Monday, April 27, 2009

Too Many Squirrels

I recently spent 10 days on the road in Atlanta, Georgia for the American Whippet Club National Specialty Show. I think it is important to get my dogs Wyatt and Patriot out for their daily exercise when we are on the road, not to mention myself.

I went for a few runs by myself earlier in the week. I found a little neighborhood near the busy Atlanta airport. Midweek, I met the lovely and talented Shawn Rudd and her whippet Georgie. Shawn and George did a flyball demo at the national and Shawn and Bella are a previous winner of the Willow Award. It turned out the we use very similar training methods for our very similar whippets Wyatt and Georgie. We went for a nice run with me holding Wyatt because Patriot was showing and went for another nice walk with our dogs. On the last day of the show we went for a final run. I thought I would bring both dogs as usual and give one for Shawn to run since she does not run with her dogs - due to a injury she received when running with Georgie.

We net at 8:00 AM which was earlier than usual. We started seeing lots of squirrels and I mean lots, like one every 10 feet. We have plenty of squirrels in New England but nothing like this. Patriot was pulling on his leash pretty bad so I gave Wyatt to Shawnie. Usually I keep Wyatt with me because he is so bonded to me he constanly tries to get by my side, Wyatt was good for Shawnie though and I had better luck with Patriot - at least until we came to a little squirrel infested park.

Suddenly, the squirrels appeared everywhere. Wyatt veered in front of me going left and Patriot surged right. I ran into the crossed leashes and Wyatt before I could react. Down I went on the hard Georgia cement sidewalk. Shawnie, in a dilemna, did not know whether to help me or grab Patriot's leash. She wisely got Patriot and came back to me. I somehow landed with the outside of my left hand down and bleeding and the on the outside part of my right wrist on my (dominant) right hand. My watch was another victim of the fall with the wristbands coming off the watch. I was bleeding pretty good on my left hand and my right wrist hurt like hell. I figured it was probably a sprain. We walked for a short distance and then jogged back to the hotel. We were mid-run so it took about 15 minutes to get back. Needless to say, my speed was not great. Wyatt appeared fine. His gait was good and we did not see anything bleeding at that time.

We went to hotel desk and asked for some band aids. It is a really posh hotel and I think the desk clerk was more than happy to provide many different kinds of band aids to prevent bleeding on the carpet. I washed up my left hand, got some ice for my right wrist, and noticed that Wyatt was bleeding too.

I went back to the ballroom where the conformation was going on and watched for a while. I figured I would ask one of the vets at the show to take a quick look at Wyatt. The scrapes looked minor but it would be good to check. Barbara Henderson, a very kind person, agreed to look at Wyatt after she showed a dog.

She got her stuff and very carefully cut away some fur and carefully cleaned out Wyatt's scrapes assured me that all would be well but that she would clean everything out to prevent infective. She saw me bleeding and told me she would also look at me - after she was done with the dog.
She cleaned me out about 10 minutes later and said I should get an x ray when I got back. She kindly went back to her room and got a roll of bright orange vet wrap with smiley faces on it that I used for until I got back home.

Wyatt ended up being fine. I drove 2 days back. Luckily, the wrist, which turned out to be broken, was fine for driving. Getting the van loaded, especially the heavy metal crate, was very challenging though. Just remember that if you and your dog get injured at a big dog show, that you will taken of - just don't expect top priority!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sit Stay Practices

I have been focusing on sits stays again and the thing I have added is going out the door. This is much harder for Wyatt - which is good - in that I can work at it at home and it should help at trials too. The hardest problems are those that only show up at trials. I am working on downs and sits too. Wyatt has been popping up on his downs the last few trials (when I go out a door.)

Last Agility Class

Our agility session ended last night. I really enjoyed having a new teacher. All her suggestions worked and for every dog! I learned a shoulder drop that brings your dog to you and is much smoother than a false pivot. Also a step back move to wrao jumps and many more small techniques and ideas. Mary Champagne also taught me to go and not wait for my dog but make him catch up to me! With a fast whippet, that is going to really bring our already good times even faster.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Open A First 8 Attempts

Here's a summary of Wyatt's Open A attempts. First, I should say that all the exercises he passed were very well done and he always did well on heeling. But in analysing the failures, I am hoping to learn what to work on. The basic thing we need is more proofing and confidence. I believe, though I made mistakes, that my handling is now basically OK though there could be ways I could support him more between exercises that I have not tapped into yet. I do believe his sits and downs are harder for him if I go out a door so I am planning to practice that at home.

1 Big E - All exercises OK, went down on long sit
2 Big E - Did not come on initial drop, sits and downs fine
3 Master Peace - Did not come on initial drop, sits and downs fine
4 Master Peace - Did not go out after dumbbell on retrieve on flat, sits and downs fine
5 Taunton (new place) - walked on broad jump, came after me on long down, lots of whining on long sit, sits and downs through door
6 Nationals - did not come after he was dropped on drop on recall, went down on long sit,
7 Big E - did not come on initial come of Drop on recall, did not go get dumbbell after jumping, came up sitting on long down, sits and downs through door
8 Big E - did not come on initial come of Drop on recall, shifted too much on long sit, came up on long down, sits and downs through door

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nov B 2nd Place Photo Patriot

I just received this photo of me and Patriot taken a few weeks ago. I was not sure what was going to happen as this was the first time I showed him in obedience. [I do run him in agility, lure coursing, racing, and conformation.] He did great, ending up with a 190 and 2nd place in a large 30+ class of dogs including more traditional obedience breeds. I love it when you are up there with the people that placed beating all those Border Collies, Labs, and Goldens. I guess my wife has trained him well along with my recent work with him - mostly to improve lagging. Also, he has not shown in a while. Time itself does seem to improve whippet obedience scores for some reason.

I wish the photographer had asked me to tuck in my shirt!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wyatt Rally Classes at the National

96 in Excellent B and a Q
99 and 2nd (on time) in Rally Advanced B

Patriot Novice B


Agility and Cold With Patriot

I made a mistake at the National with Patriot. He had been doing so much - coursing, Novice Obedience, Rally Advanced, Conformation, and Brace - that I decided to scratch with in his first agility run of the day. He seemed really tired the night before. However, because it was so cold that day - low thirties, he got out of the car for jumpers and was totally pumped and I could not control him enough to avoid a few off courses and weave pop outs. He settled down - I got him out much earlier - and we had a perfect open standard run. 98% of the time, scratching would have been the right choice - especially in hot weather.

Sits and Downs

Seems like I need to work more on sits and downs (sits anyway) again. I took a break for a while since Wyatt was doing so well but he went down in Open after about 30 seconds and had the anxiety issue at the previous trial. I am entered next weekend in Springfield so we'll see what happens there.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

National Brags

AWC National 2009
4th Place Triathlon
5th place triathlon conformation
4th place Novice B obedience – 30+ dogs, score of 192.5
4th place Versatlity Competition
2nd place Versatility Conformation
2nd place Brace
Rally Advanced – 96 and a Q
Open Std Agilty – 1st and a Q
High score – non-regular class with agility title
High score – regular obedience class with LC title
High score champion in a regular obedience class
High score – non-regular obedience class with agility title
Champion Award of Versatility Excellent

2nd – Rally Advanced B, score of 99
Rally Excellent B – Q and a score of 96
2nd Brace
1st Novice Preferred Fast Agility
Q - Novice Preferred JWW 3rd Place
Q – Novice Preferred Standard 3rd Place
High score – non-regular obedience class with agility title
Parade of Rescues
Parade of Honors - #1 NADAC agility whippet 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Quick Update from the AWC National

Wyatt and Patriot did really great today. A long day but lots of fun. Patriot will end up 4 or 5 in the triathlon. He got 5th in conformation and 2nd in Versatility Conformation. Patriot got a 98 in Rally Advanced (5th) and 4th place with a 192.5 in Novice B obedience. Wyatt NQed in Open A but got a 96 in Rally Excellent and a 2nd with a 99 in Rally Advanced. I really enjoyed showing in everything including conformation.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Lure Coursing

Wyatt got to run as a test dog and did great. His follow is very good. Too bad he is a fouler. Patriot did not run great but finished and did OK. He is 11/15 in versatility and could still do well if he does well is agility and rally and conformation and he is still OK for the triathlon as the LC scores are bunched tightly together and don't count as much as obedience and conformation typically in terms of the way the scores are distributed. But, even though it would be cool if he did well, I really just want to have fun with them and show our stuff. Tomorrow is busy with rally first, Patriot in Advanced and Wyatt in Advanced and Excellent. Patriot is then in Novice B and Wyatt is in Open A. I am hoping we can go out of sight without going out a door. I think that is much harder for Wyatt based on our last trial. Then I show Patriot in conformation for the triathlon and Versatility Competition (VC) Monday (tomorrow) night. Tuesday is brace and agility. It's been great to meet all the VC competitors. What a wonderful bunch of friendly people.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Made It To Atlanta

We made it to Atlanta for the American Whippet Club National Specialty. The dogs were very good for the 19 hour drive. We went 12:30 to 8:30 Friday ending up in West Virginia and did the rest today getting in around 5. We went for a nice 1/2 walk and are back in the room chilling. The dogs did not make a peep the whole way. Good boys! I did take them out for at least a short walk every 2-3 hours.