Training, training, training!

Ok, really it’s more like work a lot, sleep a little, train whenever I can squeeze it in, repeat…..but you get the point. I’ve been taking time off of trialing this winter to go back to the basics. I’ve been working through the Foundation Fundamentals dvd by Mary Ellen Barry (love it!) with Chipotle and have recently started going through Develping Jumping Skills with him as well.

My sweet boy is loving agility training and I am having a blast just working through some very basic stuff with him. It is so much fun watching baby dogs learn. I almost cried the other day over a simple sit-stay outdoors with distractions that was just so brilliant on his part. It’s just like something clicked in his head and he suddenly understood exactly what I was asking for. Very cool to watch…

Bella has been getting a total break from ‘real’ agility stuff and I’ve been doing some foundation fundamentals and DJS work with her too. Pretty soon I’m going to start training her dogwalk again and working on some things from Linda M’s new book. She will be moving down to performance in USDAA and I think only jumping at 12″ for awhile will make a big difference in her confidence level. (based on what I saw when we only competed in AKC for a few months)

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The most embarrassing thing I have done all year

Strategic Pairs: a game held at the end of Saturday’s trial to benefit the hospice that cared for a wonderful agility handler in her last days.

The rules are basically all obstacles must be taken in numbered order. The judge looks at number 1 until it is completed and then looks at 2….and 3 and so on. It doesn’t matter which dog takes it or what else is going on in the meantime. Fastest time wins.

We were not the fastest, but I think we had the most fun!

It was a fun game. I love these dogs and was actually very impressed with Tres (an adolescent agility baby) and his ability to remain focused on da mama in the face of what I consider extreme distraction.

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MadCo’s Fall USDAA Trial

Fun weekend of agility, but Bella and I were not at our best. We had more than our share of shabby runs and even some of ours Qs were hard to be proud of.

My little girl had her first real tire crash and ironically enough it was on a displaceable tire! It started with her breaking the tire on her first run in Standard and then in Gamblers she completely misjudged the opening and slammed into the side of the tire. It was very scary, but she got up and went right back through it correctly which gave me hope. She loves to play rough and tumble at home (literally tumbling around doing somersaults during zoomies), so I don’t think it really even phased her.

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Grand Prix Quarterfinals

Well, we E’d out in the quarterfinals. Kind of a shame, but I was proud of our attempt. It really clarified some training issues and Bella had fun with it regardless. She seemed to want to go again after we were done!

I’ve realized that Bella and I have a problem with communication regarding certain types of rear crosses vs. post turns. We had this same mistake occur at an AKC trial a couple of weekends ago, but I haven’t quite figured out how to fix it. I’m hoping that the 2-day handling seminar with Mary Ellen Barry and Jen Pinder we have coming up in a couple of weeks will resolve the issue.

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Steeplechase semi-finals

Here’s our semi-finals run. (I was so nervous I almost passed out after it was over!)

What a fun course! My handling left a lot to be desired (due to crazy nerves that I let get the best of me) which resulted in a lot of wide turns, but we ran clean and had fun. Didn’t make the cutoff to finals, but I am so proud of our effort at our first nationals and hopefully next time I won’t be as nervous!

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Steeplechase Quarterfinals

We made it to Cynosport! Here’s our very first run at a national (international really) event.

I was going for accuracy more so than speed in this round to give us the best shot at making the cut. A lot of other 16″ dogs had been popping, slamming their face in, jack-knifing their body in the weaves with handlers really pushing them and the surface being dug up around the weave poles. So my main goal there was to get her safely through the weaves by not pushing her at that point and it worked.

We made the cut to steeplechase semi-finals!

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SVKC Agility Trial

Beautiful setting, beautiful weather and beautiful runs. Bella went 5 for 6 with five 1st place runs. What a great warm-up for Kentucky!

Love my dog. Sometimes she really rewards me for our distance work and just ‘gets’ it. That was the case with our first Excellent FAST run this weekend. She understood exactly what I was sending her towards and ran straight away from me across the jump into the correct end of the tunnel.

What really surprised me this weekend though is how much speed she is starting to pick up. Adding Chipotle to the family has really brought out the wild in her. She is really letting loose now and I am struggling to keep up. I need to work on running a faster dog because I certainly don’t want to slow her down. There were some really sloppy late front crosses on my part this weekend due to her speed that I want to get figured out. I am so glad to see her confidence just soaring though and can’t wait to see where this takes us!!!

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