Monday, November 30, 2009

Counting points again

I thought that in 2010 AKC invitationals were in Florida instead of Long Beach so I didn't even think about trying to go for it with Apollo. Not to mention, I really didn't expect him to be doing agility at the end of this year let alone 2010. But he's running so great lately (inconsistent 'running dogwalk' aside) that it would be possible to get him in the top 5 and a shame not to go for it so long as he's up for it.

So when a couple people told me that invitationals are in Long Beach in 2010 I thought I'd take a look at where we stand. Well it wasn't pretty. Aside from last weekend, we've only been to two 2-day AKC trials since the qualification began in July so needless to say we're quite behind on points! Apollo is in 9th place at 92 points and the 5th place dog is 187 points. After last weekend we picked up another 52 points so we made up a bit of ground. Of course I don't know what kind of points the other boxers have been getting :).

So I think if we put my mind and his boxer skills to work we can still make the top 5. I sure hope so!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rammy's first fun match

There was a Sanction B match at the trial the past weekend and without consulting the logical side of myself I signed Rampage up for 2 runs. My main reason for signing him up was to get him on a new dogwalk. I also figured it wouldn't hurt to see how he performs in a new environment. I thought he had great focus on me the whole time. He was a bit high up on his first dogwalk but got down nicely on the trip back. In general Rampage has a pretty big stride, but he seemed to really shorten it on the first run of the fun match. On the 2nd run (when it's darker outside) his stride seemed more normal. I think overall he had a good time. I know I did. :)

Edit: Ok, I look (and walk) like the Pillsbury Dough Boy in my vest. But it was cold out!

112809 - Rammy's first fun match from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wish me luck!

I'm at an agility trial this weekend in my RV and I'm praying that I don't have any more RV plumbing issues!

When I got home from USDAA nationals I was planning on taking my RV in to get fixed before this trial but I just wanted to see what had happened to the fix that "Jim the [sucky] RV man" did.

I took the toilet off and removed the wall behind it to see that the PVC pipe had burst behind the fix that he had put in place. So I guess it wasn't "Jim the [nice] RV man's" fault after all. It's really WINNEBAGO'S fault for using chincy piping (This was a word I learned from "Jim the [verbose] RV man".)

Since I already had the toilet and part of the wall off I decided to go one step further and open up the wall under the shower stall. Low and behold I found the connection point for the pipe that broke!

So I was able to fix the RV piping myself, but not without a bit of effort. I made a trip to Home Depot where used a trick that I learned a year ago when a pipe in my RV broke in Scottsdale (yeah, I know). All you have to do it walk around holding a broken pipe and looking clueless, and the guys there will flock to you and help you out. A nice guy did help me out and I left with $12 worth of materials to fix my RV!

The hardest part was getting my arms into the wall to reconnect the pipe. The hole is small and I have pretty big arms/hands. It would have been much easier if "Jim the [petite] RV man" would have just taken off that other piece of wall and fixed the whole thing himself. I'm sure HIS arms could have gotten in the hole. But I managed to do it and I HOPE I tightened the connection enough. I guess I'll find out this weekend!

On a side note, I saw a really nice china RV toilet that I would love to upgrade to in my RV. I was putting it off because I didn't want to have to take it somewhere to have it installed. But after what I went through, replacing a toilet would be a walk in the park!

On another side note, Rampage is weaving 6 poles now. His footwork is atrocious and he's pretty slow but it's cute how you can see him thinking as he gets his entry and goes through. One thing I like about the channel method over 2x2 is that it encourages single stepping from the start.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Set Point

I've started introducing Rammy to jumping (I did do a bit of the LM one jump work previously). I'm using Susan Salo's Foundation Jumping exercises because I'm a huge fan. I'm a huge fan because I have no other point of reference for jumping skills. I also trained Icon using Susan Salo's foundation grid work and he's a pretty good jumper, so it must work, right??

I'm a bit more concerned about Rampage's jumping than I was about Icon's though. Rammy SEEMS to have great rear end awareness at times, has done tonnes of balance work and he can back up with the best of them, but sometimes his rear end just seems to move out of sync with the rest of him, which might just result in dropped bars. I also know that some of his brothers struggle with bars so I want to give him the best jumping foundation we are capable of and then we'll see where we end up :).

So this weekend i watched the 4-disk DVD set of Susan Salo's foundation jumping. The first four exercises were identical to the ones I did with Icon, but this dvd added the progression grid and bend work. For the first couple of weeks I'm just going to be working Rampage on the first 3 exercises: Set point, Straight line equi-distance grid and straigh line equi-distance grid with height. I'll eventually add in the other three. I'm looking forward to adding the distance grid because I remember Icon and I had lots of fun with that one (I know, you're thinking, 'Fun with GRIDS??' Well it's possible!)

So today we did our first Set Point exercise. I'll have to go somewhere else for the other two grids because my yard isn't quite big enough (well, if I took down the dogwalk it would be).

Rampage seemed to do well on his first Set Point exercise. The only thing I noticed is that as I raised the jumps and then lowered them again, he started overjumping the lower heights. Of course Susan Salo mentions nothing about what to do about overjumping or what the cause is. Hmph.

112209 - Rammy Set Point from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

biting and weaving

I don't know who Rampage was talking to in Scottsdale, but when I find out they are going to be in lots of trouble for teaching him bad habits. Ever since we got back, when Rampage gets frustrated, he bites me. HARD. It's pretty easy to get him to stop, I just have to say "NO" or "HEY" and he won't do it again in that training session. But he doesn't have the best memory and will try again the next time we do something together. Naughty boy.

Yesterday Rammy started learning how to weave. I was pretty skeptical about the 2x2 weave method until I watched the entire video and then I was curious. But now that I've started it, it's just plain fun!

Things I've learned while doing 2x2 with Rampage.
1. I throw like a girl.
2. I have no concept of what a 'short training session' is.
3. I really need to start adding audio to my videos so I can't hear my voice.
4. I like video taping training sessions where I don't have to spend 20 minutes editing the video to see just the contacts (but conversely, I don't like watching the whole boring thing either)

111809 - Rammy 2x2 weaves session 4 from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

So long Scottsdale

So sad that we won't be back in Scottsdale next year, although I will be happy not to make the 12 hour drive. But it's like a tradition now and the weather was just fantabulous this year. I was surprised at the lack of spectators though!

I THINK I had fun at USDAA nationals but between being exhausted when I arrived, having my RV turn traitor and spring a leak on the first day (meaning no water), Rampage chewing up my sunglasses on the 2nd night (I HATE being without my sunglasses in sunny places), my RV misbehaving Saturday night and breaking the repair I spent $$$ to have a mobile RV guy come out to WW and fix (again no water), AND driving straight home after GP finals only to get up 3hrs later to work, I'm really not sure I did.

But overall, my dogs definitely did me proud! I never in my wildest dreams thought that Apollo would make pGP finals AGAIN (especially with our "running contacts"). The p22" class just gets tougher and tougher every year. I saw quite a few young border collies who could very easily be jumping 22" in championship competing in the p22" class for no apparent reason. And even in the tough field he finished 4th! This was his last USDAA championship since I won't fly him to the east coast next year, and I think he went out with a bang :).

I was proud of Icon for making both GP and SC finals. I went into USDAA nationals this year not expecting anything. Since Austria we have mostly been on a break from agility. We go to a class here and a trial there, but he's really just been a dog since returning (he doesn't seem to like that though). And with a 3rd place finish in SC and 4th in GP, I think this is our best showing at USDAA nationals yet!

I was a bit disappointed in the courses this year. After the fun courses we had a the SE regionals I was hoping nationals would have some challenges. But the only course that had a challenge was the Team Jumpers, and they took it out to make it a 270 instead! I have no clue how people complain about AKC courses being boring. To me USDAA courses are WAY more boring.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


How is it that out of 67 dogs jumping p22" at nationals Apollo is p22002? And that wouldn't be so bad because running Polly is running Polly. It doesn't matter if we're the first dog to run or the last. But how is it that out of 119 dogs jumping 26" at nationals Icon is 26001? Ok, so with the way Nationals is set up with groups it doesn't affect us much in the grand scheme of things. But on Saturday Icon will be the first dog of the day running GP Semi-Finals. How unlucky is that?

Tired dogs

Having my dad and his girlfriend visit last weekend must have tired out my dogs even more than I thought! It's Tuesday 8pm and they're all passed out! Well, Rammy is rolling around on the floor with a ball, but that's tired for him. I took Rammy and Icon to Swiss Park this morning to train, but I wasn't able to take all of the dogs to the park to run like I normally do, so I really expected that they would be bugging me tonight and not snoring and twitching beside me on the couch. I'm not complaining though! It's really quite nice :)

This morning I took my RV in for a tuneup. I figure if I'm going to drive to Scottsdale I better make sure he's up for the task. So I pick Viewbert up tomorrow and plan on getting everything ready for my trip this weekend! I sure have lots to do! On Saturday I'm going for the annual PowerPaws pre-USDAA nationals practice and on Sunday some friends might be coming over. And around that I get to do laundry, go shopping and get Viewbert ready. It turns out I didn't take next Tuesday off work so I will be leaving late Tuesday for my drive to AZ and not arriving until Wednesday morning. I guess that's for the best because the more I think about it the more I doubt I will be able to make it home to go to work Monday (which I didn't take off either). Hopefully I'll at least be able to work from home Monday because I have a lot to do for work too :(.