Tests and trials

New Year – New Trials

We’ve started the new year with four days of trialing. Both our cars have broken down, so it has been a project to get to and from the trials. I’m very thankful for my friends that help me out. On Monday and Tuesday, we went to Kista, outside of Stockholm for one standard run and three jumper runs. The carpet was very slippery, and Shejpa did not like running on it. She was clean in all four runs, but not at all fast. We came 3rd in standard, but did’nt get any good placements in jumpers. On Saturday and Sunday, we went to Gothenburg to run four classes. My parents live there, so having to take the train there was weighed out by all the great food and all the help I got. The carpet in Gothenburg was much nicer, Shejpa did only slip once, after the first jump in the first class, wich caused her to drop the next bar. She was much faster and seemed to enjoy herself more.

We got eliminated due to going off course in three of the runs. Two of them were my handling errors, one was her ignoring my threadle arm and going into the wrong end of the tunnel (that’s a first), I need to reward more first arm changes in training. In our fourth run, we got a refusal at the weaves. The weaves are still our biggest challenge and I can’t wait for spring to come so that we can do more training. We’re not entered in any trials for a couple of months now, so Shejpa will get some rest and we’ll work on details for a while. There are a lot of things that we need to improve

The next few days will be spent obedience training with our favourite instructor, Maria Hagström. I haven’t had much time to train Squid since we worked with her before christmas, but I’m hoping that the little training we’ve done has taken us a bit further. Thomas and Pogue are preparing for class II and Squid and I are preparing for class I. I’m also very motivated to work on agility with Squid. I’m really looking forward to spring!

Here’s a video from yesterday:


I know it’s been forever since I wrote here. Everything is great in our new home, except that we still haven’t got an internet connection. I was really looking forward to finally getting broadband (we couldn’t get it where we lived before), but it’s taking forever. It took them almost three months to connect a stationary phone and now that that’s done, I hope that we’ll get internet connection soon. Right now, I’m on a mobile connection that is really slow (and that I can’t use with my Macbook). Wich is the reason why I haven’t been able to post any videos lately. I hope this will change soon, then I’ll be a better blogger and publish new videos.

I’ve done a few trials this fall and we’ve done really well. Missy became Obedience Trial Champion in the beginning of October and Shejpa became Agility Trial Champion the same weekend! I’m trying to qualify  both dogs for Swedish nationals next year. Shejpa and I just came back from a trial on Gotland, an island on the east coast of Sweden. We weren’t as successful as we’ve been before, if you only look at the results.  But I have been working on speed with her and it has really helped! Her speed was really good and I know I can make it even better. We did only have one clean run out of four, where she finished second, after another working cocker, world team memeber Max. Her running contacts are perfect in trials and I don’t worry about them at all. It’s a great feeling, knowing that they are consistent and fast. I was more worried about the other dog that I brought to the trial. My student and friend Anna let me run her border collie Fonzie in his debut in standard. Unfortunatly, he knocked a bar in two of his runs and had weave pole problems in the two others. But his running contacts were great and that was what I wanted most of all.

Squid has turned one year and is doing good. We’re training agility, obedience, herding and search and rescue. She is very immature and I have decided not to do any trials with her this year. I have so little time and I might as well spend my weekends trialing with the dogs that need to in order to qualify for nationals. Thomas’ cocker Pogue is one month younger, but he did his first trial in obedience this weekend. He did really well and is now qualified for the next level! Now, Thomas has promised to do focus on Pogues agility training – we’re bringing the young dogs to Greg Derrett’s double box seminar in about five weeks. Shejpa is running in the advanced group. We’re really looking forward to the seminar!

Squid herding:


We’re really looking forward to spring now. I’m fed up with snow! Missy and I are doing a lot of obedience right now. She is really doing great and I am looking forward to the trial in April. Her attitude is a lot better and we’re working on send to square and distant control right now. I want to be ready for doing the whole program when we train with Maria Hagström March 14, so I need to get started with some longer sequences pretty soon. I find it really helpful to have set clear goals for my dogs this year. It helps me to plan and focus and believe in a way that I haven’t done before.

Squid has been working on some obedience as well. Our goal for March 14 is good heeling in a trial like setting, with turns and halts and duration, and a good stand from heel. It’s going great, but we still have lots to work on in order to make it. Here is a video from earlier this week:

We’re also working on down, send to target, picking up all kinds of objects and a speedy recall. I would like to start working on send to square with her, but she doesn’t have the drive forward that I would like to see. She is very calm when doing obedience and often seems a bit tired. It doesn’t bother me, I’d rather have a calm puppy that I need to build speed into, than a crazy, over the top kind of dog. Missy was also pretty calm as a puppy (but had more toy drive as I recall). Indoors, we have been working on some more tricks, scent discrimination (freeze your nose to the post it note that smells like me) and nose touches for agility.

Shejpa went to a trial on Saturday, where a friend of mine ran her since I couldn’t be there. She did a good job in standard, but got faulted twice. Her running dogwalk was great! Here’s the video:

We’re going to a trial on Sunday, where I will be running her again. She was great at training yesterday, but then I heard a rumour about that the judge likes to use the table in standard. We very rarely get the table in any class here, and I haven’t trained it at all. Let’s hope the judge chooses not to use it on Sunday…

Shejpa’s debut in class II

This weekend was Shejpa’s debut in class II at a trial a couple of hours drive north at a very nice indoors arena where they could fit two rings. First class on Saturday was standard and we were unfortunaltly eliminated because Shejpa missed a pole in the weaves, and I wasn’t sure about it. My goal for the run was to get a good seesaw and she did it well. Next class was jumpers and we had a clean run, with a few turns that were not very good. She won the class and got her first jumpers leg in class II. Last class was an open jumpers class, where we got to compete against dogs from class III and the world team. Shejpa did really well and the handling felt great, I think we won a lot on good rear crosses. I crossed behind her at the last tunnel and she came out the wrong way and we lost a second or two there. I thought we were out of the top 3, but we actually won by 1,5 seconds! Open classes are unofficial, but this was the win that has made me happiest so far.

Sunday started with standard again and Shejpa and I had a clean run and got our first leg in A2. She had a great run, but I had to wait for 8 seconds on the seesaw before she nose touched. She has a hard time nose touching if she’s not coming with speed onto the seesaw and therefore doesn’t land in 2o2o when the seesaw hits the ground. Despite those 8 seconds, we took second place, only 2 seconds after the winner. Last run for the weekend was jumpers and this was a course that I really liked. Unfortunatly, Shejpa came out of the first tunnel when I just turned and ran instead of crossing behind her. Need to work on staying in tunnels even if I do weird things. She also dropped a bar after the weavepoles. Even though I had to put her back in the tunnel, she was the faster than all other small and medium dogs.

Two wins and two legs are great, but what makes me most happy is that Shejpa is such a wondeful dog to have at a trial. She is so relaxed and sleeps as long as nothing happens. She is as fresh at 7 pm as she is in the morning, since she only gears up when she is running. She is walking nicely around, wagging her tail at everybody. I can see that she has started to really like agility, because she would get excited when we were getting ready to go into the ring. Not about the chicken necks, but excited about running agility, wich is a big thing for Shejpa! She even started tugging on her leash before the last run. I never thought that day would come 😀

I didn’t get all runs on video. The worst one (elimination) and the best one (win in open jumpers) are not in here:

Agility trials in Hamar

We’ve been in Hamar this weekend for Norway’s biggest dog show. Friday was agility classes I-2 and Shejpa was entered in both jumpers and standard. She is in heat and not in her best mood. I’m going to spay her when I get the chance, because I think she is in heat way too often (last time was July-August) and maybe spaying her will have a positive effect on her behavior as well. She was pretty mellow and I actually had to drag her with me on leash in the arena. She was better on the agility course, but not as fast as she can be. We started with jumpers, where she slipped in the weave entry and skidded past the second pole. We won the class with five faults and in Norway, that is a qualifying result in the lowest class. You need to run with no more than 5,99 faults to earn a leg and you need to get three legs in order to get to the next level. In the next class (2), you need to run clean to get a leg.

We only do jumpers and standard in Norway (plus team, but that’s not my thing, at least not now), no games. The standard course was pretty easy and Shejpa had more speed this time (she likes her running dogwalk). The dogwalk was really unstable and I think the sound and movement of it made her a bit hesitant. She hit her contact, but a bit high. Weaves and a-frame was perfect. The seesaw was at the end of the course and she few right of it. I thought it was a refusal, but the judge only signaled five faults and by the time I had that sorted out, Shejpa had taken another jump and started to sniff. I got her collected again and ran to the finish. Five faults once again and second place. The sniffing was entirely my fault, for disconnecting with her and looking at the judge, and for not taking her out to pee before the run. She sat right down on the carpet outside the ring and peed… Poor dog.

It wasn’t a very good trial for us, but she did what we came there to do (but not much more) we now have 2/3 legs in both jumpers and standard. I’m really looking forward to getting to the highest class and getting some challenges in the handling. We watched class 3 on Saturday and the Nordic Championships on Sunday. I really liked the German judge’s courses and I might set one of them up for my dogs at home. These were the individual results at the Nordic Championships:

1.  Elin Hylander, Woodmist Fine Sensible Promise (Zimba), Sweden
2.  Ørnulf Holm, TT, Norway
3.  Susanne Prier, Unique, Denmark

1.  Annika Mojanis, Izor, Sweden
2. Morten Bratlie, Iver, Norway
3. Jesper Carstensen, Indy, Denmark

1.  Jouni Orenius, Yoko, Finland
2. Jaako Suokuuti, Zen, Finland
3. Sarah Lorentzen, Simic, Denmark

Squid was with me in the big arena all three days. She was just perfect. She slept through almost all of the agility and had small potty and training breaks. She doesn’t mind the environment at all, with many thousands of dogs and people in one building. She is happy to see both dogs and people, but can still concentrate on tugging and training with me anywhere It was good that she slept through most of the agility though, because she really wants to join in when she is awake and she is loud when she tries to tell you that… Something to work on right away!

A great day at the trial!

Our debut weekend is over and I have to say that I’m pleased. Yesterday was really not a good day for me and Shejpa. I think I was a bit overly excited and I wanted to qualify too much. She was eliminated in all three runs due to refusals. Good contacts though. Missy did a great run in jumpers, but jumped the side of the wheel and was eliminated since I kept running. She didn’t knock any bars! Pavlov was yesterdays superstar. It was his debut and Thomas first agility run ever. They had no faults coming to the last jump, but Pavlov ran beside it and Thomas had to take him back and around. You need three qualifying runs in each class to move to the next level. A qualifying run in the easisest class is any run with less than 5,99 faults. Pavlov had 5 faults and got his first qualifying run!

Today was my day. Missy made a qualifying run in jumpers, with five faults in the weave poles. Shejpa did the same thing in both jumpers and standard and she won her standard run. They were both faster than all the other dogs in their class even with refusals at the weave poles. That Missy pops out at the second pole is something that I’m not surprised by. That has really been a problem for us and she is just now starting to do it well in training. For Shejpa to do it was a much bigger surprise, but I think it was my fault. I tried to help her and handle her into the weave poles and she is not used to it. I don’t think it will be a problem in the future when we both get mor experience in trials. She is usually very good in training on all kinds of weave poles.

This means that all of our three dogs have managed to qualify once in jumpers and that Shejpa (who was the only one entered in standard) also has done a qualifying run in standard. We’re now off to the mountains for two weeks of hunting with Pax and Pi. Shejpa and Missy are staying at home with a friend of ours and Pavlov will be with Nina in Umeå.

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:

Two agility videos

This is me and a friends border collie running a jumpers course at a trial in Lillehamer yesterday. He is a really nice dog and is wonderful to handle. Unfortunatly, he knocked a bar in the end of the run, but I think we were a good team.

When we got back home, we were inspired and built a sequence for Pavlov and Shejpa. Shejpa has had a boring weekend and she was very keen on running. She always looks slow on video, but this run was really fast!