Monday, June 30, 2014

Catching Up with the Stump Kids: LaMesa & the Hoosier

LaMesa has been making such strides lately...if only we can put it all together! It's always "just that one little thing" when it comes to getting our first QQ. We hit that a few times during the Hoosier Kennel Club trial.

Over the trial, she went 2-for-2 in Novice FAST to earn her title! The sends had tunnels to jumps, so it was easy to just send her and let her run. The way she handled the FAST classes this year (way more points earned than needed) makes me think I really should work with her distance work more and do more competing in FAST. I need to take advantage of her speed more than I do right now.

In her Masters classes, it was just a matter me directing her to the correct obstacles, such as in this Standard class:

But then we redeemed ourselves with this first place run in Jumpers:

On Sunday she won her Standard class and I kept trying to battle the thoughts of "Just go clean for our first QQ" and I think we did our best. Unfortunately she dropped one back toe on the last bar of the triple at the end, causing it to go down. :-(

LaMesa showed a lot of promise this weekend, which excites me. We're now taking a break from agility trials until August. The break should be good for me and Dally, but I don't think LaMesa really cares--she'd rather go all the time anywhere!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Catching Up with the Stump Kids: Dally & the Hoosier

It's been a busy few weeks for me as the head of the Stump Kids. We hit up a couple of agility trials at the end of May and first part of June, hoping to finish Dally's PACH2 and do one last little push for LaMesa's rankings with the Swedish Vallhunds.

Neither goal was accomplished.

But, oh well!

At the Derby City Agility Association trial May 31-June 1, we battled a rather warm facility, which didn't bode well for Dally when it comes to her speed. Dally ended up earning 2 QQs, but not very many points (32 total), but that was OK. The courses by Jim and Judy Smotrel were fun, with the Jumpers course at the end of the trial a nice, flowy course that had it's challenges. LaMesa earned a Masters Jumpers leg and 11 points on Saturday. Dally ended up earning her MXJP6 on Saturday as well!

Then the next weekend we headed up to Indianapolis for the Hoosier Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial, my dad's dog club which I help organize and put together. Going into the trial, Dally only needed 1 QQ and 60 points for her PACH2. However, I think she decided she just wanted to earn Jumpers Qs to work on her MXJP7 because that's all she qualified in...Jumpers. All three days. Not even an Open FAST Q. :-/ Ohhhhh you like to keep me on my toes!

It was always a little something in Standard with Dally at this trial. Yet, I loved the courses designed by David Hirsch and Linda Robertson.

Because we didn't qualify in standard all three days, I used Jumpers as a way to just push for points. Dally ran really well and I think both of us had fun.

Now, with Open FAST, just a reminder we only do FAST once a year, and it's at this trial. Dally doesn't work very well at a distance from me, so I wasn't expecting much. If we didn't get the send, we'd continue on to finish the course quickly, just laughing along the way, so that way she didn't feel any stress about it. If we don't get our OFP, oh well.

Here are some of Dally's runs from the weekend:

Next up I'll share LaMesa's weekend at the Hoosier Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stump Kid Link Love: Bones, Obsessive Paw Licking, Canine Cross Training, Jump Training

I know the blog has been quiet lately, and that's unfortunate because there's been a lot to update you on in the lives of the Stump Kids! I promise I'll do a quick update wrap-up this weekend, but first I wanted to share with you some interesting Internet finds for dog owners and lovers!

Recreational Bones for Dogs (Dogs Naturally): LaMesa loves bones of all types, and she's got some strong teeth and jaws, so we have to be particular about what we get her. This is a great basic article about the positives and negatives of bones for dogs and how to choose the right one for your furry friend.

Why Does My Dog Obsessively Lick His Paws? (Woofipedia): Another article related to LaMesa--she loves to lick and sometimes she will lick her paws a lot. What about your dog? Have you thought maybe he/she has allergies? Read more if you question your dog's licking obsession.

Thinking Outside the Box--Cross Conditioning (FitPaws): I'm all about cross-training when it comes to my fitness, so of course I like to do different things with the Stump Kids to keep their conditioning up. Whether it's hiking, running through tall/thick grass, or working on their FitPaws Peanut, I know that for dogs with long backs such as Corgis and Swedish Vallhunds, it's important to have a strong body. I'd love to do more with canine rehabilitation and conditioning as a career...maybe in some other life...

Total Team Series: Jump Collection Set Point ( I know LaMesa still has a ways to go with bettering her jumping. And I know I need to be a better handler to cue her for turns and collection. Thanks to Clean Run sharing this on Facebook, I am going to sit and watch more of these videos just to see what I can gather to help me help LaMesa.

Enjoy! If you have a favorite read or video from the week, please share it below so I can find more great things!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dog Agility Blog Action Day: Measuring Success in Swedish

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Action Day! This time we're focusing on "Success" and whatever it means to you.

Ironically this falls prior to a weekend where I have three days to finish Dally's PACH2. She just needs one more QQ and a handful of points, and since I organize the Hoosier Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial, I'll be competing all weekend.

So does the number of MACH/PACH or championships determine the amount of success you have as a dog handler, owner, trainer, competitor? Or is it the little things?

Dally's first PACH--November 10, 2012

The competitive side of me would say it's the championships/titles. Those are how you show your accomplishments--those numerous letters preceding and proceeding your dog's name. In the horse show world, we judge the buckles you wear, the award chairs you sit in, etc.

In horses, success is measured in championships.
Training LaMesa has totally opened my eyes, though. Dally was "easy" in comparison to starting and training LaMesa--Dally is consistent. After I dropped her down to Preferred, things came so much easier because she no longer struggled to make time nor be constantly injured trying to jump 8". It took us a while, but we got that first QQ and then things just started rolling.

LaMesa is another story, though. I believe she has so much raw talent, and so much heart, that is can be a handicap. I know she can be so good, and that affects my mindset because I get competitive and know she's fast. So I push her...and we fail...or I perceive it as a fail.

I've learned to take the little things as a success. LaMesa used to struggle so much with weaves at trials. If we can nail the weave poles from any entrance on a course, I'm excited. If we can run an entire course without her knocking bars, that's a win. Have we QQd? Nope. Right now we average 1 Q out of 4 runs in a weekend. But that Q is always a big deal.

Happiness is running this silly girl.

I see so much potential in her that I want us to be successful, but I have learned not to push it. I've been identifying where we need to focus and I am learning how to run her versus Dally, which is a big success for me. I've learned "She is not Dally" and that's OK. She's fun to run (so is Dally, don't get me wrong). She makes you think. You have to be solid in your game plan from the very beginning or she can catch you on your heels.

But all that makes me a better handler, which, in turn, will make her a better agility dog. This will also help me with future dogs, horses, and handling people. That, in itself, is success.

So my mindset has changed...a little. I'm still competitive, but I've been checking myself and my ego at the door when we walk in and I look for the positives in our runs, and not always just at the negatives. I just want LaMesa to continue to enjoy running with me and doing agility. The QQs will come.


Read more from other DBAD bloggers on how they measure success: Success