Falling behind in my posts again! Things have been a little nutty lately with some family health issues, and now making food for both dogs. Free time seems to be a thing of the past. So I thought I’d sit down and catch up with it all now that I have a few free moments.
Tess has been doing very well in our agility classes, and has come a long way in her reactivity. I was finally feeling that I had enough focus and progress on the reactivity to attend an agility trial again. She tries so hard to get things right, and hates it when she thinks she’s messed up, our new classes have really helped build up her confidence and drive on course. So we entered our third ever trial, and first in about 2 years. We/I made some mistakes for sure, but I was so pleased with how she did. She really focused, even with all the horse arena dirt (poop) as a distraction. With the exception of the weaves, the different equipment didn’t phase her. We do a lot of practice with only 6 weave poles, due to space constraints where we train, I didn’t even think it might be an issue, but it threw her. We’ve worked on it a little since the trial and it’s coming. I’m figuring out more where I need to be to support her. I think that was part of the problem too, I was staying to far back and she would keep looking to make sure I was still there. I made a few other handling mistakes not supporting her enough to drive into one of the tunnels, and taking a short cut to the A-frame causing her to miss it. So I found some holes in my handling, and was really pleased with her success. We are hardly stars, but it was a great start for us to build on. The arena is a location where a lot of the trials are held, so her just having a positive experience there was all I wanted to get out of the day. And that was a big mission accomplished.
The trial secretary and hosts were wonderful, so I really hope we can support some more of their trials in the future, once things settle a little with our family.
This weekend we attended a CARO (Canadian Association of Rally Obedience) Trial organized by our regular training centre – High Tails Pet Resort. They ran four trials over the weekend, but we only attended the two afternoon trials. I’ve been busy doing other things with Riggs lately, so hadn’t done any practice with him until this past week. So I was pretty pleased he got his brain back. Riggs is all enthusiasm in what he does, and will do anything for food, so he makes it pretty easy maneuver wise. Focus can be an issue but once we get moving he is usually pretty good. Flowey courses are definitely our friends. The Saturday course was really great for him. I made some silly handling mistakes, redoing a few signs I probably shouldn’t have (reducing our score), and stupidly feed at a point I shouldn’t have (causing an NQ). But notwithstanding my mistakes he did very well.
(Tess Above, photo by Jade Zwingli)
It was quite a hot day, and we benched in the car, the heat really got to Tess so she was a little slower, and just not quiet her usual self, but she did very well nonetheless. She earned 178 points and got her first qualifying score in Novice B. So I learnt I need to watch her pace better and adjust accordingly. Again I made some silly mistakes repeating signs I shouldn’t have. But live and learn.
Sunday’s runs both went well, both dogs had very few deductions, Riggs would have had a 194, Tess would have had a 178 again, however both dogs NQ’d at the “sit, side step, sit” sign. Looking at the score sheet Tess had a harder time than I remember. The course wasn’t quite as flowey and had a lot of sits, not as many places to reward. I think she lost focus a bit, deciding there wasn’t enough of a pay off for all this hard work. Nonetheless, I was really happy with how they both did. Riggs was much more distracted on Sunday and thought he really needed to go visit new friends and check things out. Knocking over one of the ring fences, investigating the area where the water bucket usually is, and then visiting the show secretary after our run was over. But the good parts in between were really good, if I can keep up his enthusiasm, the rest will follow. I do have to work on more hind end awareness and fix the left pivots, turns, and side step signs. Those really hurt us, so no more excuses from me 🙂
(Riggs Above, photo by Jade Zwingli)
I’ve got both dogs entered in barn hunt trials this upcoming weekend. I was hoping we’d be able to practice before the trial, but no such luck. So we’ll see how it goes. I think Tess will be ok, Riggs hadn’t quite clued in yet and isn’t sure about the bale tunnels. So we’ll just see how it goes.
What else are we up to?
Riggs was in a disc dog class starting in early January, he really loves disc and is excelling at it. I’m hoping to do a fair bit with him now that the snow has melted. I was struggling to get to that class on time after work, so we jumped into Flyball when that series ended. Again, he is doing awesome in this class. I’m amazed at his talent at just about everything! He’s just so athletic and fun to work with. This round of classes is almost over, I do hope to do more, but the scheduling hasn’t worked out to sign up for the next round of classes.
Tess is in Rally, I think she is really enjoying the quieter class environment (compared to agility). And loves having the alone time to get lots of loving and treats. This round of classes is almost over as well, so we’ve signed back up for the next round.
I’ve been doing drop in nose work classes as time allows. Both dogs have really been enjoying it, and I love that it’s really all on them. They can just be dogs and do what comes to them naturally. Tess did classes a few years ago at it, but didn’t seem to care for it at that time. She was in pretty bad health at the time, so that could very easily be why. She is making up for lost time though, really enjoys it and seems to be catching on quickly. She is a little more methodical than Riggs, but not as flashy. Riggs has done a few more drop ins than Tess, but man is he getting it! He has a tendency to rush and miss some of the earlier hides, but he is very persistent and fun to watch work. I think Riggs has gone to about 6 drop ins, Tess about 4. Both are mainly working in the scent lab, but we’re just starting to try pre-trial set ups and changing containers and locations more. It’s so neat to watch them work. I’m really loving these!
The scheduling this term for classes was a little odd with a few weeks between series’ so we’ve done a few private lessons to fill in the blanks…and man have I ever enjoyed them. The focus was more on Riggs since I was hoping to get him caught up so we could move him into the Level 3 class. But I’ve loved the private’s so much I think we might stick with them. He has an absolute hissy fit in the kennel when it is Tess’ turn to run, and she has done very well to stay focused and ignore his ridiculous antics.
Tess finished up her AKC Trick Dog titles in December, so for my purposes she’s done. She has her Do More With Your Dog Titles to the Advanced level. Riggs had his DMWYD to the Intermediate Title, and AKC Intermediate as well. I wanted to finish his AKC Advanced and Performer Titles in December/January but we needed 5 tricks and have been struggling to get two last tricks for that. I tried so many and they just didn’t work, distance sit-down on a mat – nope. Head under a blanket – nope, he’d just nose or scratch it. Chin down – not consistent enough. Back up – no, only one step. We had enough to do the Performer routine, so it was killing me not to have the Advanced ready to go. But I finally pulled together the last couple tricks to finish both those titles. So I think he is now done with the trick dog titles as well.
Riggs Advanced Routine
Riggs Performer Routine
I think that’s it for a while, Tess will stay in Rally. I hope to get Riggs into Flyball again or Disc – whichever date & time works. Right now neither works great for us. We’ll get back into our agility privates soon, and more nose work and barn hunt when available. I’m looking at another Rally class for Riggs or Canine Good Citizen for some brain work.
Now that the weather is nice I think we’ll take some time and enjoy some hiking and a bit of a breather from classes.