Saturday, April 27, 2013

Back to that QQ Groove

Like I mentioned in the last post, I've been trying to find my groove again when it comes to handling Dally successfully, all while still trying to figure out LaMesa. Things finally came together on the second day of the Queen City AKC trial.

In Jumpers, the course had a hard 90* corner with the triple and the double. Both of those came down on LaMesa's run (not sure if it was our timing, the angle, or what). But the rest of the course she handled beautifully--she was nice and tight on the wrap, and I was happy I was able to get in front crosses (I think I threw a blind before the tunnel, too) with her:

Dally kept the jumps up, but she didn't wrap the jump as tightly as her sister--I think she assumed we were done and just running straight home. (One positive to LaMesa being more focused on me than Dally most times--she doesn't assume much on the course.) But she was moving great! I didn't see her slow down in the pinwheels like she normally does, so she was definitely running happy.

I was beginning to feel like we were so close with LaMesa, and that maybe we'd have a clean run in Standard. If we could only keep those bars up...

We kept the dreaded spread jumps up, but for some reason she got off rhythm in the weaves and came out. Cue the sunken heart. :-( Soooo close. The second the last jump, I think she was just about done. I wanted to make sure she understood she needed to jump every jump, so I was proud of myself for stopping and making her take that jump. Even though she was tired, she kept that triple up. :-)

Oh well, maybe next time...

Dally handled the Standard course well. I wanted to do a blind after the weave poles, but when I felt like I had a QQ on the line, I really wasn't confident in Dally staying in the weaves (since she came out of them the day before) to go ahead. So I threw in a rear cross, which we rarely practice together, and it showed--she got lost because she didn't read my body and went a little wide, but we were still clean.

And that was our first QQ since the weekend we got our PACH, back in November! So one drought has finally ended (QQ #2 towards PACH2, QQ #1 towards Nationals 2014)!

I went home proud of both girls. LaMesa and I are making strides (I even had people comment how much better we're running lately, which feels nice), now if only everything could come together at the same time. Dally is still hanging with me and having fun on the courses. We might get our communications crossed, but I don't think she's holding her grudges as long as she used to.

Our next trial isn't until mid-May, and I cannot wait!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Trying to Find That Q Groove

This past weekend the girls and I loaded up with the Brews Brothers and headed to Sharonville, Ohio, for the Queen City AKC Agility Trial. Trials have been few and far between lately (cutting back due to expenses), so every trial we're excited to get into and go!

I just wanted to have some fun, clean runs with the girls. Saturday started a little rough in Jumpers--LaMesa was clean, except for knocking a few bars, and Dally took an off-course tunnel entrance, followed by me getting discombobulated and lost on the course, trying to throw in a blind cross one jump too soon....oops. Oh well. The Standard saw more knocked bars, on a hard 90* from triple to double, for LaMesa, but she nailed her weaves again!

In Jumpers on Saturday, LaMesa struggled with a 180 when I should have maybe held my position for a split second longer. I thought she was committed to the jump, so I made my front cross and moved and she pulled off the jump. However, she (we) redeemed herself (ourselves) in the Standard with an equally-hard 180 and serpentine that I was so proud of her for:



And, now for your comic review, me and Dally's Jumpers run for Saturday:

 I'll post the wrap-up of Sunday's runs a little later.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Walking With the Stump Kids

The Stump Kids and I go on walks everyday, at least once, if not twice, or some times three times, a day. I'm lucky to work less than 10 minutes from home, so I'm able to come home on my lunch. As long as it's not raining, I'll take the girls for a short walk just to stretch their legs, and mine. I feel like days that I don't get our lunch walk done are longer for me at work--I relish that time with them and the fresh air.

Then, depending on the weather, I'll take them for a walk after I get home from the gym after work. We'll walk anywhere from a mile to two, on top of the .75 mile loop we do at lunch. It keeps them in shape, as well as another way to exercise myself.

It's funny to see how some times they'll be total opposites at the end of the leash. Most times, LaMesa will be up front, leading the way, and Dally will be in the back, taking it all in and just shuffling along.

LaMesa leads the charge, always keeping an eye out for squirrels
up ahead. She doesn't pull on her leash, unless she sees the enemy.

Meanwhile, Dally shuffles along behind for the most part. Some times
she'll be up beside me or towards the front, but she likes to go at her own pace.

However, throw a squirrel in the mix, and they're both alert and pulling at the end of the leash! They are always on squirrel patrol on our walks.

LaMesa wears a ComfortFlex harness to help with her pulling. She can be good about heeling if I really make her do it, but I feel like walks are meant to be relaxing for both of us. Dally walks just fine with her leash collar and leash.

How do your dogs like to walk with you?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Training Venue: Shamrock Acres

Last week the Stump Kids and I ventured to a new place to take classes. There aren't any upper level classes for me to take to continue working with LaMesa in Lexington, so I'm trying some classes at Shamrock Acres in Louisville--about a 1 hour 20 minute drive (more like at least 1 hour 45 minutes, depending on the traffic).

I know a few people who train out at Shamrock Acres, and I'm always a fan of learning from different people and getting as many different ideas about working LaMesa as possible. The facility has a decent-sized building with dirt flooring and nice equipment (rubber-coated contacts) that they use in the winter and inclement weather, plus a larger, fenced in outdoor field. For our first class it was raining, so we stayed inside, but Georgette, the instructor, told me she likes to set up courses both inside and out and then will split the class up so you're always working throughout the hour-long (maybe closer to 1.5 hours) session.

Sorry for the poor picture quality--I left my camera in Indiana, so you'll have to be happy
with iPhone photos until I get it back in mid-May. 

It was nice to work with another diverse group of dogs: Weimaraner, Giant Schnauser, Long Haired Chihuahua, King Charles Spaniel, Miniature Pinscher, Australian Shepherd, and, of course my Swedish Vallhund. Dally came along to work on the courses after class and be LaMesa's cheerleader. 

But, I have to admit I missed my Small Dog Posse, but it's OK to venture on your own every once in a while. ;-)

Dally enjoyed digging around in the dirt. I should have gotten a photo of the two of them
after the class--they were caked in mud, which meant so was I. Rain outside and low-riders
means for dirty bellies and paws!

The courses weren't too difficult, though the last one had a tight threadle and a wrap, but LaMesa handled everything perfectly, including nailing every single set of weaves! I was so proud of her! Georgette wants me to push her for more speed, saying she flattens out and jumps better when she's running faster. Maybe that's what we've been missing with her jump form? She says she sees too much hang time when I'm not pushing her. She also recommended trying to stay away from rear crosses--she said I was fast enough, I can get in front of her for my front crosses to push her forward more. This worries me because some times I don't feel like I can beat her to get in a front cross without causing her to knock a bar. But, I'm willing to try and to push myself, if it'll help LaMesa run cleaner, which means Qs!

Our class payment paid for 7 sessions, which is really nice for $75. I'm giving it the first session to see how I feel about the facility, instructor, and how I see us coming together more like a team. The one kicker will be the time spent traveling--I didn't get home until after 10 pm that night, and that was a shorter class. It might be a little too much driving for the pocketbook and physically. But, we'll see.

Have you experimented with new training facilities and new instructors? 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Road Trips with the Stump Kids

The Stump Kids love road trips. Dally basically grew up riding shotgun in my truck--she wasn't even  year old before I moved from Indiana to Texas (15+ hour drive), then we moved to Oklahoma, and then to Kentucky. She's the ultimate co-pilot, always keeping an eye on mom, keeping me awake (OK, so it's more of a nose root to rub her belly), and being patient with my constant radio station changing. When she rides in the car (or truck), she'll find her spot in the corner of the back seat and instantly fall asleep. She wakes up on her own when she feels the car slowing for our arrival.

LaMesa, on the other hand, is always wired for car rides. She'll start off nervous about getting in the car (she'll crouch down and shake until you pick her up and put her in the back seat), but then she's excited to see where we're going. She will ride standing up the entire time and watch out the windshield like I am. She's the co-pilot that'll keep watch on you.

Now, before I get comments about how it's safer to have the dogs in crates for car rides, I'll agree, but we don't have vehicles that will allow for that. We will do that at times with friends (Dally was just fine riding in a crate on the way to and from Tulsa in Merinda's car). I guess I'm more of a lax dog owner when it comes to things like this.

LaMesa will stand up at stop lights to see where we are, and where we've been
(she likes to look out the back window, too).

On the way home to my parents' house--they have to be able to breathe in that
Indiana air and learn the new smells.

Dally knows when we're getting close to Grammy and Grandpie's house!

How do your fur kids ride in style?