Sunday, January 17, 2010

MACH Score

What an amazing weekend of AKC Agility with my two wonderful boys, Reason & Score.  The American Belgian Malinios Club AKC agility trials were held at Simon arena in Cannon Falls, MN (about 30 minutes south of St. Paul) in an equestrian center. This trial was the first AKC trial to be held in this arena and the ABMC went from a one ring trial to this three day, two ring trial with a wonderful judging panel. Thank you to both this club and the Golden Retriever clubs (next week trial at the same site) for taking a chance on moving their trials to this dirt arena.  What a wonderful trial.

Reason made his comeback after having his toe amputated back in November and he put in some wonderful runs. Today, he even placed 3rd in Excellent Jumpers with a time that was .01 seconds from 2nd place.  He is running better than he has run and nearly double Q'd today except that I mishandled him in two areas, which I was able to correct in Score's subsequent run.

Score went into this weekend needing one double Q to finish his MACH and he saved the suspense for the last day.  He had a great jumpers run and was just .06 seconds behind Reason's run and just out of 4th place. Going into Standard, I knew what I had to do to get him through that course clean - one was that I HAD to get a front cross (and not a rear cross) in before the second to the last jump, which was a wingless jump right after the chute.  Score has some challenges coming out of tunnels and chutes seeing things fast enough and I was not as confident using a rear cross there as I felt he would probably drive to the wing jump, which was the last jump.

Since I was able to get that front cross in with Reason, I knew I could get it with Score. But it was very close. When he went over that last bar, the crowd broke out in excitement which really touched me. Score was so funny because when I was trying to do a quick lap with him, he wouldn't give up his leash and wanted me to tug. I got him to drop it and threw it off, but he went to grab it again. I finally convinced him to run with me one more time.

Here is Score's MACH run. Thanks to Mark O'Sell for videotaping along with the wonderful comments and keeping the camera running before and after the run.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Schema Agility Update

What can I say...I just love this little girl, Schema, who just turned 20 months yesterday. She has everything I want in a dog - she's driven, biddable, athletic, focused when she's working with me, and just such a sweet heart. I just can't say enough good things about her. She runs agility and does obedience like her uncle Reason. I just love working with her and we've come a long way these last few months as we're just starting to put it all together.

Schema has great skills and a great foundation. I've balanced a good deal of impulse control exercises along with drive. Until just recently (late November) she had done very little sequencing of obstacles. I had never had her in any class or even had her out in public working obstacles. I worked alone and worked on lots of skills. When I was in a public setting with more distractions, I would work basic circle work, stays, positions/lineups, etc. Just keeping her busy and focused - yet always pushing her to be able to handle more "work" in public.

Within the last couple of  months, she has really turned it up a notch and she is starting to show me that she is ready to start entering some trials (which means that March will probably be her AKC debut). Next weekend, I have her entered in one USDAA class per day (Gamblers one day, Jumpers the next) in a local one ring trial. This will be a good test as to whether I feel she is ready to start trialing.

Here is a video of a run through at On The Run Canine Center today. I was very happy with her work, but confused as to why she kept missing her weave entries. She has great entries and I proof her and test her constantly on them to make her think. However, after doing those first two run throughs and looking back to the video, I realize that the blue cone that numbered the course at the entrance to the weaves on that side, was distracting her and caused her to repeatedly miss her entries. It was a great thing to find another opportunity to proof her weaves more in training by putting distractions at the entrance.  I've done that by putting distractions along the weaves to get her to pop out, but never at the entrance.

I love her contacts - especially the dog walk. In the first video, she was a bit hesitant going over the top of the dog walk in the first run. But in the next run, she was close to being back to her normal speed over the top.  What I love most about her dog walk is her speed as she powers the downside of that contact.

Here is the video of Schema's first run:

Here is the video of her second run:
(with only one dog between our runs - we were both exhausted):