Thursday, 29 September 2011

a few pics from nationals

Just a few pictures from the AAC Nationals this year. The shelties, Paul and I traveled down to Oro, Ontario to compete in our second Nationals event. Spryte was still too young to compete, so she came for moral support for the old man.

Things to come

The shelties and I are getting back into Flyball. I haven't gone to a flyball tournament in probably 7 years. But I have some great students who convinced me that things are different now and to give it another go.  So long story short, we have joined the Go All Out! flyball team.  Its a brand new team and  their first tournament will be in November.  Unfortunetly I already have two dog events in November, so Strider will be making the trip to Regina without me. 
  My debut will be in February. I'm very excited as it will hopefully be Spryte's debut too.  She has been working hard on her flyball skills and does a nice box turn and return with the ball. Going to the box she is still a little slow, but only because she is worried about me taking off on her.  Once she figures out the game (and that it is a race!) I think she will waste no time getting down there and back with her ball. 
   We have a practise next Saturday, so maybe I can get a video or picture of the shelties at work.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Another HIT for Spryte!

I haven't had time to add this until today, but just had to brag about another High in Trial for Spryte at the UKC show on Sunday.  A great score of 197 and another really nice performance.  She also took High Novice dog over the entire weekend and Strider took High Open dog and High Veteran from the weekend.  So all in all well worth the trip to Edmonton. I would have liked to have finished a title on either dog, but that is just how it goes sometimes. Guess I will be heading back to Edmonton either in March or next September to hopefully finish things off. Plus they will be offering UKC Rally in September, and I really want to give that a try!

I am off the the Annali Hilton distance seminar this coming weekend. I am so excited to do a workshop with Spryte.  Because I train 99% of the time by myself, I am excited any time I can get someone else's opinion on my dogs and their progress.  Distance skills can often be challening to keep your handling system as consistant as possible without being up near the dog.  It will be good to see what Annali's training methods and handling system are for this complex skill.  I'll have to update after the weekend!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

First time to blogging

Well here I am trying out blogging for the first time. I am sitting in a hotel room in Stony Plain, Alberta after day two of a UKC obedience trial.  With not much to do and a lot of time to kill I thought I might give this a try.

This will be my site for my Shetland Sheepdogs, their accomplishments, our training highs and lows and hopefully a site for our future breeding kennel of shelties.

So onto the Highs and Lows of our trial this weekend.

Friday I headed up to Edmonton after teaching morning obedience and agility group classes.  Feeling very apprehensive as I had basically decided to retire Strider from obedience after completing his MOTCH last spring, and due to Spryte's young age and inexperience in the ring.  We have been focusing on Agility with both dogs, with little interest in doing formal obedience.  But Strider had earned one leg in UKC Open two years ago, I felt like I wanted to finish what I started and now seemed to be the time to do it.  Problem was September turned out to be a crazy busy month with our house selling suddenly, a quick possesion date and the completion of our new home.  All of this meant little training for the shelties.

Well off to Edmonton anyway as I had paid the entries and the hotel was booked. 
Strider was in first in Open and did a great job for an old guy.  He had perfect heeling, no points off for either the heel off leash or the figure 8! I was really impressed, this is a huge thing for us.  Our retrieves were great, even when the dumbbell fell to the right of the jump, Strider had to take the jump, grab the dumbbell and resist coming around the jump to bring it to me.  It was a great moment, showing off some of the proofing we have done in the past.  He did have a crazy moment, when he brought me the dumbbell, threw it at my feet and stood there standing and staring at me.  I was thinking to myself "hmm, wonder how the judge will mark this" when he suddenly got this look like "wait this isnt' right!" and grabbed the dumbbell and sat in the front position with it.  The judge only took 3 points off for that, so not too bad considering.  All in all, he passed the round with a 194.5 and a High in Class.

Spryte was next in Novice.  Spryte is only 16 months old and has had limited ring experience. So far I have been working on Rally obedience with her and my main focus has been to make the ring as fun and positive as possible. This has included feeding whenever allowed, playing and acting goofy and lots of clapping and fun noises.  I didn't want a dog who would stress in the ring or wonder "what happened to mom? why is she so worried".  I have enough ring experience that I think I hold it together pretty well and project confidence towards my dogs.  Anyway she proved to me both days that the ring is defintily a fun place for her to be!
Friday she was a little distracted during the heel on leash, and I didnt get the kind of heeling she is capable of. but again she is young and these things come with time.  She was bouncy and happy and defintily showed off that sheltie animation.  The heel off leash was beautiful and so was the figure 8.  I was elated when she did her recall over the jump and nailed her front and finish! something I always struggled with my other green dogs.  However I was not impressed with her stand for exam, she wants to inspect anyone coming up to examin her and will bend her neck right back to sniff them (which always results in some feet movement).  So its on the list of things that we need to really train in the future.  Her stays were good, but I could tell it was killing her to stay during the honour down, she was fidgety and so wanted to go and see the other dog. So very different from any of the dogs I've had in the past who couldn't care less about other dogs.

Anyway she shocked me with a wonderful performance for such a young dog.  She finished with a score of 197.5 and a High in Class and High in Trial! I was dumbfounded! I truely had little expectations for my baby dog at this show.

So onto the lows.
Today once again Strider was in first.  He had another great run, but did go directly to heel after the drop on recall. cost us 5 points!  but otherwise I was happy with his heeling and attention.  I figured we would get the Q and finish off his title. Well Strider decided it would  be best to keep me humble and decided to lie down on the out of site sit just as the judge said "return to your dogs".  Disapointing but not the end of the world.  I used to get upset and so very sad when something liked that happened. but I've been playing the game long enough now to know that every dog has good and bad days and there WILL be days that you fail. If we all passed all the time it would be too easy and there would be no feeling of accomplishments. So we will keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Spryte performed more like a puppy today, closer to what I expected from her.  She was bouncy and happy and having a really hard time holding it together. Her heel on leash had several forges as she just wanted to run and not stay so controlled.  Heel off leash and figure 8 was way better, but still had tons of her positive attitude.  Another lousy stand for exam, oddly enough both days we have lost no points in the stand for exam, but I dont like her performance and we absolulty need to work on it.  Recall over the jump saw her running and jumping with enthusiasm and losing her accuracy on the front as she was just too excited to do a straight front.  But the downfall today was the honour down.  The working dog was barely in the ring, Spryte was fidgety and swiveling back and forth on her hips and you could just read it in her face as she thought "oh screw it, I can't possibly stay down right now" and she bounded towards me with a huge smile on her face.  what a happy girl :)  I think tomorrow I will run her a bunch before we go in the ring. Maybe get rid of some of that excess energy.
   so no Q for her today either. she is my first dog to fail in Novice.  Again I should be disapointed but I'm really not.  She is young and really not ready for showing yet.  She is not rock solid, but I brought her because I attend so few UKC trials that I didnt want to miss it with her. Besides its a really small, quiet show and absolutly perfect for a green dog. I know we have lots to work on and it will be many months before she does CKC obedience. but I really think this little girl has tons of potential and definitly the right attitude to make it to the top in all our sports.

so all in all so far a very interesting weekend.  The club is great as always and I am having a wonderful time.  Everyone is always so much fun and so supportive no matter what the outcome is.  I will continue to come out and compete in UKC trials thanks to them and their work to put on the show.  They plan on holding rally at their next show, so more incentive for me to make the trek up to Edmonton.

well here's the end of my first blogg and here's hoping tomorrow brings two Q's and a new CDX!