Sunday, May 31, 2009

Running contacts

While I should have been doing some yard work (like trimming my hedges and cutting up the old branches from when I pruned the tree in the winter) I have started Rampage and the running contact foundation using Silvia Trkman's method and Rachel's box method. I'm continuing with his 2o/2o foundation as well, but that is nowhere as fun as the running stuff so we haven't done so much lately. I'm still pretty sure that I will ultimately be using the 2o/2o with a nose touch for the dogwalk, but I am also very sure that I want a running aframe. But I think the idea of training the running dogwalk is just too fun to pass up, even if it's just to see how far I can get with it.

So I'm in a bit of a dangerous situation with the running dogwalk. Since I don't believe I'm going to be ultimately using it I am really experimenting with him on it. I'm sending him, running with him, recalling him. I think it's important to do all of these, but maybe not in your first few days... I've also tried both toys and the treat&train for rewards. I think they each have their pros and cons when it comes to the training.

With a thrown toy, he is faster but more likely to leap over the contact or come off the side. He tends to look back at me for the toy instead of looking forward. His striding is often thrown off when I throw the toy.

With a placed toy he is pretty fast and his striding is better, but if I ever decide he didn't make the criteria then he still gets the toy unless I can call him off it, which I'd rather not do.

Rampage Running DW 053109 (toy) from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

With the Treat&Train he is quite a bit slower (although he picked up speed closer to the end) but I really liked his striding with the t&t and if he missed the contact it's so easy not to reward.

Rampage Running DW 053109 (t&t) from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

We're also doing work with the pvc box from Rachel's running a-frame method. Rampage is a pretty big fan of the box and is hitting them very consistently (aside from the 2nd rep in the video). I'm only using a toy with him and it seems to be going ok. He's looking back at me less than he used to. The next stage with the box will be to have him start to seek it out instead of having it right in front of him. I'm not expecting him to have the "pounce" that Rachel talks about in her video. This might come back to haunt me later, but I'd rather have him stride down the a-frame rather than 'pounce' down.

Rampage a-frame box work 053109 from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On a break

Starting Monday after the trial, Icon is on an 3 week break from agility, which means no class, no training, no trialing. He can continue to do doggy stuff like running or swimming, but no actual agility. Nancy 'recommended' that I do it, and it really makes sense because we have trained a lot in the months leading up to nationals and tryouts. Icon kind of started his break after tryouts because aside from class and a few trials, I haven't done anything with him agility-wise. So I feel a bit better that he's ending his break SLIGHTLY before a full 3 weeks. It's because there is a trial in Scott's Valley where the judges are Dan and Lisa Miller and they're the best judges in the world! So I have him entered in that one.

Without Icon to train I've been more focused with my training for Rampage. It kind of hit me this past weekend that he is almost 7 months old now, and I haven't really done much for his contact foundation. I'm still up in the air somewhat about what I'm doing with contacts. I'm pretty sure I'll have a 2o/2o with a nose touch on the dogwalk and a running a-frame, but I still don't know how I'll teach the running a-frame and I'm not 100% ready to give up on the thought of a running dogwalk. So I'm starting to teach him the foundation of a bunch of different methods, which will buy me a bit more time to decide what to do with him before I put it together on the equipment.

Last weekend we were at a 4 day AKC trial and I had a lot of fun. On Friday Icon didn't qualify in either Std or JWW due to stupid mistakes on my part, but we managed to pull it together mostly on Saturday for a JWW (but I over handled slightly in Std to cause a refusal at a tunnel) but we did win the ISC Std course. On Sunday we got a qq and won ISC JWW for the ISC Combined (and $50!). On Monday he got another qq. We went into the weekend needed 3 qq's for MACH 2. We missed it by one which I thought was fine until I saw the BFRs (Big F*#&$ing Ribbons) they give out at this trial! Apollo did awesome all 4 days. He was moving nicely and even placed 2nd in one standard run, which is super at such a big trial. No double Q's for him, but it was pretty much all my fault. Lately I've been having a hard time running both Apollo and Icon since I have to handle them so differently. I will usually screw up a run with at least one of them!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

RIP Ike 01/15/1995-05/20/2009

My sister put her Min Pin, Ike, down today. He was over 14 years old and starting to not love life so much.

He lost his leg about 7 or 8 years ago after a run-in with a car. He was a high strung, barky, high strung, bad breath, separation anxiety, high strung dog and taught me that I will never ever ever get a Min Pin. But once you got passed all of that, he was a pretty cool dog. When I still lived at my parents house and dog-sat for him, he would crawl under the covers and snuggle up (Shhhh! Don't tell my dad the dog was on the bed!) and when Icon was around 7 months old and I took him on a trip to Canada, it was Ike that taught him how pee on one leg, not that Ike had a choice in the matter!

RIP Ike.

Photos from my visit home in July 2006

My three nephews

Monday, May 18, 2009


Couldn't post pictures without adding some new Rampage ones!

The little guy is starting to look like a real dog!

He pretty much always has something in his mouth.

Well, not here but that's just because he's waiting for me to throw it.

I think his hair is going to end up curlier than mine! The pool water really made it go crazy this weekend.

Oops, there's the toy in his mouth again

He is a little selfish. He has a toy in his mouth but sees a few on the ground that might be better!

Decisions!! Life is so hard for a puppy!

Showing off his curly coat

Did I mention he is a vicious beast?

Just kidding! He's really very innocent! And if you believe that I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.

And finally one of Icon demonstrating what he does all night while the rest of us are sleeping. Must...Watch...Cat... He will often fall asleep while sitting up and watching the cats. Silly dog.

Swimmy swim swim swim-swim-swimming?

I put up my old portable pool this weekend for the doggies to play in!

It's definitely a toss-up between Icon and Foster on who likes to swim more. I think Icon wins by a hair.

I tormented the dogs as I filled the pool. They get all excited when I say the word SWIM. "Foster, swimmy swim swim swim-swim-swimming?" (note Rampage has no clue what the word SWIM means... Yet...

I think Icon watched every single drop get added to the pool.

"Icon, swimmy swim swim swim-swim-swimming?"

At last!

Apollo, who is not a big fan of swimming, felt a bit left out...

No photos of Rampage or Apollo swimming since they are very high-maintenance in the water. Rampage did not take well to it at first, but I went in with him on Sunday and he stopped flailing and started swimming (but still only to the side of the pool where he would cling for dear life). This morning he actually swam after the ball a few times, although he wasn't able to grab it in his mouth. For him it's only a matter of time (Apollo is a lost cause).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The funniest thing EVER!

I just couldn't stop laughing!

The Tongue from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Top Five

Top five ways to know you let your lawn get too long

5. You think you've picked up all the dog poop but you keep being surprised by buried treasures as you mow.
4. You turn a chuck-it ball into a flying projectile because you didn't see it before the mower passed over it.
3. Your dogs turn into cows when you let them into the back yard; they stop caring about playing and only want to graze on the sweet, sweet grass.
2. When you see the grass rustle frantically and you know it's time to send out the search party to find your lost cat.
1. When you send out the search party and all you can see are two red ears poking out of a sea of green.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Icon's runs

Kim video taped our runs and put them on Youtube. Thanks Kim!!

Saturday at Tryouts

I've been trying to write a re-cap of my WT tryouts experience all week, but it's just hasn't been happening. I know I have writers block when I procrastinate blog writing with actual WORK.

Each time I start writing I get so verbose and it becomes so boring to write that I think it must be boring to read. And also, I think it's because I'm still very much in shock and not quite sure that it's real. My goad has been to work towards a spot on the World Team for a long time now and I felt that I was in a pretty good position to be selected. We traveled to two ISC Qualifying events and won overall combined for both with all 1st places (although Daisy and Jester gave us a run for our money at the Portland one). We did very well at nationals running clean for all runs (except that little unimportant one called Finals) and winning 26" ISC combined on Friday.

I thought that if I could go to tryouts and run clean they would have to at least seriously consider us if not select us. So that was my goal. Just. Run. Clean.

I was so relieved when I saw the first course. It had challenges, but it wasn't nasty like some of the European courses are (the small and medium dogs weren't quite as lucky!) I though we did a great job on that course, but when we dropped the last bar I already failed at meeting my goal! And I knew for a fact that we wouldn't win a spot on the team, especially on Saturday. I could only be so disappointed though. I had so much fun running that course!

When I saw the 2nd course I was horrified! The opening wasn't pretty. I thought that maybe when I walked it things would look better, but no.... it was actually worse after walking it! That course was a bloodbath. It managed to take out EVERY SINGLE DOG who had run clean in the first round. All Rd 1 clean dogs minus Juice, but that goes without saying. So, since we managed to mangle our way through Rd 2 clean (luckily without me puking on course - which I really felt like doing), after two rounds Icon was sitting in 2nd place behind Juice. My bar down in Rd 1 was looking pretty good! But still at that point I knew there would be no spot for me on Saturday.

For Round 3 the course was once again a very fun, challenging course. There was a tunnel/dw discrimination that gave me a few flashbacks to AKC nationals finals but it wasn't a very hard discrimination so I tried not to think about it. I think out of all my runs, Rd3 was my favorite; we had a blast out there. I wasn't watching Marcus and Juice run after us, but when I heard a gasp I looked to see that they had dropped a bar, which is very unusual for Juice! I knew that we had won the round but didn't occur to me that we could have actually won the spot. We both had 5 faults but surely Juice's time over the 3 rounds was faster! But apparently Icon had a faster time in Rd1 and Rd3 while Juice beat us in Rd 2.

Ashely was watching the screen for combined scores and when he came over to tell me, I believe my exact words (said very loudly) were, "We're on the f*cking team???!?!?!". Probably not the most appropriate thing to say, but it just slipped out!

At tryouts last year I went out for dinner with people on Friday and Saturday after it was finished, but by Sunday Icon wasn't releasing from his start line or contacts on the first word, which is very typical of 'weird' behaviour I get from Tired Icon. This year I decided (for both AKC nationals and tryouts) to just focus on Icon and forget socializing. So we celebrated on Saturday night by going back to the hotel to sleep (even though Nancy K graciously invited us out to dinner!) Icon passed out right after he ate, but I was so excited I couldn't get to sleep until well after midnight.