Category Archives: CB

Ribbon Round-up

RR-1

Turns out we had a busy spring and summer with some nice rewards to go along with it; CB has some new titles, 3 of them as a matter of fact.

In July at the Evelynn Kenny show he got his 3rd Rally Excellent leg for his Rally Excellent (RE) title. I entered CB on a whim since I was going to be there showing a friends pom but then didn’t really have a lot of time to practice. I do practice the stations here and there but didn’t dedicate time to it. Seems that that is they way I need to work him. A little bit here and there to make sure he knows everything but then just leave it alone. He rocked for me – was peppy and bright and had fun. Our score was just enough for a Q and we got cheers from friends and hugs as soon as our score went up on the board. It was a great moment.

CB has also been doing much better in agility. I’ve figured out how to get him to run a little faster and he got his Agility Dog of Canada (ADC) title this past weekend. This one has been a long time coming and he got the Standard Q he needed to get the title. I didn’t think it was going to happen as I rolled my ankle during our Jumpers run and the delay from me slowing down not only cost us a Q but the days outlook for me being able to run didn’t look good. Fortunately my husband was able to come and finish off the trial and got 2 standard Q’s with CB. I’m so proud of them – CB ran really fast for him on the first standard run and it was so fun to watch.

RR-2

The third title CB received this summer was from the Teacup Dog Agility Association (TDAA). We were traveling down in the US and I had learned about a TDAA trial that was happening while we’d be south. I’ve been kind of curious about the smaller equipment and tighter courses so we went to check it out and entered. Unlike AAC or CKC trials where CB has often been the only dog entered in his class, there were many dogs entered in his jump height category and when CB Q’d we didn’t necessarily place first. It was nice to see so many little dogs competing.

RR-3

How about that – little dogs, little equipment and ironically a little handler.

This was a lot of fun and the all the people there were so nice and friendly. CB got his three qualifying beginner standard runs at that trial and we can now add TBAD (Teacup Beginner Agility Dog) to his name. There are definitely some added challenges to a tighter course but the two pieces of equipment where the smaller size made a difference in time for us (as in faster!) were the weaves and the chute. For some reason the smaller barrel sped CB up and with the tighter weave spacing he could “bob” between the weaves instead of having to run around them. It was a great time and the folks were all really welcoming if not confused that we had come from Canada.

The last set of ribbons is actually from earlier in the summer. Because AAC nationals was in Leduc, Alberta this year I had a good number of friends going to Regionals this past June at Rivierre Qui Barre in hopes of qualify for Nationals. I ended up being talked into entering so CB and I went.

I had no goals other than to see what Regionals was about, to have fun with CB and cheer on my friends. CB’s class (6 inch specials) was small at 5 dogs and he was the only one in that class that is not competing at Masters level. In the end we left the weekend with a score of 279.82 points. Not enough to qualify for Nationals as you need 350 points to do that, but pretty respectable in my humble opinion for a first time handler and first agility dog.

Crybaby

It also turns out we do better at Master’s Jumpers courses than we do at Starters. Who would have thought. Perhaps the tighter courses are more fun for him and me? It’s a curiosity.

Our first day was a little bit chaotic we had an OK Jumpers 1 with CB stopping to attack a spider in a tunnel but our Standard 1 was pretty good even if we spent too much time in the weaves. The second day was better, we had more speed and almost made standard course time for Jumpers 2; off by four seconds but good enough to get us a Fourth place finish out of 5 dogs and we also got a fourth place finish in Standard 2. If we could gamble we may have broken 300.

What thrills me most was to see the trial photos. CB is now extending over jumps. We’ve worked a lot on this and it’s just awesome to see the results. It’s definitely helped to improve our course times. Doesn’t he look like he’s having a ball in these pics from our Jumpers 2 run. He used to just hop over jumps; He is now in flight.

CryBaby

CryBabyIn the end I’m so glad I went. I had a great time with CB and learned a few things too.

Back to the Track

It’s finally feeling like summer around here which means we’re spending more time outside which will make the dogs happy. Yesterday, we did a nice evening walk and topped it off with a little pup-cake from Bon-A-Pet-Treat Bakery to celebrate CB’s 2nd Birthday.

I didn’t give it a try, it’s made from beef liver after all, but the pups seemed to like it a lot. They were close to turning into savages and a stay was hard for them to hold but we did get this photo.

The birthday fun continued today as we went for a walk in Edworthy and stopped in a small out of the way field we found on a walk earlier this week and CB got to do some tracking. With all the agility that we’ve been doing lately there hasn’t been a lot of time for Rally or for Tracking. CB was quite sniffy at our last agility trial and that reminded me of why I wanted to know about tracking in the first place.

After Donna’s seminar in April I ordered a book she recommended – Enthusiastic Tracking by Sil Sanders. I’ve actually had this book for a while now and I’ve read it in detail, I just haven’t had a chance to start working on the exercises. I made the time today and did the first days exercise in the book. We started with a serpentine just to see where things were and then did three short tracks with food drops as per the book. I’m quite impressed with how CB did considering it’s been almost 2 months since the last time we tracked.

Because so much time has passed I went back to putting bait in every footstep for the serpentine. That may have been overkill as CB wasn’t interested in all of it and left some behind even though I think he’s just following the food. Then I laid the three tracks from the first exercise (1.1.1) in the book, these tracks have food drops at 5 foot intervals and we ended up doing a total of 45 feet of track. From the amount of sniffing one would think CB was actually following the track. There were a few food drops that he just sniffed past. Not sure what to think about that or if it means anything at all.

I’m going to try to get him out once a week since I think he really enjoys this. I haven’t done much because I find it a little tough to find time to train on more than one skill at a time. Between now and early August we have a rally trial upcoming and either 2 or 3 agility trials and Kona is entered in 1 rally trial and I might enter another if I think he’s ready for Rally Advanced. I was thinking I would wait until CB completed his Rally Excellent before we really started working on new skill but if regular tracking sessions decrease his sniffing at an Agility or Rally trial I think I should put in the effort. I also think I’d like to work toward preparing for a TD test but that will be way down the road and will take us a lot of time to be ready for with only one tracking session per week.

After CB’s tracking session all the dogs got to play with a Frisbee and we rounded things out with a walk up the Douglas Fir Trail towards home. From the overlook on the Douglas Fir Trail you can really see how high the water level is in the Bow right now. The vegetated area in the river is normally an island. And I think the water level has dropped some since it hasn’t rained in a couple of days. The forecast looks good for the rest of this weekend so we should be spending quite a bit of time taking advantage of it.

Ready…. set… LAUNCH!

I just love this series of photos that Wendy Devent of Paws on the Run Photography took during CB’s Snooker run at last weekend’s trial. There’s nothing like tunnels and A-frames to get him moving and I love that it looks like he’s got some speed here. He did. He looks like he’s loving this. Oh, and don’t you think it looks a little windy?

 

Another Agility Trial – Results!

This past weekend CB was entered in the CAA (Calgary Agility Association) trial. This was our second agility trial but our first AAC trial. We were entered in one Standard run and one Snooker run. Yes my first AAC trial and I enter Snooker. What was I thinking. Jumpers was the first run of the day and watching the other dogs run made me really regret that I didn’t enter Jumpers instead. Then I looked at the course map for Snooker and I was having a hard time coming up with a path that would give us a chance for a qualifying score without having run over too long of a distance. I really wished I entered Jumpers.

The day started off quite nice and sunny and it got quite warm in our tent. Maybe a little too warm as there was no breeze. Our first run was Starters Standard and I think the heat really slowed CB down even though I had a cool coat on him. I need to figure out someway to keep him cooler or I’ll be the only one wishing for cool weather forecasts at outdoor trials. He was slower than usual on the course and was a little sniffy, when we got to the table that was the end of our run. He was about to down but then noticed the better half taking video — stuck out his tongue and then decided he needed to go say hello. It’s kind of funny, now. It wasn’t then.

By the time Snooker came around the weather turned a little ugly. The winds picked up and it started to rain a little. Peoples tents were blown around and some folks started to pack up as the sky’s looked really bad; our too hot camping tent was just fine and finally comfortable and because it was so windy they had to switch out the chute for a tunnel. All things that worked in our favor as the weather cooled so CB was no longer too warm and tunnels really work him up so the sooner they are on a course the faster he is after that. In the end we got a score of 39 and his first Starters Snooker Q. How about that.

We’ve hopefully got a few more opportunities to play as the summer goes along. I’ve sent in entries to the Lethbridge trial in July and the AKC trial in August (both CKC) and there is another trial in mid-July (AAC) that opens up on Friday and I’ll be entering something for that. Not sure what yet, I think I need to be a little strategic so I don’t overheat the little guy.

One week to go!

Next weekend CB and I will be heading up to Edmonton to compete in our first Agility trial. I’m feeling pretty calm about the whole thing which is good because I was pretty anxious before our first Rally trial last year. The big difference here is that we are really well prepared, we weren’t so much for Rally. There are some obstacles that could be better (teeter, chute) but those will have more impact on our time than anything.

A few weeks ago I attended a speed seminar with Shannen to learn ways to motivate CB and to encourage him to run as fast as I know he can. This seminar was super helpful and I’ve seen some significant improvement with CB’s speed since I started implementing the conditioning exercises she recommended and I’ve also started running intervals with him. I think we are now fast enough to make standard course time.

CB pumping iron on the physio ball

I’ve also been studying any course map I can find and spent time dissecting them so I can understand the lay-out and envision how to handle them. That’s been a big gap for me, understanding the course – seeing it in my mind and just doing the course.  If all goes well we may end up with a Q or two.

If we don’t, that is totally fine. There are a lot of factors that can affect how we may do as the trial is outdoors and the location and equipment will be unfamiliar. To mitigate some of this we have practiced at 4 different places. including a couple of times outside on grass. What we haven’t done is practice in bad weather, hopefully that won’t come and bite me in the ass.

Either way, this trial will be a good start in Agility for us. I’ve also submitted entries for the AKC agility trial (CKC) and the Calgary Agility Association’s June trial (AAC), and I’m planning on entering a couple more that are happening over the summer. Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to compete in some of these since the trials are all limited entry and some of them fill up really fast.

Agility Update

Time for a nap

It’s been just over a month since CB and I attended the Kathy Keats Seminar — we’ve been going to weekly classes with Shannen since Mid-Januaru, and there has been a lot of improvement, for both us in that time.

My handling has really improved. Some classes it doesn’t seem that way because Shannen makes these really hard and challenging courses for us and last nights was a doozy. CB has also picked up speed which has made keeping my eye on him and paying attention to where I’m going harder. I’ve also noticed a few times that I stop and watch him — he’s digging in to run through tunnels and over the A-frame – It’s just so neat to watch him running. This little dog never ceases to amaze me – he’s so cool. He’s also starting to like some obstacles he didn’t before — the chute has really been a challenge — and he’s starting to go into it on his own. He’s still slow going through but I no longer have to hold it open.

Back in mid-January when we ran a course, CB would be right beside me like  Velcro, and now he’s looking around and I have to be quick and certain in my handling (which I’m not because I’m too busy watching him) or he’ll take off on me and take the closest obstacle and with last night’s course being quite tricky – well, there were a lot of booby traps on the course and it was hard keeping him with me. But we have done a couple of easier courses and they were much smoother for both of us. We still need more work with the chute and to smooth up his weaves a little bit but we’re ready to start trialing and with that in mind, I entered a trial thats in June so CB and I have a month to get ready.

Wordless Wednesday

From this past weekend in Raven Alberta – CB is deep in thought. Wonder what was on his mind.

Red Deer Rally Results

CB hanging out pre-trial

What a busy weekend – the Red Deer and District Kennel Club show was this past weekend and I had entered CB in all three days. But I chickened out and entered him in Advanced B (for practice) and then after a few drop-in classes it was evident that I should be moving him up to Excellent.

Well I wasn’t able to get in touch with the show secretary in time and was only able to move up for Saturday and Sunday – but that was okay. So on Friday we were in Advanced B and qualified with a respectable score of 90.

Saturday – our first run in Excellent did not go all that well. We NQ’d the Honor – CB started out 6 feet away from me in a down but finished at my feet. Then we NQ’d the course – which is totally okay because a Q on the course and an NQ because of the Honor would have been a bummer. I totally think it’s my fault too. I had great focus from CB when we got there but I’m pretty sure I overtired him with a 1/2 hour walk before the walk-thru and then we waited almost an hour and half for the Excellent B’s to finish before we had our turn. I didn’t realize we’d be waiting so long and had him in the stands with me while I stressed. We were both tired and it really showed in our course time (4.5 minutes!) and the poor focus CB had on the course. I feel terrible for the team that had to Honor us – fortunately we didn’t cost them a Q.

Sunday – a new day for sure. I had a different strategy and kept CB crated until just before our turn. He was eager and focused – we Q’d with a score of 86 and no point losses for incorrect performance  – a majority of the points off were singles for poor sits and being out of position. Our time was way better too but he was still a little sniffy and stopped a couple of times to investigate drool spots and dust bunnies. Now I don’t concern myself with time – but the more engaged CB is the faster we are on the course and we finished in 3 minutes – which also means a shorter stay for the Honor dog. And lucky for us there was nothing happening in the Obedience ring so CB didn’t crawl forward during his down-stay. He was wiggly though and there was some minor controversy with his stay because of that. The Honor Steward didn’t think he lifted his elbows (he didn’t) but the ring steward thought he got up. He didn’t but he did turn his head to chew his tail and probably would have next moved into a sit if I hadn’t been able to get his attention with a deep “HEY!”. He moved around about as much as could have been possible in one spot. The Honor steward th0ught she was paying attention but then had doubts herself – even though she didn’t see his elbows up. I wasn’t sure how much movement they would allow because he was like a little worm wriggling on the spot – but those elbows stayed down. So we have one leg toward the Rally Excellent title and got a High in Class to boot. How about that.

Way to go CB!

A tired CB with his Big Ribbon

Agility Seminar

On Friday CB and I were at an Agility handling seminar with Kathy Keats. In a nutshell it was awesome and there is definite and obvious improvement with my handling skills and CB’s speed has picked up. He was still trucking along up to the last run which at that point we were both wiped and we both slowed down a lot. I really have no idea how I got a working spot for this – I guess I’m just lucky (or too clueless to know better) – especially since most of the other participants (if not all) have been to at least regionals if not nationals before, and a couple aspire to go to Worlds (or have been?). I know they’ll do it, these ladies are great and everyone there made me feel welcome and were so encouraging to me and my little dog.

My goals were simple. Gain more experience handling, work on being on the correct handling side, get a better understanding of the timing for crosses, work in a new environment (Arena=new distraction and we will be trialing here eventually) and hopefully pick up some speed (both me and CB). The courses that Kathy set up were really challenging for me. Everything agility has been challenging for me and this was near the top. We ran each course (there were two) and I’m not sure what the level was but I think Masters equivalent as they were long at 20-23 obstacles. Oh – and to make it harder, Kathy doesn’t number her courses – I had to memorize the order – and I did get lost on the first run. She then broke down the courses into drills to work on some of the trickier bits and by the end of the day it started to make sense — where to be, how to cross, what a post-turn is – I’m still not sure what a pin-wheel is but I know we did at least one. And then we ran each course again and some of the skills that I’ve struggled with (wrapping around jumps) weren’t so hard – they still weren’t too pretty but it’s better.

This video is an excerpt of the second run of Course 2. We are by no means lightning fast but considering that I was struggling a few weeks ago with sending CB onto the dogwalk from my right this is truly amazing. And he’s so much faster through tunnels and on the walk now.

We finished up the day with a team race and a contacts drill. Fun day all in all and I learned a lot and didn’t feel like I left with information overload. Kathy is a really great instructor and I would say an even better speaker.

The things that I’ve noticed is the more confident I am in understanding the course – the better we do. My long term agility goals are still pretty simple, to have fun at agility and to continue to be challenged. And if we get some Qs on the way – well that will be great!

The end of a long day. Time to go home!

Wordless Wednesday