Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lesson and Lucy's European heritage

Lucy's start line stay is starting to deteriorate! Oh my she broke a million and one times tonight. That'll teach me for taking it for granted.

In other news, Lucy's true heritage has finally been discovered! I was looking through the hounds on wikipedia and came upon some photos of Polish Hounds, which I had never heard of before. Check out these two photos of Polish Hounds, also known as Ogar Polskis:

And here's Lucy (this photo is kind of washed out):

If the breed wasn't on the rare side, I'd almost think she was of Polish Hound heritage. The markings seem spot on. But, her ears don't have the rounded beagly look, her muzzle is too fine, her tail too fluffy, at 46 pounds she's on the lightly built side for this heavier set breed which is supposed to be 50 pounds and up, and I'm sure a million other differences that my uneducated eyes don't see. Ok, who am I kidding, just about any hound/shepherd mix could pass for the same thing. I guess Lucy's just a mutt after all ;^D

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lesson: Distance Challenge, part 2

Worked on the same DC setup as last week, a few of the same exercises plus some new ones. Never even tried to use the harder green line, and sometimes stayed with the easier blue line and sometimes went past it. Figure 5 (3 to 4 in particular) went much much better this time. Figure 7: 2 to 3 was a bit hard at first, but after some patterning she did pretty good. Figure 8: Ok, but gauging the best amount of "here" to use from 3 to 4 was hard. I think we skipped Figure 9. Figure 10: She was feeling pretty good, getting more comfortable with it all. We stopped there.

Two of the dogs were absent today, so we let Sammy and Lucy play and chase each other a few times during/after the lesson. They had the most fun creating games with the tunnel, sometimes playing King of the Castle, sometimes diving into it in tandem, sometimes running round and round. The instructor pointed out the high drive level she had with the tunnel while playing with Sammy and to work towards having that drive all the time.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Stage One Distance Workshop with Jane Newman-Ralph

Jane is a 65 year old woman based out of Kingston, Ontario or thereabouts who runs agility with a very fast border collie and relies extensively on working at a distance. While I like the running part of agility, it never hurts to have some nice distance skills, so I signed up for a working spot with Lucy. I chose Lucy over Walter to accompany me for this workshop because the prerequisite is a dog with a good start-line stay, which Walter most certainly does not have.

I must say, it was an excellent workshop. It was limited to six working spots, and we sure got our money's worth since everyone was working practically the whole time. I really liked how the exercises were broken down into their most basic components, and we had lots of time to work through each one. A really nice feature was that we received an extensive handout including all of the layouts and exercises we had worked on plus more, so no need to try to work your dog and take notes at the same time.

Tried a new toy today: a food tube! Actually it's a Viewtainer, available from your local hardware supply store. It was a great tool, being easy to throw accurately and, being fabric-free, it didn't get all grungy from the dirt floor. The down side is it broke after two hours of Lucy pouncing on it in subzero temperatures, but at $3.67 I think I can afford another.