August 2008

Nice turning off the dogwalk

I’m teaching handling in Trondheim this weekend and I brought Shejpa with me. A good thing about that is that I get to try her on new kinds of equipment and today we worked on an old dog walk made of aluminum with carpet and really thick wooden slats. We have worked for two days on turning off the dogwalk using a stick in the ground for her to run around at the end of the dogwalk (just at the corner closest to me). It seems to have helped a lot already. I was planning to fade it gradually, but today she just seemed to do it perfectly with no stick anyway. I could do any turn that I tried. Recalling over the dogwalk with me in lead out position at A, B or C (running her from right to left to A and from left to right to B/C), running in to front cross position at A, B or C and running into serpentine position at jump A – 10 meters from the dogwalk. I hardly ran her straight at all and she was still almost perfect and turned tightly (she seems to acctually run on the side of the contact to be able to turn better. I hope the judges put on their glasses, it was even hard for me to judge with a dark carpet on the contacts, dark ground and black paws.

Here are some of the sequences that the group ran today:

Some agility videos

My friend Karine came over today for some agility training. I wanted to make a video of our seesaw training, but Shejpa did not have a good day. I made a video, but it’s nothing exciting about it really. We should be doing more advanced things really, and we did yesterday. Anyway. Here’s the video:

We also set up a course because I wanted to run weave poles, dogwalk and a-frame in a course with Shejpa. It was the first time I turned her after the dogwalk when running it i a sequence and she was good even though I turned her twice the same way. Her a-frame looks consistant. It’s not as deep anymore and I’m happy with that as long as she consistantly hits the yellow. It’s not a very good video, but perhaps the music will make up for that 😀

Missy got mostly rest today because she has burned a pad om her front paw (maybe from to many dogwalks, maybe from going on a bike ride with Thomas last week). I did some agility with her, mostly proofing weaves (Yes, we need to do that more often, she has problems with me running hard when she enters the poles). I also tried the a-frame with her for the first time. She was really good when I started her from the top and ran her down (full a-frame). Then she did a really good full dogwalk. I tried once more and she just leapt from the top of the dogwalk and landed on the ground. I tried it again, thinking that she wouldn’t make that misstake twice. She did. It looked really bad. Fortunatly, our physioterapeut/vet and friend Laxmi came by later and checked Missy thoroughly and found nothing wrong. I was very happy that I had warmed Missy up well before we did agility today…

It’s good to be home

I had a very good time teaching in Edmonton, but it sure is nice to be back home and able to train my own dogs. I have trained a lot with both Shejpa and Missy today. We went to a new club i the morning to try our running dogwalks on a new kind of equipment (aluminium frame with carpet). My dogs have only done their running dogwalks on our wooden dogwalk at home. I was surprised with how it didn’t really seem to matter. Even Missy, who usually isn’t very confident, ran it fast and consistent right from the second attempt. Shejpa was even better and showed great understanding even when she slowed down a little (she is always best when she is really fast). Shejpa also got to try a new seesaw. She isn’t doing the whole seesaw yet, but she is learning fast and we should be able to do the whole thing in a couple of days. She shows great speed, weigh shift and targeting.

We did some more training later in the afternoon. Both dogs got to do some jump grids. I introduced Shejpa to the long jump and put it into her distance grid later. She had no problems with it, so I will put it into sequencing pretty soon. I also introduced a pole in the ground to help her turn after her running contacts. It might clarify things for her, so I will give it a shot. Justine had tried it with Preston and it looked great. I might try it with Missy too, although she seems to have more understanding of the turns and will think more than Shejpa. I did some shaping with both dogs in the house as well. Missy now knows how to jump into my arms when I stand up (Thanks J!) and both dogs did shaping sessions on the theraball. They have amazing balance and strenght!

Thanks to Justine and all the nice people I met in Edmonton. I had a great time and it was really interesting to see dog training from new perspectives. It was fun teaching european style obedience to an enthusiastic crowd of dogs and owners. I hope that they will keep up with the tugging and high speed training that we did. It was also fun to do a puppy day and I am looking forward to getting my next puppy. Handling is always one of my favourite things to teach and I was happy to see so many that were dedicated to doing agility within Greg Derrett’s system of handling.

National obedience championship finals

Missy did a great job in the finals. Unfortunatly, she lied down when there was 5 seconds left of the long sit. I would have trained that more if I thought we were going to the finals. It’s hard for her to sit on her own with strange dogs and a big audience. She is not a very confident dog. I thought that she would be more affected by the distractions, but she wasn’t really. You can tell from the video that she’s not really as confident as she usually is. Her tail is wagging, but her ears and mouth tell another story. I’m very pleased with her and if she keeps this up we’ll soon have our OTCH. Here is a video from Sunday.

Missy in the finals!

Missy and I qualified for the finals in the Norwegian national obedience championship today. We ended up in 10th place and the 15 best (out of 45 in the qualifying round) get to compete in the finals tomorrow. I wasn’t really prepared to get into the finals since we havn’t been training obedience a lot this summer. Missy is not very confident when there’re a lot of other dogs around and I’m not sure if she’ll be able to perform at her best in the big ring tomorrow, but we’ll try to have fun and not fail any exercises. Here is a video from todays trial:

Handling with Laura Derrett

I really should write here more often, but we have loads to do all the time. We came home from our honeymoon a week ago (after 20 hours of waiting in the most awful airport ever). Then Laura Derrett came on Monday and we’ve had four days of handling with her. She left yesterday and I was once again just exhausted from running two dogs, taking care of people and staying up a bit too late drinking beer with Laura. Tomorrow is qualifications for Norwegian obedience nationals and I should be out training Missy (better late than never?) but when I do we just end up running agility instead. I don’t really feel motivated for obedience right now. If I’m lucky, we’ll qualify for the finals on Sunday, but I’m not counting on it. We should have trained more, but with the wedding and having both Justine and Laura here, obedience has not been a priority. I should also make some videos of obedience training because I leave for Canada on Monday and will teach obedience in Edmonton next week.

Having Laura here was great! Both my dogs surprised me in a very good way. I ran Missy the first two days (double box) and both dogs in the last seminar that was more advanced. Missy has made such an improvement since Justine was here. I havn’t done a lot with her, just her running contacts and some collecting and turning over one jump. But she was like a new dog and for the first time I really enjoyed running her! She didn’t knock any bars unless I did something stupid and she could even keep the bars up in serpentines. She could collect and dig in when I was stationary in a sequence, something she’s never done before. We still have a lot of work to do, but I finally feel like we’re getting somewhere.

Shejpa was suprisingly focused through both days. I always obsess over her speed and think that she’s slow, but videotaping and actually timing her made me think differently. She was acutually 0.5 seconds faster than Missy over a six jump sequence. That’s a lot! She was 0.3 seconds slower than Ted (genius border collie who is really powerful) in the sequence with two serps and I slowed her down on when I didn’t get out of serpentin position fast enough. I guess I should be happy with her speed, but there are still things that could be a lot better. She responds nicely to my handling, but she could be faster on arm changes. Maybe I don’t reward them enough (thinking about it, I very rarely reward front crosses) or maybe I’m sometimes early? I don’t know, but she blind crossed me and took white number 3 in this exercise when we ran black numbers and were told to just front cross and leave on commitment to 2:

She also blind crossed me in a front cross in the video, but I was babysitting the turn so that she was just turning wide. Anyway, it’s very good to know and will be the focus of my handling training this weekend. Her response to my decel is getting a lot better, but I will need to work on a verbal dig cue and also on her responding to my decel when I’m behind her. I also think that I need to work on decelerating in a rear cross to make them really tight, I’m not sure of how to do that.

I had to try some dogwalks now that I hadn’t been training at all in over a week. Missy was really good and consistent when I ran her straight. Laura timed her to 1.25 s. and I also had some really nice turns off the dogwalk where she really dug in on the yellow and had a nice, tight 180-turn off it. We’re unfortunatly not done with turning of the dogwalk, sometimes she’ll completly jump off to the side, but I had a nice session with her today where she turned nicely. Shejpa’s dogwalk was not as good as Missys on Tuesday when we started training it again, but she’s really come along nicely and I had a session today where we worked on turning and she was almost 100% when I sent her to a person with food that moved more and more to the side (almost to 90 degrees). I also started working on her seesaw again and it’s looking pretty good.

Here’s a video of mosty Shejpa from Wednesday and Thursday:

I’m really happy that we got both Justine and Laura to come here and teach for us. It has been so much fun and people seem really happy. I hope that they’ll come back next year. I’m seeing Greg in Malmö in Decmber. I look forward to that.