Friday, September 16, 2011

Agility Action Photos

I received these photos from Cohen's runs on Saturday. I think these shots are just phenomenal - I love them!

Speedy.
Slowing down on a turn.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trial summary the first

First (and third) place! [Starters Jumpers]
This weekend marked my first foray into agility trials. All things considered we did quite well. And all the rookie mistakes we made are now out of the way and will never been encountered again... right?

In brief:

  • AAC, K-9 Klubhouse Training Centre, Alex Robertson Park, Pickering ON
  • 6 runs total.
  • Qualified: 2 Starters Jumpers. 
  • Did not qualify: 2 Starters Standards, 1 Starters Gamblers and 1 Steeplechase. 

In detail:
Saturday

First run:
Starters Standard: NQ 25 faults
Judge: Dawn Kadish
  1. Refusal on the table, 5 faults. *
  2. Refusal at the chute, 5 faults. **
  3. Kamikaze leap off the teeter, 10 faults. ***
  4. Knocked final bar, 5 faults. ****
To fix my problems:
* Decelerate!!! And practice sticking a table at higher speeds.
** Support obstacles more while handling a green dog.
*** Decelerate!!! Holy crap dog you're going to kill yourself.
**** Celebrate course after completion, not while dog is taking off for final jump.

Second run:
Starters Jumpers: Qualified!
Judge: Dawn Kadish
Run time: 23.61 secs
SCT: 35 secs.
Placement: 3rd in 22" open.

My first Q ever! I was really happy with this.

Sunday

Third run:
Starters Jumpers: Qualified
Judge: Dawn Kadish
Run time: 20.29 secs
SCT: 34 secs
Placement: 1st in 22" open.

This was a great run. Fast and clean. Not much to say about it. I'd like to get more opportunities to practice Cohen driving ahead on a line even when I lag behind.

Fourth run:
Starters Steeplechase: NQ
Judge: Dawn Kadish

The two issues I ran into on this course was a crappy handling decision screwing Cohen up on her first pass of the weaves, and then Cohen knocked a bar on a turn. Even without the bar fault we were 3-4 seconds above course time, which I attribute mostly to me trying to rear cross the weaves unnecessarily. I was chastised after for talking to Cohen too much during the run -- apparently she would hesitate and look to me each time I opened my mouth. Will try to ensure I keep my mouth closed next time. She's proved to me that she knows what she's doing without me prattling on.


Fifth run:
Starters Gamble: NQ
Judge: Dawn Kadish

This course was absolutely brilliant for both Cohen and I. The course minimum for open was 20 points, and Cohen and I scored 37 easily before starting our gamble. She nailed the weaves twice. She got her mini-gamble with ease, and was incredibly receptive to direction with minimal vocal cues. She did her gamble perfectly. The issue, however, is that I stepped on the gamble line. Not over, just on. Disqualified at the very end. I'm kind of miffed at the result of this one.


Sixth run:
Starters Standard: NQ 10 faults
Judge: Dawn Kadish
  1. Kamikaze leap off the teeter, again, 10 faults.
In my hurry to decelerate properly for the table I kind of ... forgot... to decelerate for the teeter. Another death-defying leap off it. I should have stopped and redone it, but I was a bit flustered and continued on. Everything else was beautiful and speedy. 

---------------

Now that the dust has settled I'm left with 2 Qs in Jumpers under the same judge. I'll need to Q once more under a different judge to advance to Advanced Jumpers. 

Successes:

Bar knocking was not an issue unless I screwed up my handling. Cohen jumped beautifully and consistently at 22" despite not having a lot of experience doing so.

Fantabulous weaving. Unless I screwed up my handling Cohen nailed the weaves every time. She never popped out early, and she was pretty speedy. I would like more practice with straight rows of 12 so she learns to maneuver more and chest-bump less.

Endurance. Cohen ran marvelously even when she was clearly tired. As she gets more tired she gets harder to place at the start line, but once we start she puts her game face on and gets the job done. 

Things I'd like to work on:

The teeter. It was suggested to me to teach the dog to aim for the tipping point, not the contact as I have been doing. Different teeters have different speeds, and Cohen is clearly a bit too green to stick her landing on all sorts now. In the meantime I'll need to remember to decelerate and really hold her hand through the new obstacles.

Driving a line. My end goal is to be able to point Cohen at a line of jumps (or other obstacles) and have her do them with no input from me. The "go go go"s from various trainers seemed as likely to distract their dogs as encourage them to drive forward.

---------------

All in all I'm pretty happy with the weekend. I really enjoyed myself. Though I am a bit sore about screwing up both my gamble and my second standard run. I could have done better.

I think I've officially been bitten by the bug. I'm hoping to get out to at least one or two more trials this season, and will likely continue to trial through the winter. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oh summer, we hardly knew ye...

To mark the unofficial end of summer I went on a long hike through some new-to-me trails in the valley. It's a haven for off-road bikers and folks like me who like to turn their dogs off-leash. I love that I can let Cohen run out of sight chasing squirrels and trust her to come find me when she's done. 

Below are two shots an acquaintance took of Cohen a few weeks ago at Cherry Beach. I think they turned out wonderfully. They're the perfect way to mark the end of a not-quite-long-enough summer. 

An impish grin.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Living life off leash

Taking a dip after a hike through the woods.
I took a wonderful hike through the valley today. Oh, and the dog came too. The trails crisscross through thearea, winding through forests, fields and rivers. I'm enormously thankful to have an area like this pretty much in the heart of the city and so close to home. 

Cohen was particularly well behaved today. She would run out of sight chasing squirrels but would always come running back if called. After our hike we stopped at a perfect little beach by the river where Cohen could cool off and swim (well, wade). In the above photo I had just tossed some food at her, which she missed and tried to fish out from the bottom of the water. She didn't get it. 

We walked back home from the trail via the bike path, which was understandably busy for a Sunday. Cohen was off-leash, but was incredibly receptive to cues even after having been out running around for two hours. I had a number of cyclists thank/compliment me for getting Cohen to sit/stay despite her being 20 yards ahead. She was a good dog. 

These opportunities for off-leash walks are important for both my sanity, and the dog's. This freedom is the reason why I feel taking the time to create a well trained dog is so important and rewarding. 

A mundane photo of a bug. Pretty, though.

Cohen and the Don.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Photo Friday

Dog on a blustery day.
Our instructional agility fun match on Sunday has been cancelled due to the possibility of being hit by lightning while out on the field. Understandable, but a bit of a bummer. Only 8 days left until our first AAC agility competition.

Something I learned this week:

Garlic roast beef does NOT agree with the dog's GI tract.