Friday, July 31, 2009

Seeing clearly

I got a new monitor at work and OMG it's amazing! I went from a monitor that is probably 6 years old (young for border collie, old for a boxer or a monitor :) ) to a 24" widescreen. And here I thought my 22" widescreen at home was awesome. I might just have to upgrade... But I spend so much time on the computer at work I think I deserve it :).

I'm very happy with how Apollo's running dogwalk is coming along. I think I have finally "broke" his 2o/2o. He seems tentative at the start of the dw, which I think is because it's not the most stable piece of architecture around... but he picks up speed a the bottom and runs right on through. I have a 20" jump set out beyond the dw and the t&t beyond that.

073109 - Apollo running dw from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

I'm still having fun with Rampage on the dw. He's also doing pretty well, but some that he does are really good while others are just ok. I guess I should just reward for the really good ones. I have the jump out before the t&t for him as well, but it's just at 8". I haven't gone back to the running a-frame ground work with him in a while. With Silvia's running dw method, one of the purported benefits is "you get the running a-frame for free." I'm hoping that if I do enough running dw stuff with him before adding the stop to it we will get that a-frame freebie! But if not, he has the a-frame box work foundation to the point where we're ready to put it on the a-frame. So I always have plan B. And I still have 3 or 4 months before I introduce him to the a-frame so I might even come up with a plan C or D during that time.

073109 - Rampage running dw from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

And here is Icon and then Rampage on the Bosu Ball. Icon is SO much more coordinated. Poor Rammy. Since he is so big, and is really becoming more mature mentally, it's so easy to forget that he is still just a puppy and doesn't know where all of his body parts are yet. It's so funny to see him change over time. One day he moves with confidence and grace and the next day he's tripping over his own feet and stepping on his tail. He's such a funny guy.

Icon and Rampage on the bosu from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blast from the past

Icon's first two agility runs ever! He looks silly jumping 20". Who would have though he'd be a future WT member?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Jump Start

This is just a jump start update to keep me from continuing to stagnate. It's been a while since my last post and I find the longer I wait, the harder it is to post.

2 weekends ago we went to Carmel for an agility trial and I had such a great time. The location was gorgeous and the weather was wonderful. Of course my face got fried the first day because it was sunny but cool enough that I didn't think about sunscreen. I woke up in the middle of the night to get a drink and when I looked in the mirror I almost screamed thinking a demon from hell was looking back at me. My face was bright red, it almost glowed.

Icon had a great weekend. He qualified in everything and won everything except for snooker and gamblers where he finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Apollo's weekend wasn't quite as good since our 'running contacts' are now getting to the phase where he is missing more often than hitting. But we're practicing a lot at home (well we're practicing the DW, not really the a-frame) so I'm hoping that it will eventually translate to trials! But if not, that's fine.

Apollo has actually improved in leaps and bounds on his running dw over the last week or so. I've had a very hard time 'breaking' his 2o/2o behavior but lately he's been running through (not even trotting!). I now have a jump after the dogwalk and before the t&t. I'm going to try a tunnel next, although tunnels aren't very reinforcing to Apollo since he has to duck to go through.

Rampage is also still working on the running DW. He's doing really well but some days he'll miss few, or at least be very high in the yellow. It's not that he's leaping from the end, his stride just carries him over the yellow at times. I'm still sure that I will not be keeping with the running dw for competition and I'm continuing to train the groundwork for a 20/2o, but the running dw is still so much fun!

My plank is up to 40" right now. I'm 8" away to the full DW plank height but I have no clue how I can get there and keep the plank stable. I'm very tempted to buy a full sized dogwalk (and came very close to it!) but I really don't have enough room in my backyard for it... Anyone want to buy the house next door we can take down the fence and have a huge back yard?

I knew this was going to happen! My jump start became a novella. And I didn't even talk about my new godpuppy, Kahve! Or post photos! Well, next time :) He's adorable in a way that only boxer puppies can be, though.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another overlay

This is an overlay of Icon and Cassidy from the Bay Team July 4th trial that Diana posted on her youtube site. Boy, that Cassidy sure is speedy! :)

Ok, and I'm ready to share my shameful (or amusing, that depends on whether you're me or anyone else) std run from the bay team trial.

July 4th BT - Icon Saturday Std from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Rampage is, like, SO LAME!

No, seriously! He's lame!

On Sunday he cut the pad on his front right leg. I suspect it is from running into the hedge trimmers, which I had laid on the ground after trimming the hedges. I saw him run into them and thought, "ouch!!" But then he seemed fine so I just dismissed the incident from my mind.


I saw Apollo sniffing the ground with a lot of interest. When I stopped to look I noticed the the leaf he was sniffing was covered in blood! It took me only a few seconds to connect the blood to the hedge trimmer run-in. And then I took a look at Rampage and there was blood dripping off of his foot.

Despite the copious amounts of blood the cut really isn't bad and the silly dog wasn't even limping (and this is the puppy that would SCREAM like the world was ending if he stepped on a pebble when he was 16 weeks old). But I used a compress to stop the bleeding and I am TRYING to keep him quiet for a few days for it to heal. I've never had to keep an 8-month old puppy quiet before and omg, it's not easy! You don't realize how much energy they have until you take the majority of their exercise away from them. Then LOOKOUT! You suddenly understand why some people give up their puppies because they're too crazy. So Rammy and I are now trying to learn a couple low impact things like "left" and "feet up". But I really hope his pad looks better by tomorrow so I can start letting him RUN again!

On a side note, I've been practicing my rendition of "The Sound of Music" so I can perform when I'm in the Alps, but Icon most definitely does NOT approve. With all the barking as I sing I suspect he's saying, "But MOM! You'll EMBARRASS me!"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This is pretty cool

An overlay of Icon and Wings the Terv (I think she's only about 2 years old!). Wings' owner got this overlay and was so nice asking me if I minded, which of course I don't! What a nice dog Wings is!

How many dogs in this photo?

Did you count 2? Well apparently you're missing the shrimp! Icon is there too and he looks tiny.

Here he is looking bigger

Ok, so he still looks tiny. I remember thinking that Icon was big for a border collie as he was growing up. I guess I was wrong!

We went to Redwood shores today for some swimming fun. This was Rampage's first time at RWS, but that didn't intimidate him in the least! Before I could blink he had jumped into the water and was swimming around. I knew from Kay that he was not a fan of LEAVING the water. When she was puppy sitting him she took him to Mandy's house to go swimming and she had to go in after him!! I managed to coax him out of the water, but he was on a long line after that!

Rampage is ready to go back in the water!

Ok, I'll sit pretty for the camera

But can I go in now??

Looking out at the water

And jumping in!

Apollo wants Debbie to play with him!

Icon surveys the other dogs activities (Polly is swimming!!!)

More swimming Polly!

I love the water coming off of Polly's tail in this photo!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Couldn't just leave it alone...

Generally I have no problem leaving things unfinished. I mean I haven't even finished (or started) the tile backsplash up in my kitchen yet and I'm not even going to say how long ago it was remodeled (but hopefully I'll finish that one up soon.) And certainly from my videos in my back yard you can see a lot of unfinished work there. But I can't seem to leave the running dogwalk with Rampage alone. I bought a 12' plank because I need it for Apollo's running dogwalk but I just keep going with Rampage too. Oh well!

Apollo's struggle with the dogwalk is that he still wants to stop in 2o/2o occasionally. I need to have the T&T close to the board to tempt him to keep running. But I am gradually moving it further away. He only stopped once when we practiced this morning. Apollo doesn't get above a trot when we practice. I'm not going to worry about it at this point.

Apollo's trotting dogwalk training from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Rampage is doing pretty well. There were 2 that I didn't like in this last practice and both times Icon was in the camera shot so I'm sure it was his fault. :) I did reward one of them by mistake but didn't reward the 2nd one.

Rampage's Running Dogwalk training from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tired dogs

Just returned from a 3 day USDAA trial. It was SO much fun, although it probably ranks as one of Icon's worst USDAA trials ever. But Apollo was quite brilliant at this trial, aside from stopping to air sniff in GP (where I pulled him off) and Snooker (where we I got him back to finish). I'm still not sure what he was sniffing at, but my current working theory was that he could smell Auntie Kay in the scribers chair. Other theories from the spectators are that he could smell the bbq and that he was looking at the boom from the amazingly professional videographers. But in his entire agility career, Apollo has never stopped and sniffed at ANYTHING. I was (and still am) a bit distressed at this.

And then there was performance steeplechase. After spending 3 grueling days of scribing or timing full time in the masters rings, Kay must have felt that she was an agility expert as well as a boxer expert. She essentially ripped Apollo out of my grasp just before PSJ finals and said that she could do better with him than me.


I thought I'd show her by letting her TRY to run him. Of COURSE Apollo wouldn't run for her with me standing right there. Apollo ADORES me.

Or does he??? Wouldn't you know it, Apollo and Kay go out there and win the whole thing! But I know Apollo is just trying to make me jealous because of the time I spend with Icon and Rammy. And you know what, Apollo? It's working!

Oh! And Apollo even got his APD Bronze at this trial! I keep forgetting because I thought he had it back in April but it turns out that in performance you do need pairs legs now. So he got his 15th pairs leg (thanks Linda and Mercy!) today.

I guess I should step up to the plate and say that Icon was also quite brilliant, but his handler let him down. I got lost on TWO jumpers courses, made him backjump a red in team snooker (why didn't I stick to my original plan?? I'm still blaming Tammy because it's easier than blaming myself :), And I'm not quite ready to talk about our Saturday Master Std run, where at the end the judge turned to the crowd (which I believe was laughing quite heartily) and asked, 'did you get that on video???'

When, not long after our run, I asked Nancy G if she saw it she replied with a haunted look in her eye, "No. But I heard about it."

I could see her thoughts swirling through her eyes, "Holy cow, this person is on my world team??"

Yes, my friends. They did get it on video. And I will post it when I am emotionally recovered. Thankfully after that Icon did manage to whip his handler in shape to win GP, SC, and a few other things but I'm not sure which one of us is more embarrassed about my performance this weekend.

Kerilyn's going away party was lots of fun, but that is still overshadowed by my disgraceful performance with Icon. And Rob/Karen Yi's baby shower was sweet, but that is overshadowed by Apollo abandoning me for his guest handler.

Rammy had a blast this weekend and I had a blast with him. Despite a rather strong interest in the ring it was pretty easy to keep his attention on me (well, the toy). He played a lot with his good friend Trickie, his friend Tip and his brother Riff! I had my camera in my RV but never brought it out for photos! I hope Celeste got a few with Riff and Rammy.

Despite the earset and coat differences I see SO many similarities between Rammy and Riff. Of course there are differences as well. Riff is way more 'herdy" or "stalky" than Rampage. His head and nose are broader and he seems to have more bone, although they're about the same height (it's hard to tell with Rammy's curly coat). I would say that despite Celeste referring to Riff as 'Goomba', Rammy is the 'Goombaier' of the two. Rampage is a "leaper". For the people he loves (which is most people, although there are some he is wary of) he loves to leap up at them, as if he wants to land on their head. This is a trait I *think* he shares with brother Roller from the photos I've seen (I need to ask Donna about this) but Celeste tells me that Riff doesn't share this trait. If Donna responds that Roller isn't really like this, I think will blame Kay since leaping is totally a boxer trait :).

Holy cow! This post was just supposed to be about how tired my dogs were after the trial, but it got out of hand. I mean, I wrote and wrote and wrote but I didn't even get to talk about the Jamaican or the pairs trash talking or even the SC trash talking! When I started writing this post, all the dogs were all passed out. Since then Rampage has decided that sleeping is overrated and is trying to coerce the other dogs to play. Alas!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Practice, train, work, train, sleep. Repeat.

I haven't posted much lately. Not because I don't have anything to write about and not even because I don't have the time. It's simply because this week I've been in a mood to whine. A lot. And to sum it up for the curious people it would have been many, many words about how tired I am lately and how stressful my job is. So you're not missing much.

So other than work I've been doing a lot of training with Apollo and Rampage on their a-frame box. After Apollo got his MACH2 in March I stopped asking him to stop on his contacts so I figure if I want to qualify in standard again I should probably do something to train an actual running contact. Although, ironically in the past 4 days of AKC trialing Apollo has qualified 3/4 times in standard. Of course the last standard Q I'm sure he missed both the dogwalk and the a-frame contact but either the judge didn't see it or the scribe didn't record it. I'm sure my luck won't hold in USDAA though, since the contact zones are smaller and his misses will be more obvious...

So now we've graduated to the next step in the box training method where the box is in a grid with 2 jumps (set at 8") about 5' apart and then the box set out 9' (to simulate the distance for the ramp of an a-frame). Apollo is finally starting to figure out that you do jump IN the box, not OVER the box. Silly boy. Maybe I didn't do enough work with him with only the box but he really seems to get it outside of the grid. I think it's just hard for him to collect his stride to hit in the box. Rampage is really cute in his grid. He runs through the box every time, but doesn't take the 8" jumps every time. He thinks it's faster to run around the jumps! How soon we forget that dogs aren't BORN knowing how to do a row of jumps, they need to be taught.

So I will keep at the grid for a bit more. I need to be able to do a bunch of handling moves around the grid (f/c, r/c, push past) before the next step of moving it to the a-frame. Once it gets to the a-frame Rampage will be taking a break for a while until he's older.

Of course Icon has not been left out in all of this. He gets a day or two off a week, but otherwise he is a world class athlete in training! He's either practicing skills, doing coursework or cross training, even while I'm at work (yes, he's that smart).

Tomorrow I'm heading out for a 3 day USDAA trial. Due to work/training/classes/stupid Safeway employees (don't complain, Channan... don't complain...) I am nowhere near ready for it. Hopefully I'll be able to leave a bit early from work tomorrow so I can finish packing and get to the trial at a decent hour. But regardless, I'm really looking forward to it! Aside from FUN agility we are having a going away party for our friend, Kerilyn, on Friday night. She is abandoning us for rainy Washington to do some sort of double MBA/MHA or a silly thing like that. I'm sure she'll be back right after she graduates top of her class though. It's always cloudy up there in Washington and as someone from Hawaii she won't last too long! On Saturday night there is a baby shower for Karen and Rob Yi, who will be having a baby girl in August! A baby! How odd is that!

Here is an interesting tidbit... At our WT practice in June Geri told me that out of everyone on the AKC WT including our esteemed coach, assistant coach, team leader, team manager and of course team members... only Geri and Ashley have kids! Wow! So AKC let 2 crazy people through out of 16. That's not so bad. We shouldn't hold it against them (just kidding. Kids are ok so long as they're not mine.)

Well I could go on, but the need to whine is approaching again. So I will go off and practice, train, work, train, sleep. Then repeat.