Sunday, July 27, 2008

Krazy Kanines fun match

Today was the Krazy Kanines (our agility club)'s first ever fun match. Lucy ran a starters and advanced standard and the starters gamble. I ran her at 16" instead of 22" because, well, just because. It was fun and the bonus is that some photographers took a bunch of photos of everyone and their photos are free to use as we please. So, here are a bunch of Lucy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Club practice

Tonight for the first time I asked someone to run Lucy for a bit, just to see how she'd do with that. Sure enough, all it took was a bit of pre-run bonding involving a cheese string or two, and she subsequently followed her new handler around like magic. It was neat to have an observer`s perspective on her for a change. She's such a funny dog, so bouncy and happy when she's having fun.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

K9 Kup!

This was Lucy's first K9 Kup of the year, having missed the June one due to an ear infection. K9 Kup consists of a series of unsanctioned agility matches held over the summer, with a team-based approach, geared towards novices with all courses at the Starters level. We have a great bunch of teammates so it's really fun :-)

I've been looking forward to running her in K9 Kup because it's a lot easier to not stress myself out too much since each run costs about $3 in contrast to $15+ at a sanctioned trial. So it's easier to really just think of it as a fun outing as opposed to a Q being at stake. So yeah of all of this to say I was hoping that Lucy would appreciate the less stress-inducing vibes from me :-)

First was Jumpers, in the wall-less ring. I led out one obstacle to help with a tricky opening, and she did only a wee bit of sniffing the ground around her while waiting to be released. Then off we went, and she was feeling great! She was with me the whole time and didn't get that stressy look I've come to know, yay! She even came to me as we exited the ring, like she did last summer before the stressiness started, rather than running out by herself (as she did in the following run, Gamblers). I was thrilled that her happy agility face came out for this run. Oh and I really must practice that lead-out thingy, not sure what it's called (not a lead-out pivot... you can see it better on Walter's video...); I was in the wrong place and super late on it with both Lucy and Walter. Hey here`s a brag: Lucy`s time was bested by only a handful of bcs. But the fact that she was running happy is far more important to me :D

Next was Gamblers. My plan kind of went to pieces and I made the mistake of not going with her flow so she started to get that stressy look and our connection kind of went out the window, but at least she didn't go running around aimlessly too much or head for the exit before we were done. She did however run out of the ring by herself at the end, something she typically does when she's had a stressful run. Man it's tough being a dog eh. Especially the dog of a handler who doesn't know what they're doing.

Last was Standard. Another really good run with none of her stress symptoms (other than mild startline stuff), yay! At one point a third of the way through the course had us heading towards the exit gate, and I think I saw her briefly consider exiting as an option, but she chose instead to take the tunnel and keep playing with me, yay!

Sorry for all the yay!s but I am very happy that Lucy was happy in the ring today, back to her old self.

Note, her happy runs (Jumpers and Standard) were the ones that she ran clean in and her not-so-happy run was the one where she deviated from my plan even though it really wouldn't have mattered (Gamblers). I really must learn to go with the flow with her because when she knows she made a mistake is, it seems, when she starts to get stressy.

Frame-wise: I know we probably shouldn't be doing the frame while it's being retrained, so we didn't do it in Gamblers but I let her do it in the Standard. Bad me.

Videos of our runs:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A-frame box update

We've done several sessions in the living room over the last few weeks. The first part went fairly well with C&Ting for going fully in the box, then throwing the treat outside the box. Found it a bit cramped when moving to the part where I stand several feet away from the box in various positions, so we brought it outside. Outside it didn't go so well; after being released from her sitstay she would come to me instead of going to the box. I wonder if part of the problem is that my box doesn't have the riser corners so it kind of disappears in the grass. To fix that I have bought some sponges to put at the corners so it sits a bit higher up. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet.