Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 2 DAPAC CPE Trial

Better late than never.....

Sunday last weekend dawned sunny! Yay for a much better weather day for running agility. It was actually warm enough it not only seemed like a completely different weekend, Leo's "big sis" got soaked with the hose several times to keep her cool for running.

We had just four runs planned for Sunday, one less than Saturday, presumably to get done earlier and get everyone on the road home. We were running small to tall.

First up was Jackpot followed by Standard, Snooker, then Jumpers. Unfortunately I neglected to move Leo up to Level 2 in Snooker on Saturday. It's been so long since Vegas was at that level I forget that with just one leg they get to move up to 2. Oh well.
The allotted time for 8" dogs was 55 seconds. At Level 1, 32 points were needed including one of the send bonuses. There were a lot of choices for the send bonus. Each of them run from the top of the map to the bottom and were as follows: For 20 points either the left side of the diamond or the right, all four jumps; or for 25 points, the jump-weave-jump sequence down the center. My "plan" is below.
You know the saying, "the best laid plans..." Sunday Leo acted like a baby dog. A little. But not so much on this run. He did well. But he had a funny moment on the second pass through the a-frame. He stopped. And stopped. And looked around. Thankfully I finally got him to come down and run with me to the table so we didn't NQ on time. Whew! A total of 44 points in 52 seconds. Another blue and a Q. Good job, Leo!

This one had a little obstacle discrimination on the tunnel. The #3 jump pointed right at the right side of the tunnel but needed the dogs to go in the left. I ran on the left figuring I would be pulling Leo into the correct side. Wrong! He homed in on the right side of the tunnel like it was drawing him in like a magnet. One off course! Fixed that by doing the correct side of the tunnel and kept on moving. Everything else ran perfectly swimmingly until #14. Somehow we passed right by it and he didn't take it. When I tried to correct it he back-jumped causing a second off-course. You're only allowed one even in level 1 CPE, so NQ. Oh well. He finished in 58.83; SCT was 58.
Snooker was definitely more complicated than Saturday, but not impossible even for a "baby" dog. Here's the map and below it is what I had planned out.
Sadly we had a three point Snooker run and got whistled off. We made the first two jumps and instead of taking the red "6a" Leo got it in his head he needed a tunnel (never mind I was giving him a bunch in this course). Zoom straight for the tunnel. Little bugger. :-)
Our very last run of the weekend was Jumpers. A nice little course with tunnels to make the little man happy. We had 44 seconds to complete the run. 
Super awesome! 28.05 seconds and a completely clean run. That finished off an awesome first trial weekend with 9 total runs, 1 third place finish, 5 first place finishes, and six Qs. PLUS the ability to move up to level 2 in six of the eight classes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

First Agility Trial - DAPAC in Eugene

This weekend was Leo's very first agility trial! The trial was hosted by the Dogs at Play Agility Club and held at the dog daycare and training facility, Dogs at Play in Eugene, OR. We were to have nine total runs for the weekend, five on Saturday and four on Sunday. Their ring was outdoors in grass. First thing I want to say is - what a fabulous place! At first I was a little hesitant when it said you can't park on site. I was worried about hauling all my crap there and figuring out how to get set up. They mentioned not leaving pop-up tents, etc set up outside overnight because it might not be in there in the morning. The fact that it was in an industrial area. Well shoot, those issues were put to rest when we arrived. Sure it's industrial. But not in a dirty, concrete/metal/wire/fencing, cold kind of way. In the kind of way that, yea, there's a train that goes by sometimes. Sure there are big buildings on the street (although none huge and not close to each other). But what a great space! I didn't happen to take any pictures of the building but here are a couple of the agility area as people were course-building Saturday.

Saturday we were running Tall to Small. Sunday was the reverse. The classes were scheduled to be as follows:


  • Full House
  • Standard
  • Wildcard
  • Colors
  • Snooker
  • Jackpot
  • Standard
  • Snooker
  • Jumpers
Here's Leo's first course, Full House.
The little stinker got out there and ran fast, responsively, and completely clean, listening to what I told him and following through with excellent cooperation. What a fabulous way to start our agility career together! And I have video! (Thanks to some fabulous friends with incredible daughters; Kara, in particular, was a complete sweetheart and took video for Leo and Vegas' runs.) We needed 19 points for Level 1 and had 45 seconds to complete them. Leo had 22 points in 41.40 seconds and earned his first Q plus third place. Yahoo!
Our next run was Standard. In CPE for Level 1 you don't have a teeter or the weaves. That's one of the reasons I went ahead and entered him - I have not trained weaves and the teeter we're still working on building confidence and speed for completion. Here's the course:
The a-frame was a HUGE attraction to Leo in this run. He really, really wanted to take the a-frame. I pulled him off it multiple times but he did succumb once and got all four paws on, incurring a five-point fault. He still finished in first place with a qualifying run though! SCT was 67 seconds; his time was 65.84. Our second run ever and our second Q!
Wildcard was next. Usually a pretty straight-forward game with Vegas (don't choose the tunnels), for Leo the world opened wide up. Mostly I just wanted to choose the course with the greatest likelihood of success. Since we're just starting and don't formally take classes right now, making that choice is interesting. It's almost an "eeny meeny, miney mo" selection process. 
I didn't end up with video for Wildcard and since I had no definitive selection process and ran two dogs in a total of 18 runs this weekend, I couldn't say what A-A-B combination I chose. :) Suffice it to say, Leo Qd again (3/3), first place, 42.47 seconds with a 52 second course time. Another Yahoo!

Next was Colors. This course is usually a lot of fun. It's short and fast. This one was no exception. It's probably worth noting at this point, it seemed like by the time the 8" baby dogs got to run each time the rain picked up. What a crappy weather day for sure. It was supposed to start out rainy and taper off to showers. Well, we seemed to waver between no rain, showers, sprinkles, no rain, rinse repeat. Oh yeah, tons of fun for sure. 
I chose the circle course to give Leo the advantage of the tunnel right away. It was a slightly longer course but I liked it better. Interestingly enough, something was really distracting him while running this time around. Not sure what it was as I never heard anything unusual. In the video you'll see him stop and turn his head a couple of times. In fact, there's a point where he knocks into a bar where I had worried about him having slipped but Cheryl, our judge, said she thought he'd looked (distracted) and then sort of just run into the jump bars. It was our first NQ run but still a really good run as he finished it cleanly without any difficulty short of the distractions drawing his attention.
Our last run of the day was Snooker (and dry!). Snooker was my nemesis with Vegas. Serious nemesis. Now I really enjoy it. I actually enjoy the challenge of plotting a course more than Jackpot or Full House - mostly because parts of the course are already preset and I don't have to be super creative on that front. :) This was a really nice Snooker course and was the same for the higher level dogs. I have never seen that happen before. I knew right off - and after having run Vegas already - I was going to do the same thing with Leo. Of course plans are always subject to change. I changed his plan slightly as it just felt like it would run better and not make him run quite as far. He, again, performed beautifully.
Here is the path I selected for us:
We only needed 26 points for Level 1. Leo rocked it big time with 45 points in 49.47 seconds (fortunately time doesn't count in Snooker). Whoohooo - another blue!

And with that, I'm going to cut this short for the night and will follow-up with "part 2" tomorrow. Needless to say it was an incredible weekend and I'm so blessed to have such an awesome Pom in my life. Not only is he a fabulous worker, but he's the best little love in the world. I owe Trish with Gemini Poms thanks for "picking" him for me when I told her I wanted to run a Pom in agility.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Demo Doggy

Leo is my co-teacher for the next seven weeks in our Next Steps agility class. Originally we were going to be in the class, not teaching it. However, the volunteer instructor didn't have any experience and without provided curriculum got nervous. So she's assisting while I teach and Leo is working as demo dog. All in all it'll be a good thing, I think, as long as I work Leo like I did tonight as demo dog. And wow was he a fantastic demo dog!

I had set up a course mostly using the obstacles that were out as is. It looked something like this:
The first run through I just wanted everyone to perform it based upon what they had been taught in their previous class. Aside from one student, all the remainder of the class had taken foundation from someone else. I needed to assess where they were at so I knew where we would in going forward. We started with the single jump at the lower right (70, -32) and progressed clockwise. Everyone did fairly well with one dog having issues with the tunnel, two with the weaves, and one with the teeter. Leo was a complete rock star and did the entire thing, doing his usual halt and slow progression on the teeter. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed him as he's just so damn adorable and happy running. Sometimes it makes it hard to focus on the work of it he's so cute!

After everyone had a turn we performed the same course again but this time I had everyone working it using some control unleashed philosophies. Every obstacle was individualized. Focus and attention were regained before being allowed to move on. Again, Leo demonstrated and did a fabulous job. Would you believe the only place I had to call him back not once, not twice, but three times was between the tire and teeter? The first time he zoomed through the framework of the tire and started up the teeter. The second time he took the tire but again got on the teeter. Each time I was able to call him back when before he completed the obstacle. When I did ask him to take the teeter though, he did complete it much more quickly with little hesitation in the center. Again, he enjoyed a lot of awes and chuckles because he's so cute running. I so enjoy this little man!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray for (Attention During) Heeling!

Tonight we had our third week of this session of obedience class. All I can say is, "Wow." Leo was such a good boy! I even thought we might get away with not slipping into a down on our sit-stays. No such luck but he did better and every step in the right direction is good for me. Our novice class is small with just three dogs and handlers. However, most of the time it seems to be just two of us, a Toy Poodle and Leo. That suits me just fine although boy does Leo get tired. Tonight we started working with our dumbbells a bit just to check progress. We moved on from that to work on attention during heeling. Laurie, our instructor, had us working a couple of steps at a time then a release and reward, then a single step, then two steps, then a couple of steps, and so on. We then worked on recalls. Leo is still struggling to recall with enthusiasm in class plus his front needs some serious work. He totally gets front means to come to the front and to sit, but it's getting him in close that we're struggling. Need more work at home....

After working on that in a variety of ways, we worked on sit-stays in conjunction with the recalls. Sometimes we stepped out just a few feet, returned, praised our dogs for maintaining their sit-stay, then walked out again. Sometimes we worked the recall; sometimes we played a recall game. All in all, some good stuff to keep building on at home. Laurie has been absolutely fantastic on finding articles, books, and experienced people to pick up "small dog" ideas from. So appreciative!

We then worked on something that I'm going to think of as Leo's favorite game. With just two of us, Laurie stood mid-ring and each of us had half the ring to work. The dogs were off leash and we were just to walk around at a brisk, heeling pace with a treat at the ready in our left hand. The goal was to reward our dogs the second they got in heel position. Boy I can tell you that 1) Leo really gets into moving faster when "mama" might be leaving him; 2) He really picked up on the game fast; and 3) His heeling is really improving off lead as well!

We got to do that for a good little bit then worked on some 'About Turns' and 'Right Turns.' Great footwork practice and I can say I finally, finally am getting the correct plant of feet for some of these things. Not to say I won't screw them up again, but I think the about turn, in particular, finally clicked for me on how to do it while maintaining correct body posture, aligning my feet in a way so I don't trip myself, and keeping my steps sufficiently spaced so I don't out-stride Leo thus causing him to lag. Yay for an awesome, fantastic, amazing practice. One that was so successful that Leo wanted to guzzle water the moment we got in the truck, came home and pottied, had his nails trimmed, and hasn't had any pep since that time. Here here to a crashed out Pomeranian - don't think he's truly gotten worn out like that since he made our house home.


Last but not least, his very first agility pictures! These are from the fun match last Saturday. I'm so excited to see how happy he looks running! I knew he was but visual proof is even better. AND, I got his confirmation yesterday for his very first agility trial! He's entered in all 9 runs of the weekend on June 18 and 19.