Whats the matter with me, am I getting blasé?
I just went to the club's website that put on last weekend's trial to double check the results for our records that Stel and I actually Qed a wildcard run I thought we had... and I see that the two Q ribbons (wildcard and snooker) I failed to pick up were BLUE!
I always used to rush to get the results... Crowd around the table... Politely waiting for an opening to move in and grab the sheet... We have two shoe boxes jammed with ribbons. I know some people stop collecting the ribbons at some point. I've seen a couple people just take their stickers and put them in a record book... not even bothering with the placement colors except for them big milestone pretty ribbon triumphs. but i forgot to even go in and get a few of the stickers!
I guess I was more about just hanging and running this weekend than being actual results-focussed... A new friend made a place for me in her easy-up in a row of easy-ups of people I am in classes with and I guess people I have known from seeing them at trials, I am getting to know better. Even Stella had a little off leash playdate at the camp site... We did have a couple runs that felt spectacular!
For the record we Qed 8 outta 10 over the weekend. And I took home all our fourth and second place ribbons... evidently forgot the blues. BUT the weekend didn't start out pretty. The first run was Fullhouse and yeeehaaaaw hold onto your hat its all a blurr now and on our first standard run, second run of the day, more yeeehaaaaaw, my RDW sureshooter she blew EVERY single contact---it was shocking, down in a blaze-of-glory NQ.
And also... our last run, kicking myself, I thought about scratching her and I now know next time Stel looks down-in-the-tail, unenthusiastic about warming up to run, just to go with my instincts... I had walked that last jumpers course for a faster happier dog and was way ahead of where I thought I'd be and kind of never got in sync with her, we even had a freeze moment, but ultimately finished the course clean but overtime... it was clearly not fun for her, she was too beat (five runs a day both days is alot) or just fried.
Part of the reason for her frying might have been we overnighted in Pearl and it went down to around 30 during the night... she started at my feet with a sleeping bag over her, but woke up and came and curled up with me really snuggle bunny close in the sleeping bag. Poor girl. And then in the morning she was all territorial and edgy as everybody started arriving, like sleeping there and surviving the cold made it her place.
But, really, over all we had a blast. Some really great runs... and our snooker Q? we were the only 20 incher that Qed and yup, we got all sevens... fun!
I fear my whole cyber RC class will be spent just attempting to transfer Stel from food to toys for fast running on the flat plank... the last two days she hasn't wanted anything to do with the backyard because suddenly it is fly season and she is once again fullblown terrified of the teeny tiny things.
I did make a rabbit-skin-ball toy she was interested in... put it on westcoast Dawn's pulley-leash-prey idea... but oh man, couldn't get it to move fast enough and ended up just plain tossing it which worked better... but by the time I figured that out a fly had sent her fleeing to the back door. (sorry no video of the pulley thing...) It didn't make sense to try to get her to play on the plank while she was so fly stressed... (you'd think flies were the size of dinosaurs or something) tho I did try a little
Something that might work in the future is what I did some of today... I usually take a couple of different toys to the park in the morning because I never know what is going to strike her fancy, be Toy Of Choice. And this morning it was the blue-balloon-dog-squeaky-toy, all the dogs were coveting it today so it came home in my pocket with extra value and I thought I'd go immediately out in back and try it on the plank right away, while it was still THE HOT ITEM... and I did get some good running for it. Problem is I don't know how to "jackpot" with this toy. Other toys I can tug with, but not this one it will rip. So there's no way to convey to her when she's been brilliant other than my voice and affection and I'm not sure its enough. She needs to really know clearly when she's nailed the plank.
We had an unusually frustrating morning on the Trkman Board in the yard... (I will spare anyone reading this the video of that) we were supposed to be at the Daisy Peel seminar at 8:30, but because of the way B was feeling we didn't go, ate the price and I was trying to shut out the little voice in my head as I worked with Stella that was saying if we'd gone we would have gotten some little gem, maybe several little gems from this national champion who trained running contacts with the Trkman Board and handles with the Mecklenberg system. I told my brain to shut up. B is still recovering from her nightmare. Sassie will help us when we get back this fall.
and so then I stopped the training session. Rolled out the hose, watered the new grass, the pinky-winkys... stuck the hose in the ground and flooded the mole tunnels awhile... Stell sat at the bottom of the board the whole time looking at me from across the yard. I can't help thinking she was thinking we weren't done. She doesn't like it when she feels wrong. She wants to get this right. Who knows whats in her brain. But from the way she sat there expectantly, not leaving the board, she was definitely hoping to continue working... So I told myself, what the hell, what do we really have to lose and put the board up to full height.
I was pleasantly surprised.
For a dog not fond of heights, she seemed perfectly happy up on my three-storage box platform, kept running up happily again and again to give the running another go... She gave me better contacts that she had all morning. I used the fuzzy squeaker again... It helps her hit deeper into the contact zone...
and then we finished the morning with some weaving. She's getting her entries more consistently, but coming into them from the right side is still harder for her...
she's getting in... but she's really high
tried a hoop... which at first seemed to make all the difference, but then didn't much
but the weaving this afternoon was awesome... she's doing something different with her feet
...wish I'd had the time to practice 12 before the other six packed up and headed for the west coast
Its been a weird summer for dog training, I mean I had expectations for Stella to be taking two different classes with B and me at CSC in CT, an obedience class too, working in the yard daily on our equipment, and regularly renting ring time to practice & conquer... I was looking forward to team training with B and my sis, and I planned to:
1) get the running contacts solid and start turns
2) get the teeter solid and independent
3) get tight turns over jumps
4) left and right cues on course (we have them as tricks standing but not moving with speed)
5) maybe start demystifying threadles
...but somehow because of several unforeseen events none of this has really happened and we're still just squeezing dog stuff in wherever we can and yesterday my sis and I managed to share a private with Sassie in NJ...
my notes from that:
The Stella Start:
"You know what you have to do..." oh yes, I do... if she breaks, out she goes with no run and no cookies
Or I could just start running with her, no stay...
In class, when training startstay leadouts, practice taking a deep breath and then also raising my arm first before releasing her so she knows the deep breath or arm is not the go cue...
Let her get a little ahead getting on the DW, then accelerate like bat outta hell to beyond end, because if she's really running she won't jump the contacts (she might miss them, but she won't jump em)
when she's on the DW don't cue the next obstacle while she's on the down ramp because it might cause her to jump, cue it before
About a quick right out of the tunnel immediately into the chute (when its hard to get there):
don't panic - when the dog doesn't go right, in this instance there were no possible off courses, so let em turn left to you if they do, set em up and send back left to the chute, a little time lost, no big deal
I had to leave the room a few times on one of our turns because Stella kept getting seized by intense sniff mode after the tunnel--not stress sniffing, but she smelled something there... finally Sassie had me crate away Stella and take Matilda for a spin... I'm not sure what Stella thought of this, but it was fun to put my sis's dog over a few things and something to keep in mind to use if we need to when we're working alternately in the yard
Stella did it. A few times. Sassie gave me her package of some precooked juicy beef to use for the lesson because I forgot Stella's meatballs and then once she got a whiff, Stell was so eager to do the Teeter for it, couldn't wait to do it again and I remarked that Stella was so eager for the Teeter because she was loving the beef, Sassie said something like that people often say - well they're only doing it for those amazing rewards - and really Sassie pointed out that when you ask a dog to do something they think is a little scary well, they expect to be paid...
I'm sure I missed a lot of stuff, unfortunately for me I never pick everything up right away--Sassie reminds me of a fairytale I once read about a girl who every time she spoke all kinds of gems--rubies, pearls, diamonds, saphires, etc. fell out...
Anyhow, Sassie also shot a little video of Stella's DW running contacts (big yay) and my sis/Matilda's pinwheelie turn
Sassie says we essentially "have running contacts if handled right"
I had no idea Stell had these like this in the video... of course she likes being back home at K9 Campus with Sassie AND MAYBE the little bit of Trkman board we HAVE been able to do this summer actually has sunk in...
Apart from agility, here's another reason to be in awe of Sassie: her sixth sense or whatever that is... Before the lesson even started Sassie made this quick casual observation about the way Matilda zoomed in and barked at Stella, checked her, kind've nipped her neck, not in a completely friendly way and its a behavior with variations she does to Stella habitually. anyway, Sassie said to Stella: Is someone picking on you? and then asked me if Matilda was always that way with her... Honestly, their relationship is a whole lot better this summer since my sister has been taking Matilda to dogparks during the year in CA to socialize her, learn the social cues with other dogs playing more and improved her recall... and really we've had bigger stresses to concern us... Mostly they get along great inside or onleash, just not outside playing off leash... and it can escalate quickly... So, I still wish I knew more what exactly was going on between these two dogs and how best to handle it... whatever, I wanted to mention it because I was so surprised Sassie saw it in less than 30 seconds of interaction because we've had any number of people observe the two of them for long sessions so we could get some help and well, no one's really gotten it... I'm hoping Sassie can give us a garnet or even soapstone on it at some point...
Instinct said to just pick it up again and keep going. Raise the board. Stella is comfortable with the current set up in the yard--a wooden bench to the plastic box with rubber mat on the lid. Try a little fuzzy red marker on the board sometimes to make her think about where she is putting her feet. Move it around until you find the right spot to get the right stride. Its not a baggy. Its not a hoop. Its not a piece of tape. I don't know what it is, its probably totally outta line, but its working for us at the moment. So sometimes its there, sometimes its not.
In the video, notice how on the third run she DOES make the running contacts nicely but I screw up and somehow think I see her missing it with one of her long leaping strides... wait a sec, listen - I edited in how she yells at me afterwards which she never does, she never says Hey yo, I deserve my friggin' jackpot what's the matter wit you? but she does it here and I don't know if I should be thrilled or not, but this makes me think she's getting it. Getting some confidence about it. She knows what she did was right. Should get her reward.
This is not to say she is hitting it every time, but I believe she's understanding at least part of this now and legit trying. More good running contacts than not. So we're gonna keep on truckin' that board.
(she was running for her breakfast... i was running for sips of my coffee)
I think she's getting it! This was today. I think really only one jump off the end and to me that one looks like an extended stride instead of her usual big pop.
I do think it helps her to start flat every time and move up fast. Its like getting the rhythm maybe. She is running at the higher reps now but her foot work looks much less confident. so, I think next time I will do two or three flat and then move up much much faster so I can get more reps with height in before she's fried.
Then we screwed around with chutes of jumps... I don't know what I'm doing with the jump set up obviously... the way she plows through the bars until I put the jumps down two inches... she's a good sport
Stella was awesome on the Silvia Trkman board yesterday. It was hot, 80-something, and I didn't know how long she'd last, but I moved the board into the shade and we gave it another go, starting again from zero altitude which I think reminds her what the striding is supposed to be... and then I had to set the bowl a really long distance away to have it also be in shade of the next trees, which I think worked to our advantage for speed because she was thinking distance.
Then... her striding suddenly seemed a little less confident and awkward when I moved the board up the second time to two cinderblocks stacked sideways high. It was still acceptable--I was getting running--but not perfect like it was on the flat or up one sideways cinderblock.
And yet again I see why video journaling the running contacts training is useful, because the moment I replayed it I could see what I couldn't see when I was moving with her---the way the board was bouncing around at that height, it even bounced her off a couple times... poor dog - she was trying and here I was getting all bent outtashape thinking she'd never get the striding right on the incline--but its clearly the bounce throwing her. So I have to go scout out some supports for the next session.
Maybe later today... but in a little while we're heading up to an obedience/therapy dog training brush-up class at CSC because we have to renew our Delta certification or maybe we'll switch, but anyway we have to do it by the end of the year. Unfortunately, its been slow getting the agility going up at CSC. (And, we don't have all our yard equipment here yet--mainly I'm missing the weave poles.) B's teacher is gone next week and my teacher cancelled this week and next, so I haven't been to class since Sassie's K9 Campus classes field trip a couple weeks ago to work at Golden Rule. Or was it longer ago than that? Anyway it was a great outing (Sassie really knows how to keep it interesting) even if Stella was not stellar on the DW and AF, that is, until Sassie let me try her ziploc bag method a couple times... which has been working for Boing! and now it seems, for Stella, so, success with two dogs? that totally makes it genius legit and her method really needs a name...
Bagging Contacts? Zipping Contacts? Locking Contacts? ...keep thinking
We also signed up for an all day CPE games seminar nearby here for next weekend which is great because I still don't get how some of these games are played. We are entered in one trial this summer and just sent entries for a second one yesterday...