Friday, December 28, 2012

"Early" Morning Training

I say "early" because we got together at 10, which is the earliest I have been up and at em all Christmas season.  Being dressed, fed and dogs walked done by 9:30 was an achievement all by itself.  Chad and I stayed up late watching a movie on Net  flicks so I REALLY didn't feel like getting up.  Anyway Bonnie, Denise and I worked separately and then got together for a set of stays.  Chad was in the hall doing some odd jobs that included being up on a ladder.  In the middle of our down stay, we heard a big thump and turned around to find that the ladder had slipped off the agility table and fell onto two kennels (with Bonnie's dogs in them!).  Chad was now hanging onto the ladder.  We all ran over to stabilize the ladder and get Chad off of it.  Chad was fine, Bonnie's dog's were fine and when we turned around our dogs were still doing a down stay!! Good dogs... That took care of the proofing and distractions element of the training session.

I did articles with Ribbon again and she was perfect.  On one article she picked up a wrong article and carried with her while she continued to search and switched it when she found the correct article.  Again today I did fronts and finishes, about turns and recalls.  I also did some broad jumps and retrieves.  All in all I am really thrilled with how she is working and getting more and more excited about our upcoming trials.

Once training was done Bonnie and I took our dogs on the trails at the back of our property.  The dogs were tired, covered in snow and perfectly happy.

My plan for the rest of the day is to watch the junior game (taped - please don't tell me the result) and then I also have some taped tennis to watch.  Good Day!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday training

Today was day one of four days in a row of training that I have planned.  After Christmas and all the holiday eating and sitting around, it was hard to get going, but Ribbon was pretty keen so once we started it was really fun.  We started with articles - which are completely loose!!! I always find that stage rewarding and exciting - she is a big girl now!! She made one mistake, but she did bring back the last number I had scented, so understandable that she would be interested in that.  Other than than, she was terrific!! Growled and bombed back to me with her metal article - made me laugh out loud! We practiced heeling, fronts, finishes (which are coming along great, nice lift out of the front position and tonnes of attitude).  I did some open stuff (retrieves and broad jump).  For heeling games I have been teaching a weave walk, which I have never bothered to do before, but because Ribbon is little I thought I would try it.  She seems to find it fun, but I need to speed it up so that I can keep walking while she does it. Currently I have to pause as she is doing it.  I am also teaching her to drive upwards on her about turns.  I was thinking about how I can improve this turn, as it starts to get a little loose from time to time. So I have decided to teach Ribbon that on her about turn head cue that she may be asked to jump up as she drives around me.  It is going quite well.

My only problem is that my right knee is really bothering me and I am finding that my handling is suffering.  I feel like I am drifting into my dog all the time.  Tomorrow I am going to take Advil before training and see if that helps.  I would also like to video tape tomorrow's training session.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

a done deal

Well, I finally wrote my obedience judge's test.  I wrote it on Friday before Christmas.  I was studying like crazy and was getting myself quite bent out of shape about how it would go and how I would feel if I failed any part of the test.  The test is made up of 4 parts; General, novice, open and utility.  I was most worried about the general section, which sounds silly but because I have not been a member of any clubs, I have never served as trial secretary and I don't pay much attention to what is on the cover of the premium list or what is inside it.  I had spent a lot of time putting all the principle features and different level of deductions on a spreadsheet and found that to be really helpful.  On my way to the test I was getting quite nervous then on the radio was a dedication to the children and adults that were killed the week previous in the school shooting.  I was very moved by the dedication and it also made me put things in perspective.  If I failed the test, I would just take it again.  But I still had my husband and son to go home to that afternoon when some people didn't.  I was being silly.

The test went rather well.  I think I passed every section.  You need to get 85% to pass.  I don't think I got it perfect but I am feel pretty confident that I will be able to move onto the next stage, which is the oral test.  My CKC Rep. thought that I would hear by the end of January.  Fingers crossed.  It was nice to have it done with.  I got to read my novel and not feel guilty that I should be studying.  I actually fell asleep in the bath reading the rulebook and it got all wet!!!

Now back to training my dogs.  Ribbon is entered in a few weeks and both she and Gali are entered in Feb for more trials.  If Gali passes both his trials in rally that will put him halfway to his RAE.

I have some plans to train tomorrow and then again on Friday, mixed in with taking down all the Christmas decorations in the training hall and getting ready for classes in the New Year.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting ready for Hamburg and other things

It feels odd to be thinking about trialling again, but we are entered in Hamburg, NY for four days starting on Jan 09th.  It feels weird to be thinking about showing on a WEDNESDAY... I wonder what the vibe will be like?  Will it be quiet like we are all playing hooky and don't want to get caught or will it feel like a vacation day?

We had our Christmas party at the training hall on Saturday and it was really fun.  Loved spending time with the people I have gotten to know over the years and only get to see for a hour or so each week.  Now we are starting to decorate the house and get ready for Aydon's birthday party.  At some point I should start Christmas shopping?!?! So in the middle of all of this I am organizing my training plan to get Ribbon ready for her American CD. We are entered four days in a row, so I am hoping that she can complete her Novice title and then I can move her up to Open for the last day.  I know she will enjoy doing her open work and it will be a nice change from three days of novice.  And why waste one trip in  the ring to a forth novice leg when she could easily get her first Open leg?

My plan includes:
Spontaneous games while heeling to increase attitude and duration
Turn work with a few of my pylon drills.  These also build teamwork
Games for finishes - this is one area that I would like to improve on with Ribbon, her finishes are adequate - she is brisk and accurate, but I want her be quick and accurate!
Recalls, I want to make sure she doesn't drop on her Novice recall.  With the bigger ring size in AKC I can practice some really long recalls and have some fun with her.

Ribbon has decided to dump all of her coat, so she won't be very fluffy, but she will always but cute and fun to work with.

Other things that are going on include:
Day of Drills - I have organized three dates (two of which are already full) to concentrate on games along with proofing and distractions. I am tailor making the day's plan based on what people tell me they want to work on, so we should get a large variety of things to work on.  One day in Novice and Open, the second day is Novice and Utility and the third day is going to cover all levels.  This last date is in February and is the only one with space in it.
Belleville seminar - This is Feb 2/3.  I think this is my forth year visiting this club and I am really looking forward to seeing everyone again.  I believe we are doing run throughs the first day and I am going to critique handling and then build the content for Sunday based on Saturday.  Should be A LOT of fun!
HDOC/LOC Trials - These will be Ribbon's first trials of the year at the Open level.  Our plan is to trial one weekend every month, while we get ready to do utility, hopefully in the fall of 2013.
New edition of Rally On - I am almost done this version of my rally book.  I am looking towards a March publishing deadline.  This book will include CKC and AKC.  This first edition was published before CKC rally even existed.  Can't wait to see it in print - always exciting!

After that it will be spring and maybe I can get to some herding trials with Maddie!!
Happy Training!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ribbon Rocks!!!

This weekend Ribbon made her Open debut.  Obviously based on the title of this post she did quite well for herself.  I am so proud of her I can't even express it.  Here is the rundown of the events of the weekend.
Saturday - Trial One
Ribbon warmed up very nicely.  We were starting with routine number 3, it begins with retrieve on the flat, followed by drop on recall.  I knew things were going to go well as soon as I set up.  Ribbon made full eye contact as if she wanted to know what exercise we were going do.  I showed her the dumbbell.  This exercise went perfectly, Ribbon came in crooked and straightened herself out into a perfect front and followed that up with a perfect finish.  Her drop on recall went really, really well, only losing 1/2 point on a finish.  By the third exercise I realized that we were in the middle of a REALLY nice run.  I kept her up by playing between exercises and not leaning over her while interacting with her.  This tends to push her away from me and I have to learn not to do this.  Her heeling was spectacular and her broad jump was PERFECT!  We only had stays left and that went fine, even though when I left her on sit stay, she started shaking her head so I thought we might be in a bit of trouble.  The end result was a 198.5 and she had to win a four way run-off for first place!! This also gave her a HIT.  The ribbon is bigger than she is!!!

Saturday - Trial Two
It was getting late in the day, we were the second last dog of the day.  I knew Ribbon was tired so decided to use a new motivator.  My friend Susie had some steak, so I used some in my warm up.  I had her playing on her leash and she was really pumped up, then the judge had some questions to answer and a few second delay turned into almost two minutes.  I put Ribbon back in her kennel and when we finally got to go in, I had lost her a little bit.  Once we were in the ring she worked quite nicely.  On the very first exercise, the retrieve on flat, as she was approaching front, she let out a big burp and the dumbbell fell out of her mouth (I blame Susie for this !!!). However, she quickly picked it up and gave me a perfect front.  The rest of the run went okay.  Her heeling was a little loose, but she did give me another perfect broad jump. For whatever reason she ticked the jump on the return.  So we ended up with a 194.

Sunday - Trial Three
The judge had selected routine #5, which begins with retrieve over high jump, followed by drop, the flat retrieve then heeling, then broad jump.  On the high jump we had a crooked front.  All the other exercises went quite well, her heeling was quite good.  The floor was quite slippery and Ribbon slipped on take off for the broad jump and ticked it on the landing.  Many dogs completely wiped out, so I was lucky that it was only a tick, but it did cost us a point.  I was disappointed to find out after the stays that she only got a 196.5.  I thought it should have been higher, but it was her CDX and I was still really happy with my dog.

Sunday - Trial Four
We were going to do routine #2, which is the traditional routine backwards and the judge had set up the ring in the formation of a fan, which is one of my favourite ring set ups.    The rings were running close together, so we did our run within about 10 minutes of our other run.  I took her out for a pee, made sure her feet were dry.  Watched the pattern and then we were in.  I had her do some elevated retrieves, so that her rear legs were warmed up for jumping and in we went.  A perfect broad jump started us off nicely.  Crooked front over the jump, flat retrieve was perfect and then on the drop she didn't sit on the front.  This is really unusual for her, so I may have been leaning over her - that cost us two points and a had a small lag after the left turn on the heeling.  Then we were up for the last set of stays a few minutes later.  I was worried that she was tired and she might lay down, so I played with her and got out a new motivator - the TIM BIT!! She was pretty happy about this.  She was great and ended up with a 196.

I am so proud of how steady Ribbon worked in the ring.  She did show some of her inexperience, but that's okay because she is inexperienced.

Our next venture is our American CD in January and then my plan is to show in Open one weekend a month for 2013.  That should give her lots of experience.  What a great girl - I am so lucky!!