Monthly Archives: July 2012
It was raining last Sunday when I took CB out for his third tracking lesson, so unfortunately I have no pictures. And since I don’t have photos this picture of CB as a puppy will just have to do. Imagine this cute little thing at work 🙂
First off – it was quite different tracking in the rain. I don’t know if the smells would be different because of the rain or if it was because we were on well manicured grass. We did three tracks of differing lengths, all un-aged and the food drops were further apart on the last two. First off, CB was going bananas watching me lay the track. I actually thought if he got loose he might run to the scent pad to chow on the hot dog I’m using but he just wanted to get to me so we could start asap.
He had longer sections of “straight” tracks this time (straight for me meaning that he wasn’t veering off the track and stayed tight to it), I think it was because the food wasn’t as close together but I did notice him air scenting a little bit. He hasn’t done that before. I am finding it challenging trying to find places with enough room now for these longer tracks. Eek.
Tomorrow we have the Paws N Effect agility trial – I’m hoping that goes well and it looks like we’re going to have another nice and warm weekend.
First for the Good – Kona has a new title. He is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RN – whoohoo! He also came in third in class on Saturday in a large Novice A class under Judge Judith Snowden; and her courses tend to make you think.
Kona did very well. He was a little demure (ring stress, slow responses) on Friday and our score showed it (72) but by Saturday he was more himself and stayed with me nicely and our score of 93 was well earned. I moved him up to Advance for today not sure how he’d do off-leash but I thought a 4th Novice Q wouldn’t do much for us so why not. What can I say, he was awesome – he really paid attention and stayed in heel position for me – I really didn’t expect that he’d be that on. In the end we got a score of 87 and a Q in Advanced B. For some reason I screwed up yesterday and moved him to the Advanced B not A class. That realization threw me off a little bit but then maybe it was a good thing. I probably would have put pressure on us for a Q since there were only two other entries in A and thus a good chance at a prize; maybe I would have blown it. Considering we haven’t off-leash heeled much I’m thrilled with how things went. He’s entered for the AKC show on the August long and I’ve requested a move-up (Advanced A this time) for that show as well.
The Bad – the trial did not go so well for CB and I. He was disinterested and unfocused. The outcome is a little disappointing since I put so much effort into proofing those last couple exercises and that he was so good at our last trial (Red Deer) and at our last drop in practice 2 weeks ago. Over this weekend he was okay for parts and not for others, and Excellent requires more of a dog and handler and we were just not there.
The Ugly – our run today actually started off pretty good, I had decent focus and he wasn’t sniffy – much. I was actually starting to think we might Q this one. That’s when things fell apart. The Obedience rings were in a covered hockey arena but it’s part open air and I started to loose him a little just as the rain came down. Then I lost him a little more because the rain got heavy – the sound of water running off the building was so loud, and then a group of people took cover under the arena just beside the Rally ring. They were noisy and CB was looking towards them for a while. I was told later that others tried to get their attention to hush them but by then it was too late. CB was so unimpressed with the noise he popped up on his hind legs to get a good look at them and was seconds away from barking and telling them to zip it. It’s sucky that this happened but we have to be able to keep focus around distractions. At least they moved on right after our run so as not to bother other teams.
Even though this weekends outcome wasn’t what I wanted there were some good moments with CB. I was able to get him past the offset figure 8 without too much effort and he held his stay (except for today – he was too distracted). And perhaps the best thing to happen is that I figured out how to jazz him up without food or treats while waiting ring side. Something I hope to use at our next Agility trial to keep his interest as we wait to enter the ring.
Looking back, I’m wondering what was different between now and the Red Deer show. For one, I only had CB with me in Red Deer and two, we hadn’t trialed in Agility yet so he and I were not going back and forth between events. I do find Agility with him to be a blast and I’m sure he knows it. I also think that he and I should only be focusing on one thing and I’d like that to be Agility. So we’ll leave Rally on the sidelines for a while and work at getting better at Agility. His one Rally Excellent Q isn’t going to expire so it will be there for us when we’re ready to come back to it. In the mean time we have two more Agility trial’s coming up – An AAC trial next weekend and the AKC trial in August.
CB and I went tracking on Sunday but I’m only getting a chance to blog about it now. We did Lesson 1.1.2 from the Enthusiastic Tracking book. We went to Edworthy park at 8am in the morning to avoid picnickers and the heat. Conditions were a mild 14 C, the grass was damp and the wind was calm out of the west. The park was quiet. We did 3 tracks, none were aged, food drops were at regular intervals.
CB was very excited to approach the scent pads. He seemed interested in following the tracks and I could hear him sniffing on all three. As we approached the food drops he would veer off the track and then circle around the food. I’m wondering if this is because I lingered in those spots while dropping the food. On the last track he noticed the article (leather glove) approximately 4m away from it and went straight to it. He doesn’t quite get what the point of the article is other than it has food on it. I peeked ahead a little in the book and pretty soon I’m going to have to decide how I want him to indicate the article.
Also, tomorrow is the start of the Evelyn Kenny Kennel dog show. I have CB entered in Rally Excellent and Kona in Rally Novice. I’ll be thrilled if CB get’s the two remaining Q’s he need for his Rally Excellent title; he’s as ready as can be but I’ll be happy if he’s focused and not sniffing regardless of what happens. I’m pretty happy about where Kona is for Novice – I’ve been working on the Advanced exercises with him and hopefully I haven’t confused him for Novice. Whatever happens it will be fun, these two are characters to say the least.
Now I just need to find someplace to take CB that’s quieter on Sunday for tracking Lesson 3 once we’re done at the trial. Since the tracks are getting longer Edworthy park will just not have the space. I’m sure I’ll figure out someplace if I think about it long enough.
On Saturday we drove south to Lethbridge for their agility trial. CB was entered in one Novice standard run and two Novice jumpers with weaves runs. We had some close runs but in the end came home with no Q’s.
Our first run was Standard. By the time Novice standard started the heat coming off the grass was already a little oppressive and I was a bit concerned with it being too hot for CB. We were the first dog up, which can be tricky because with CB if you take too long to start you loose him. You have to get him in the ring and just go. With being first we ended up being called up to the ring and then waiting for the okay to go to the start line. Since food and toys are not allowed with in 10 feet of the ring our momentum quickly went away and our run was slow. He still did pretty well, but I confused him on a jump which caused a refusal – and our first NQ of the day.
Our Novice jumpers with weaves run was clean but again slow and we didn’t make standard course time. We were first up to the line and because of the heat I didn’t want to tire him out with too much play before we started, so CB wasn’t as motivated as he usually was. That was our second NQ of the day.
For agility trials I usually use little pieces of cheeseburger for motivation. For the second jumpers run we tried some buffalo heart. It seemed to do the job as CB was rev’d up after seeing this stuff. My husband ran him this time to get some trial practice in before the AKC show. Timing was still tricky but he was able to keep CB engaged while waiting to start. CB started off really fast (so I think I can let my heat concerns go to rest) but the timer wasn’t ready so they had to go back to the start line. That’s essentially like giving CB a correction and it’s hard to get him back after that. The run went okay until they got to the weaves and he was then slow after that.
With being new to trials we are learning so much every time. I’m also now realizing that CB is slow with me when it’s warmer out because I’m stressed about it and I make him slow. I see after watching his last jumpers run that he’s totally fine and I can engage him, motivate him and not worry. I have been jazzing him up only to then make him calm down before we even get to the start. I don’t do the same thing when it’s cooler. Fortunately I’ll have a few more trials to figure out how not to be his buzz kill.
The trial itself was really well organized and went very fast. We were done just after noon, which gave us plenty of time to take CB and Kona down to the Oldman River for a some play and to cool off a little in the water before heading home.
On Canada Day we like to head into Banff National Park when the weather is good because the park entrance is free on Canada Day, and where better to celebrate our Country’s birthday than by being in a national park.
The trail reports didn’t look that good for the national park; snow at elevation and wet/flooded trails in the valley’s didn’t leave a lot of choice for a mid-distance hike, so we ended up going to the Benchland trails in Canmore instead. We chose to do the Montane Trail and then to loop back along the Silvertip Footpath along the edge of the Silvertip Golf course. According to the area maps the hike should be about 7.4 km in length. The walk tracker app I recently downloaded for free from iTunes had us at 8.0 km when all was said and done.
The view of the Three Sisters is spectacular from most places in town. This view is from along Cougar Creek looking back towards the day use parking lot, just before we pop into the woods on Montane Trail.
I think CB and Kona appreciated being in the trees as it give them some shade. The skies varied from overcast to clear during our walk, weather can change here so quickly and we only had a little sprinkling of rain while we were out.
This is a really pretty trail and there is a lot of opportunity to see wild flowers, such as this western wood lily. There were also purple and yellow columbines and crimson paintbrushes along the trail, as well as many flowers I don’t know the names of.
I feel pretty lucky to have had a chance to get a picture of this butterfly. I think it’s an Atlantis Fritillaria but I’m not completely sure although I do know that this is a Fritillaria and the flower it’s visiting is an Arnica.
You can see some crimson paintbrush just off the side of the trail beside Kona.
There was also ample opportunity to stop and think for a while, just enjoying the scenery.
For most of the Montane Trail you are walking above the Silvertip golf course and you can see parts of it from along the trail. It’s a pretty course as one would expect in this part of the Rockies. We encountered some mountain bikers but overall the trail was pretty quiet. From the Montane Trial you then turn onto the Silvertip footpath along the western edge of the golf course which leads you back into the neighborhood and to the day-use parking lot.
Along the way we ran into this guy. He was so cheesed that we were there he even yelled at us with his mouth full. All in all a nice walk and a great way to spend the afternoon.