Friday, September 2, 2011

New blog, new home!

I started this blog years ago to keep track of Jasmine's career in agility.  Now that I have a second dog, I've decided to create a new blog, with a new name, in a new home, Wordpress.  Why Wordpress?  Simple.  I have to learn how to use it for work. 

Here is the link.  Have fun reading!

Lyne, Jasmine, and Fannie.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Contact training

For the past 3 years, I've been trying to find ways to avoid having Jasmine stand on the top of the A-Frame, watching the scenery,   She was also afraid of the teeter, and would stop at about 1 metre from the end of the dogwalk.

With Seebe's help, Jasmine vanquished her fear of heights, does a mean teeter, and no longer stops at inappropriate spots on the dogwalk.....  during practices that is.  It's a whole new ballgame at fun matches and trials.  After consulting our esteemed teacher, and probably trying her patience to boot, it finally clicked!  Add distractions!!!  My brain already knew this, but my common sense didn't I guess.

Distractions you say?  I added distractions in the past, but not "good" ones or the right way as it didn't solve the problem.  At the arena, I've been adding rolling balls and flying toys as Jasmine would delicately peck the ground with her nose during contacts.  Still, once in a while she would go back to her old habits.

Then, last week, epiphany!!!  As we were walking to one of the contact equipment, Jasmine was jumping, and trying to reach the bowl of cookies in my hand...... HELLO????  DISTRACTIONS????

First A-Frame, I put the opened bowl of treats about 1 metre away from Jasmine's nose as she pecks the ground.  Right away, she breaks her position and heads for the food.

Jasmine 0 - Lyne 1

Second A-Frame, I do the same thing.  I can actually "see" the nuts and bolts working in her head as she heads for the contact zone.  She pecks the ground..... and that's IT!!!  EUREKA!!!

I quickly give her the bowl, let her stuff her face for 0.5 seconds, and we start again.  Every time, the bowl gets closer and closer....  and Jasmine pecks the ground, and waits for her reward... WOOHOO!!!

We repeated more or less the same exercice with all the contact equipement that day.  The result?  Yesterday's beautiful contacts and Jasmine's dash for the contact zone.  Ok, I may be exagerating her "dashing", but it's sure better than before.

Conclusion?  Jasmine 1 - Lyne 1.

We're both winners!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finally! The Summer agility season is here!!!

Guides canins offered a "starters" evening, and I was brave enough to register.  Although the venue is a beautiful one, Jasmine and I don't usually do well here, so reason enough for me to push myself and compete.  I registered Jasmine in starters standard, starters snooker, and stargers gamblers.

It's certainly a "no frills" event.  The trial itself will last well into the weekend, but most competitors have not arrived yet.  I'm sure that by the time Friday will come along, the place will be a circus!

All three fields are ready and available to walk.  The judge's briefing is done at the very beginning, then competitors are welcome to walk the courses at long and as many times as they want.  The only downside is the very brief 5 minute break between events, which includes the official "walk".

Our first event, SG, isn't that bad.  We've spent a lot of time practicing teeters, a-frames, and the dog walk, but that's become a problem.  Jasmine absolutely loves them now and instead of going to the tunnel as planned after the jump, she heads for the A-Frame and (GASP!) blind-closses me at the same time.  I was surprised, but made sure she nose touched the ground.  We did the mini (YAY!) and the 12 weaves.  Unfortunately, I haven't done any distance work with her and we didn't do the main gamble.  Oh well....

The second event was the ST.  Believe it or not, we ran out of time.  I know that we wasted precious seconds at the weaves, but was that enough?  My little precious did her down on the table "yes!", but she took the wrong end of the tunnel, so it would have been an NQ anyways.  Hey!  I wasted time with that as well!  We also wasted time just before the table too!!!  Well, that explains everything!

Last but not least, the SS.  Personally, I call it the medieval torture device, but was pretty confident with my plan.  The down side is Jasmine didn't wrap around the jump (the last red jump!) as planned and took it twice.  There goes my plan!  : )

Things to work on in the next few weeks:
  • Wrap around jumps. 
  • Tunnel entries.
  • Distance.
  • Short sequences with weaves.  Jasmine walked right by the 6 weaves in the ST.
  • Keep up the work on the contact obstacles.
  • Shadow handling.
No pictures... Sorry!  Yes, I should have....

A first for me, I ran out of air in Gamblers... Nerves?  Jasmine's speed?  Yes, Jasmine was quite fast in the Gamblers.... 

Jasmine's last word?  Prancing on our way back to the car....  She was quite proud of herself and happy to be back doing agility.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Well, whadaya know.....

Yup!  Jasmine got her third Q in her doggy lifetime, which also happens to be her first in the Advanced level.  It was a last minute decision of my part to enter her in one event at the trial last week, just for the heck of it.  The course was quite straightforward, and I didn't try any fancy moves.  If you watch the video, and if you happen to be a judge, you might be tempted to call a refusal on our move when I lost my way...  Did the judge call it?  If he did, the scribe didn't note it, and Jasmine and I got a lucky break.  On the other hand, we're not in trials every weekend, and when we are, we rarely qualify.  Therefore, I went proudly home with a beautiful ribbon in my pocket.  Both dogs earned pigs' ears for their good behaviour.

Fannie, for her part, was a good little dog, and sucked up all the attention that was given to her.  Both dogs borrowed Noble Walter's crate and were quiet as a clam in there.  They looked quite cute with the great silver ribbons attached to the crate.

Scary moment

We've been having a very wet Spring, with important rainfalls.  The horse arena where the trial was held wasn't spared and several muddy spots could be found on the sand.  Just before the second tunnel, I was so sure that Jasmine would detour to the water puddle (she's been know to do this during our off-leash walks), that I called "tunnel, tunnel, tunnel".  It wasn't even necessary.  She didn't even glance at it.  : )

Fannie's training

Great news!  Fannie figured out the basket exercice, and now, we're reducing the size.  The same goes for the balance disk.  Training a young puppy IS fun. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The basket case

One rear-end awareness exercice which Fannie needs to do is the "basket" exercice.  The idea is to shape her into putting all four paws in a basket.  Once that's done, you reduce the size of the basket until she can put all four paws in a itsy bitty basket.  We've been working on it for the past two weeks and no results.  Before getting all depressed, I consulted Jasmine's notes on this same exercice and found this.

"Jasmine finally got it and in one day, went down three sizes with no problem."

That perked me up.  : )

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Introducing Fannie

Fannie is a little black miniature poodle, so picture taking will be difficult.  Here a few pictures to describe her outgoing personality.  Let's just say she's keeping me on my toes, and annoying the heck out of Jasmine.