Monday, April 25, 2011

Secret's 5th Trial!

I actually had to look back to see which trial this was for Secret. It is hard to believe it is number five. For some reason it feels like we've been doing it longer, but I guess five trials since the end of February is actually pretty good. lol

As you can see, Secret had a good day! We got up at 4:30 a.m. and made the drive up to Lindstrom, MN. I was ever so thankful that they decided to push the start time back to a more respectable 9 a.m. vs. 8:00. I don't think I would have been able to get up any earlier and still function. I made Secret ride in the back on the way up there so that she would actually sleep.

Because this is what she looks like when she tries to sleep up front and the end result is that she doesn't sleep well (this was the drive home):

So we arrived at Oasis Equestrian Center at about 8:22 a.m. -- Pretty much leaving me just enough time to get stuff set up and to potty the boys. Secret, being the girl she is, refuses to potty quickly, so she had to wait until after the boys finished running Elite Regular. Thankfully we did have plenty of time for her to find the perfect spot before going in to run Open Regular.

I'm very happy with how Secret ran this weekend! I was even happier after watching the video because while running, it felt like she wasn't moving that fast, but on video she's actually looking pretty awesome. We had an interesting development with contacts, though -- Secret more or less lost her two-on/two-off on the dog walk, and even did a four-on at the a-frame once! I would stand there and wait for her to get into position and she would just stand there and bark at me, so eventually I just had to say fine and keep going. We need to get the contacts out at home to revisit this, I guess. Truth be told, though, I think it's almost a miracle that her contacts held up all winter with zero training.

Secret Q'd and got first in the first round of Regular. The second round was great right up until the end when she dove into the off course tunnel under the dog walk. Uh, Secret, did we forget what an RFP is? Again, lack of training.... She Q'd and got 3rd in Touch-n-Go coming in a good 8 seconds under time, so that's fantastic. Chances was an NQ all thanks to me calling her name right before the jump and causing her to cut to the inside. It happened on the other side of the line, so there was no opportunity to fix it.

I was surprised to see that Secret came in 6 seconds under time in Open Weavers considering we had to fix a spot when she cut in on the inside of a hoop and she got progressively slower (coming almost to a stop at the end) in the last set of (12) poles. Who knows what was going on in her head there, but thankfully she was covering enough ground earlier in the course to make up for it. Oh, and if you watch the video, take a gander at the blind cross I threw at her. No idea where that came from. I do blind crosses when the dogs are in tunnels, but never out in the open like that. I did it to Kaiser, too (but not Luke). I blame it on my lack of sleep. Thankfully it worked in both cases. Maybe we should train for something like that in case my brain blows up again in the future.

Open Jumpers was Secret's final and 6th run of the day. Thus far she's never done more than 5 runs in a day and I didn't know if it would be too much for her -- But darn it, that extra run was only $5 more, so all three dogs ran 6 runs this time. There was a long straight line of jumps that went straight into a serpentine with a VERY tempting off course jump at the end. I knew I wanted to get in a front cross with Secret since she doesn't yet send terribly well on the rear crosses and I didn't want to be behind her. I left her at the start and did a running wait, which seemed to jazz her up. I released her when I got to jump three and came nicely down the line and read my front cross cue nicely.

(I stole this photo off my friend, Robyn's, blog -- Thanks, Robyn!)

I ran Secret in Proficient at this trial, so she was in the 20"+ category. I feel that she handled it very well, but I could tell that her back was starting to get tight by the end of the day. She carries all of her stress in her back. I'm trying to make more of a point to massage her regularly. I also put liniment on her Friday & Saturday and that seems to help. I think it's something that I'm just going to have to get in the habit of doing or I'll end up with two crippled dogs on my hands (I shouldn't say that, Luke is well managed these days).

For whatever reason, YouTube isn't giving me an embedding option right now. So here's the Facebook version instead!

In other exciting news, Luke got his NATCH 2 on a lovely Chances run!

And now I am sad because we have no more trials until Memorial Day weekend.

And JUST IN CASE you were wondering, this is the annual Hawaiian Shirt trial. :o) That should explain my choice in attire. lol

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We have a new family member coming!

It is official! In a week and a half we will have a new family member joining us! :o) No, she is not mine and will not be living with us -- But she will be coming to visit often because I plan to steal her away several times a week to train. Yes, I will be training a Scottish Terrier in agility. Fun times, fun times. lol I can't wait!

Currently her name is Pink (my parents are leaning towards Alexa/Lexi but my dad is waffling for some reason) and she is coming from Stalwart Kennels in Alberta, Canada. I found her through one of my scottie agility contacts, who let me know about her because she was turning out to be more petite than the breeder wished and they thought she would make a great agility candidate with her fine bone and spunky attitude. When we received the pictures, my dad was sold and we managed to talk my mom into it.

My parents have been without a dog for about a year and a half, since our Westie, Buddy, passed away at age 15 1/2 in November of 2009. It's been much longer since they have had a Scottie, as Cody passed away about a year and a half before Buddy. My dad is a long time Scottie lover and has dearly missed having one in his life. We are so excited to welcome the new addition.

We are curious to see what my dogs do. Pink is seven months old, so still very much a puppy. Secret likes puppies and small dogs in general, so I think she will be okay. Kaiser likes all dogs and especially girl dogs. Things might change for Kaiser.... Pink is coming on a breeding contract, so Kaiser might lose his boy bits here in the future. Time will tell -- We have to see how hard it is to manage. And Luke? Luke still doesn't think he's a dog so I'm sure he'll just ignore her.

My dad is flying to pick her up at the end of the month, so you can expect to see an update on "Pink" come May 2. :o)

New Collar!

The collar addiction continues. :o) Secret's new Chuckle Pup collar arrived in the mail. And after I finally figured out that it's adjustable (it was a bit snug at first), I had Secret model for some photos.

I saw the pink sheep ribbon posted some time ago, but I'd already ordered Secret's bling-bling collar and didn't think she needed another so soon. When I saw the ribbon posted again, I jumped on it -- Because, what female Border Collie doesn't NEED a pink sheepie collar???

Many thanks to Adrienne at Chuckle Pup for designing & creating this lovely collar for us!


Ugh. That's just how I feel. Secret's expression captures it well. Winter has returned to the upper midwest.

That was during our walk yesterday. It was towards the beginning of the storm. Even Secret thought the blowing wind and icy snow kind of sucked.

But not for long. She was pretty damn gleeful once we got home and she got to play in it. Super duper frisbee fun for all!

There's the Jumpers course (with a couple of hoops since a couple of my jumps are still buried under contact equipment in the garage...) we've been playing on for a few days. It's an Elite Jumpers course that I pulled off someone's blog last week to play with bonus lines for Luke. I've been running Secret at 20/22" and she's doing great. I'm glad I made myself practice on Monday when I was super tired because it doesn't look like we'll have any other opportunities before our trial this weekend!

And lest you think that a snow storm might stop Secret from doing what she loves..... Nope. She still went for a swim! Only Secret....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Video! Clean Run Backyard Dogs

Okay, I was not happy with the video that I posted yesterday. I thought it was way too far away and I hate that you can't see anything.

So I did a different one last night. I set up the Backyard Dogs course from the April 2011 issue of Clean Run. It happened to be the page I turned to during breakfast yesterday and I thought it looked challenging and fun -- And it was!

Secret did awesome. She stayed motivated & focused even through her break and kept up her toy drive (we used the Holee Roller for all of this). I'm very proud of how well she did. The jumps are all set at 20" for Secret and I think she should do just fine at the next trial at this height.

One nice thing about having three dogs is that it allows me to work through all of the exercises without wearing anyone out (besides me, that is). If you want to see what the boys did, here are their videos!



Monday, April 11, 2011

April Showers....

This is the scene in my yard following the storms that rolled through this weekend. One lone hoop remains standing amongst the carnage. Half of the plastic blew down, too -- Honestly, I would love to see if we could go without that retched plastic this year, but I have a feeling nothing will have changed with the stupid neighbor dog.

The first big storm came through Saturday evening. I was glad that it waited until I got home from work, but the timing of the storm also meant that we got little sleep Saturday night. First I had to convince Secret to even get on the bed (versus hiding in the closet) and then she was unsettled and moving around until the storm finished in the wee hours of the morning.

Another whopper blew in on Sunday, unfortunately while I was working at the shelter. We had a tornado warning, huge hail and tons of wind. I worried about what I'd find when I got home, but thankfully they seemed none the worse for wear. I dare say Luke seemed more stressed than Secret, and he's been doing better with storms lately. At any rate, I was happy to see that Secret didn't seem too bothered. The wind was blowing quite a bit against the house in the evening and she didn't seem disturbed in the least. Apparently it's just the thunder/lightening combo that upsets her.

We got in some training time Friday afternoon after work! I haven't gotten the contacts out of the garage yet, so we are focusing on jump work right now. I found a decent Open Jumpers (NADAC) course in my pile and decided to set that up for everyone. I took video -- It's about a million miles away, but you can still see some of it. :o)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pictures from the trial

My friend, Jessica (who runs the cutest Boston Terriers!), sent me a couple of shots that she got of Secret at the trial this weekend. I *adore* the first shot. Look at Secret go! She looks, I daresay, SPORTY and FAST! lol It must be from one of her Open Regular rounds on Saturday by the looks of the course design behind her.

No idea which class this is from, but look at the focus and attention (and the cute ear standing up). :o) Very nice & efficient turn over the jump.

It's nice to see that Secret has decent form over the jump. Sometimes in the video it looks like she's just hurling herself over with very little effort. lol

I have to decide in the next few days, but I'm leaning towards putting Secret up to 20"+ Proficient at the next trial. It's on dirt, so I wouldn't have to worry about her having such crappy footing (like on these mats). I want her to have at least a couple of 20" trials under her belt at Open before I move her up to Elite. We should get oodles of practice in at home at 20" (or higher) before the Easter trial, so she should be fine.

There aren't any more NADAC trials in La Crosse until the end of July, so I'm trying to nail down my trial schedule and figure out what I'm doing. We are doing the Easter weekend trial back at Lindstrom, but I haven't decided on one day or two yet. If the trial would start at 9:00 instead of 8:00 it would be so easy to just drive up (three hours) the morning of, but I'm not thrilled with the idea of getting up at 3:30 a.m.

On any normal year I would be planning to go to the MMBC trial at Savage Park on May 21 & 22 -- But I recently learned of a NADAC Funraiser being held at Davenport the following weekend. Not only are entries cheaper at Funraisers, but that trial is indoors on the best turf around. I love MMBC, but that trial was *miserable* last year with horrid weather.

Our only real option for June is to head back down to Davenport on the 11 & 12. NADAC is dying in this area, it seems. Otherwise we could always branch out and try something else, but that will depend on if Secret gets over the teeter issues she developed this winter. We'll see. If she starts getting close to qualifying for NADAC Champs, I suppose we'd just stick with that route until after October.

Oh to have a limitless supply of funding, then we could just trial everywhere every weekend in every venue. :o)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Secret's 4th Trial!

Secret had her fourth NADAC trial this past weekend, held at Family Dog Center in La Crosse, WI (our "home turf"). It was her first time ever attempting to go for three days in a row -- You have to remember that two of her first three trials were single days, so this was a lot to ask of her!

Secret did awesome. She qualified in 9/12 events over the three days, earned her Novice titles in Jumpers & Touch-n-Go and earned her first Open Q's (six total!).

Everything started Friday night with games -- Secret was in Open Weavers & Tunnelers, and Novice Touch-n-Go. Perfect night! Yay! It ran a lot later than the last Friday night trial FDC had and we didn't get home until after 10:00. This was Secret before we went to bed:

I was a bit concerned about how she would hold up for Saturday because all of the dogs were pretty pooped (me, too!). She did start to fade as the day wore on -- Open Tunnelers was downright sad and she trotted through 3/4 of the course and somehow still managed to come in one second under time. She woke up in time for Novice Jumpers at the end of the day, though, and had a great run! We didn't Q at all in Regular. The first run was completely my fault because I was very late on a front cross and she went off course to the a-frame. In the second run, everything was going great until we got to the a-frame and she bailed!! It took four tries to get her back on the thing -- all I can figure is that she got corrected for going on the a-frame in that direction on the first run, so she thought it was "bad." Thankfully we got past it and there weren't any other issues.

Here is how worn out Secret was after the trial on Saturday -- yes, she slept like this for some time...

Because Jumpers was the first run of the day and I figured she would have plenty of energy, I decided to go ahead and move Secret up to Open Jumpers on Sunday. My eyes bugged out of my head a bit when I saw it was a 20 obstacle course -- the same number that Elite had, only the course was reversed a bit. That's kind of how Open was all weekend, though -- The courses were practically the exact same, with the exception of a set of weaves being replaced with a tunnel and the tunnel being removed from under the dog walk. (hence why I think staying in open is silly...)

Secret Q'd in Open Jumpers and had a great run in Open Weavers! I was late AGAIN with calling her to turn out of a tunnel in the first round of Regular, so she went off course up the dog walk on an otherwise very nice run. I cleaned up my act and we managed to Q in the second round, finishing up a very nice weekend.

Here's our video!