Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trialling 2010

A new year of trialling has begun again. We started the year off with a fun teams event hosted by Cloverdale Canine Compainions followed by a midweek jumping trial hosted by the Agility Club of WA.

Dog performance wise, pretty happy with both Sonic and Lexi. Lexi's attempts being particularly impressive seeing as she'd only been back in training for three weeks after an eight month break. Her skill level is great, but she needs to shed another kilo before I'm going to be able to knock much time off runs. When she is back in shape I will start to get her revved right up before we go into the ring. I have to admit that I was surprised by just how strong all her behaviours are and she has understood the concept of the 2 x 2 weaver entries extremely well.

Sonic also had some very strong runs. He is definately getting more and more powerful around the course and only missed a Q run with a dropped bar in the Masters Jumping class. Unfortunately I think I handled him dreadfully and once again out of the seven or so front crosses that I did from the four runs, I'd say that at least five were late. Because he's getting faster I'm so busy standing there calling him round like a dickhead that I'm not pushing to get into the right position early enough and then I'm rotating far too late. So instead of getting a nice tight turn I end up with really wide ones instead. Sonic was about three seconds behind the first placed dog in Masters Jumping and I reacon that I could have knocked off at least two of those if I'd managed to get tighter turns. I'm not sure why I'm so incapable of front crossing at the correct moment but I'm determined that I'm going to get it right eventually!

One thing that I am very happy about is his weaving. When I first started trying to build more speed by high level reinforcment using his toy, I didn't think anything was really happening. But then suddenly (or so it seems) he has knocked about half a second off his performance. I still want to get more drive out of his turns so given then the rewarding with his toy worked so well for the weavers I'll keep on working on it and hopefully over time more drive will come.

We only get one night of training this week with Australia Day on Tuesday. I'm sure the dogs will enjoy a swim down the beach instead anyway. Then we have a trial on Friday night hosted by the Rottie Club. For this trial I have entered Sonic in Not For Competition in the Excellent and Open Classes. I want to give him more opportunity to stretch out and build confidence away from the more technical Masters courses. It's all part of the bigger plan...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Summer Holidays

Mmmmmm, yummy spoooooon.

Sonic say spoon clean now!

I love being on holidays. Getting up whenever you feel like it. Going down the beach every couple of days. Doing some work around the house then having a nana nap in the afternoon. Relaxing with the dogs. Reading lots of books.... Aaahhh the list goes on.

Can we come in pleeeeease?

One of our local inhabitants.

Then there is reality which starts again next Monday when I have to go back to work. I shall continue to dream for the lotto life!

A Noodle peering through the bushes.

In between enjoying myself I have also managed to fit in some quality agility training with young Lexi. Lexi is a funny little dog. She looks quite comical at the moment as all her coat has dropped out following her last litter of pups. She has these odd tufts of fur that stick out from different spots on her body. One thing that I have realised since she has come to live with us is that she has NO self/impulse control. If the cat moves she has to round it up. If a dog runs past her she has to chase it and nip it. If a person jogs past on the beach she runs after them and tries to nip them... Obsessing over Kenny was driving me nuts (not to mention poor Kenny) and telling her off was doing nothing. So I decided it was time to pull out some training skills and actually reinforce her for doing something good. It's amazing how lazy you get when all your other dogs are so well behaved. So we whipped out a mat and taught her the go to your mat game. Lexi is very food driven so it has taken no time at all to redirect her "lets round up the cat game" to going to her mat and lying there waiting for a treat. Now whenever we go and sit down she happily takes herself to the mat. Sooo much nicer than telling her off all the time, plus it actually works...

Pleeeeease let me round up the cat?

We have also commenced our 2 x 2 training. It's been twelve months now since I taught Sonic 2 x 2's so I had to whip out the DVD for a refresher on how quickly to add the next sets, move closer etc. Our first couple of attempts were pretty feeble so I was a little concerned that she wasn't going to get it. Lexi has never been taught any shaping so she has no real concept of offering behaviours. But after the first couple of goes the penny dropped and she has been moving forward very nicely. At this stage we are up to two sets about seven feet apart. She is managing some great angles into the entry so I'm hoping if all goes well in another week or so I should be able to transfer across to the straight poles. Other than that I've just been doing some figure eight work to build some jumping fitness with a few rear crosses thrown in being one of her weaker skills. Then just some two on two off work on a down plank. To be honest her skill level appears pretty good. I'll be very interested to see how she goes at proper training next week.

Throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball!!!

Riot doing his best Zoolander impression.

Sonic does not approve of me training other dogs. Apparently he is the only one who should have agility privileges in this house. After a session with Lexi yesterday I got him out to do a couple of minutes of figure eight work and he was flying! It was like he was trying to show me that he is much better so I should only be training him! I can imagine he will be very excited about going back to training next week. I'm pleased that he's had a really good break. I think it's been very good for him.

Huey, Duey and Louie