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Tag Archives: dog agility
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.
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.
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.
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.
The agility club I recently joined participated in the Okotoks Agricultural Society Winterfest and put on an agility demo for the society. It was a nice little event with some great demonstrations. The cutting horse demo was with a Bison. I’ve seen demonstrations with cattle before but for some reason I think the Bison was quicker than the cows I’ve seen.
The local fire department was there as well and who doesn’t love meeting a fireman? Doesn’t CB look like he’s ready to drive the firetruck?
The trick riding demonstration was incredible. This young girl is only 10 years old but she was awesome on her horse and did some pretty cool tricks. I have to say she was the star of the show, what a brave girl. The lighting was poor so it was hard to get a good picture without using flash and I didn’t want to spook her horse. I do kind of like the blurry picture because you can tell she’s riding fast.
There were goats, bunnies and toy pigs for big and little kids to meet as well as pony rides. I found the toy pig really fascinating never having seen one before. The one pictured below is nearly full grown and weighs about 20 pounds even though he’s CB’s size. They can get quite a bit bigger at 60 pounds but this guy is going to stay little. CB wasn’t so sure what to think of the pig though.
It turned out to be so much fun and the crowd loved watching the dogs. Some of our members have very experienced dogs that just wowed everyone with their speed and skill in the weave poles. But the crowd cheered the loudest for our more novice agility dogs like CB and hooped and hollered as he went along the course we set up.
I was too busy to get many pictures of the demo but here’s a few of our dogs. We all had a great time and CB was really tired by the end of the day. Thanks so much to the Okotoks Agricultural Society for inviting us to participate. It was a blast.
This past weekend CB and I attended the Calgary Agility Associations February Trial and this was our most successful trial to date and our first one of 2013. I entered CB in 7 events and we received Qualifying scores in 4 events; 2 Jumpers, 1 Gamblers and 1 Standard. What a difference a couple months of training makes.
The Calgary Agility Association holds their indoor trials at the Al Azhar Shriners Fez Dome and I just love this location. The surface is hard packed sand which is much easier for CB to run fast on than the mixed shavings/dirt of other local arena’s. It’s also bright, the club is fabulous and runs a really fun trial.
I went into the weekend with the goal of Qualifying in one round of something. CB has been running faster in practice but I didn’t expect how fast he’d be with courses that were a little more open. He was crazy fast. His last Jumpers run was just jumps and tunnels and he was more than 20 seconds under standard course time. I calculated his speed at 4.8 yards per second which is incredible for a toy dog, especially considering that his speed was just under 2 yards per second last year on a similar Jumpers course that was only jumps and tunnels. Shocking.
Places where we can still improve our times are the teeter, the chute and weaves. CB spends between 5 and 10 seconds in the chute and it’s our biggest time suck but with how he was running this weekend we were able to make up the time on the jumps and tunnels and managed to Q in Standard. I’m just so thrilled with how CB is doing and the best thing is that he is having a great time. There was also no sniffing at this trial and we were even tracking last weekend.
The most exciting thing that happened this weekend was not the Q’s. The Calgary Agility Association gives out a trophy to the Starters Team showing Oustanding Potential at their annual spring trial and the recipient was selected by the judge, Brenda Juskow and not the Club. The award is in honor of Rumba who was owned by Graham and Lahni Thompson. I’m just stunned to say that CB and I were selected as the recipient. I think being selected for this is the biggest indication of how much we have improved as a team.
Our next trial is in two weeks. We’re heading up to Morinville Alberta for a CKC trial. It’s a three hour drive to get there and it’s with another great club – the Fort Saskatchewan Agility Association. The Sturgeon Agriplex has a similar sand surface to the Fez dome and our last trial there went quite well. It seems CB and I are just hitting our stride so I’m really looking forward to the next one.
Kona in action playing at agility.
This post is part of the Black & White Sunday blog hop. To see who else has been busy or to join the linky, visit the blog hop hosts You Did What With Your Wiener, My Life In Blog Years or, Dachshund Nola.
This past weekend we went up to Cardiff Alberta for the Fort Saskatchewan and Area Canine Association CKC Agility Trial. There is only one CKC agility trial in Calgary each year that to trial in CKC we have to travel. I like CKC agility trials and they’ve been a good venue for us since they are generally smaller trials and the Novice runs have been great for confidence building.
This trial was really well organized and my husband and I had a lot of fun. I had CB entered in a total of 4 Novice Standard runs and 3 Novice Jumpers with Weaves. On Saturday we did 2 jumpers with weaves in the morning and 2 standard in the afternoon. CB ran really well overall but he still has a little bit of FWPA – foreign weave pole aversion. We had a few bobbles here and there but otherwise he ran the quickest he has in a trial to date. We also got our third Q in Novice Standard, a clean run at 11 seconds over time, but a Q nonetheless. And CB has a new title – Agility Novice (AGN)- Yay CB!
Sunday we moved up to Intermediate Standard for two runs and did one Novice Jumpers run. My husband ran CB in his first Intermediate run of the day and there was some good speed but a refusal at the weaves. From there we went downhill. We had a lot of trouble with the weaves over the weekend and in Intermediate a fault on the weaves is an NQ. Both standard runs had 12 weaves and I’ve been seeing that a lot in trials lately, even at AAC starters level. We didn’t Q anything Sunday but it was still fun and I’m thrilled with not only how much improvement we’ve had but how much faster CB is running.
We still loose too much time in the weaves and I need to spend more time training with 12 poles. He does great on our 6 and the weaves where we train but he tends to sniff new poles the first time he sees them. We are also still too slow on the teeter but we have picked up a couple seconds on the chute now. The good thing with trialing is that it gives me a chance to really see where our gaps are and what I need to work on more. Our next opportunity for a CKC trial is in March back up in Cardiff – until then we’ll be working on those 12 pole weaves and entering a few AAC trials in the new year.
Saturday we were at the wrap up to Kona’s 10 week training class. The “canine olympics” were so much fun. We competed in a team relay (skills centered) event, team trivia and then the fun really started. A musical chairs sit-stay. I’d explain it but I think it would be easier to just show a picture.
The event ended with a stay (sit or down) competition. Kona broke his stay when his neighbor was recalled in – taken out by another black and tan no less.
It was fun nonetheless, and the 1st place team ribbon was the icing on the cake.
Here is his class photo – we happened to be in the “pom” class. Unbelievable that that many dogs can sit still in such close proximity.
On Sunday I had CB entered in the Calgary Agility Association (AAC) trial. I had CB entered in a Standard, Gamblers and Jumpers run just like the last trial. Not like the last trial CB ran. He ran the fastest he has in a trial in a while.
The standard run was first and the first obstacle was the hoop. We definitely need to work on starts because that is where we lost time. He went up to the electronic eye, put his nose past the plane enough to start the timer and then went under the hoop. The rest of the run was fast and he was motivated and was quick thru the chute. We lost time on the weave poles though. This is the second Starters run that we’ve encountered with 12 weave poles and I see that I need to be working 12 as much as I work him with 6. We didn’t Q but I was so thrilled with how he ran.
Our Gamblers run was a bit of a mess. Our run was slow and a little chaotic. But our Jumpers run was amazing! CB was really fast, the run was clean and I thought he was quick enough to Q. When I saw the time I was surprised to see we were 8.5 seconds over as he ran so much quicker than the time he was 2 seconds over. But when I thought about it I know exactly where he lost time.
The start – first obstacle was also the hoop and he put his nose in the plane of the electronic timer, started the clock and just stood there, maybe for about 4 – 6 seconds. He was also slow going thru the last tunnel and we lost about 5 seconds in the chute. It was a really great run and I’m thrilled with how fast he was – we are definitely getting there. We’ve managed to build up speed over more than the last half of the course, now I just need to figure out how to get him moving quicker off the start.
This past weekend CB and I attended one day of the Training Troop’s pre-Hallowener Agility trial. CB was entered in one Gamblers, two Standard and one Jumpers run – all Starters level. We didn’t Q but I had a great time and came home just zapped. The only thing I forgot was CB’s costume for the costume parade – but it was fun to see what other people brought for their dogs. Too bad I didn’t think to take pictures, there were some pretty creative costumes including one inspired by Duck Dynasty.
The trial was at Wet Creek Stables and was on a shaved dirt/sawdust surface so lots of smells. Our first run was Gamblers and it was an overall mess. CB plodded along and we only got 12 points but no matter, I’d rather warm him up on a run like that and I was not alone in having a distracted dog in the ring first thing in the morning.
Our second run was Standard. It started off great with some good speed and we were looking pretty good when CB got on the table. And that was just where we lost momentum. From the table the next obstacle was 12 weave poles and we just didn’t have the speed so the entry was pokey and we spent way to much time there. I think the fact that the bigger dogs channel the “dirt” away from the weave base either distracts or confuses him as he has to hop over the weave bases when he goes through. In any case it’s different and something else to work on.
Our third run was also Standard. CB started off okay and I had his attention going from the table to the weaves (6 poles) but we lost time in a tunnel. Tunnels usually get him moving but lately he’s been a little weird with tunnels. Once I got him moving we picked up some speed and even though we ran over time again we finished to cheers, because who doesn’t like to see a pom run agility.
Our last run of the day was the most fun. It was Jumpers. CB plodded on the first half of the course but was in a near zoomie dash on the back half. I’m surprised he actually stayed on course because he’s usually uncontrollable at zoomie speed. He can really move when he wants to. Even though we didn’t Q it was a rush running the back half of the course. He did great and got faster the louder the crowd cheered him on.
Fortunately we both get better every time we trial. I’m less nervous and CB is less interested in the turf. It took some practice in the summer and he lost interest in grass. It’s going to take some work now but I’m sure he’ll lose interest in “dirt” too. It was really obvious we need to practice going from the table to weaves and other obstacles that slow him down like the chute. And we also need practice in non-ideal conditions like channeled dirt around the weave pole bases. Best thing about the trial was that some other handlers that have seen me around have invited me to join them when they practice at the stables. That will give me a chance to work on some of the things that we lost time on this weekend and hopefully we’ll be that much faster at the next trial.
This weeks photo for Black & White Sunday was taken outside Wet Creek Stables after a mini Agility Trial last month. CB was entered in a Starters Jumpers run; the run was clean but we were 2 seconds over time. Jumpers seems to be the hardest for us to Q but we’re slowly but surely getting there.
Looking back to where I was just 6 or 7 months ago with CB I feel we’ve come a long way. Both with my own confidence and handling skills and CB’s interest and motivation to do the obstacles. I think we’re in a good place for both of us being Novice and that I have a good plan to continue building on the pieces that we’ve already put into place. The one thing we haven’t worked on much is distance and aside for a little bit of a directed Tunnel exercise I did at the Kathy Keats seminar in March we’ve done very little as I really didn’t know what to start on and with some things I figure it’s better to wait than to have to undo something that I did just wrong. CB and I did get a successful closing gamble at the PNE trial in mid-July but the reason that was the case is because the closing gamble was nearly a straight line and I was able to work beside him at not too far a distance.
So I jumped at the chance to do a distance foundation class when the opportunity arouse last week. I’ve done nearly all of my agility training with Shannen at Dignified Dogs and this was another really good seminar.
Shannen set up exercises to work on the foundations of an “Around” command, side switches, and send-outs using “Go”. We worked on these skills using a combination of pressure and rewards. Where I really need to pay attention is with rewards. I generally reward from my hand because CB tends to start sniffing looking for food if I reward him on the floor – and I think he associates rewards on the ground with tracking right now. But to get him to work away from me I need to reward away from me, which means rewarding him on the floor, if my timing is at all off he starts tracking and then is looking for food instead of paying attention to me. Shannen suggested that I needed to introduce a “Take it” command for distance rewards so he’s not wandering the floor looking for that treat and I can differentiate it from the rewards we use in tracking with our “Find It” command at the scent pad.
For the “Around” command we worked on doing circles around different obstacles starting with one obstacle (e.g. a pylon) and moving up to three different obstacles. CB did quite well at this and I was able to get a bit of distance from him as the exercise progressed. Body pressure worked effectively with this one.
What was harder was the “Switch” command — instead of changing direction CB initially wanted to do an “Around”. We did manage to get a couple of good switches in but I can see this will take a bit more work to get some distance with. I also need to work on my positioning so I’m sending him the right signals.
The last thing we worked on was a send-out over a series of jumps (I think there were 5) using “Go”. This was also pretty good although I had to run up beside him the first couple of times and then didn’t have to go as far the last run through. I do see that I will need to be really consistent in my positioning and especially with my rewards as I don’t want to confuse him or end up with him tracking the course looking for treats. All in all a great seminar and I’ve got a few more things I can work on at home to keep things interesting for both of us.