Saturday, September 24, 2011


I've kind of been taking an unofficial "break" from agility for the past two weeks, since the Benton City trial. The first day was awesome, we Q'd 2 out of 3 runs (the NQ was totally my fault). We were on, working as a team, and running great. We ended up with a Q/1st in Open Standard with a perfect run, and a Q/2nd in Excellent FAST, with the fasted time, but the dog that beat us had more points. Cedar's weave poles were fantastic. We were flying and totally in sync.

The second day was a complete disaster. Cedar was terrible. She messed up her weaves (10th pole pop outs AGAIN!) and was just running amok with no brains. She even broke a start line I think. Just not thinking at all. I was not part of the team in any way. It was disheartening to say the least. We work so hard... and for what?

I was so disappointed in her. WAY too disappointed. I could barely look at her. I knew that I was in no position to be a good or effective trainer, so I just left her in her crate for awhile while I cooled off.

That's when I decided that I must be taking all of this too seriously. Hence, the break. It's been good to not think or stress out about agility too much for the past few weeks. I still don't know what to do to fix her weave poles. It's unbelievably frustrating to be spot on perfect in practice (any scenario I can throw at her) to have them fall apart in a trial.

So, I think after our next trial (which we've already entered), and maybe one more NADAC trial in November, we'll be done with agility for a little while. Take maybe a month off, and work on other things. We're definitely not giving up on agility, though. The two of us love it way too much :)

Here's my plan, since nothing/everything else hasn't worked:

I need to figure out a way to train Cedar to think better under stress. Maybe once she learns how to do that better away from agility, she'll be better able to cope with weaving. Maybe I'll train her up for her CD title.

Any thoughts about other things we could do to help her build this skill?

Thanks :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Weekend, Another Trial

Cedes and I have another trial this weekend, an AKC trial in Benton City, WA. We will be competing in Excellent FAST and Open Standard and JWW. We have been working really hard on weaves this summer, so hopefully our 10th pole pop-out problem is resolved. I have a really good feeling about this weekend. We have been running really well in practice.

Here's a video from the NADAC trial a few weeks ago, one of my favorite runs:

So... my goals for the weekend are:

1) Have a good time with my dog doing what we both love to do (most importantly!)
2) Handle smoothly and fairly, set Cedar up for success (fulfill my end of the bargain ;) )
4) Good start lines and solid contact performances (maintain my criteria)
5) Run fast, run clean :D

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tell Me Thursday (first one for me!)

Well, I've finally remembered to do this on an actual Thursday.... so here we go! Laura over at Crooks and Crazies has started this fun weekly Q&A deal, and I'm excited to play!

1. What is the biggest thing that grossed you out over the past week?

Hmm... nothing too traumatic, at least not this week anyways. But it was pretty gross when Moss drooled on me (I was eating pizza or something). Yech.

2. What do you feed your dogs?

I feed Taste of the Wild (rotate between the fish [their favorite], bison, and lamb formulas). They also get fish oil pills and occasionally lard and/or Inflight Coat Formula, which is magic stuff.

3. If you could move anywhere where would you live?

Good question! Either the Oregon Coast, Maine, or England... depends on the day ;) Today? England. But that's probably because I've been planning my trip there next year with my mom (our second trip there together!) and watching nonstop episodes of Inspector Lewis for the past week.

4. What is the funniest thought that occurred to you (or thing that happened to you)?

This is a hard one, because there are so many options, lol. Off the top of my head, watching Moss in the river was pretty damned funny. He has learned to tread water (swim in place) and does it with the funniest look on his face. He absolutely LOVES the river. lol

5. If you couldn't have your breed of choice what would be next on your list?

Hmm... probably a Papillon or something little, smart and athletic. I really want a rescue Chihuahua, a smooth-coated black and white male :-P

Monday, September 5, 2011

Moss works sheep again.... *VIDEO*

I am visiting Joe in Kennewick this weekend and had the opportunity to go out and work sheep with Mary (who owns Moss's brother Toss) again. I'm never one to turn down the opportunity to work my dog! So...yesterday Moss, Joe and I drove out to Walla Walla to work dogs and ended up staying and hanging out until after dark, drinking wine and chatting. It was a lot of fun! Productive, too.

The dogs (Moss and Toss) both worked great and I learned a lot. Mary and Toss looked awesome... they are SO ready for the finals! I just know they're going to kick some major ass... and look good doing it ;).

Anyways... working Moss was a mixed bag of good and bad. He was a little pushier than normal, and I was confusing him with my ditzy handling. As usual, his driving was great and his inside flanks were spot on. He did exactly what I told him to do.... good and bad. Haha! He's such a good dog, in spite of my rusty handling.

The one area we have been having the most trouble with is the lift and fetch. Maybe we've been driving too much or something, but sometimes he won't automatically bring the sheep back to me, instead wanting to stop short and drive them off somewhere else. So we worked on that some, and also worked on picking sheep up off of a person (Mary and Toss held them for us) as that has given us troubles in the past. Moss naturally has a really pretty outrun, nice feel for the sheep, and understands how to hold a line, but I mess him up with my micromanaging and conflicting commands. So basically.... I just need to shut up and clarify my communication. Help, not micromanage him. It was amazing how much better he was when I kept my head on straight and my mouth shut ;)

Anyways...he is a really good dog and I don't give him enough credit. I think with some consistent practice we could do some trialing this winter and next year and not feel totally out of our element.

My goals for the (somewhat) immediate future:

1) Practice my whistles away from my dog until they are 100% solid.
2) Go into every training session with a clear plan in mind of what we're going to do and what I'd like to accomplish.
3) Fix his O/L/F and get him outrunning from my feet.
4) Clean up my handling, insist on straight lines with a minimal amount of nagging. Insist on him being correct and be very clear of my expectations.

Some video:

I hope you all are having a great Labor Day weekend! Cheers!
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