Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Super Model!

Is Kaiser a Supermodel or a Super Model? Oh heck, he is both.  :o)

Yesterday we made the trek up to Minneapolis for another photo shoot for Target (that makes this Kaiser's third!). Secret ended up staying home because once I pointed out to Barbara that it was all small dogs on the list for that day she realized that no, they would not be set up for large dogs. Therefore it made no sense to drag Secret along for the ride.

This is probably a good thing because good lord does her coat look like absolute crap after her bath! Note to self, give Secret a bath as far ahead as possible when there is a chance of her needing to be photographed. Oh sure, she is soft and shiny, but she's got cowlicks and curls going every which way! It's not her most flattering look. lol

I didn't figure there was too great a chance of Kizzy being pulled out of the blue to ride the rocket ship to stardom, but I figured I'd bring her along for the experience just in case Target one day decides to kick the Bull Terrier out of the mascot seat and replace it with an Alaskan Klee Kai. You never know, then they might need multiple Klee Kai under contract and might even one day be desperate enough to hire a spaz. A cute spaz, but still a spaz.

The ride up went well, if you don't count my cruise control not working for the first two hours and fifteen minutes (and then I stopped at a McDonald's to use the bathroom and it magically started working again, THANK GOD). I was glad that I remembered to grab the audio book that was in my goody bag from Champs -- The Bloggess made the time pass by so much faster! This was good, especially when I realized that the "buffer" I'd given myself was a complete fabrication of my mind because our time was at 10:30 and not 10:45 as I'd been telling myself all morning. That said, we arrived at 10:20.

Because she'd been riding in a crate for three hours and had done nothing more than our 30-minute walk that morning, Kizzy was at her most spaztastic when we went into the studio. It was a little embarrassing, but the little queen did earn us a private luxury sweet of our very own since she screamed bloody murder at the sight of any dog (remember, this was a photo shoot -- with dogs -- so there were a few...).

No surprise, things were running a bit behind schedule. I was thankful that I'd brought my bag of toys along so that I could get to work on wearing Kizzy out again. I'm always thankful for her ability to play crazy tug in absolutely any environment. In between rabidly shaking the udder tug, Kizzy enjoyed climbing into the lap of anyone who passed our room. Kaiser was terribly thankful to have her along to take the focus (and petting) off him.

Kizzy did her very best to schmooze her way onto set by climbing straight into the lap of the set producer (who had knelt down to say hello to Kaiser). While Kizzy was not needed for this shoot, I have no doubt that she made an impression on everyone and who knows, maybe one day they will realize that two Klee Kai are even better than one! Seriously, those would be the cutest ads ever.

Someone ended up watching Kizzy during Kaiser's shoot and he was happy to have the spotlight to himself. We were pegged to model dog beds at this shoot. Kaiser thought this was about eight hundred million times better than when he modeled Halloween costumes and winter coats. There was no donning of outfits or silly hats and no uncomfortable and awkward poses that required superhuman (err, dog) stay skills. Nope. He quite simply had to sprawl out on a bed that I would covet (in human size), flop his paws out the front (which he did on his own every time) and look stinking adorable.

Like last time, all of his people issues disappeared when he was up on the table. Perfect strangers could move the lights all around him, adjust his tail, place weights in the bed next to him, etc. and he'd just stay there looking cute. Once again everyone gushed over how perfect he was and how easy he made their jobs. And during breaks Kaiser stood around off leash climbing on people mugging for treats and then regretting it when they'd try to pet him. He wished Kizzy was around then, I'm sure.

Kaiser modeled two different beds -- one was a cream color and the other was light grey. If used (duh, like they wouldn't?!), it will end up being the same style of tag that was used in his jacket -- the little heart-shaped Boots & Barkley tag. I'm pretty positive I'd buy one. I think it would be well-used in this house, especially by Kaiser who has again developed a fondness for sleeping in the crate while we are all on the couch at night. Weirdo. At least the bed would be cozier.

I imagine we'll need to start a Kaiser-watch at some point this spring, but I couldn't tell you when. The Halloween costumes are a bit more obvious seeing as they come out just before Halloween. I'm pretty sure they have beds out pretty much all of the time, so I don't know what to expect.

I'm slightly bummed that Secret still hasn't had her opportunity in the spotlight. Despite her funky hair, I think she would rock the bed shoots because she has that adorable "head down" pose of hers (which always seems to be popular in the catalogs). Oh well.

As for Kizzy, I think the next step would be getting her to one of Barbara's open auditions to get her in the system. Maybe, just maybe, we should work a little harder on our "stay" skills before then. Honestly, I was slightly relieved when they said they wouldn't need her. I mean, could you imagine her following Kaiser's tutorial in modeling perfection. That would have been a LITTLE embarrassing...  lol

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ring rental and bath time

As planned, we packed up and drove over to Family Dog Center yesterday to take advantage of a trial-free weekend (for us and for them!) to do another ring rental. You never know what you'll find in the arena when you get there, but I wasn't too surprised to see it was still the Time 2 Beat course from last weekend. The course map was still sitting on the table, so I was able to snap a pic to include in this post! Better than nothing, I suppose.  :o)

So no teeter or dog walk for Kizzy to practice on this week, but at this point I really feel the experience of working in different places is more important than getting on all of the equipment. We are going to try very hard to get there for open agility on Wednesday night. Travis said that he would most likely set a CPE course because of the CPE trial coming up next weekend, so that should give us an opportunity to see everything (including a chute, which Kizzy hasn't seen away from home yet).

Kizzy had another great practice. After having a brain blip on the weaves at first, we did end up being able to put together this entire course without stopping. I ran her at 12" on her first time out and then brought her back in for a short stint at 8" before going home. On the second trip into the ring Kizzy could not be convinced to do the tunnel under the a-frame for hardly anything -- she has decided that the a-frame is far more fun. I can tell that discrimination work is going to be fun (and very necessary...).

Kaiser was a good little man for his turn. He more or less didn't put a foot wrong with the exception of a couple of high a-frame hits. I'm not sure what height it was set at yesterday -- it seemed higher than 5', so that might have been throwing him off a little. This would have been a fun course to run him on at the trial because I think he could have turned in a smoking fast time! Not like he would have had any competition, though....

Secret ROCKED yesterday. I actually remembered to bring her frisbee this time and that made her super happy. I spent time throwing rollers for her before getting started to warm her up a bit and cringed a bit as she'd go sliding on the turf. I was worried about pad burns or the like, but she seemed to have fared fine. If anything it might be good for her to learn to run a bit faster on that turf, yes?

Secret put in some lovely runs through this course. Her only fault was when she cut a bit tight through the turn of the jump before the a-frame and took out the entire wing. Aside from that she did just great, including a few rear crosses into the weaves! Much like the other courses of Karl's we ran last weekend, we quite enjoyed this little number.

The name of the game this weekend has been "bath time." I got a surprise call from Barbara O'Brien on Friday evening! Apparently Target has requested Kaiser for another photo shoot! We didn't get much advanced notice this time, however, as the photo shoot is tomorrow (Monday)! Oh my. Umm.... Okay. We're super busy at work right now, but I guess I can make it work?

Barbara asked if I could bring Secret along as well in case they felt they had a use for her. I agreed and thus Secret also had to get a bath, but after seeing the list of dogs it is ALL small dogs, so I'm not so sure they will want her for anything. That is probably for the best, though, seeing as Secret went outside immediately following her bath this evening and spent some time digging in the dirt while I was in the shower. Thanks so much, Secret. I love your orange paws, too...

I decided to go ahead and give Kizzy her first bath (with me, at least) tonight as well. I've been waffling on whether or not I'd schlep her along for the ride tomorrow, but I'm tempted to take her in with us and see if they'd be interested in trying to use her. If they like one Klee Kai then two would certainly be better, yes?

Oh, I know she's not trained in the least. But if the set is on a table (as it tends to be with small dogs) then I think she'd have an okay sit-stay.

I'm just not sure about walking into the studio with three dogs tomorrow....

Our shoot time is 10:45 a.m. I'd like to get back in time to go into work for a few hours, but we'll see how that turns out.

Aside from the ring rental yesterday, we have been complete bums this weekend.... I am not transitioning well to the cold weather. I'd better suck it up soon -- it's going to be a long winter.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What a great weekend of AKC agility!

What a super fun weekend we had running AKC agility at Family Dog Center this weekend! It was crappy and rainy outside all weekend, too, so it was nice to be inside doing something fun instead of stuck at home all weekend unable to do anything. Granted, it would have been nice to actually see the daylight on the only two days of the week I'm not stuck inside the office, but oh well. Maybe next weekend.

As you can see in the photo above, we were fairly successful this weekend! Both dogs totally exceeded my expectations (but especially Kaiser!). As I mentioned yesterday, Secret got her Excellent Standard title yesterday and then she finished her Excellent Jumpers title today! That means we are now officially on the MACH countdown and going for the double Qs from here on out! We didn't earn our first MACH points today because I was a stupid handler and didn't call my dog, so she went off course in Masters Standard. That means her 3/4 weekend put Secret's Q-tally back on the even keel again.

Kaiser was a super good little dude! He needed one more Open Std Q to finish his title and unfortunately he had an a-frame call yesterday on what was otherwise a perfectly flawless run. I'm not arguing it -- the call was legit. It's just one of those things that happens like twice a year and unfortunately it happened there. lol No worries, though, because he managed to Q on today's course! Only thanks to one off course and one refusal being allowed..... The biggest surprise of the weekend was nailing both of his Open JWW runs! For as long as we were stuck in Novice JWW I was a little giddy to see him knock it out 3/3 once we hit Open. That means that Kaiser, too, got two shiny new titles this weekend and will be moving up to Excellent!!

Our judge this weekend was Karl Johnson and I have to say that I really enjoyed both him and the courses he brought to us! This is the first time I have met Karl, despite how very well known he is in this area (as a "local" judge). He judges quite a bit of CPE around here and I've heard several of the CPE folks grumble and groan about his tight courses, so I was excited to see what he'd bring (because I figured I'd love them!). I liked every course I ran this weekend and felt that Saturday in particular offered a good number of challenges. The courses are, indeed, quite tight -- but not in a twisty turny way so much as that obstacles are seriously right on top of each other. I thought this would be horrible for Kaiser, but it wasn't that bad. Secret is a good girl and doesn't much care, going pretty much right where I ask her to go.

We started Saturday morning with Standard. The biggest "I wonder" area on this course for me was 4-7. I wondered if I was brave enough to leave Secret on the teeter to get in a blind cross to handle 5-7 on the left. I did a throw-n-go at the start so that I'd be far enough ahead to fit in a blind between two and three. Secret hit the teeter solid and was sticking it, so I did do plan A and left her for the blind to get on the left and it worked beautifully. While walking I knew there was absolutely no good way to get in a cross between the triple and the tunnel, so I went for the rear cross and it seemed to really rev Secret up because she came blasting out of that tunnel! I sent her to the jump after the dog walk and made it easily into position for a blind between 17 and 18. It was a beautiful run for her AX title and would have been 2nd place in the Masters class and 19 MACH points.

Kaiser blessed me with what has become a rock solid start line stay on his Open Standard run. I led out to two and moved into the front cross as I released him. I did not try to cross at the teeter with Kaiser and instead did a rear cross at the tire -- there wasn't an off course jump to worry about in the Open round, so this was safe enough. Kaiser had another one of his giant wonky leaps over the apex of the a-frame and unfortunately this time he only put one stride in on the landing side, earning us our only (but non-qualifying) fault of this run. The table was easy enough to stick coming out of the weaves and then I believe I handled the closing line of jumps from the top side.

Secret would need to Q in both runs of JWW this weekend to get her AXJ title, so the pressure was on to run clean on Saturday. She took off like a bat out of hell at the start on me, completely taking away any possibility of my planned blind cross between 2 and 3. The judge was also standing out in that area, so that pulled her attention briefly and she went pretty wide, so I threw in a front cross on the landing side of 3 and called her to me. I did another rear cross at the tunnel at 5 -- and apparently she really likes those these days because she came blasting out again (and that was a 20' tunnel, so that's saying something!). From there I blinded 7-8 and again from 10-11. I forced in a super ugly front cross between 14-15 and then raced her to fit in a blind from 18-19. The majority of handlers were all handling the last three jumps from the top side, but I just didn't want to hesitate running down the line to those jumps so I pushed it. The result was that Secret definitely went wider than most dogs, but she was moving out nicely. Again I think she would have had the 2nd place time in Masters.

I led out again with Kaiser and did a front cross between 2-3 to turn him off the off-course 16 jump. After that it was pretty straightforward. I gave myself plenty of space in the weaves so that I was pretty much on the landing side of 11 when he came out of them, making it easy to do a front cross. Then I just handled the closing all on the right. He put in a beautiful 5.3yps run that was about twice as fast as anyone else in the class... Only one more JWW Q to go!

As I posted yesterday, we came home and celebrated Kizzy's birthday with a cupcake shared between everyone. I'm pretty sure that's to blame for Kaiser's tummy troubles today. I took him outside before we started today because he was acting like he needed to go out -- and he had some pretty yucky poo. That's always fun. Thankfully he seemed to get everything out of his system because he did not have any troubles the rest of the day (or he just held it in because he didn't want to have to go in the rain...).

The big dogs were up first today, which meant that Secret was about the 6th or 7th dog in the ring this morning. I learned my lesson from the last time when I left her in her crate too long and made sure to get her out in plenty of time for massage, stretching and barking (yes, barking....  ;o) ).

While walking this course I just didn't think I could safely do a blind between three and four without risking pushing Secret off course or at the very least demotivating her because it would be ugly. I figured I could play it by ear, though, and if she started slow I'd do it, and thus be able to do another front cross from 5-6. Well, getting her out early made for a happy Secret today and she took off like a shot at the start, so I threw any plans of a blind or front cross out the window and took off for the double at four. I did have to wait just a fraction of a second for her to catch up, but not long enough that I could have safely fit anything in front of her, so I just waited and did a rear cross on the landing side of 4 followed by another rear at 6. Then I did a double-blind from 8-9-10. The off-course jump after 16 was really close, so I did not race Secret down that line to risk pushing her and instead eased up and did a rear cross after she went over the triple at 17. I don't know the last time I put so many rear crosses into a course with Secret!

It worked, though, because she would have been 1st place in the Masters class -- which I know, because she accidentally got moved up in the wrong class and the results were posted with her in Masters. It would have been 10 points, even, which is pretty decent for her in JWW! We got it corrected, though, and instead won the 24" Excellent class and brought home our AXJ title! On to the quest for QQ at the Hounds for the Holidays trial!

Kaiser once again blessed me with a super duper stay at the start. I led out on the left and released him after I cleared jump two, putting me in the lead to fit in a front cross on the landing side of five. I didn't dare the double-blind sequence with Kaiser from 8-10, so I instead did a series of (late/wide) front crosses. When he hit the weaves I knew we were solid because the ending was Kaiser's very favorite thing ever -- straight and fast! Today's run was 5.1 yps and again far and away the fastest in the Open class. And of course, it was his title! Hooray!!! I can't wait to start running him on the fun courses, and now I only have to take one set of courses.  :o)

I went and flubbed up Secret's first shot at MACH points in Masters Standard today. I did a front cross on landing of the teeter and thought I was shaping Secret's path from 4-5 before I took off, but I completely failed to call her in any way, shape or form and before I knew it I looked over and she was on the dog walk! Oops! That was so completely my fault. After that she was clear, including a weave entry that many dogs were struggling with. I'm not terribly proud of my decision to do double-blinds again from the table to the chute. It did not run nearly as pretty as it did in my head, but I couldn't come up with anything much better at the time. It worked, but resulted in some wide turns. Without the fault Secret probably would have won the class, as she was just fractions behind the winning 24" dog. Darn handler.

Having moved up in JWW, I wondered if it was too much to ask of Kaiser to Q in Open Standard today to complete that title as well. It would be super awesome to not have to worry about running different classes at the big Hounds trial, after all.  :o)

I led out on the right to pull Kaiser's attention off the weaves and it worked nicely. He nailed his teeter and then hit his a-frame with no problem today. After lowering the frame to 5', the distance to the weaves was particularly short and I worried with his momentum that he wouldn't be able to hold the entry -- but no worries! Unfortunately I then managed to send him straight to the teeter with my bad feet, earning us an off course. Settle down, self, you can still Q! Kaiser nailed another table -- hooray! I planned to do 12-13 on the left and rear cross into the chute, but it was a very bad rear cross and Kaiser earned a refusal there. Umm, crap. We are getting near the limits of what you can fault and still Q! Thankfully I held it together and finished clean, so we did, in fact, Q and get our Open Standard title!!! Way to go little man. He's doing so well the last few trials!

Kizzy started off the day well and got to spend quite a bit of time in the crate inside before I took her out to the car. While she started off well, she kept getting more and more worked up and the car just worked well to give her a time out to settle down. She got to come back in again to play, but went back out to the car again when I absolutely could not get her to settle for anything. She stayed in the car after that because the day was moving so quickly. We were done by like 12:30 today!

I got so many compliments on both Kaiser and Kizzy this weekend. So many people are just enamored with them. It's been fun introducing a new breed to the AKC folks! We'll see what they think when Kizzy starts running. Hopefully it doesn't make everyone who said they want one some day change their mind. lol

I also got us all set for another ring rental this coming Saturday! More agility for Kizzy!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Kizzy!

Today Kizzy turned two years old! And she spent most of it in the car... Well okay, it wasn't that bad. But to make up for it I bought her a birthday cupcake at the trial today and we came home to celebrate and share with everyone else.

Kizzy did well at the trial today, but she was still a little too vocal to get to stay inside too much. She had some quiet time in the crate while I ate sitting next to it. Her favorite part of the day was when she got to sit on a chair at the table and look cute enough to make everyone give her part of their lunch. Seriously, though, it was the quietest she was all day.

We also played and tugged and jumped over the practice jump a few times. We tried watching some agility, but it always just ended in screaming so we'd have to get up and leave. The trial ran quickly today and we were out by 2:30, so ultimately she didn't have to spend that much time in the car. She got a duck foot to chew on on the second trip out, too!

Then she was even nice enough to share the rest of her cupcake with everyone else. That was so nice of her, and they all agreed.

I'll do a full trial write-up later because I forgot the course maps at the trial, but here's a sneak peek -- Secret finished her Excellent Standard title today! That means tomorrow is her very first time in Masters and we get to start earning MACH points!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

This toy ROCKS

You really would have thought that I'd pretty much tapped the bottom of the barrel during my quest to find toys that Secret would play with. While I did buy the Tug It training toy for her, I never bought her any other food-stuffable toy.

I had an epiphany after our last ring rental at Family Dog Center. Kizzy equates toys with certain obstacles (jumps and tunnels) and food with other obstacles (contacts and weaves). What would bridge that gap better than a food stuffable toy?! I figured the Tug It was not the best option for taking to training time at FDC due to the higher likelihood of food coming out and being left in the ring. Enter the search for something more appealing.

The Predator-Prey Bungee Reward Pouch seemed to be just the ticket. Kizzy has shown much interest in natural fur toys in the past (okay, she likes all toys) and it has a velcro pouch to keep the food contained. Score!

It arrived on Tuesday and immediately passed the test when Kizzy did the teeter for it! Previously she was saying, "No way, Jose" to the teeter unless I had food (which I do not understand because she doesn't seem to fear it...). This reward pouch has bridged the gap to where she will now pretty much do anything for the toy. I randomly stop tugging and pull a treat out to give her and then go back to tugging. She thinks this is awesome, as do I.

We really put it to the test last night when I ran down to the first week of FDC's open agility night (and I was the only one who showed, so Thursdays are now canceled and we'll have to shoot for Wednesday's earlier time slot). I still "broke the rules" of the arena and randomly opened and treated Kizzy a few times, but she was doing everything for the tuggy. Sweet.

It was a super great practice overall. I brought a crate in to simulate the trial environment as much as possible. I was kind of bummed that nobody else had showed up because I was really hoping to see what she did with the distraction of other dogs present. Oh well, hopefully next time.

The arena had been cleared in preparation for the trial this weekend, so Travis helped me drag out the contacts (all 3 AKC) and then I just threw jumps and a tunnel in random spots to connect things. I didn't care about a course, I just wanted her working on different equipment.

This was Kizzy's first time seeing a new dog walk. There was absolutely no hesitation whatsoever. I should probably set my criteria better, because while she did not leap any of her contacts, nor did she stop (but that was my fault because I was going crazy with the toy to reward her). I'm sure that will bite me in the ass one day and I'll get to go through the fun experience of retraining her dog walk like I do with everyone else. You think I'd learn, yes?

Zero problems with the teeter again (I think she likes that one even more than the one at home), the a-frame was still just as fun as it was the first time, and we successfully weaved away from home. Due to room and convenience I only put out a set of six. I figured there was no reason to try to over-face her.

We went into the arena three times. All three times were simulated like a trial, going in with her new tug leash (AKC-legal -- Secret's aren't) and encouraging play before starting. Still not sure how we're going to handle NADAC rules, but whatever. There were a few times when I lost her briefly on the edges of the ring when she got distracted, but she came back quickly -- and didn't pee this time, which was great.

After the first two sessions I could tell that Kizzy was starting to get tired, so I moved the jumps from 12" to 8" to make sure we ended on a positive note. On that trip we did our longest sequence without reward, including the a-frame, the weaves and the teeter. Success!

Granted there were no distractions of other dogs to encourage screaming, but after her first trip into the ring Kizzy didn't make a peep in her crate. She did "sing" just a little before we started while I was getting ready, but after that she settled right down. I'll test her a bit at the trial this weekend, but I'll guess she'll still spend the majority of the time in the car again.

She was totally pooped last night, so that little brain definitely got a workout! I have work stuff going on next Wednesday evening, so unfortunately we won't be able to attend the next open ring time. I'm hoping to do a ring rental next Saturday, though, and then we'll shoot for the next few Wednesdays.

The pressure is on, because Kizzy is now officially registered with AKC and NADAC! I'm tossing around the idea of driving over to Think Pawsitive to do one day of AKC at the end of December and sticking Kizzy in JWW (not sure if I'm brave enough for Standard yet). Unfortunately the closing date of that trial is the Wednesday prior to the NADAC trial, so I can't wait to see how she does. I suppose worst case is I can enter her and pay the $19 then just scratch if I determine she isn't ready.

I didn't take anyone else with me to open ring time last night. I debated, and had I known I would have been the only person there I probably would have brought them. Oh well, Secret & Kaiser get to play all weekend. Secret just needs one more Standard Q to move into Masters and needs to Q in both JWW runs to get us into Masters at the Hounds trial. Fingers crossed! Kaiser, amazingly enough, needs just one Open Standard Q to move up to Excellent and technically could move up in JWW if he Qs both days. We'll see how it goes!

I've been feeling pretty blah all week, so today I elected to stay home and rest up for the trial this weekend. I totally needed it -- I felt so much better when I got up (at 10:00....)! It was a beautiful 52 degree day with clear skies, so the dogs and I all went out and got some sun therapy on the trails with a nice, easy 3.6 mile walk. When we got home I introduced Kizzy to the broad jump finally, and also brought the chute outdoors for the first time with her. In a matter of minutes she was running through the full length with no problem. She was a little iffy on the broad jump at first and ran around it a couple of times, but then she figured it out. After all that I came inside and cleaned a bit -- including pulling off my mattress so that I could clean up Kizzy's treasure-trove under the bed (so much ripped paper and toy stuffing...). If only all sick days were so productive!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

That was tricky (but fun!)

We were bums again today, but once again 3:30 rolled around and I told myself that if I didn't go out and set something up that we wouldn't have a chance to practice agility in the daylight again for two weeks. I also wanted to give Kizzy a shot at her weaves in a course setting, so it was now or never.

I decided to go for the most recent Happy Hurdle Day course posted by Ann Croft on her Agility Coach Facebook page. It feels like it's been a while since we've ran one of these and this one looked fun. I do not have video because when I took the camera out I couldn't find a spot that didn't cut off part of the course. Plus it was getting dark fast, so I decided to just focus on running the dogs.

Secret had another happy day, but she really, REALLY pointed out her dependency on my motion. She really dislikes wraps right at the start and will often come to a stop and bark at me, so I was better off wrapping her to the left on jump 2 instead of the right. However, going that direction I had to be careful not to lose her into the weaves, but we figured it out.

Lack of motion was also an issue on jumps 5 and 6. I knew I had to leave ASAP to book it down to support jump 8, which means that I often failed to really "show" jump 6 to Secret and she would stop short. It's like, really girl, have a little initiative... But still, this is something I know about her and need to remember to support.

She thought it was great fun to race me through the straight tunnel and because I was rarely anywhere near jump 8 to support a tight turn she ended up going wide consistently, but we did avoid any off courses. The entry to the weaves at 10 is tricky and fun. We were able to successfully complete a rear cross at the weaves, but it was much faster for me to blind the tunnel and get into place to support her entry with me on the right. Not easy, but we got it done.

I'd leave her in the weaves as soon as I dared so that I could sprint off for a blind between 12 and 13. I handled this a couple of different ways (running past 13 and front crossing or pushing to the backside and front/blind crossing) and the push to the back side seemed smoothest/fastest. After that it was a pretty straightforward finish.

Secret was the first dog out today and usually everything feels fairly easy with her. After our first couple of attempts at this course, though, I was saying to myself, "Dang, this is kind of hard!" It was loads of fun, though, and it felt great when we conquered it. Would have been nice to have video, but oh well.

Kaiser really struggled with having those two tunnel entries so close to each other. It was like a magnetic field pushed and pulled him every time he got in that area and he just didn't know what to do. lol He struggled a bit more with the second weave entry and wasn't happy with the rear cross today for some reason. We never got a completely clean attempt because on the best one I peeled off the second set of weaves too early and caused him to pop in my attempt to beat him to the cross. Oh well, he still rocked.

Kizzy did pretty awesome, too! I started her session by just having a weave refresher. She was struggling with staying in after pole 10 at first, but she got over it quickly. Once she was solidly weaving all 12 we started to play with the course. This is the first time we've really incorporated the weaves into any obstacle sequencing and the first time she's done them out of a tunnel. She did great! I still stopped to reward after almost every set of weaves to keep things happy, then picked up right where we left off.

The second entry was a struggle. I have not touched on crosses at the weaves yet so I was not going to even attempt a rear cross (I know, huge hole in my training of 2x2....). That left the run and scoop from the right, but Kizzy got way too high on my motion cues to even notice the weaves in front of her, so we consistently had to reset them.

Jumps 12 to 13 was another struggle spot for her. Kizzy has always read the cues to take a backside easily enough, but I guess I've never asked her to take a backside and then jump into me. Lesson learned, something to work on. I also have failed to work on come to heel because when I tried to run past 13 with her she would cut behind me to take it from the wrong side. Again, something to work on! Good thing she reminds me that she's still a green dog, or else I might just forget.  :o)

Back to the darkness tomorrow. I haven't ran since Wednesday, so you can guess what this slacker will be doing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Windy Day!!

Holy cow was it windy today! We are home this weekend -- skipping the NADAC trial in La Crosse. I thought it would be harder than it was, but honestly I was totally fine staying home today.  :o)

We were incredibly lazy for the majority of the day. The wind outside was just horrible and I decided that we'd just nap until it died down. By the time 3:00 p.m. rolled around I realized that it would never happen and that if I wanted to do anything in the daylight I'd better get my butt in gear.


A new Exercise of the Month was shared on the Clean Run list this past week and I thought it looked like fun -- and bonus, looked fairly easy to set up since it consisted only of 8 jumps. So yes, that right there was why this drill was the winner for today.... Hindsight being what it was, maybe I would have been better off with a course that didn't have many jumps. The wind was blowing them over left and right. I could have made an entire blooper reel from the jumps that fell during Secret's session today.

She was a wild woman today! I always love it when that Secret comes out to play. Not only was she high as a kite, but she also didn't put a foot wrong, so she had a nice, short session. I'm thrilled with how well she did. I've been feeling kind of bad lately since I feel the majority of my time has been spent with Kizzy and Secret has been starting to act a little needy. I think she was happy for the one-on-one time. Sometimes it's hard to spread yourself evenly between four dogs...

Kaiser was pretty much Mr. Perfect today and was happy, happy, happy to play agility. He had some wide turns in spots, but I'm very happy with how his wraps continue to improve in general. He only did one back-jump right when we first started and then he was golden. I think he's taking to this "non-NADAC" stuff very well.  :o)  Next week we are back to play AKC, so I guess we'll see how that goes.

Kizzy was a little rock star today. It's so fun now that she's able to play on the same exercises as the other dogs! In her first turn I had all of the jumps set at 12" and ran her with a toy (the udder tug). After Kaiser's turn I brought her back out to work on the teeter and dog walk (with food) and decided to go ahead and run her through each drill once more -- that's why she has one run on each drill at 8" with food. I was curious to see if I noticed any real difference. I still feel as though she's a little more focused with food and gives me a little better distance because she's not so intent on getting the toy, but I'm happy with her in both cases. I think she's doing great at 12", too!

Earlier this week I brought the chute into the basement because it was wet, dark and miserable outside. No surprise, Kizzy took to it pretty much immediately. I have yet to try her on it outside where she can really run through the full length, but today was not the day to do it with all of the wind. Hopefully tomorrow is better.

Life since daylight saving time ended stinks. It's already mostly dark by the time I get home and the most I can do is a quick pick of the dog poop I can manage to see. Ugh. We went for our first run in the dark this week -- I did 5k with each pair of dogs (boys/girls). We survived and I'm sure I'll get used to running in the dark, but I still hate this time of the year. Blah. At least our trial season goes year round. I often have non-dog friends ask if we take a break. Can you imagine how depressing winter would be if I didn't have agility?!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ring Rental!

This was one of those very rare weekends where I was free AND there happened to not be a trial going on at Family Dog Center. They have something going on there darn near every weekend, so it is next to impossible for me to ever get in for some ring time (to date, I don't think I've actually done a ring rental.... at least not since the new arena went int). I called on Friday and confirmed that there was nothing going on, so I made plans to bring the dogs in on Saturday.

The number one goal was to get Kizzy on new equipment in a new environment, but you pay for a 45-minute session, so I figured I may as well bring in Kaiser & Secret to get some play time in as well. I found out when I called in that the Time 2 Beat course from last Sunday was still set in the arena and I figured that would work just as well as anything. It's kind of a bummer that there wasn't a dog walk set up for Kizzy, but I figured it was WAY more important for her to get on a new teeter and her first ever a-frame, so this was as good a set-up as any.

There is a general "no food in the arena" rule on the turf, which I quickly broke. I didn't have much choice because the freedom went to Kizzy's head and she took off exploring the arena straight away. Not only that, but she decided she needed to leave her calling card as well (funny that there is the no treats rule, yet the arena has been pissed on millions of times....). Likity-stiks are allowed, but that was not enticing her at all. Screw it, I whipped out the bag of Charlie Bears, figuring it was the least likely thing to leave any pieces on the floor.

After that I had her with me! It was a really great session and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to do this! As I figured, Kizzy quite enjoys the a-frame and took to it immediately. It was set at 5', which I was happy for, and she had no issues with it. The biggest surprise, though, was the teeter! Absolutely no hesitation whatsoever and she did it numerous times. Great!! Kizzy also saw her first double, winged jumps, panel jump and 20' tunnel and handled them all in stride. We ran the entire T2B course, minus the set of 12 weaves. I should have split them into 6, but I was lazy, so in Kizzy's second session I did attempt the 12 with her... Probably shouldn't have done that quite that way, but I did... She actually did quite well. I only got one full set of 12 out of her and didn't push for anything else. More or less I just wanted to see if she would weave away from home and she did. We also worked on putting her harness on after she ran and she did really well. Gave me hope that I'll be able to catch her after a run!  :o)

Kaiser was a good little man and was pretty much Mr. Perfect except for simply NOT being able to wrap one of the winged jumps to the left without cutting back to jump over the bar again. He was just so conflicted about it for some reason. lol No issue in the other direction.

Secret did really well on her first time out with the jumps all set at 24". I forgot her frisbee at home so she had to play with the udder tug, but that seemed okay. She was a little weird about the teeter at first, so who knows what's up with that.... But she got over it and was fine. I brought her back in for one last quick spin while the bars were still set at Kaiser's 8" and expected her to be happy and fast. I didn't grab a toy before this run and instead just got her jazzed up with treats like I do before a run at a trial. Good lord, that run was pathetic. I stopped her about halfway through because I will not encourage trotting on course. I went and got a toy and revved her up a bit before trying again. She still wasn't as fast as she'd been in her first session, but it was loads better than what she'd just done. Sheesh. Really? I haven't seen that side of Secret for a long time. Not sure what that's all about.

When we came home I made sure I hadn't broke Kizzy's weaves (they were fine!) and worked a bit on the dog walk since she hadn't seen it at FDC. I also pulled the tire into the yard so that we'll be able to incorporate that on a regular basis now, as that was definitely revealed to be a gap in Kizzy's training. Oh, and the chute... We still need to introduce the chute one of these days!

After seeing the 12 poles at FDC I was finally "inspired" to start the process of introducing 12 poles to Kizzy the correct way. She surprised me at how quickly she took to it! I started with the two sets about 12' apart and moved them together pretty quickly. We struggled with rewarding in the middle and starting again with me on the right for some reason -- Kizzy was happier when I just let her keep going. She developed a rhythm quickly and the result is in the video! I'm tickled pink with her progress.