Friday, October 31, 2008

Sits and Downs Last Night

Hey, Wyatt was perfect last night in sits and downs. He did one out of sight sit, one out of sight down, and one in sight sit! Thjey were not for the full time but still...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


We had guest teacher at agility class last night and I learned something really valuable. She had some serpentines set up with the last obstacle offset (ahead of the others). For example, one had jump 1, another jump 2 (from the opposite side), and then a tunnel 10-15 ahead of jumps 1 and 2. Normally, I would do a front cross in on the far side of jump 2. Instead, she taught me to stay on the near side of jumps 1 and 2. Send the dog over jump 1, move laterally so that the dog comes back over toward you to jump 2, and then just head out to the tunnel. The handler path is much shorter and you head off potential off courses if there are other obstacles near jump 2.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


After worked for many years on pivots for rally, gloves, and heeling, I am seeing some real nice pivots on Wyatt. The left pivot especially is difficult. I am seeing Wyatt "jump" into position now, which is amazing. There seems to be a magic spot to look too so that if your look behind your dog at the magic spot, they line up perfectly straight. This obedience stuff really takes a long time!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I have been tuning into ways that more communication/information is needed in certain situations in agility (and obedience). When the dogs don't get the information/support they need, they often don't do what we expect. However, from what I see, they aren't blowing us off, we aren't giving them what they need. Last night in agility class, there was a jump, tunnel, tunnel serpentine. Wyatt came out of the first tunnel on the wrong side. However, when I called his name - when he was in the tunnel - he came out on the desired side. For some reason, I often forget to communicate when Wyatt is in a tunnel.

He had some great weaves last night - fast and he was also able to find the entry on his own from some distance and from some difficult angles. What I do need to do is bring targets to class to reinforce the end of the contact 2 on 2 off. He was going down most of the down to the yellow but in trials, he goes less far down, sometimes in the blue zone.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Somewhat Disappointing OB Class

We went to obedience class last night after missing a few weeks. We did lots of retrieves, which are no problem for Wyatt. We did get some good proofing but I was a little bored. At the end, we did sits and downs. The good news was that Wyatt made his 5 minute out of sight down with no problems. But we went down twice on his sit. He has been doing so well at home on sits and downs that I was a little disappointed. I will probably try staying in sight and/or closer next time for the sit. He missed his first drop on recall too but I think I know why. If I look at the "judge" for her hand signals, he frequently does not drop. If I look at Wyatt and keep the "judge" in my peripheral vision, he seems to do fine. Just something I need to remember. I was hoping to enter open at the Thanksgiving Cluster but it is not on Thanksgiving weekend and we had already signed up for an CPE agility trial 5 minutes from our house. Will have to wait until winter/spring. There do not seem to be any trials on December/January/February though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CPE Results and Off Courses

Wyatt and I had a fun weekend at our local CPE trial 5 minutes from our house. We rocked Saturday with 3 Qs and 3 first places right off the bat in the level C - Champion - 20 inch class. I was having visions of a perfect weekend at that point. How delusional! We had an off course in our last run of the day, Wildcard. But our Fullhouse, Standard, and Colors run were great. We had an especially good standard run with picture perfect contacts. It felt kind of easy compared to NADAC Elite Regular courses but that's OK!

On Sunday, we had 2 real good runs - Jackpot and Standard. In Jackpot, we racked up tons of points and were on the final gamble obstacle, the A-Frame. But Wyatt stopped in the blue zone and I jerked a bit to get him down and he released. I definitely need to work on driving to the end. He frequently stopped high and I need to coax him down. Better than leaping off though. A groan went through the crowd when he released from the blue zone. In Standard, there was a difficult three discrimination challenge I could not get; he was too far ahead of me.

I really went for it in our third run of the day, Snookers. The course had triple combos for #6 and #7. We did 1-6, 1-7, and 1-2, which had great flow. Wyatt did great. We did not make it through the final 7 in the closing sequence but had an awesome run with lots of cool wraps and speed. A Q and a first. I was hoping for a great closing Jumpers run but we bombed out. I lost contact after several jumps and he went around. I was worried about his back since he avoided jumps in the past when he had a sore back but, looking at video, I think it was a handler issue. They seem to need a connection before they committ to the next obstacle. You can never assume they will take a certain jump even in a straight line sequence, at least in my experience.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Running Patriot

I also ran our other whippet Patriot last weekend at the VT NADAC trial. My wife trained him and usually runs him but has been staying home with our son at times. Patriot is very different from Wyatt. He is much less driven and also slower but usually more consistent. He was pretty slow this summer except for the first run of the day. He tends to not run well in the heat. Last weekend, he was pretty fast but I was having a lot of contact problems. Dawn is retraining him for a running contact. I lost a lot of Qs due to contacts and then decided I needed to try something different. All I did was slow down and maintain voice contact on the contacts and we were much more successful on contacts. Kind of what I saw with Wyatt, they both seem to need a connection on the contacts even though they are much more independant at home.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wyatt's Perfect Contact Weekend!

Wyatt had a great weekend. For the first time EVER, he stopped for every contact. Loyal followers will know that Wyatt has had contact problems for years. Lately, his A Frame and teeter have been good but the dog walk has still been a real issue. What I was seeing was that when I was behind him on the dog walk, he would fly off at the slightest change in my speed, arm movement, voice, whatever. See Video for an illustration of the this. I had been trying to really still my upper body as we approached the dog walk end. However, though it sometimes helped, it did not work most of the time. I got to thinking before this trial about what else I could try. Lots of our NADAC courses lately have been starting with a jump and then the dog walk. This is the hardest way for us to start as Wyatt can get lots of speed right off the start line. I thought I would try a lead out first. Sure enough, for our first course, there was a jump and a dog walk as the first two obstacles.

I tried to lead out but Wyatt started. Luckily, the judge was having an issue so I got to try again. I was able to lead out laterally but not ahead like usual. My second idea was to somehow get him to stop and wait for me if he got ahead of me on the dog walk. I called his name as I slowed down and sure enough he stopped and waiting for me. I then have to coax him down to the yellow zone. Not ideal and not what we have at home, which is a nice independent 2 on, 2 off but it works. I used the same technique and it worked all day and the next day 2. I was very happy that we seemed to have found a solution to our dog walk issue.

I am going to go back to using a target at home and in class to reinforce going down to the bottom on his own. I also picked up a good tip from Dave May for the jump, dogwalk start. That is to start at an angle to the first jump, sending him out. That gives me more time to get to the dogwalk.

Funny how it seems like I had to figure out what Wyatt needed rather than training him. I can work now from where we are and get him to drive to the end of the contact at trials.

Saturday, we ended up with 4 of 6 Qs including our last open Touch and Go leg. That earned Wyatt his NADAC open versatility award, which you get when you complete all your open titles (with the exception of the new Hoopers game.) Getting 4 of 6 is very rare for Wyatt. We had a very nice Hoopers run after quite a few frustrating NQs. I think I am getting the hang of hoopers, which is to treat the hoops like real obstacles. Hard to explain. Sunday, we got another regular (standard) Q, which again is unheard of for us to get 2 regular Qs in one weekend. We had some minor issues in our other runs which causes NQs on otherwise super runs.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

AKC Stats 2007

Here are some graphs for the 2007 (and earlier) stats for entries, titles, and whippet titles by sport. The actual numbers (which show much more detail can be found at Numbers