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Tag Archives: Agility
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
I must be crazy, I have just signed CB and I for a Kathy Keats Agility Seminar. Not sure if we’re actually ready for this level of seminar but I guess we shall see. Our agility instructor Shannen said it was a huge opportunity that we could get in so we’re doing it. Hmm – I kind of had a little plan on focusing on Rally to get CB’s next title but Agility is just so much fun and we’re getting better at it.
Monday’s course was really good. First half of it was pretty good, challenging but well within our abilities. The last half was tricky tricky tricky. Some awkward direction changes and sneaky tunnel entries. A pretty tricky course for starters level students, but Shannen likes to challenge us and by the time we’re ready to trial we should be more than ready. That was the last class out of 8 and we now have a two week break until the next session starts up.
Here’s the course map. We were great on the weaves, teeter but the chute is still not our friend. We also had some trouble entering the tunnel (8) from the correct side.
to CKOC and I’ve done no Rally work. Eeek! It doesn’t look like I’ll be doing any tonight either as we’ve hardly been home. At least Kona has a class tomorrow night and he’s on-leash so a little bit of a walk before the trial and I’ll have good focus. CB however, nothing since last week.
We’ve been busy with Agility – it’s so much fun and we’re both getting so much better. We had a positive handling seminar on the weekend with Shannen Jorgensen and then class last night. Shannen is really great and has been so much help in getting CB motivated. I’m really shocked at where we are now considering the first class with her we were on-leash and I had to walk him right up to the obstacle for him to take it.
Fingers crossed for Friday and here’s hoping that there’s no Offset Figure 8.
Last nights Agility class went very well. I have to admit I go back and forth from really enjoying the sport to being really frustrated. I know the frustration comes from the disconnect between hearing the instruction for that days handling exercise and my body not executing it the way I mean to. This is all still pretty new to me and I can really see that CB is unsure of what to do when I’m thinking about the steps I was instructed to do.
Last night was a good turning point. I’m starting to understand the crosses even though I’m still a little clumsy but the most exciting part was that CB took jumps, the A-frame and the hoop from my right side. I did do some practice during the week during walks with CB sending him up, over, onto any obstacle I could find from my right side and it seemed to make a difference. Maybe also just the fact that I noticed it made a difference.
Here is a map I put together of part of the course we did. I removed a few obstacles because I want to focus on the things we did really well and look at a couple of areas that we can work on for next time.
Moving from 1 to 3 – I’m so impressed on how that went. CB is really good at taking tunnels from anywhere and he was really eager to take the jumps without me having to walk him to jump 2.
5 thru 7 – I picked him at the end of the tunnel and got him over both jumps. We did lose a lot of speed going from 7 to 8 so we need to work on speed over distances.
8 to 10 – I managed to get him from my left to right side (near the **) and up over the A-frame from my right – and with some speed too. But then we choked at the chute. He won’t go thru if it’s closed so something else that needs work.
12 to 13 – Uh oh, big handler error. He did good with the guides through the weaves but I blew it heading over to the dog walk. We had some speed coming out of the weaves but my path had us too south of the dog walk and he just followed me and missed it. The red lines show my and CB’s paths. Ooops!
We did finish well and CB even got a case of the zoomies when the run was over. In all the improvement over last week was noticeable. My plan over the next week is to continue to work on sends from my right side.