Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Video of Open runs

Here are the videos of our two Open runs.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Camrose Show

This weekend Wendy and I took Spryte and Snap up to Camrose for their CKC dog show.  I was showing both shelties in the conformation ring and Spryte was showing in Open B in obedience. 

This was Spryte's very first time in the Open ring and I was nervous!  We have had some pretty rocky moments with her dumbbell retrieve over the last few months and there have been several times were I really wondered if she would compete in Open at all this year.   I was worried that she might not be ready.  But since our practises lately have been going really well I decided to go for it and see how she does.

Well I couldn't be happier with the results from this weekend.  Spryte qualified in both her Open rounds with very nice scores of 198 and 197 and a third and fourth place finish.  Spryte showed like a super star!  She was confident and happy throughout her runs.  I didn't have any issues with her dumbbell retrieves and we didn't loose any points for mouthing.  I was so pleased!  Wendy videoed the runs, I'll post the link on here when they are on line.

Unfortunately conformation was not kind to us this weekend.  Neither dogs won anything and both got dumbed both days.  Frustrating but that's how it goes.  Spryte showed well.  She amazed me with her versatility.  One minute she was in the conformation ring gaiting beautifully and perfectly stacked, and the next minute we are racing to the obedience ring were she gives me a stellar performance.  This is a dog that knows her job!

 Snap handled her first show very well.  She patiently stood on the table and endured all the fluffing and primping only requiring the occasional cookie to keep her spirits up.  The ring was a little more  intimidating to her and she was reluctant to gait out for the go arounds.  However when it came time for the table she stood beautifully, and she stacked very nicely during the lineups.  For such a young puppy she handled her first show very well. 

After each day we took the girls out back to the field to run and play.  Here are some pics of them just "being dogs"

Friday, 1 March 2013

International handling lesson

There is this great agility group in Edmonton called Blast agility.  They are a group headed by Justine Davenport, an amazing agility handler that has been on the world team too many times to count!  The club prides themselves on their ability to handle the hardest of the international courses.  They live for threadles, backsides and all sorts of tricky handling moves.

I'm up in Edmonton this weekend with the Shelties for a CKC agility trial. While up here I decided it would be great to get a training session in with one of these ladies.  I booked a lesson with Jessica Patterson,  a very talented agility handler and a member of this years world team.  I wanted to work on international skills, the type of stuff you don't normally see in our AAC or CKC agility courses.  But they are fun skills, challenging and worth learning how to execute properly.

It came down to 4 skills that the dogs need to be able to do independently:

Wraps, from any angle, with minimal support from me. I should be able to send my dogs and run away.  Luckily wraps are something that we do work a lot.  The only difference is that I need to work more on the multiple wraps that Sylvia Trkman does around a pole. My dogs need to keep on wrapping until I stop cueing it.  This should tighten up my turns and teach Spryte how to bend her body.

Backsides of jumps. Again this is a skill we have been working on, and Spryte made me proud showing off her awesome backside abilities. I need to work more on having her do it across the face of the jump, and I need to be able to leave and have her complete the job no matter what my body position or motion is saying.

Running past obstacles while I call her name. Wow is that a hard skill!  As a lot of you know, snooker is not our game! Having Spryte run past an obstacle and not take it is just not in her nature.  But it is a skill that we are just going to have to learn. So from now on if I want her to take an obstacle I am actually going to have to name it on course ("over").  Where up until now I only speak if I need to get her attention and call her off an obstacle.  The international style handling is almost the opposite. If I name the obstacle she can take it, if I'm calling her name, run past it too me.  This will need work.  LOTS of work.

Lastly I need to work on my threadle skills. I don't enjoy threadles. I would rather push my dog through a gap than pull her.  It just works better for both of us.  But now I need to work harder on those threadles.  And to top it off  I am supposed to do it all on one hand!  Yikes, that will take some adjusting to as well.

We did some blind cross stuff too.  But I was surprised at how little they use it.  I was expecting most of the lesson to be on blind cross skills as that seems to be the rage right now.  In their system they will use blind crosses when an obstacle is turning the dog already, otherwise they just stick to front crosses. The theory being that the dog notices it sooner and isn't caught off guard. Ensuring that tight turn and confidence from the dog.  I was fine with that, as I still prefer front crosses on most turns.

Oh the other difference was that they avoid rear crosses whenever possible. I'm ok with this too as I prefer to be in front of my dog and have my dog follow me around the course. Their theory being that the dog should chase you around the course. This leads to faster dogs and more efficient handling.

So all in all it was a great lesson with lots of information, drills to practise and skills to perfect.  Justine and Jessica are planning on coming down to Calgary for some lessons in the near future. I will definitely have to get in on those and try out my new skills on some tricky courses.