5 days of Dog Adventures

September 20, 2010

Wednesday – FAST class

Our agility class on Wednesday was a FAST course. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the class much, but we did well, and it was interesting. Carla has been much speedier in class lately, but if I get lost, and stop to figure out where I’m going, it definitely slows her down, a LOT. I also learned that the send was not as much of a problem as I expected – good to know! Since we did well, I’m not sure why I didn’t enjoy the class more, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that l still feel so inept at planning a course, and FAST was all about the planning.

Thursday and Friday – Rally

On Thursday and Friday, my senior citizen, Dash, was back at a dog show for the first time in over 5 years. Dash always enjoyed showing, and was thrilled to get back into the ring again. He far exceeded my expectations, and came home with a blue ribbon from Rally Novice B both days. He scored a 98 on Thursday, and a 97 on Friday. I got several comments from spectators about how happy Dash was and how much fun he was to watch. Here’s a picture of him from when he was much younger. He’s still a handsome happy guy.

Saturday and Sunday – Agility

Carla and I entered our first ever agility trial, the Y2K9’s CPE trial. I entered this trial primarily so we could work on our (my) stress issues, in an environment that doesn’t have our “trouble” obstacles, the weaves and teeter. So, to that end, I guess the weekend was successful, I went from feeling drastically ill on Saturday to actually being able to enjoy eating on Sunday.

On Saturday we were entered in Standard and Jumpers. Our standard run was very, VERY, slow and painful, right up until when we were whistled off for time. Our jumpers run was more successful, although still way over in time faults.

On Sunday we were entered in Standard and Colors. Our standard run on Sunday was the most successful of the weekend, only 10 time faults. Here’s the run:

I know that it was our first weekend, and that I should be thrilled that Carla kept working, albeit slowly, despite the new environment and her stressed out handler, but I’m still frustrated and discouraged, not so much because of the slugg-y-ness, but more because I haven’t a clue how to fix it.

I’m trying to remember that in our first off lead Rally trials, our stress behaviors were much worse, a LOT of sniffing, and some out and out refusals, so I’m hoping that there’s hope for us in agility yet.

To end things on a positive note, here’s a picture of Carla practicing with Reanna at Y2 2 weeks ago, both of them having a good time.


Well, first things first.  Carla and I headed out to Springfield, MA over the 4th of July where we finished our RE title and earned our first 2 RAE legs.   I was particularly pleased about our performance because last year at this show, we had a lot of issues.  This venue is tough because it’s a large, busy, show; and the rally ring is set up right along the corridor where people come in and out of the building, so there are LOTS of distracting things going on.  Last year was our first attempt competing off lead and we weren’t quite ready for that level of noise and distraction.  This year, we were much better prepared, Carla even held her Sit for the honor when a big scary dumpster was pushed past us.  I was so proud of her.  So here’s the picture from Wednesday when we finished our RE title:

 Our RE!

I eventually want to transition to Novice, so we will continue to work on our RAE legs, while I continue to work on fading my cues.  After 3 days of Rally at the Springfield shows, we headed down to Enfield, CT, for the Portuguese Podengo Club of America Specialty.  The judge, Luis Gorjao Henriques, put Carla up out of 7 entries in Open.  He was also very helpful (and patient!) after the show when he discussed the merits of individual dogs.   He liked Carla’s topline, tail and coat.  He also commented on her attitude <g>.  He said she is a little small, could have a more triangular head, and a better ear set.  All in all I was pleased with the results.  Here is our picture with the judge and the show secretary:

Carla 2009 Specialty

The photographers at the show, Agile Images, were fantastic.  In addition to shooting win pictures, a video of the event, and candids, they kindly agreed to take some pictures of Carla’s spider dog trick.  To see all the pictures from the specialty, visit the Agile Images website here: http://www.agile-images.com/

Carla does her Spider Dog Trick at the 2009 Specialty

Carla does her Spider Dog Trick at the 2009 Specialty


In other news, our teeter performance continues to improve!  After our last teeter session, some friends pointed out that Carla was cueing off of my motion at the end of the teeter.   So we worked some more on this in my last session with Sassie.  Sassie was kind enough to videotape it for me so you can see our progress.  The teeter is slightly higher than what we worked on before,  and Sassie did a great job of directing me to run FAST past the end of the teeter. 

Here’s a clip of some of the work we did.  I was pleased with the improvement.  On the last run, there’s some yummy stuff (can’t remember the name) that’s sort of like play-doh at the end of the teeter that Carla is stopping to eat.

We’re going down to Y2K9 tomorrow to work some more.

Two Down, One to Go

June 8, 2009

So with one thing and another going on, I’m finally making time to get back to my blog.

After all, I have important news, Carla is only 1 leg away from her Rally Excellent title. Yeah!

Perry, Carla, and I spent the weekend in Syracuse so that we could go to the Syracuse Obedience Training Club trial. I finished Carla’s RA at this club’s January trial, and everyone was so nice, we decided to go back again. Perry decided to come along as well, so the kids spent a fun weekend with my brother and SIL, and we had grown up time AND a dog show – my kind of weekend!

Carla worked well both days. The judge for this trial was very nice, and put together an interesting course, but she was tough! The first day, we scored a 75. We IP’d (failed) 2 exercises, both entirely my fault. The first IP was on the Come Front Finish Left. The come front went fine, but when Carla finished, I look down and said “good dog” at which point she popped out of the sit. If I had been really on the ball and just moved forward we would have been fine (maybe a 1 point deduction) but instead, I had her sit again, which caused us to fail the exercise, 10 points gone. The other IP was on the Moving Down, I forgot to pause after walking around Carla. I KNOW I’m supposed to pause. I’ve been told by other judges that I MUST pause. I tell my students in the class I teach, that they MUST pause, but for some reason, my brain sees the word “Moving” and off I move, no pause, minus 10 points! The other 5 points were just sloppy heeling and sits – so Carla did great but is clearly hampered by her handler of little brain.

Today was better, Carla was a little distracted, but I was a little more together so together we did fine and scored 88. We lost 4 points for repeating an exercise, the 90 Degree Pivot -Left. Carla didn’t sit after the pivot and since we don’t usually have a problem with this, I wasn’t sure if she didn’t sit, or if she sat but popped back up. I wasn’t willing to risk the 10 points if she had popped, so we just redid the exercise and took the 4 point hit. (Turns out, as you can see in the video, that she didn’t sit, but I didn’t know that at the time.) Our other deductions were just onesy-twosies. I paused a second on the Moving Stand (which you can see in the video), and then right after the stand, on the Slow heeling I was trying to keep Carla slow, but was really giving her the same hand signal for Stand so she was a little confused. She also drifted a little at the heeling around the food bowls, and again when there was a furball floating by on the floor. I also finished the course by passing the last sign on the wrong side. Ugh. We did have a great back up, although Perry was so excited to watch it live, that he forgot to capture that exercise on film :~(

The honor exercise that I was really worried about went fine both days, although she almost broke her sit today when someone’s camera flash went off.

All in all, 2 Qs, 2 4th place rosettes, and a kid free night away from home. Priceless .

So, one more leg, and we’ll have our RE! I’m not sure what we’ll do after that. I’m not much interested in going after our RAE title, so we may try and buckle down and make some progress on agility. We had a breakthrough on our teeter work last week, so I’m feeling a little better about our agility prospects.

Perfect Score!

April 12, 2009

Today Perry, Reanna, and I took Carla to the Harrisburg show to compete in Rally.  Carla and I competed in Advanced B, and completed the course with a perfect score of 100 for first place.  Yeah!  Perhaps even more exciting, I FINALLY have a video of us doing Rally. 

It was fascinating watching the video – I didn’t realize how much I’m still bending over and leading Carla with a finger target.  I don’t think I’m doing this while practicing, so it may just be part of my anxiety issue.  The targeting aside, today, I felt that we were finally working as a team.  I was very nervous until about 2/3 of the way through the serpentine, and looking at the video, I can almost see Carla relax and start to enjoy herself. 

As usual, Carla made friends and by the time we were through the course, had acquired an entire cheering section, which you can hear as we finished.

Reanna has been asking for a video of HER and Carla, so after we were done in Rally, we took advantage of some of the open space at the show site for Reanna and Carla to show their stuff.  Including Reanna’s version of “spider Reanna:”

Later as we were browsing vendor booths, we met another Podengo person!  I can’t remember her name (Sandy maybe), as Reanna was not interested in chatting, but it was fun to meet someone else with a Podengo – and I’m looking forward to meeting with her and her dog Ethel(?) at the National.