Saturday, January 31, 2009


Andrea over at Agility Addict posted some really nice quotations. Several of them hit home when I think about Lucy and where we're at in agility right now. Thanks Andrea for the inspiration :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back to agility practice

Lucy had a nice long break from all things agility until recently. She joined Walter's every-other-week practice group today and last time. Not working on anything specific right now, just basic stuff, front crosses, simple lines.

However, she won't be touching an a-frame until we've done all the pvc box groundwork. Depending on how that goes, it may mean she will have had a full year hiatus from a-frames as her last one was in September!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lucy's new sport and blog

Lucy has started rally-o. So, of course I had to start a new blog for her rally adventures. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

A-frame box resources

Mentioned some of these a while ago, but have come across a few new ones too, so here they all are in one place. If you know of more a-frame box resources, let me know and I'll gladly add them here.

The following links take you to people who are training or have trained their dog's frame with the a-frame box. Interesting to see people's different experiences* and the variety of breeds working with the method.
*Disclaimer: Although these videos use a pvc box on the a-frame, the methods shown may or may not follow the method/criteria outlined in Rachel Sanders' a-frame box program.

Running frame DVD

During Lucy's a-frame hiatus I've flip flopped a lot in my thoughts about what to do with her frame.

One option would be to drop her to specials where she'd have a lower frame, in which case maybe I would go back to 2o2o since she loves knowing exactly what her job is, and 2o2o really fits that bill. But, she never really seemed comfortable performing 2o2o so maybe that's not the best option.

Briefly experimented last spring with a hoop and running frame but realized it would take hundreds of reps and would she really understand what the criteria is when the hoop is removed?

Rachel Sander's article last spring Clean Run describing her a-frame box method looked interesting. I made a box and started a bit of flatwork with Lucy last summer but had some problems even at the beginning stage so we didn't make much progress. Then her DVD came out and after thinking about it, finally decided what the heck, why not get it and learn more about the method. So, I finally got around to ordering it and got it this week.

Watched it through once the other day and really like the program. Will watch it more closely again when we start to work through it. One drawback to this method is there is a prop which will need to be faded, BUT there is the benefit of having what seems to be a clearly understandable criteria, without the need for hundreds of repetitions which some running contact methods seem to require. There's definitely no room for an a-frame in my house or yard and we can't get to the practice field every day, so anything needing lots of reps isn't an option. Compared to 2o2o, which also has the benefit of not requiring a lot of reps, I can see Lucy digging the box method a lot more than 2o2o. So, I've pretty much decided to go with this option for her frame re-train.

It will be a lot of work, but hopefully I can get in gear this year and give it a go!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goals yesterday and today

These are the goals I set for Lucy last January:

  • Regain her worry-free teeter and dogwalk (she had freaked herself out on a teeter which translated into dogwalk fear as well)
    Woo hoo! Done.

  • Add tunnel/contact discriminations to skill set
    Nope, didn't work on that at ALL.

  • Add "out" to skill set
    Nope. Hardly worked on that at all.

  • Add soft weave entry to skill set
    Nope. Didn't work on that at all except for maybe a few living room sessions.

  • Take time out (from trials) at some point to train a running frame
    Procrastination won out despite Lucy telling me loud and clear that she needed this. Unfortunately I didn't listen until she had to practically scream it to me. She has been on trial and a-frame hiatus since September.

  • Achieve fully independent contacts
    Nope. Hardly worked on that at all.

  • It'd be nice to get her up to Masters in some events to reduce ring conflicts with Walter.
    Nope. She got partway there in Snooker and Jumpers, except with the new rules now she'll need two more Qs before moving up. (Which is fine by me.)

  • To keep her agility tail wagging.
    Nope. She kept her happy table, thank goodness, but a combination of a-frame stress and a general lack of practice led to quite a few stressed out, unhappy runs that I'm not proud of. My poor dog!
Well, 2008 sure was a good lesson that things don't always go as planned. With the exception of that last one and the frame issue, I'm not bothered by any of our failed goals because the plain fact is Lucy got next to no practice last year, which was really focused on improving Walter's skills. (For most of our green fee season it's too hot to leave a dog in the car, and it can be a hassle to dig out the big clunky metal crate from the bottom of the trunk every time, so most of the time I brought just one dog to the practice field and 9 times out of 10 that dog was Walter.)

Moving on to goals for 2009:
  • To get her agility tail wagging again.
Yep, that's it, that's all! : )