Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My awesome new clicker trick

is not going well. I want to get Icon to blink on command or close his eyes on command, however he is definitely not getting it. I tried this previously with Apollo as he was recovering from TPLO surgery. I thought it was a great trick to teach him where he didn't have to move. He didn't get it either, but I figured it was because he wasn't very bright :)

But really, I think it's hard for dogs to link something they do reflexivly to a reward. I've started to blow at him to see if a more consious effort of closing his eyes will make it more obvious. We'll see.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Back to basics

Well it's no secret that I've been floundering for motivation on what to work on with Icon. I went through a phase of not even really wanting to practice agility, although I guess during that time I did set up a few things in my back yard with weaves and the *new* triple but I really wasn't into it so it made for less-than-productive training sessions.

So last night I decided that if I can't decide what to work on, we'll just go back to basics and see what happens from there. After all, you're only as good as your foundation skills and it never hurts to make sure they're still intact. It's so easy to lose them once you start competing!

So I started with going back to the teeter. I decided that my final goal (see? it only took me about 5 minutes from deciding to go back basics to formulating a formal goal) I wanted to have him driving to the end of the teeter when it's facing a wall (or probably hedges in my back yard) . Since I knew we weren't there yet in this session I wanted go back and work the teeter with me in all positions again (send, recall, run with on each side, front cross after, rear cross before, move away lateral, and parallel lateral distance). We were fine so long as I was running with him, but the send/recall and lateral distance (where I didn't pass the end of the teeter) SUCKED. He didn't even go as far as the end.

So, back a step!

I got our target out. It became obvious right away that we had forgotten that a nose touch is supposed to be part of the performance! Not that I'm surprised or really expected it at all because the last time I asked for a nose touch on any equipment was....ooooooh... probably about a year ago.

It didn't take us long to figure it out again, although it seems that he was just humoring me at first. But finally we started getting the drive I remember from all positions. I will continue with this a bit before I start moving it towards the hedges.

I would also like to start a similar process with the weaves and dogwalk. But I haven't yet.

I did spend some time going 'back to basics' with one jump work for tight turns a la Nancy Gyes. But it hasn't been so long since we stopped doing that so he was pretty good.

Monday, July 21, 2008


ok, so the shuttle drops me off and I walk over to where my bike was locked up. What's there? Nothing. Nothing but a cut lock. Damn. Well it was an old messed-up bike anyway. It was supposed to have 21 gears but only 2 work. It will probably cost them more to fix it than it's worth. So my bike will likely end up in a ditch somewhere. Cold, tired and abandoned. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes!

So I had to walk home. It's not far, just about 3 miles maybe. And of course I stopped at safeway on my way home for a steak and some wine!

But as I walked in the house I realized that Polly wasn't ready to let me be done for the day. He had somehow found a lovely rose-scented bar of soap, which he had eaten and proceeded to puke up on my carpet. Thanks Polly! I wanted nothing more than to get out the steam cleaner and clean up rose scented puke. You're the best!

What a wonderful day

Life sure doesn't like to stand still, does it? This morning I woke up to another day at work, only to check my blackberry to see that my company is being bought out by Roche. The senior executives at Genentech had no clue the offer was coming, and neither did I! It's basically a done deal, just the price has to be decided. The reason for this is that Roche is already a 56% majority holder in Genentech, and there's not much that we poor people can do about it. On the bright side, stock went waaaaay up today. I even sold some :) And most people feel that it will go waaaaay up still until the takeover is complete. So, maybe I'll make some money out of it. The bad news is that Roche is notorious for consolidating and laying people off. More good news - the are also notorious for having good severance packages and I hate my job right now so I'm not sure I would even mind so much.

The next "fun" thing to happen to me was that the bus that I take to work now got into an accident on the way home. We rear-ended a car, who I think had already been in an accident. The bus was fine, but the car pretty much totaled. The bus is actually now taking us the rest of the way home. Later than normal though :(

But what does this have to do with my dogs or agility? Well nothing really, except the possibility that it might affect my ability to Feed Polly.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Feelings of guilt

At work I am notorious for coming in late. If I'm in by 9:30 my manager celebrates. Most people think that I probably wake up at 9am and hop in the car, but that's just not true! I would get up at 6:30 (ish), have a cup of coffee or five, then take the dogs to the park for their morning run around, come back home and have another cup of coffee, shower then finally head to work. But recently my company started offering a bus shuttle from the park and ride near my house to work. Since I drive my SUV 60 miles a day (both ways) and cross a bridge, I figure I'll be saving over $400 a month taking the shuttle 4 days a week (I can't take it 5 since one day Icon comes with me for class). BUT. The shuttle leaves at 7am, which means I get up at 5:45 and leave to catch it by at least 6:40, which doesn't leave me enough time to take the dogs to the park. The most they get now is a quickie walk around the block, which I only do because otherwise Polly refuses to pee for me. So they are gettin gway less exercise now. And then when I get home from work I always have the best intentions of taking them to the park, but I'm soooo exhausted I just don't have the energy so I end up playing with them in the back yard. Anyway, I really feel guilty about the lack of exercise they're getting. But I did take them to the park last weekend and the grass is so brown and dead I think it would be hard on their feet to run on it, so maybe it's for the best.... yeah. I'll just keep telling myself this :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Polly's official!

my house

When I was checking the value of my home on www.zillow.com (ugh, boy it's fallen in value) I found this lovely photo of my house taken, probably April 2007. I thought it was cute because there are agility jumps in the back yard. I must have just been starting jumping stuff with Icon since they are in a rather simple configuration.

It's interesting to see the changes that have happened to my house since then. A huge hunk of the cement is gone and replace with grass. I did that last July-September... what a pain in the ass that was! The Loquat and 2 apple trees that are barely visible along the back fence beside the outdoor shelter are gone (but I have 3 stumps I don't know what to do with now!) and the biggest change is that there is no more honda civic in my driveway since Jay has moved out! Haha.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Time off and other stuff

So Canby didn't go quite as well as I hoped. No semi-finals bye's in GP for Polly OR Icon! Both E'd! Haha. Oh well. Otherwise I was very happy with them.

Last weekend we were at the 3-day Bay Team USDAA trial. Icon went in needing a snooker, gamblers, pairs for his ADCH and he managed to get them all :) That was really nice. On Saturday during our pairs run 3 or 4 dogs in a row were blown off the dogwalk due to windy conditions and Icon was one of them! Thanks to that, we didn't get the last pairs Q we needed. But LUCKILY we had 2 pairs at that trial and Terry and Heath were our pairs partner. But on Sunday morning when I ran Polly during snooker, I just KNEW that Icon and I were destined to get our ADCH that day on the afternoon pairs run. I knew, because just after taking the first jump of the gamble, Polly pooped in the ring!

"Why would that predict getting an ADCH for Icon," you ask? Well just moments after Icon got his MACH on June 1st, Polly pooped in the ring! (more like explosive diarrhea). So now we know that Polly pooping in the ring is a predictor of great things for Icon and I.

So now that the bay team 3-day weekend is over I have quite a long break from agility. I don't have anything else in July and probably nothing the first 2 weeks of August (I suspect I'll be working those weekends). I am not entirely sure what I will do with myself, but I think I need to come up with a training plan for the dogs so I do, in fact, do something and don't just sit on my rump the entire time.

Some initial thoughts on training during my time off from trailing:
1. Work on speed over contacts.
2. Wicked weave entries at speed (not easy to do in my back yard)
3. One jump work with the triple (now that I have a triple!)

I'm rather looking forward to my time off at this point, but I suspect after the first weekend or two I will start chomping at the bit to get to a trial. But realistically, I'm a bit burnt out from agility. Icon got his MACH and ADCH and I'm floundering a bit for motivation right now without a specific goal.