Monday, March 30, 2009

Darn contacts

So as it turns out, we're going back to 2o2o contacts. This weekend was a contact – DISASTER. A-frame crappiness I've come to expect but the dog walk? Of all things, deej knows the dog walk. Soooo, its back to targets and stopping on everything.

This morning we went over to the club and put down the targets and it was like instant perfect contacts. We'll practice there this week and on the contact trainer at home. Then at the trial this weekend, if he jumps the contact I'm pulling him out of the ring.

Especially on the dog walk, we've always had stopped contacts on it.
But I feel a lot better about going back to 2o2o on the A-frame, for one thing he already knows how to do it. The criteria is super clear and easy for both of us. So, just gotta get it in competition and we'll be great.

Save for the contact debacle on Sunday we did freaking awesome in standard. Got jumper Qs both days and even placed 3rd on Saturday with a 31 second time. Usually that would put us around 7th but at a 1-judge show on the weekend of nationals it was good enough for a ribbon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Trialing and blogging

Have been remiss in my blogging efforts, I think because I feel exhausted by thinking about DJ. We're training and practicing all the time, a lot of my weekday not-at-work time is spent either walking, working on nails or a trick or practicing agility. Then there's like a couple hours for eating, showering and about one, sometimes maybe almost two, hours of watching the tube and knitting.

So that's my life in a nutshell pretty much. However this past weekend we trekked way across the state to beautiful exit 224 on 75 to stay at the exceedingly craptastic Motel 6 and then do agility at the Manatee county fairground. It was ok, DJ did some weird stuff. Probably my fault. In one standard class I attempted a blind cross after a tunnel and kinda threw him off I suppose…or not…going up the dogwalk. I was halfway down the walk when I realized he was still perched on the up ramp looking petrified. Then he jumped off. The ONLY other time he's done that was at this place on this dog walk. It was the next to last obstacle and we only need one darn Q to get our AX.

So I wasn't angry I was just so shocked, he was happy and thrilled but I just put on his leash and walked out of the ring and sat down. Just dumbfounded as to why he did that.

The standard run on Saturday was good except he leapt over the contact on the dog walk, again not a usual behavior – or what we train for!, and then also bounded over the contact on the a-frame. We did manage to come away with a Q in jumpers and finished up our open FAST title.

What was good is that DJ seemed to have a good time he was mostly relaxed all weekend and didn't seem overly agitated by the change in routine and staying in a new place. The first time we went to Palmetto it really threw him for a loop and he was more on edge and anxious than usual. So that was good I feel a lot better about making overnight agility trips now too.

I'm going to stay in open FAST for a while though, the only reason we Q'd was that it was an exceedingly easy send, the boundary was really close to the obstacles too. It seemed like that anyway. I'm not sure of all the rules but the judge seemed to know what she was doing so…we did only get third because I'm really lazy about planning a course for maximum points.

Tomorrow is another agility trial, I can't wait, it's in Davie at the rodeo grounds. This place is very annoying because they forbid bringing coolers in because of some contract so they try to force you to buy stuff from the nasty concession stand. Truly vile. Bleh. Forced to sneaking around, we're at least allowed to bring water and snacks for dogs. It’s a one judge trial so we're going to be done by like noon or earlier. I can't wait, did I mention that?

Monday, March 9, 2009

DJ hates people

Having a nervous, not-exactly-friendly dog can be a challenge. Not so much in the world of dog-savvy people but among the normal people it can be kind of scary, for both DJ and I.

Before DJ came into our lives, I was pretty clueless about dog body language and what a nervous dog might look like. Since however, I'm much more careful with the way I approach dogs, don't pet them unless they clearly solicit the attention and then I ask their handler. With the all clear from both parties, petting commences.

DJ does not enjoy the attentions of strangers. Sometimes he'll jump up on the leg of someone he has met before. Because he so rarely approaches other people outside of the house, I don't really discourage that behavior no matter what they think of jumping up. (I actually don't discourage jumping up at all ever.)

Over the weekend we met an adorable girl min pin on our afternoon walk. She had a lovely undocked tail and un-cropped ears. I was envious of her tail, I love undocked tails. She was very sweet and DJ was entirely appropriate sniffing and socializing. He's always fairly polite with other min pins, I shouldn’t say always, he's only met two others that I know of.

The dog was with a man and a woman and we were talking when all of a sudden the woman pounced on DJ, I should have realized that she was moving closer, staring at him. But I didn't, so she fell on him and tried to take his face in her hands, barking snarling and snapping ensued. I was trying to move away, push DJ back and shoo her away and talk all at the same time. Not working. She stayed in his face, saying, he won't bite will he?

Um yes, he could. He was certainly threatening it and is not averse to using his teeth to make a point. I don't think he bit her, she didn't say that he did but it kind of soured the conversation even though I explained his history and wariness with people.

Of course I was a little upset with DJ but mostly with myself for not stopping her more strenuously even if it meant being rude and I wanted to talk min pins so I was loathe to be seen as rude but still should have stepped in sooner.

Secondly I thought it was rude of her to do but dogs have to be bombproof against all manner of dumb things that people do. Not fair but there you go.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Agility fun

Quickly approaching the end of the agility season. Too quickly.

However there is a veritable agility-palooza coming up!

March 21 – 22 is Palmetto.

March 28-29 in Davie. It’s a one judge trial but hopefully they'll run it like the last one where it was excellent, excellent jumpers, then open and then novice.

That was the easiest trial ever. Though massively hot in October I believe.

April 2 – 5 will be in Vero Beach.

Four days of agility goodness.

Plus no setting up Wednesday. Thank goodness. The good / bad thing about some of the trials in south Florida, I don't know how it is elsewhere, but they are under covered arenas. Which means that everyone huddles up to get in the shade. Nice to have shade, bad if you are someone like me who is an anxious nutcase about getting a good spot.

I'm getting better but still, my natural tendency is towards getting places early combined with the excitement of a trial and horribleness of the Florida heat … I end up waking up way too early the first day and then speeding.

Some people just suck it up and set up the night before – which is why I'm taking off the afternoon of March 20 to haul ass over to Palmetto and set up my little area.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Catching up

Last week was very busy, my sister was visiting and then the boyfriend visited on the weekend so there was not a lot of agility. There was a fun run I skipped on Sunday due to staying up way too late Saturday night.

Back on track this morning however, had some good A-frame practice as well as weave pole practice and some quick front cross sequences. There was a really great sequence in last month's Clean Run…I think… that I need to print out and take with me so we can focus more instead of just doing basic stuff.

There is a trial we're signed up for in two weeks in Palmetto that is way on the West coast of Florida. It will take three hours to get there and we're staying at Motel 6. Not the nicest of options but the cheapest for sure. The only other time we've been to Palmetto, in September, Deej was a little shaken by the whole experience.

First of all he was completely bewildered by the room and the whole idea of staying there. Then at the trial site he was a bit on edge and the rings are only sectioned off by two strips of construction tape. In our final run on Sunday two dogs started a commotion on the edge of the ring right by the practice jump and it was nearly impossible to get his focus back. My worst fear was releasing him to have him leap to his feet and run out of the ring. Didn't happen thankfully.
That was a weird trial, he did a lot of strange things such as bailing off the dog walk.

Never done that before or since. He didn't slip -- he was sniffing and then seemed to become alarmed and felt, I assume, that it was better just to abandon the whole effort.

This morning he found some kind of spiky and delicious sea creature that he was intent on swallowing. Unfortunately it was so chewy and spiky that he wasn't able to get it down before I convinced him to let me dig it out of his mouth. Very spiky! Ouch it hurt my thumb, I can't even imagine what it was doing to his tongue.