Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Agility Season Begins!

This weekend begins the 2012 Agility season for us. Friday, Sunday, and Monday Summit and Soleil are entered in AKC. Summit has had seven weeks off from training and competition. Soleil has had lot's of training, proofing, and fun matches since her last competition and she is coming along so well!

We have two back-to-back weekends of AKC and then the third weekend is our first USDAA trial for the 2012 qualifying period. This will also be Soleil's very first USDAA trial. I am excited to run her on USDAA courses! I also entered her in Steeplechase and Grand Prix with the goals to get her qualified for Nationals since they are in Denver in 2012.

We went to a fun match on Monday and here are the videos.

Soleil's first run-through. I'm very happy with her dogwalk contact. She is really driving forward into 20/20 position. She tested her startline stay in both rounds. I was wondering when that would happen - she's been so perfect at the startline. I was a little worried ;-)

Round two. I wanted to get in a few more aframes. Also wanted to avoid the table because not only was it really slippery but it sucked up 5 seconds of course time. Both my dogs attempted it though...

Summit had a turn and he was sooo happy to play!

I am looking for a baby dog DAM team for Soleil for the FRAT March trial and the Rocky Mountain Regional in Albuquerque, NM. - Any takers?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

It was an intense several months and although I was pretty good at posting video and updates on FB, blogging takes such more mental effort that with work being so intense these past several months, it was hard to find the time (and mental energy) to post.

I mainly want to update on Soleil's training and competition. She has done three AKC trials this year. The first two I just entered her in jumpers with weaves as I didn't think her dogwalk had been proofed enough for the ring. She moved up to Open at her second trial. She had her third AKC trial in November and was entered in standard for the first time. She had a really nice run and qualified with one refusal (she came back out of the chute barrel) and her dogwalk contact was good. She was absolutely WILD in jumpers both days and fell off the aframe her first standard run. That makes two dogwalks and an aframe she has fallen off of. Hopefully, she is now savvy enough to pay attention to where her feet are and not just going as fast as she can.

We have been struggling the last couple months with her generalizing the behavior between the teeter (4-on) and the dogwalk (2on/2off). She would often stop at the end of the dw with 4-0n. I brought back the nose target and we worked on reinforcing the nose touch to the target at the end of the dogwalk (I previously had faded the target once she was running a full dogwalk and think I faded it too quickly).

Here is an earlier video of her dogwalk during a standard run at a DOCNA trial.

Here is a video of her recent standard run (the first weekend in December).

It's taken some time but I'm happy with her progression. I haven't gotten to the stage yet of really proofing the release on the dogwalk. I've just been focusing on her driving with speed into the 20/20 position.

I'm starting to Send her to turning obstacles so that I can get ahead to set the line to the next sequence. She is really sending with confidence adn I feel like I'm not so late with my front crosses as much.

I have to say that I am thrilled with her jumping form. She rarely ever drops a bar and she is very good at judging her take off.

Convergence is something we need to work on. She doesn't always like to come in to me and can wing out with a wide turn instead of coming in. Although she is very good at converging over the middle jump of a serpentine when I am recalling (vs. pulling).

Our next competition is the New Years weekend. It's a 4-day trial but I only entered the dogs in three days. Meanwhile, Soleil has participated in several fun matches at different locations with different equipment. She is really starting to understand her job. Summit has been on Winter break. No training or competing but lot's of conditioning.

Here is Miss Soleil's jumpers run at her last trial. In hindsight, I should have trusted her sending skills and front crossed on the landing side of the purple jump instead of on the flat. This really slowed her down.