Katet: a group bound together by fate to achieve a common goal

Archive for August, 2008

Agility and Weddings

It looks like the last time I posted was the day after Logan’s 7th birthday.  Happy Birthday Logan!

 The CACM USDAA trial went pretty well.  We had purchased a new generic E-Z up shade tent the week before the trial from Menards so I got to test it out.  It’s very nice.  I brought 2 plastic tarps with to clip onto the side to block the sun.  I just clipped the tops so it would not get broken by the wind.  Overnight I lowered it and took the top off too so as to not give it a chance to get broken.  Vada earned her Starters Snooker Q to finish her AD and now we’ve moved up to Advanced in all classes.  Seven and I were having trouble in Jumpers.  So for the next trial I’ve moved him to Performance.  I think he’ll have alot more fun jumping 16″.  Vada and I had some really good runs.  We are both trying really hard.  The Advanced courses are tighter and harder especially for a long strided dog.  My handling it way too late.  She held her start line stays again and did all her contacts.  We almost got her last Advanced Gamblers Q but she knocked the first bar in the closing.  We’re not ready to move to Masters anyways!  I brought Prozac on Saturday and practiced measuring her.  I need to practice with her and Seven before the January trial so they can get measured by a CMJ.  I should be able to get Prozac under 16″ if I stack her properly and try to get a good measurement.  I need to remeasure her in CPE as I didn’t care and took what they gave me and she should be under 16″ not over.

The 18th was Karl’s birthday.  We went to a Saint’s baseball game.  I had gotten tickets from work.  It was a perfect night for an outdoor game.  During the game I had them put a birthday message to Karl on the board.  He thought that was pretty neat.  🙂

Saturday we went to my friend Chrissy’s wedding.  She looked beautiful and very happy.  We had alot of fun.  Had a few drinks, ate good food and danced a few dances.  They are in San Francisco on their honeymoon now.  Sunday we met Dad and Dianna at a mexican place for lunch to celebrate Karl’s birthday.  We had a good time.  It was nice to catch up with them.

Monday we went to the State Fair.  I have not gone in like 10 years.  I can’t stand the crowds.  We went early and it didn’t start off too bad.  We watched a herding competition and then a horse trick rider show.  Then a demo by an obedience/agility school.  We ate alot of junk.  It was a good day.  By the time we left I was ready to get out of the crowds though!  We took the bus so we didn’t have to deal with parking at all.  And the bus ride was free!  It was fun but it’ll be a few more years til I’m ready to go again.

Last night I went back to people school.  I’m taking a Fundamentals of Programming class at a technical college.  It was alot of fun.  Mostly review at this point but I’m sure alot has changed in the 10+ years since I took the last class.  I took a C# class about 5 years ago – when Vada was a puppy.  But I really struggled with it as the foundations have changed.  So this should help alot.  Next semester I will take a VB.NET class.

This weekend is the MMBC NADAC trial.  We have all 8 dogs entered in 1 or more classes.  Should be interesting!  I hope Vada can hold her start line stays and contacts.  I hope that Copper has fun and feels good.  And all the other guys have fun too.  Saturday there is a Parade of Veterans for dogs 9 years of age or older.  Copper is entered in that.  They’re predicting high 80s too so it should be a beautiful weekend!

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Caught Up?!?!

Guess I wasn’t as far behind as I thought!

Last weekend I entered Vada and Seven in the Tails In Motion USDAA trial in Little Falls.  Vada was entered in all the classes and Seven was entered in Starters Jumpers.  It was his first ever USDAA trial!

Measuring did not go so well.  We had practice in the kitchen with a pvc pipe next to him and over him.  No problem at all!  Not Saturday morning.  He freaked.  I used lots of treats and got him to walk onto the table and then walk by the wicket and the judge.  The judge was super nice.  She had me feed him alot on the table.  And then get back in line behind the next dog.  And keep doing that.  Eventually we got him comfortable enough to get a measurement.  He was a bit leaning but the measurement put him in the correct jump height.  Later I brought him to the table with the wicket on it to practice.  No problem what so ever!!!  So, it was the judge that made him nervous.  We’ll have to work on that as there will be a CMJ at the January trial.

Vada held her start line all weekend.  I’m getting much better at keeping the connection.  On a few runs she was so tightly wound and her butt was starting to come up and I was able to remind her to sit and then good sit.  I was proud of her for controlling herself.  We only had 3 knocked bars all weekend.  And 1 was in Gamblers so it didn’t count.  She is still popping out of the weaves at the end so we’ve been working on them this week.  I was able to fix them in Standard but not Pairs.  She did all of her contacts – to varying degrees of correctness.  🙂  She finished her Starters Jumpers and Starters Standard titles!  So now she’s in Advanced in all but Snooker.  We still need 1 Snooker Q to earn her AD and move up to Advanced Snooker.  We will have 2 opportunities this coming weekend.  I plan good courses but always screw up my handling.  Although last weekend it was a dropped bar in the closing but I had already done alot of bad handling before that.

Seven had a very nice Jumpers run on Saturday.  I pulled him off a jump but we fixed it.  He did the broad jump and I don’t think he’s ever seen one!  Sunday as I was walking the course I saw the tire and remembered that we were having tire issues and I was certain he would not take it at 22″.  So I modified my handling and planned on tricking him into rear crosses (we’re not strong enough for RCs).  That was a terrible plan and we had an ugly run.  I kept telling him what a good boy he was though so he didn’t stress.  It was after all, my fault for not training him!  And the middle of the run was very nice!  The ending was tough for both dogs!  So we’ve been working on the tire this week.  I’m not sure if he’ll have it good enough but we’ll see. 

I’ve setup that Jumpers course in the yard and we’ve been practing on it.  Karl and Fringe have been working on it alot too and doing very well!  Seven has been practicing weaves and 2o2o too.  I’m hoping by spring he’ll be ready to do full classes and all obstacles.  He is brilliant and so fun to train.

I had reserved a campsite for Saturday night since it was an hour and 20 minute drive one way.  I ended up moving stuff around in the van and throwing my sleeping bags in there.  I was too lazy to setup the tent and have to take it down again.  After I got there I walked the dogs around and they were swarmed with mosquitos!  We didn’t stay up long.  It was nice being able to sleep in the next morning though!  I got to the show site early and played fetch with all the dogs to let them stretch out a bit.  They got to play again before we hit the road home too.

I got to meet Bonnie’s new puppy (that she bred and owns the parents of), Parti.  She is very cute and very outgoing!

We’re doing it again this weekend in Saint Cloud.  Not camping though!  Seven is entered in Jumpes again.  Vada is entered in everything.  She needs the Starters Snooker Q to move up and finish her AD.  And she only needs 1 more Advanced Gamblers Q for that title.  Not sure that we’re ready to move up to Masters in anything though!  I’m hoping the tighter courses in Advanced will help her jump more rounded.  She still has trouble taking jumps as wraps or slices though.  If Seven gets 1 Q I will be happy.  But I’m not counting on anything but ring experience.  I think the tire will still be an issue.  On Saturday they are having a non-titling class – Ultimate Tunnels.  I entered Copper in that.  So he gets to play!  He will be in heaven!  And Prozac gets to come with so I can work with her on measuring.  I think she is going to be borderline and I’d really like to get her into the 16″ Championship class.  So we need to practice measuring!

Tracking

I have really been struggling with tracking methods lately.  More so then normal.  It has become a huge internal conflict for me.  Tracking is the hardest phase in Schutzhund, I think.  People don’t really talk about it that much.  And those that do, all contradict each other.  After failing our SchH3 track 3 times in a row I was questioning what we were doing.  Why is tracking awesome and trial tracks are horrible?  Why is she quitting on me at trials right off the scent pad?  I still don’t know.  Our training director thinks she lacks discipline to the track.  She thinks I need to force track her and teach her article safety.  I am conflicted about this as it’s not the way I’ve trained my dog in anything.  And I’m not sure that there is a fair way to induce stress in training in order to teach her to work through it.  We had a club tracking day at the beginning of the month.  The training director showed me how to teach article safety.  I laid a track with an article every 10 or 20 paces for a few articles.  Then I would bury an article  and have another visable article about 5 paces past the buried one.  Then the last few I had just articles and no buried ones.  What I didn’t realize was that we were going to change her indication to be a heads down, nose point at the article.  I don’t normally physically manipulate my dog to train her.  And to do this the training director had to hold her head down and nose down.  I had taught her to do a nose touch which I now know is wrong.  The training director thinks the indication should be much calmer then what Vada does.  I was open minded and was glad to see exactly what this method entailed.  We were creating stress by changing what her command meant and correcting her for not doing the new behavior and we were making the track more of a working/serious thing and we were teaching her that if she is stressed and refuses to track then she should get to the article to not get corrected any more hence “article safety”.  She did get fed ALOT at the articles and she was calmly praised when she had her head down.  She did quit tracking after 2 articles.  The first time she got corrected to the next article.  She walked and it didn’t matter since we were teaching article safety and not tracking at that point.  The next time she stood up after the article and got corrected for about 2 steps and then started tracking again.  She handled all of it beautifully.  I was very proud of her.  And I learned alot about that method.

A few days later I worked on just the article indication in the yard.  I was still having issue with the fairness of giving her a known command and correcting her when she did what she had been trained to do.  So I thought that just teaching the heads down indication would take that stress off the track.  Which I think defeats the purpose of it as we want her stressed on the track to learn to work through it.  I was amazed at how little physical exertion I needed to put her head into that position.  She did not fight me on it at all.

But I am still not comfortable with the method.  It does not match how we train other things.  I feel like I should be able to continue how I am training and find a solution to our issues.  I feel like the answers to my questions are out there but I just haven’t found them yet.  And I’ve relieved alot of pressure off myself recently.  It is no longer as important to earn our SchH3.  I have decided to continue to train as we have been – obviously making changes to some things we do but not the method.  Maybe enter a TR1 and then a TR3.  And no more big events unless we start tracking better in trials.  If we never earn our SchH3 as she gets too old then so be it.  I’d love to earn it and we have already passed the obedience and protection phases 3 times.  But I’d rather train in a manner that I am comfortable with and push myself and learn then to have the SchH3 with a dog that feels it HAS to track.  She does obedience and protection because she loves to work and do stuff with me.  I think tracking is the same and can be the same.  And I think that I am to blame for making trialing so different then training.

We’re currently taking a break from SchH and doing alot of agility and having FUN.  Well, as much fun as we can have with a dog that needs to be under tight control or she loses her mind.  🙂  Agility is coming along nicely and we’re making progress and I’m happy with it.  I will get back to tracking before the snow flies.  And come spring, we’ll have alot of work to do!  We can’t do any trials til next year so there is no rush.  But I feel like I’ve made the right choice on how to move forward.  Some won’t like it.  So now I need to work hard and prove that we can do it our way.

Worst Weekend

July 26th and 27th was the MVSV club trial weekend.  Since the HOT Vada had been tracking pretty well in training.  So, I figured I would enter her in the club trial and see how we did.  Friday I drove down for practice and just played tug with Vada on the field.  Saturday was obedience and protection and the BHs.  Sunday was tracking.  The days were split up so that dogs could be worked in the morning before it got too hot.  Normally you do tracking first.  So by the time you get to obedience you know if you have failed or not.  Not this weekend.  This weekend tracking was on Sunday so you were held in suspense til then.  I was more nervous in obedience then I ever have been.  I was sick to my stomach.  I did not warm up Vada and I should have.  She sensed my nerves and she barked non-stop through the whole heeling routine.  She is vocal but she never barks that much or for that long.  I was not happy.  She crept on her down stay.  She did her motion exercises.  She took a step or two on all of them but she did them so I was happy.  And I only needed 1 command to down her on the send out.  She was very high!  Protection went much better.  That has become my favorite phase.  I still cringe on the long bite though.  We scored a 92 which is our highest protection score yet.  Obedience was an 84 I think.

Deb K came over from WI to trial her Dutch Shepherd, Bart, for his BH and her Malinois, Quinn, for his SchH3.  It was fun to watch another DS.  Bart did a great job and passed his BH.  He’s such a nice, sweet dog.  Very stable.  Although he did pee on Karl’s shoe!  LOL  Quinn did a great job too and passed his SchH3.  He was naughty in protection and didn’t want to out but ya can’t blame them – they love the fight.

Saturday night the club took the judge to dinner.  I drove Karl and the dogs home and then drove back down to Woodbury to join the club.

Sunday morning we met early to go to the tracking fields.  Tracking was on sod – same as what we had been training for before the HOT.  I drew the first track again.  Vada went out tracking a few feet and then acted like it was a mistake and came back to me and would not track no matter what I did.  The judge told me I could restart her 1 more time.  So I did.  She didn’t go.  I figured we were done as far as judging was concerned.  I had already decided before that day that if we failed then I was still going to finish the track with her.  I went back to a short line with her and walked with her and got her started.  As she went on I gradually gave her more and more line.  She had a bit of trouble on 2 of the corners but nailed the other 2 corners.  And she worked through the 2 not perfect corners.  She tracked really well.  Not pulling me down the track like she did in training but she was tracking.  And it’s probably a fault of mine that I went back to loose line tracking but I think it helps her so I revert even though it’s incorrect.  She started down the last leg and then quit on me again.  It seemed to me that her brain was fried from all the stress at the beginning of the track.  So I helped her some more and she made it to the end and the last article.  I was glad that I had the opportunity to finish a track with her.  So at a trial she could experience moving on past her trouble spot and being shown that she could do it.  And we got to show the spectators that she could do it too.  The judge had continued to judge us and said he had to call it on the last leg when she quit again.  He gave us a 61.  I was glad that he did not pass us.  I did not feel that it was a passable SchH3 track as it would have been our title.  If we had started out better and finished then it would have been a track I would have been proud of.  I was very disappointed and frustrated as I was not sure what was going on and what our problem was.  I cried much of the day.  Karl and I went to Perkins for breakfast on the way home since I could finally eat again.  Then we went to the rental house to work on it some more.  We also had laundry to do and showers to take since the hot water heater at home was still not replaced.  Karl showered first.  By the time I showered we were also on load 4 of laundry.  As I got out of the shower I noticed the floor was starting to flood and fast.  The drain had backed up from all the showers and laundry.  I had just painted the basement stairs too.  Karl was upstairs but couldn’t come down because of the wet steps.  Eventually we walked through them and messed up the paint job since we had to use the shop vac to suck up the water.

 It was the worst weekend I had experienced in a very long time.  I was happy for it to be over.  The only good thing was getting to chat with Deb and see Bart again.  And we had fun with our protection routine.

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