Monday, April 25, 2011

Dog training and venting

The last few weeks have been CRAZY! It started with the Garden Show and a very full on two days at Perry Lakes. This year doing the dog training workshops with Better Pets & Gardens were so much more fun than just doing a meet and greet like last year. Unfortunately Riot was more than a little painful with Lexi coming in season at home. He was morose and depressed and really not particularly interested in performing. Thank goodness for his young son Remy who was full of enthusiasm and provided me with the perfect demo puppy to show members of the general public just how easy it is to train your dog (even ones who aren’t your own!). If all the planets align hopefully I will have my own pup there as my demo dog next year. Naturally she'll be perfect :-)

The Garden Show was closely followed by me doing the “Ask an Expert” radio segment on one of our most popular Perth radio stations Mix 94.5. I don’t actually listen to local radio, I’m a Triple J girl through and through, but it would seem that the majority of the people I know listen to 94.5 so I had loads of people tell me that they heard it. I really enjoyed the experience and it was fascinating to see the inside workings of a radio station. They were all very friendly and I was surprisingly not particularly nervous either. I think partly because after the Garden Show my brain was very much still in “general public dog problem” mode (how do I stop my dog barking/peeing in the house/chewing my furniture etc.). At the end of the day I just hope that the stuff that I’ve passed onto people has helped them work through their pet problems using the wonderful world of positive reinforcement.

All this was closely followed by Colin going into hospital for his mitral valve repair surgery. I had hoped that it would all work out so that I could still slot the State Agility Trial in but unfortunately it was not to be. For some reason Sonic and I have just not meant to have a good agility first half of the year!Colin’s surgery went really well but there were a few issues that came up post op. I was pretty upset to miss the States. I haven’t missed one since I started trialling in 1999 but these things happen and life goes on. The most important thing is that Colin is recovering well and the worst is behind us.

Finally yesterday I did get to head back into the trial ring. Sonic is pretty much back to his old pre-paralysis tick self. He is looking slim and sleek and is full of confidence and enthusiasm. I’m happy with how his agility is going and I absolutely love running him. The main thing I’d like to focus on improving right now is our team work on course. Our weakest skill is appearing when he works away from me where he is still coming off my body and taking off course jumps. Yesterday’s Masters Agility was a carbon copy of Masters Agility at Cloverdale where I was stationary and he was working away from me and then he drifted off to whatever jump was in front of him. When we do tight courses we don’t have a problem. So I’m thinking LOTS of recall work to strengthen his response to when I call his name on course and I’m too far away for my body position to have an impact. I’ve got a few trials coming up over the next few weekends so hopefully that will give us the opportunity to get it happening.

Now onto the depressing part of agility. We have received the results of the latest ANKC agility rule review…
Firstly I’d like to provide the dictionary meaning of Champion in case anyone is confused as to what the word is supposed to mean:
“someone or something, especially a person or animal, that has beaten all other competitors in a competition”.
It would seem the ANKC definition for agility champion is now “someone who manages to get around an agility course - doesn't matter if you beat any other competitors”. Apparently these days everyone should be a champion and nothing can be seen as sacred and left for people to have something to aspire to. Imagine if a racehorse was called a champion just for making a lap around the racecourse. There is a reason that Phar Lap was called a champion. Something to do with winning – a lot! And don’t even get me started on what’s been done to the seesaw, or as it shall now be referred to "the baby seesaw". Other than to say it’s an embarrassment for Australian agility and I can just imagine the elite agility nations laughing their arses off at us. If people can’t be bothered training their dogs to do agility as it was intended (like the rest of the world) then go and find another hobby like needlecraft and stop torturing those of us who actually want to achieve something in our sport. What a joke. Think I’ll be entered in a lot more ADAA trials in future. At least they take agility seriously.

Aahhhhh, I love to vent (and before anyone says anything, yes I did attend our states rule review meeting and WA didn't want any of this). What a shame it won't make any difference!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

He's Back!

Finally Sonic is back in the ring and it felt great. We both had a blast. So close to a clear round in Masters Agility but he did his drift off my arm thing and went over an off course jump. No amount of calling or moving my body seems to have any impact when that happens. Then he gave a very tricky Masters Jumping course a pretty good shot with me having to put my hand up for the stuff up. He missed the dog walk contact in Excellent Gamblers in his hurry which was rather naughty but all in all a pretty good day.

I would really have liked for Sonic to have had the opportunity run in another trial before the State Trial but no such luck. There is an ADAA trial on next weekend but Riot and I will be at the Garden Show doing dog training workshops. Riot hasn't done anything for a while so it will be fun for him to get out and do his Better Pets and Gardens thing again. His son Remy will be joining us as my demo puppy. Riot is just too well behaved and people think that they can't achieve the same thing with their own dogs. Plus I think Remy's owners could use a bit of help! From what I'm hearing Remy is quite the handful.