Monday, March 30, 2009

More Thoughts

More thoughts on our open attempts. Watching Saturday's video again - attempt 5 - I was very happy with Wyatt's heeling. 2 people also noticed that the judge moved as Wyatt was coming back after jumping, which seemed startle with so that he dropped the dumbbell. So we can proof that. I do believe I was still 2 feet too close. Anyway, if you look back at most of our NQs, it has been a lack of attention, probably from something moving in the ring. So proofing will help as well as what I did at the last trial, which was revving him up and looking at him during the initial command. Some of this is from having a sighthound and some is Wyatt, who is nervous and very observant too.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Handler Error!

Wyatt did pretty well but I made some key errors in our fifth attempt at a CDX leg.

I stood to close to the jump for the retrieve over jump. I looked at the judge's line and went with that and not what a little voice said was too close. The floor was bouncy and that was on my mind. All the handler's were discussing the floor. That forces him, I believe, to have to jump around me, which created a different picture to him. He then dropped the dumbbell a few feet away and behind me, something he never does. I understand that that is a deduction but not an NQ.

I tried to recover and keep him up for the broad jump but he stepped through the broad jump, something he also never does. I suspect it was stress from the previous exercise. We also did agility run through the night before, which may have contributed either from some physical tiredness or confusion with contacts.

The trial as at a new spot for us and it was very crowded. As we came in, I found a spot near the door. I set up the crate and noticed later that the crate door was facing the building door. I usually have the crate door facing the place where chairs are so Wyatt can see me. He has some separation anxiety (SA) issues. Again, I did not listen to that little voice that said to move the crate. I also noticed and ignored some spilled water and movement of the pad inside the crate, which indicates that he was pawing at the crate pad due to SA. The handler went outside the building for the stays, something I also wondered about. I believe that is more stressful for Wyatt. As I came in from the long sit, I saw that he was about 6 feet in front of the other dogs. The judge informed me that he was whining the whole time and crawled up. When I came in from the down, he was not there! The steward said he stood up and left right before he came back in.

I have not been practicing out of sight stays much since Wyatt did the last 4 or so perfectly but I guess i need to keep practicing these including going out the door, something that has been difficult in the past when I have tried it. Also, I need to manage him better especially crate placement. Sometimes I bring our Patriot to keep him company. Obviously, I need to stand a bit farther from the jump. However, I was very happy overall looking at the video. We also made it through the first part with a very uncharacteristic broad jump failure. My goal was to keep him focusing and up between exercises and I think I did that. You can't see it on the video but I keep talking to him between exercises saying what we were going to do next and I think that really helped. I need to think about if we should trial at less that ideal and new places or stick with the really good and familiar spots.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Agility Practice

My handling was not the greatest Wednesday night. I arrived late because I had to drive back home for my dog bag and was frazzled. I also had trouble trying to remember courses for 2 different dogs. But I did get to practice contacts and did well with the second part of the course especially weaves and teeters and dogwalks. I am going to do some run thrus tonight to get my confidence and get the dogs used to full courses with other dogs. Wyatt shows in Open A obedience tomorrow and off the nationals next week! I think we are in a good position to do well at the national but I am trying not to think that way and just think to have a good time with the dogs, do our best, and keep everyone safe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fifth Try This Weekend

Wyatt and I will try for our first CDX leg again this weekend. I am going to try to stay more connected between exercises this time and see if that helps our problem with freezing occasionally on the initial command.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FIrst Agility Class of the Year

I took both Wyatt and Patriot to agility class last night to tune up for the whippet national specialty. Patriot ran very well and did some (for him) fast weaves. I just had to remember how to do contacts with him. My wife changed him to running contacts but did not really finish so I have to slow him down and kind of point to the bottom of the contact to ensure that he hits the yellow zone. Wyatt also did very well and was very fast but crashed a bar on his first run. I moved him down to 16 immediately and he did fine. I not going to run him at 20 inches anymore so I am not sure why I was even practicing at 20! It felt great to run him at 16; the instructor thought he would be fine at 16 even with his early jumping habits. I was definately rusty with my cuing and with running the 2 dogs differently so it was great to be out doing agility again. I think both dogs were happy too and they are busy sleeping right now. They seem to need extra rest the next day, which tells me it was good for them. We all know that a tired whippet is a good (and happy) whippet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Finish CDX First?

I am wondering if I should just trial in obedience until we get our CDX. As you know, we have no legs yet. I have 4 attempts coming in through mid-April. I only have so much time on weekends to trial per month so I am thinking, hard as it is, that I may put off trialing in NADAC agility until we get our CDX. There is a NADAC trial close by in early May but also an obedience trial that weekend. I can usually enter NADAC trials late, even day of show, so I could go to NADAC if we get our CDX by then.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Obedience Results

We had a good but long day today at the Obedience Trial in Franklin, MA today.

Still no Open A Q for Wyatt. Once again, he NQed on one exercise and did very well on the rest. A little frustrating but I think it is just going to take some trialing to put it all together as a team. Good news: another perfect sit and down and he came on the drop (he missed that twice). This time, he did not go out on the retrieve on flat, of all things, something he has never done before. I am going to check the video to see if did anything funny like not give our normal command. Something did feel a little off. I think I was nervous after he got the drop on recall and thought we were home feel. I threw to the side and a little farther than usual and the judge waited a while after the throw. I checked tonight and I don't look at Wyatt before giving the "Find It" command. I was wondering if I neglected to look at him but that was not it. We were working on a 188 if we had qualified.

Patriot and I did Novice B. I have never shown him in obedience before but wanted to get a dry run in before the national, where I will be showing him in rally, agility, and obedience. He ended up doing great. He got a second place in a large class of 20+ dogs, a 190, and also high scoring sighthound! I was really good with both dogs not looking back at all and trusting. Unfortunately, I did not get a video of me and Patriot.

A good day. I feel good about both dogs and am prepared to trial with Wyatt for a while. Even though we have had 4 very close to Q runs, I need to be patient and work together as both of us get comfortable with showing in Open A.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Weekend - Obedience - Saturday Only

Wyatt and I are in Open A again this weekend. WIsh is luck! I also have Patriot entered in Novice B to get ready for the National. Mainly just worked with him on lagging at home.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Practice Last Night - Brace, Novice, and Open

Wyatt and Patriot did so well last night as a brace team! They were super cute too. I MUST get our brace videotaped at the Whippet National. I did pick up a few things such as putting Patriot on the inside when heeling since he lags more. But they did great and it really seems easy if you have 2 well trained dogs to put them together. Hard to get them both to sit straight but I don't think I will be able to fix that completely.

Wyatt did fine with his drop on recall. I had the teacher really crowd him but he took off on "Wyatt, come" everytime. Even though it cost up two CDX legs, I am not sure there is much more I can do besides proofing it in different settings. Hopefully, they were flukes and not a habit. We'll see next weekend.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

So Close!

Wyatt did great in Open A yesterday but we missed one thing, enough to NQ. But heeling was very good. I was told he was right with me. I tried really hard to keep my eyes ahead and did pretty well with that but it's hard not being able to see him. Sits were straight with good fronts too. On the drop, I had to call him twice. I thought he may have been looking over in the other ring on the first command. Someone else said a dog barking right then. The judge said she could hear my command though so Wyatt must have. The rest - retrives and broad jump was picture perfect. I think we would have got about a 190. The sits and downs were perfect too. So close! Next time! I may try to proof the drop a little more - the initial come command. The judge raising her hand above his head may be making him nervous. He certainly never does not come at home or in class.

Here's a comment I got from a friend who was watching...

Hi John...

Just wanted to let you know you guys really did a nice job today......keep at it and it'll happen! The more confidence you exude, the less he will lag. My Skyler went from being a lagger to a forger the more we showed. Don't keep looking back at him....just keep going.....he's with you.

His stays were rock solid.....he didn't even fidget. I think he liked watching the Utility going on in the next ring....his ears were forward and his head was moving with the movement in the other ring all during the sit-stay. You guys are sooooo close!

Good luck in your next show!