Fun with dogs

Monday, June 27, 2011

Columbia River Agility Club, AKC trial, June 24-25, 2011

Friday June 24th, 2011

CRAC usually has their trials at the Linn County Fairgrounds, a venue I love.  I was really concerned when they said they were changing venues for this trial to the Oregon State Fairgrounds.  They said that crating would be outdoors and it was a semi-enclosed arena.  I was concerned about the outdoor crating, as well as the semi-enclosed arena.  Harry Potter does not run well in heat, and I was concerned about keeping him cool.  I did go out and purchase a shade tent, and luckily when we got there on Friday, a nice woman let me borrow the shade cloths she wasn't using.  We arrived bright and early (6:30 am!) and set up camp Harry Potter.

We had a lot of time before the first run because it was small to tall.  I let the dogs work out their crazy in a fenced area next to the crating space with our friends Kennedy, Vegas, and Leo.  After that, we spent the morning reading, relaxing, and just hanging out.  Naps outdoors in the shade are heavenly!

Bully stick thief!

 Harry Potter guarding Camp Harry Potter


Excellent B Standard

Excellent B Standard was up first for the day.

Judge Lavonda Herring had nice courses all weekend.   At the start I sent him into the tunnel, then it was a run toward  the second tunnel (#4).  He hit the correct side of the tunnel, and I picked him up as he came out, we went over the double and I gave him the weave command (we handled the weaves from the left side).  Unfortunately he hit the second pole instead of the first and we NQ'd.  We finished the run with a front cross between the weaves and #7, a rear cross at the A-frame, a front cross between #14 and #15, and another before the teeter.  All in all a nice run except for the darn weaves.

 Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves

Again another nice course.

We started this one with a lead out to the right and in front of jump #1 to get the correct side of the tunnel.  We did a front cross between #2 and #3, then again between #3 and #4.  Another front cross between #6 and #7, then we had a dropped bar at #9.  From watching the video, it looks like my timing was off.  I called his name as he was going over the jump, causing him to drop his feet and knock a bar.  I should have just trusted that he would get the correct end of the tunnel #10.  We used a turn command coupled with a rear cross between #13/14, then he nailed his weaves and the last jump.  Another NQ, but it was handler error. :P

Saturday June 25th, 2011

We arrived early again this morning, because running order was tall to small.  I turned the dogs loose in the fenced in horse corral, and was reminded that I need to work on Lexi's recall. :P  She was a wild indian.  Luckily, they got it out early, and we got down to business getting ready to run.

Excellent B Standard

Another day of nice courses.  This one started with a lead out to jump #2, front cross (FC) between #2 and #3, a deceleration cue at #4 so that he would come in and hit his weave entry.  We finished the run with FC's between 11/12, 14/15 and 17/18.  We Q'd and ended up with 14 MACH points and MX leg #8

Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves

We started this course with a lead out to jump #2, then a front cross between 2/3.  This jumpers course had the same weave entry as the Standard course, so I guess I took for granted that he'd get the entry.  Wrong.  My guess is he had more speed with this one, causing him to land farther out after jump #5, I didn't work the entry enough and he hit pole #2 for the second time this weekend.  NQ. :(  Then he knocked jump #7 (second time this weekend that he knocked a jump before a tunnel, maybe he's focusing on the tunnel too much and not working the jump?).  We did a FC between 10/11, and another between 15/16.  Another NQ for the weekend.
So our totals for the weekend were 1Q out of 4.  MX leg #8, and 14 MACH points.

Currently we're scheduled for two months off from AKC agility.  There aren't that many trials around here in July/August, and it's hot anyway, so HP doesn't run his best.  We do have a few CPE trials but they tend to be lots of fun with a high Q rate.  The time off I think is a good thing, I can see a few training issues popping up in the last trial that we need to work on.  I've started retraining weaves with the 2x2 method, so hopefully that should help, and I think I'm going to schedule a private or two to see if I can work on increasing his speed, which should increase our MACH points.

MACH totals: 119/750 points and 2 double Qs

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Columbia River Agility Club, AKC trial, June 11-12, 2011

 Another agility weekend in Ridgefield, WA.  We drove up on Friday, staying at my friend Kennedy's house.  We were up early Saturday to get crate space as well as it was a Tall to Small day for us. First up was Standard. 

Excellent B Standard, Saturday

When I picked up the map, I was pretty pleased.  It seemed like a nice, flowing, straightforward  course. 

Unfortunately it didn't go as planned.  It was a fast opening with a nice straight line through obstacles 1-2-3.  HP was moving well, we were doing great.  I pulled him around 4-5 and sent him on to the teeter, then front-crossed before the weaves.  Awesome weaves, he had a great entry, then hopped up on to the table.  For some reason, he took off too early for jump 9 and knocked a bar.  I was off myself after that, sent him into the  #12 tunnel and got way too far ahead of him for his dogwalk, didn't cue it properly, and he took an off-course jump (#17/11) instead.  We finished strongly with no other problems, but obviously an NQ. :(

The good parts of the run:
  1. He was fast, happy, and running well, even though it was warm-ish.
  2. He hit a difficult weave entry that I was worried about.  
  3. We got in a lovely front cross at the teeter.
  4. We didn't go splat at the #19 chute to #20 jump, which with the way things were angled, was a distinct possibility!

I think the video is in slow-motion (accidentally) but you get the idea.

Excellent B Jumpers with weaves, Saturday

Jumpers also looked like a very nice course. 

We ran this starting on the inside of the loop formed by jumps 1-2-3-4-5, front-crossed at 6 to pull him around to 7.  Hit the weaves beautifully, into the tunnel with a front cross between the tunnel and #11.  Then fast and smooth all the way to the end.  MXJ leg #4 and 8 MACH points for that run.

We were done early and headed for Kennedy's house to watch True Grit and eat Chinese food. :)  Because I'm a morning person, I was up early on Sunday and headed out.  We had plenty of time to sit around, so I took the dogs for a walk around Clark County Fairgrounds.  Many of the "parking fields" had been mowed, but no one was around, so I let the boxers loose to play.  It was cool, and early, they had lots of fun.  It also gave us a chance to practice Lexi's recalls.  I'd let her run around for a while, then call her in, play tug, and send her back out to run.  We had fun, with her charging in to tug, then running back out to attack Harry Potter. :)

We got back from our walk and picked up our maps for the day.

Excellent B Standard, Sunday

Again, another nice course.  I thought for sure we'd Q in this one.

We were doing great, had good speed, nailed the weaves, handled the complex 8-9-10 sequence did a rear cross between 12/13 came around the loop and that's where the trouble was.  I ad seen several dogs take the number 18 jump then off-course at the a-frame.  In an effort to avoid that, we jumped #18, then I called him and pulled him right off the #19 triple, earning us a refusal. :(  Oh well, it was still a pretty run despite the NQ.

Excellent B Jumpers with weaves, Sunday

This one was the challenge of the weekend.  This course looked HARD from the get go.  Very jerky, and extremely difficult.

My plan for this was starting on the inside, with a front cross between 3-4, a rear cross with a turn command between 4-5, around the pinwheel,  then a rear cross between 8-9 to get the correct tunnel entry,  then a fairly simple run for the finish.   Our problem was the weaves, half way through, something squeeked/squawked outside the ring (bird, toy, I'm not sure what), and he popped out towards the distraction.  Very disappointing after we nailed the complicated part of the course.  We finished, and even though we had NQ'd, stuck around for times.  The thing was, this course was complex, but SHORT, which led to a LOT of people NQ'ing simply because they were over time, even with no other faults.  It was really disappointing for a lot of people.

No video of this run available, it was the end of the weekend and very hard to find anyone left to record.

Total for the weekend:

MXJ leg #4 and 8 MACH points.

MACH totals: 105/750 points and 2 double Qs

Sweet Creek Falls Hike June 5th, 2011

Since it was supposed to be a nice day, and we had no agility plans for the weekend, I decided to take the dogs hiking.

After searching, the option I came up with was Sweet Creek Falls, near Mapleton, OR.

I really like the local hikes website as a resource for some neat, otherwise undiscovered hikes in the area.

I took Lexi and Harry Potter, Dan brought Bob (his Bernese).  Please note that all images used on today's blog are copyright Dan Cornford.  It's hard to handle a camera and two crazy boxers so he was designated as today's photographer.

Here we are at the trailhead, pre-hike.

It turned out to be a lovely day, and a beautiful hike.  There were dozens of waterfalls and it was a very easy trail, about 3.5 miles total.  It was fairly level hiking with lots of bridges and a well maintained trail.  We arrived early morning around 10am, and really didn't meet many other hikers till we were leaving around noon.  I'd recommend going early, as it was getting crowded as we were leaving.  I would say, if you're taking your dogs, be sure they are:
  1. Ok walking on grating.  Many of the bridges had metal (see through) grating to walk on.  Luckily my dogs didn't seem to mind.
  2. Ok with other dogs.  There are narrow parts of the trail where you must pass other dogs/people.
  3. Leashed at all times.  This is not a good "off lead" trail, it is narrow in spots, and I'd worry about exhuberant dogs tumbling into the creek and not being able to get back up to the trail.
The following are some pictures of the trail and the dogs. :)

All in all it was a great hike, and I'd highly recommend it.

All photos copyright Dan Cornford.