Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chances Class

Wyatt got a tuneup yesterday from Dr Julie Roos and was primed to run! He did great on a hard chances course. I did have to step over the line a little bit to get him out to a distant tunnel. Will have to practice that. We had a problem Sunday with an otherwise great chances run with a A-Frame to a jump with the line (you can't cross) perpendicular to the A-Frame. We tried something similar last night with a dog walk and figured out the problem. I have a persistent tendancy to swing my arm way back before a send out arm motion. This has the effect of pulling Wyatt back instead of pushing him forward. He is following the line I am drawing. So I have to work very hard at starting my arm motion from my leg and not cocking my arm backwards. So I am glad I am doing 3 followup Chances classes. I think I have the techniques but still need someone to observe me and fix the things I am doing wrong.

Article on Wyatt


It's only partial and only has one of the photos but...

I'll try and post the full text and other photo soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On the Fly

I believe I am getting much better at reacting and adjusting on the fly in agility. This has taken me a long time. I have tended to have a plan and found it difficult to adjust as things happen, speeds are different than expected, etc. Part of it is being more relaxing and part is working together for 5-6 years. I must say, it makes a huge difference in saving runs and generally fixing things on the fly. I believe this is a super important skill but one rarely talking about or discussed. This has been especially key in contacts where I really have to stay in contact and adjust as needed depending on what I am seeing. For a long time, I tried to just do what I do at home and see what happened. Now, I can adjust my pace, position, words on the fly depending on what I am seeing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Wyatt did pretty well tracking on Wednesday. He whined to start and clearly enjoys the game. The track started out in really tall grass so the scent was easy to follow and he loved bounding through the tall grass. I had to really move to keep up with him. When he loses the track, he looks to me for direction. I need to help/encourage him to get back on track myself. Sometimes, if I can see or otherwise know where the track is, I can inadvertently point in that direction, which is no good for tracking. Unlike most of our other dog sports, he is in charge here.

Top 10 Training Tips

See this link for an article I wrote for an online whippet magazine...

Top 10 Whippet Training Tips

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Only 2 Q for each dog this weekend at a NADAC trial. Lots of good runs Saturday but off by one thing or the other. I felt out of synch with Wyatt Sunday but we did redeem ourselves and got 2 nice jumpers Qs, one for each dog, at the end of the day. Wyatt and I had a few small stumbles with Weavers Sunday but still were only 2 seconds over so I think there is hope for some elite Weavers Qs. I am working on not overhandling the weave entrances and trusting more. I picked the wrong test for hoopers for both dogs and passed the plane but did not stop and redo. In tunnelers with Wyatt, I stopped my flow/movement and stopped him and got an off course. Chances Saturday was next to impossible. Sunday was doable but had a problem with one part of the course. Had the same problem Monday at class (we did the same course). I set something up at home and made some progress tonight. Wyatt is doing great on tunnel/contact discrimination though I had a problem Sunday where I handled the same and he took the outer obstacle. Will have to study the video. He may need a stronger cue in the trial setting. Off with Aidan for a few days - no dogs so they get a break. Will do obedience tomorrow. I think my work with sit and down stays rewarding for shorter periods and for going away and out of sight is working.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Novice B Today

We had a good day. I scratched Wyatt in Open A for today figuring I need his sits and downs in Novice B to be solid before going back to Open A. Novice has a 1 minute in sight sit and a 3 minute in sight down. Open has the much harder 3 minute out of sight sit and the 5 minute out of sight down. Wyatt did fine in the sits and downs today (in sight.) Yesterday, he "froze" on the initial "come" command of the recalls. Today, he was fine and did a very nice recall with only 1 point off. His heeling was pretty good but he did not do the automatic sit part of the heeling. When you come to a halt, the dog is supposed to sit in heel position. He did not do a single one! This is typically a sign of stress or a busy location. We ended up with a 186, which is a very good score. He seemed a lot less stressed today and I also felt more relaxed. The judge was also very nice and mellow. This gives me more confidence to get back to Open though I need to continue some of the retraining I am doing for sits and downs. More on that later.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Obedience Results

Well, the good part was that a lot went right despite the location of the Big E Better Living Center, which is a very hard place to show since it is very noisy with breed going on all around and lots of traffic. Heeling was not as good as usual (not a single sit in Novice B) but other than that and sits and downs and recalls, all was good. His Open A retrieves and broad jump were very nice with few, if any, points off. He did have problems with sits and downs and also froze on the first recall command in both novice B and Open A. He was fine on the second command. The Novice B sit was good. He started to move his front paw down at the end but held the sit. He got up on the down and followed me and stayed in a perfect stand for the 3 minutes. In Open A, he repositioned and resat for the sit. The judge said he went down and sat up but I think she must have been referring to the repositioning. For the long down, out of sight, he stood up just as we were going out the door and again, stayed in a perfect stand until I returned. I have some thoughts about what happened but save that until my next blog entry.

Dog Memory

Walking around the Big E today, I noticed that Patriot had stopped to sniff someone and was wagging his tail and seemed very happy. When I looked up at the face, I saw it was his first owner, who had him until he was 2. He is now 8. We very rarely see this person but it was really clear that he remember on his own since I did not see the person and go up to her. Anyway, she petted him and goofed around with him and it was clear that he made the connection.