Saturday, September 13, 2008

All Dogs trial

Three runs today:

Advanced Team: Signed her up for this back when I was feeling more optimistic :-D Fortunately, our draw partner who has a nice little Pyr Shep was totally easygoing and both our dogs totally screwed up so no one let anyone down. They took the first part which meant that Lucy didn't have to do the frame and that I wouldn't have to deal with getting a hold of her in the box. Well, Lucy had her sights set on the nearby offcourse dogwalk on the opening line. We must have had a few other goofs but I didn't write it down and now the day's details are a fuzzy blur. Oh but I do remember that she held 2o2o on both dogwalks (the offcouse and the legit one) but she was sniffing the ground both times while in 2o2o. Good news is that she happily waited for me before exiting the ring.

Advanced Snooker: Just what I was hoping for: There was no frame on the course, yay! Our opening was the #7 teeter twice and the #2 tunnel. Lucy was slow and unpeppy but somehow we made it through to the end of the closing even though she *walked* through the weaves. So a Q for Lucy but not exactly our best ever performance.

Advanced Jumpers: This was at the end of a long day. If only my dogs would be able to sleep in their crates/xpens during their downtime. Anyway, let's just say man did my pom-poms get a workout. Halfway through the course, however, she went to the fence and started sniffing at the grass. Clearly she was not into this run so I put an end to the torture for all involved and signalled to the judge that we were done. Lucy's fence-sniffing was strange behaviour as usually when she's stressed or just not into a run she heads straight for the exit gate, but the fence she went to sniff at was at the opposite end of the ring and even when we went running to the exit I had to really cheerlead her to get her to break into a canter.

Later at home I looked at her feet out of curiosity and noticed a cut on her left rear pad which was definitely sensitive to the touch. No idea when or how she got it as it wasn't there a few days ago when I trimmed her nails, and she hadn't been limping. Surely to goodness this injury played a role in today's performance, my poor Lucy. She has gotten strange cuts like this before including once shortly before a trial from which I therefore scratched her, $45 down the drain but obviously the right thing to do. So, I vow from here on to inspect her feet before every single run to make sure there are no cuts.

As usual, she was a joy to hang out with, and she even got some compliments on her sweetie-pie good looks from a very nice woman who was taken with her. Lucy loves everyone so she was glad to soak up the lovin' and it was nice that for once it was her instead of Mr. Fancypants Walter who got the attention of a stranger. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Practice - Discovery!

If I haven't been blogging much about Lucy's agility practices this year it's because, well, we haven't been doing very much of it. I've been really focusing on developing a number of skills with Walter this year so as usual Lucy's agility training has taken a back seat. Taking both dogs to practice at the same time involves digging out the heavy crate from the bottom of the trunk and setting it up and I've just been too lazy this summer. So I take her out with Walter from time to time when it's cool enough and shady enough that the dogs can wait in the car while it's the other dog's turn. We've done simple little sequences but that's about it, haven't worked on skills development at all. Sad but true. (But, she is my main focus in flyball, and I would love to get into rally with her at some point... so hopefully it all evens out in the end?)

Anyway, today I decided to see what would happen if at one of our usual practice fields (BF) I treated it like a trial run: We did our typical warmup exercises and I left our treat bag outside the ring, no treats inside the ring. Then we ran a simple standard course. Well, lo and behold, we had the same issues we have at trials! Where she seemingly tunes out now and then, running around aimlessly for a bit; where she sometimes locks onto obsacles in front of her instead of turning with me; where she runs toward the exit gate.

So, could it be that the issues we've been having simply come down to a lack of practice? Geez when I think about it she gets a heck of a lot more flyball practice time and flyball is the same darn thing again and again and again, none of the complexity and variety that's found in agility.

Looking at it that way, it all makes sense. Too bad it took me to the end of the season to figure it out. Oh and there is still the frame retraining issue which will need to be addressed.

Hopefully next year I'll get back on track with her as Walter has made good progress on his skills development this year (weaves aside, ahem!!) so he can take more of a backseat next green fee season.