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Being that we go to Boulder to visit family we have a few traditions. One of them is that regardless of the time of the year (winter, summer etc.) we go to Dot’s Diner for a late breakfast and then on to Walden-Sawhill ponds to go bird watching and for a walk around the ponds.
We usually run into friends and acquaintances of my husband or father in law’s while we are there. We’ll have something to eat, several cups of coffee and spend our time hanging out writing a group poem with whomever happened to join us.
Once we had our fill of food and coffee it was off to Walden-Sawhill for a walk around the ponds.
I love going to Walden-Sawhill also because there are some pretty views for landscape photos. I think over the years I’ve likely amassed hundreds of close-up pictures of cattails and tree bark.
Because we came after “breakfast” we were there later in the day when the bird watching is not typically as good. I know hardcore birders don’t like having dogs along because they fear they will chase away the birds but CB and Kona are quiet and the birds that were there did not get scared off because of them.
We did see a Snowy Egret among the rare Canadian geese and ducks as well as some woodpeckers. I don’t know my birds well but my father in law is an expert birder and really good at identifying the birds we saw.
I really wish I had brought my telephoto lens along. I think I could have brought these guys in a bit closer. I think the Egret is one of the white lumps in the photo below.
This time of the year the ponds are also lovely for photographs with how tall and green the cattails are.
Even though there has been quite a bit of rain the weeks before we went to Boulder, the water level in the ponds was quite low. As low as I’ve seen it in years with severe drought in the Boulder Area. I think this made for some pretty dramatic photos, especially with the thunder clouds rolling in.
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Now that Kona’s rehab is done we are back to training. I took Kona down to Lundbreck Alberta to meet with an Obedience trainer (Judy) to work on teaching him to retrieve a dumbbell.
She’s helping me shape the behavior and already I saw much more progress with this than the other methods I tried earlier this year. I guess when it comes to dog training its not all Black and White.
Its truly a lovely drive on Highway 22 and we stopped at Chain Lakes on the way home. I was hoping there would be nice walk there but there isn’t a lake shore around the reservoir. Great place for kayakers, rafters etc. but not so much for more than just stretching your legs.
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Don’t be worried about Kona, he is doing just fine but this is why it’s been so quiet around cbandkona. An explanation will be forthcoming and the result is really good.
I just don’t know what happened to March. It flew by and was very busy. I attended an out of town show, have been training CB in agility and doing a lot of Pilates among other things things. Even though I’ve been busy CB and Kona have still been getting their walks in and we’ve finally had some nicer weather.
Here are some things that have kept us busy of the last couple of weeks in no specific order….
March has had mostly miserable weather but it finally has started to warm up and we’ve been able to get out for some of our longer walks. We also explored a couple new parks; Bowmont and Baker.
As well as hitting our favorite place for walks – Edworthy Park. The ice formations are pretty awesome right now and make for some interesting photo ops.
A couple weeks ago I went to a show in Camrose and we drove out from Calgary during treacherous road conditions. I went to help a friend show some poms and her friends chihuahua’s and also entered Kona in 1 Pre-Novice trial and 2 Rally Advanced runs to try and finish his Rally Advanced Title. I didn’t do so great in the conformation ring with the Chi but did better with my friends pom (Remmie) even though I didn’t get any points on him.
Kona did well and got his first Q in Pre-Novice and got his 3rd leg in Rally Advanced for that Title and is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RA. Woohoo! It was a little too close for comfort running between the rings and on the Saturday I ran from the Rally ring to the conformation ring with about 5 minutes to spare. Missed getting Kona’s Q ribbon from the judge (and third in class ribbon) as I left when right as we finished our run but I was able to pick it up after we were all done.
Last weekend it was really nice and I found a Canine Good Neighbor test to take Kona too – he pass it easily. It was a lot less stressful for me doing the test with Kona than it was with CB last year, I guess my confidence has also improved over the last year.
CB and I have been spending our training time together focusing on agility. I’ve done 3 agility training seminars this month and one of them was with Kathy Keats. It was interesting to do her seminar with a faster dog this year. One of the skills she helped me with was pulling CB through threadles. His speed has picked up but we slow down when the handling is a little more complicated such as where I need to wrap him or bring him through a threadle.
Kathy has such great insight and the time I got to spend with her was even more amazing than it was last year. I have a better idea of where I need to be to pull CB through a threadle quickly. It was so worth the time and Kathy and a couple other participants remarked how much quicker we were than last year.
This weekend is going to be a little busy. My agility club is hosting a two day trial and it’s also the weekend of the Red Deer show. I love the Red Deer show, CB has usually done well there but the agility trial is my priority. He only needs one Rally Excellent Q for his title so I entered him in the Friday in Red Deer and then we’re in my club’s agility trial Saturday and Sunday. And I’m also helping in conformation and showing Remmie again. Fortunately the show schedule is working out much better than it did in Camrose as I’m in one ring in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
This weekend is probably going to be too much for CB though with how long we’ll be in Red Deer. I think it might be too much for me…. The weather is supposed to be crap too so the drive to Red Deer might not be that great. Oh and did I mention that I’ve been focusing on agility? When we’ve been practicing our Q ratio has been about 50% with Rally at this level. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes and I hope he (and me!) won’t be too tired on Saturday when we are in the barn.
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.
Just about two weeks ago CB and I had our second winter tracking seminar with Donna Brinkworth. The goal of this session was to observe our dogs body language as they tracked on each of three L tracks, one of which was a blind track to us.
The first two tracks which I set, were a struggle for CB. It was windy and tracking was challenging for him that day. He had his head up a lot and I noticed when he’s not sure where to go he shows a classic stress signal – he shakes his whole body from head to toe. Even when he got back onto the scent at the corner he didn’t seem to believe it was the right way. I also noticed that he checks in with me when he’s not sure of the track and he will also walk back to me.
Then we did our blind track and it was CB’s first time following someone else’s scent. The tracklayer followed us just like what we would experience in a real test. When CB is confident of the track he keeps his head down, you can hear him sniffing and he doesn’t look at me at all, and that is exactly what he did. He nailed the corner and ignored the bait on the track so maybe I should start to use less. I’m pretty impressed with him and if there was any doubt in my mind that he is really tracking it is now gone.
It’s hard to tell from the photo below because I’m in the way, but CB’s head was down taking the corner just like it is in the photo above. It was so windy the cone marking the location of the turn (but not the direction of the turn) had blown away so this was really blind to me.
What we really do need to work on it article indication. We currently don’t have one and CB could care less about the article. Here he is going in for the bait, the article just happens to be in the way.
Donna had a great idea for me to build up some interest in the article. Instead of bait I will be putting one of CB’s favorite chewys inside the glove, that should be a little more exciting for him when we get to the article. I’ll be giving that a try and see how it goes.
*All the photos in this post were taken by Donna Brinkworth. Check out Your Tracking Coach on Facebook for more tracking info*
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.