Monday, July 23, 2007

Is Agility a Zero Sum Game?

I am a feeling disappointed from the weekend. Wyatt and I seem to be having contact issues again. Specifically, we had a lot of trouble with the dogwalk on Sunday. He did seem nervous at this indoor site and I think my handling of the dogwalk was off. What was not working was me lagging way behind him. I think in this case, he sees or hears something behind him and interprets it as a signal to release. I did notice that he did better yesterday on our last run when I send him to a tunnel, had him catch up with me, and then release him when we were more together. He released prematurely but did make the contact. I SHOULD be happy about a weekend with perfect weaves and fewer problems with off courses. (Still needs work.) We did get one standard Q so we need 6 more for our championship. The 3 Q's we did get were all first places. Sometimes it seems like a zero sum game, you get better in more area and something else seems to fall apart. Perhaps that is my inexperience in keeping everything "in mind" at once. I have a NADAC trial in August where we can train in the ring for contacts and I may try and get to some different classes at different sites to practice.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Start Line Issue

At practice last night, Wyatt held his start line stay perfectly. Although the problems I had at the CPE National were with a contact as the second obstacle, I am wondering if this is a trial issue. I do see signs that he is anxious to start at a trial (reluctant to sit and shaking hind legs).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good Quote

From Clean Run Magazine, June 2007...

“The joy is being able to step up to the start line with your dog, not in crossing the finish line victorious over others.”

I really find this to be true especially after Wyatt’s injury. He had a back injury that caused him not to want to play agility anymore. After taking him to a sports vet, taking a dog massage seminar, taking time off, and then practicing less, he is looking better than ever. One thing I found very interesting was that Wyatt always paced when jogging with me and Patriot in the woods. The dog massage person said it was due to tight stomach and back muscles over the loin. I was dubious because I thought it was due to conformation that he was born with. Sure enough, Wyatt no longer paces when we jog. He has a nice trot and his topline and movement is much better. So perhaps this injury was a blessing in disguise.

I got a nice comment from the CPE National Agility Trial judge.

“Thank you for the videos! Wyatt is probably the best whippet I have ever seen in agility! Awesome, awesome dog!”

Comments like that are nice but the best thing is the thrill of having a great run with your agility partner.

We rescued Wyatt at one year of age. He is the first dog I have owned. Kind of ironic as I think now of carefully choosing a next dog from specific lines that would make a versatile dog in many dog sports.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I have been practising the gamble we saw at the CPE Nationals in the yard and have learned a lot. The gamble is a jump leading to a tunnel which has a 90 degree bend in it. After the tunnel, there are 2 jumps side by side and the final table. Gamble is to send the dog to jump, tunnel, far jump, and table staying away from the obstacles. Definately to turn and keep going after Wyatt is sent to the tunnel or he will stop. I tend to do this at trials. Hopefully, it is in my body memory now. Also, if I book it and get out near the table, his line is much more to the far jump. After I did the far jump for a while, I tried to pull him to the near jump and found he was not attending to me. So I put in a little RFP and that got his attention.

This was a great little exercise for the yard.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nova Scotia

Dawn and I, our 2 whippets,  and our one year old son are in Nova Scotia at the CPE Nationals.  It was a great trial.  Lots of fun and lots of supportive, fun, and friendly people that CPE is known for.    

Wyatt and I had some great runs.  Things are really starting to click, just not 100% consistently.  I did have a problem with start line stays in 2 standard runs where there was a contact discrimination first thing.  That cost 2 Qs.  Ouch.  Have to work on that.  Seems to be mostly at trials and first things in the morning when he is hyped up.  (There is a video of one of these runs.)  We had an awesome colors run (see video link) and also a great jackpot run (did not get the gamble) but the opening was one of our best runs ever (someone has this on video and I will post it later).  I still tend to stop suddenly and pull him out of the gamble.  I need to keep moving and turn just like I do on a normal tunnel (or whatever) send out.  

Patriot and Dawn also had a good trial.  Both dogs got 4 Qs each.  The courses were challenging.  Wyatt got a 4th in standard a 2nd in colors.  First was Elise Paffrath, our instructor, who is a national ranked USDAA competitor so I had to be happy about that.  Check out the video (especially the colors run)...

Video Link

-- John Heffernan
-- 99 North Hill Road
-- Conway, MA 01341

Whippet Wyatt of Dodge City, CD, RE, SC, NA, NAJ,  OAC,  EJC, OCC, TN-O, TG-N, WV-N, CL4-R, CL5-HSF,  CGC “Wyatt”
Whippet AWC Triathlon Winner C-ATCH Ch Seaspell’s Concord Point, CAV, CD, SC, OA, OAJ, CR, OTR, NJC, TG-N,  CGC  “Patriot”