Canine Experience

August 4, 2010

Reanna and Carla at the Canine Experience

On Sunday, a very rare thing happened. The whole family attended the Suffolk County Kennel Club Canine Experience in Long Island. Normally dog events are a me-only activity, with Audra occasionally coming along, BUT, since the canine experience was the first opportunity Reanna has had to “show” a dog, Perry came along to watch (and film).

Reanna was entered in pee-wee junior handlers with Beaker. Pee-wee juniors is a class for all children under 10. Parents were allowed to enter the ring with their child, but I was the only one who did. Reanna was by far the youngest in the class, and she was right between a child with a staffy bull and a child with an adolescent black GSD, neither of which had very good control of their dogs. I wish THEIR parents had been in the ring. At one point I actually picked Beaker up when the staffy bull got VERY interested in him.

All children won a rosette and a Pro-Plan towel, so Reanna was on cloud nine. She was very proud of herself.

Audra, Reanna and I showed Carla, Beaker and Lizzie in conformation. The judge was very happy to have Podengos in his ring. He was very patient with the kids, and very gentle with the puppies. Beaker won the puppy group which was very exciting. Here’s Audra showing Carla.

I also entered Carla in an agility fun “run.” As you can see, she clearly didn’t read the “run” part of the entry form.

All in all I thought it was a successful outing. In between rings we hosted a Meet The Breed Booth for the Portuguese Podengo Pequenos of America (PPPAmerica) As always, the pod puppies drew a lot of admirers and we handed out a lot of pamphlets. Perry did have an unfortunate (and painful) encounter with an easy up that wasn’t all the way “up.” Perry turned around and smacked his head right into one of the metal parts that was slowly sliding down. Ouch!

Here are the girls 10 minutes out of the show site on the way home.

Audra asleep on the way home Reanna asleep on the way home
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In class on Wednesday, Carla had weave pole issues. She did 6 poles twice, but then had a real problem doing them again. So, in our private lesson on Friday, we concentrated on, you got it, weave poles!

In all our different classes and different instructors, we’ve never consistently worked on weave poles. In our very early classes we did a lot of work with very open channels, then one instructor introduced 2x2s so we did some work with that, but I never really followed up well with ANY method. Not surprisingly, while I occasionally get a very nice weave performance, it’s highly erratic.

So, on Friday we started over, using 6 straight poles with guide wires and ex-pens. I wish I had a video of this, because Carla did GREAT! She was faster and more confident than she has ever been. And even while we weren’t working, she would go over and offer poles. At the end of the session, she was consistently weaving 6 poles with no ex-pens and only 1 guide wire. When we practice at home, I’ll put the ex-pens and guide wires back to start, and I’ll make sure I get video.

The puppies, are continuing to be stellar performers. Here’s Lizzie weaving – this is about as many trials as we do with her because she is still just a baby. You can also see her here on Audra’s blog.

We also worked the puppies on the chute – they’re very wiling to go in, but sometimes come out crooked. When we introduced a jump in front of the chute, both puppies immediately tried going around the jump and the chute and running right for the treat at the end. Luckily Dawn is very quick so the both learned that they will not get rewarded for bypassing an obstacle. Here’s Audra and Beaker:

Audra’s Rally Debut

December 10, 2009

This past weekend my dog sports club, Y2K9s in Wyndmoor, PA, held it’s annual Barketplace market.  Basically Barketplace is a fun place to hang out and shop for the dogs and doggie people in your life.  This year for the first time, we also had demonstrations of some of the dog sports we’re involved in.  There were demonstrations of agility, freestyle, disc dog, Rally-O, and more.

I helped out with the Rally demonstration and Audra came with me.  Since Carla was in season and couldn’t come, one of the other club members let Audra borrow a dog.  So Audra made her Rally debut with Raisin, a 13 year old deaf Sheltie.  Since Raisin can’t hear, Audra struggled with the stationary exercises (she didn’t know how to communicate “Sit”) but overall I thought she did really well for her first attempt.  Luckily Raisin will follow a cookie anywhere!

Perry stopped by with Reanna, so of course she wanted to try to.  As you can see, Raisin was a VERY good sport!

In other news, one of my trainers lent me a copy of Susan Garrett’s 2×2 video, so I’m going to be giving that a try with Carla.  With any luck, she’ll start nailing weave poles just in time to take maternity leave.

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.

March 29, 2009

Today Audra decided to come with me to Y2K9 to work with Carla.  It’s great that she’s old enough to help out and as a bonus, I get a lot more video!  Also, having someone along makes it easier for me to work on the weave poles and the teeter as at this point, those are easier to do with 2 handlers.

For weaves, we just called Carla back and forth between us.  We started at 6 poles, then went to 8, then to all 12.  You can see Carla hopping over the channels – I’m not sure if that’s something to worry about or if that will just fade in time. 

Here’s Carla on the teeter.  This is how we started the teeter a long time ago, just having Carla drive to the end to get her reward.  Then a different instructor had us do some work on going down off the teeter which had the unintended effect of causing Carla to stop at the beginning of the contact zone to wait for the teeter to drop.  So we went back to just going right to the end, and at the end of the session, we added a little bit of bounce to the board.  Audra enjoyed this because she stood at the end of the teeter and called Carla to a finger target.

Then we did a short sequence – which was super fun, but clearly we need to start working on our A-frame contacts.  I think I’m going to order the DVD of Rachel Sanders Box Method and try that.

And finally, another VERY short sequence with a special guest handler!

After we were done at Y2, we jumped in the car and rushed to make it to Audra’s karate class.  We made it in time, and here she is leading her class in the first part of their kata.