Monday, September 27, 2010

Recall

See that red blur in the foreground? (If you can't make it out, click on the photo to blow it up on a separate web page by zooming in.) That's Cosi chasing a plastic bag when we went lure coursing. My agility instructor has a gorgeous place with lots of places for dogs to run free in fenced in areas. The large field in this picture is where I took Cosi on Sunday to test our recalls. We entered the field together (he wasn't pulling at the end of the leash), and I asked him to sit. I removed his leash, and he looked at me with expectation. I extended my left hand, palm out. He began nose touching as we had practiced so many times. After the third one I yelled, "Good! Go for a run!" and he took off with unabashed glee across the field. I counted to three. I called, "Cos, come!" To my delight, he turned immediately and came running back to me. What a great test of our Brillant Recalls course! What a great dog. =:O)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SSCGB

The Shetland Sheepdog Club of Greater Baltimore held their specialty agility trial this weekend. This is my favorite trial of the year--shelties everywhere, the best handlers around, fun, fun, fun. This trial is special to me because it's where Brisco got his MACH. I was happy to hear that next year they are changing to a new venue, one with a dirt surface. I was thrilled--you know Cosi + Dirt = Good Runs.

Here's a photo of Brisco and me right after our championship run. What a glorious day that was. I hope to get a MACH on Cosi as well. Keep your paws crossed!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Susie

Susie in earlier times.

My mom's dog, Susie, has not been well. She's been suffering since July with Cushing's disease and an enlarged liver. The meds the vet has been offering are not working, and she goes through these periods of great distress.

Every day on the way home from work, I call my mom and chat about the day's events. Today she used the words "put down" when talking about Susie's condition. This makes me very sad on two levels: Poor Susie's suffering has to be bad for Mom and Dad to decide this. My mother has had a canine companion every since she was 5. Her Irish Setter, Major, was her first babysitter. He wouldn't let her step off the curb. He played hide and seek with mom and her neighborhood friends. She cried on her honeymoon because she missed her cocker spaniel, Shortsnort. My mom is the original dog lover person. I'm sad to think of her without a canine buddy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Non-Agility Weekend

Fall is finally here in Pennsylvania. I love fall agility trials--cool (sometimes downright cold) in the morning and warm in the afternoon. This is a non-agility weekend for Cosi and me. I'm sure by next weekend's event, we'll be in full swing with much cooler weather.

We got a Mind Game from a friend, and, boy, do the dogs love it. I'm going to get pictures this weekend of Cosi playing with it. The dogs have to move pieces to get to the treats underneath. Cosi is a whiz at it, pushing objects out of the way and gobbling up the treats. Then he looks at me as if to say, "OK, what else do you have?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dog Name

Most agility dogs are given names that denote speed and precision, like "Rocket," or "Zip," or "Jet." However, there are some more whimsical names out there, and one of them caused my friend to have a good laugh. She was the gate steward at a trial last weekend. The gate--for those who don't know--calls the dogs to the ring and lets them know how soon they're up. She had success finding one dog in the area near the ring, but when she called the name of the second dog, she got no answer from the owner. So she called out, "Romance? I'm looking for Romance!" Then she stopped and realized what she had just yelled. Everyone was giggling, and the comments started zinging: "Hey! I thought you were happily married!" and "You've heard of on-line dating? Well, this is agility dating!" Romance, the dog, was next in line and got to have her run, and everyone that day waiting at the gate got to blow off nervous energy with a good laugh about her name.

Be careful what you name your dog!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We did it! AX

Cosi and I got the last elusive Excellent A Standard leg this weekend and obtained our AX (Agility Excellent) title. We're now in Excellent B in standard, with any Q's accummulating points. Wahoo!

On Sunday we had to great runs, but no Q's (dropped bars). I was so excited, though, about how we were running. I even had strangers come up to me and tell me what great runs we're having.

No video from the weekend; I was "flying solo" and didn't take the camera along. Next time. =:O)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thanks to Susan Garrett

Cosi and I just completed our on-line course for Brilliant Recalls with Susan Garrett. What a great learning experience! Not only did I learn practical things like games to play, but my understanding of dog training as a whole increased.

I saw a difference in Cosi this past weekend. He had more focus and didn't get "sky high" when looking at other dogs on course, which is a huge distraction for him. In fact, if you look at our video (see previous post), you'll actually see us get in the ring while the previous dog is finishing! That never happened before because he would be a loon. He walks with me onto the course, not dragging me at the end of the lease. He sits and watches the other dogs, but he didn't bark madly and lunge.

We had 9 runs this weekend, with Cosi staying "in the zone" for all but one run. Yea, Cosi! Growing and learning together. It's all about the journey, right?

Monday, September 6, 2010

XF

We did it! On Sunday Cosi and I Q'd in FAST to win our Excelent FAST title (XF). Cosi is the first dog I've done FAST classes with. What fun! Here's the video of our run (Jack was there on Sunday.):

video

We ended up taking second place in this class. The first place dog beat us by only .3 seconds. We both had the same number of points, so it came down to time. How exciting! Lesson Learned: Grab that extra bar on course and get more points. =:O)

My friend Gail had videotaped us with her camera on Saturday (yea, Gail!). So here's one half of our double Q on Saturday in standard:

video

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sweetness

When Walter Payton (the NFL running back)--my favorite athlete of all time--was on the Chicago Bears, his nickname was Sweetness. I'm thinking of dubbing Cosi with that name as today was one of the sweetest days with him. We double-Q'd in Excellent (cue the choirs of angels sound track)!

The standard course was good, challenging, but nothing short of glorious when we ran it. He hit a wicked weave entry. Then there was a discrimination at the very end which I cued, and he read it perfectly.

On paper the jumpers course was so twisty and had so many turns, I was sure there would be bars down when we ran it. I guess it was my "let's just let it rip" attitude that helped. We just went for it. The best part was that Cosi's daddy, Riot, had run the course just three dogs ahead of us, so Karen and Riot were ringside, watching our run. The fact that she saw us so connected and running well was such a boon--the cherry on my sundae.

I found out that he took first in Excellent A Standard; I didn't wait around for jumpers results today. I'll get his Q ribbon tomorrow.

Where's the video? Oh! Didn't I tell you? I didn't bring the camera today. Isn't that always the way? LOL

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Excellent FAST

We have two of the required three legs towards our Excellent A FAST (a gambler's game in AKC) title. I'm hoping this weekend we can get our third Q and move up to Excellent B FAST. I enjoy this game as it allows you to make up your own course. Jack also enjoys this run as it's something different for each dog.

I'll often use the FAST run as a warm up or a "training" run. In the video below, you'll see me make sure Cosi sticks the teeter landing. The day before, he ran off the teeter with barely a stop. We have 35 seconds to complete 15 obstacles and the bonus. I can take the time to "train" certain obstacles, not caring if we Q, place, or win. There's no substitute for the actual ring. I want to be sure he knows that the rules apply here, too, not just in the back yard or at agility class.

Here's the video of our Q in Pittsburg in FAST:

video