nationals last year - Donna (with Indy), Stacy (with Sobe), and Summit and I.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A HOT and slippery weekend of USDAA

The weekend temps were in the mid 80's which made for a very warm trial. Other than the heat, the weather was nice (no high winds or micro bursts) and by Sunday, the club had put out wading pools for the dogs. Summit had some great runs on Saturday with Q's in Gamblers (he won), Pairs (he and Bode won), Standard (3rd place), and Steeplechase (6th place with a bar) and then a bar in GP.

Sunday we had no Q's. The grass had dried up in many areas of the ring and was very slippery. Summit slid on his side after landing off a jump in Masters Standard so we cut the run short and left the ring. After over 2 months of rehab, I did not feel like risking another injury. I did run Masters Jumpers and he slipped just as he was setting himself up to jump the triple and dropped the bar. I watched the video in slow mo and could see his left rear leg slide sideways and out - Yikes! That was the leg with the hamstring pull. There were a couple of dogs who slipped and several who crashed into jump standards and limped out of the ring. Luckily, as far as I know, the dogs were all ok.

Masters Standard - 3rd place

Steeplechase - 6th place with one bar

Here is the jumpers run. Watch his left rear leg as he turns on the grass towards the triple.

Masters Gamblers - 1st place

Relay - with little brother Bode. 1st place by almost a full second.

Soleil had fun walking around the trial grounds, barking at the fast dogs in the ring (when we were sitting ringside), playing tug, and meeting lot's of new puppies.

This morning I added a third set of 2x2's about four feet from the end of the last set. She is weaving four poles (two sets) and then running through the gap of the third set. I will begin to move that third set closer until she is weaving six poles. That will be so exciting!

We worked on RTH over one and two jumps also. Mixing up extension RTH with foundation RTH. She is having no problems with 16" and she is rocking back on her rear, pushing off, and jumping with nice round form. She is also changing her striding and takeoff between the two jumps depending on whether I am cueing extension or collection. What a smart girlie!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Soleil's 2x2 weave training videos

So this morning we did two sessions of weave training and I remembered to video. I had moved the 2x2's outside and so even though she had been weaving four poles inside, I did move them apart again for the first training session in a new location.

Once they are close together again, I'll continue to proof with varying location of dog and handler.

First session:

Second session: moved poles closer together.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's Been a Rough Three Weeks...

This weekend I finally got my Soleil back. Where did she go? Physically - nowhere. Mentally - Hormoneville, USA.

We've done very little training the last two weeks. Short two-minute sessions was all I got out of her. This is my first experience with a bitch in season and I certainly have a lot of respect for those who keep their girls intact. Not me - Soleil will be spayed sometime this year.

This weekend we progressed through the single set of 2x2's proofing entries with varying locations of handler and dog. Then added a second set on Saturday and started closing up the gap. This morning I closed the gap completely between the two sets of poles and she is now weaving 4 poles. I moved the set from the sunroom (where I could throw food on the floor) to outside and will begin to use a toy for the proofing stage.

We've progressed to Part 5 in DJS (jumping for breakfast was about the only training we did do while she was in season). She is very confident jumping 16" now and I no longer begin each training session at a lower height. She understands my motion and location cues for extension and collection/turning. She also understands the verbal "jump". This week I will introduce spreads (at 12" and work up) and the tire. I plan to do all her training at 16". There is a good chance she may end up measuring into the 12" class in AKC but I plan to jump her at 16" until she's older. I've carefully observed her jumping form at 12" and she is flat. She engages her rear more and has a much rounder form when jumping 16" vs. 12".

She is doing the full height teeter with speed and confidence. I've incorporated a jump before the teeter now. Mostly sending to the jump in order to get ahead of her to the teeter. Also doing a FC on the flat landing side of jump and then sending her ahead to perform the teeter. Still proofing her stop when I'm behind her - she's not a very patient girl.

The table has become a fun place to play and she's readily offering to jump up for a game of tug. It is time to add the down position. Someone asked me last weekend (at the trial), why I started training the table so early (since she was 9 weeks old) and why I spent so much time on it. I explained that I didn't really train the table, I just spent a lot of time playing tug games on the obstacle with all my puppies. Only after a year of table games do I begin to ask for a specific position and a stay. But by that time, my puppy is happily driving with speed to get to the table. I also like to end a training session on the table since right now I am only using food as a reward for jump work, plank work, and the teeter and I like ending each training session with a wild game of tug on the table.

I've started training a 20/20 on a travel plank. Again, haven't done much with this for the last several weeks. The 20/20 will be for the dogwalk.

I won't do any jump sequences with her until she's completed her jump training. I am confident she'll progress quickly once we begin to sequence as she knows all of the turns on the flat and responds quickly to my turning cues when we do flatwork.

This weekend Summit and I have a USDAA trial outdoors and Soliel will get to go. Now that Summit is all qualified for USDAA Nationals and has a bye for the Regional GP Finals in Texas, we'll be hoping to get another bye for the Rocky Mtn. Regional in July.