Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just Act Normal...

I was not going to blog about our most recent trial on 11/03/2013 because I wasn't real clear on what my learning lessons needed to be. After having such a great 2 day trial two weeks ago, this one seemed dismal. We had 1/4 Qs and Pico was not keeping a SLS, he was not Weaving, and he bailed off of the Teeter! It seemed like so much had gone wrong, I didn't know where to start! I was pretty sure most of it was my fault though!
Today I heard this line from the song 'Round Here' by Counting Crows:

"she has trouble acting normal when she's nervous"

and I knew that I had found at least one piece of what I really need to work on. So here's what happened...

{Me & Grumpy}
{Dog Torture: Snow White & Grumpy}

One day after our friend's Doggy Daycare Howl-O-Ween party, Pico and I traveled to Four Seasons K9 Athlete Center. Personally, I love the place. Pico, however, seems to get overly stressed when we trial there.

We were slated to run Full House 3, Standard 2, Snooker 3, and Colors 3. I was feeling really good since our last Trial weekend had been so successful. We started the day with Full House which I like, because as long as Pico stays away from the Table until I send him there, we can pretty much make our points before the buzzer. It's a lower stress game in my mind.

For Level 3, we needed: A) 3 Jumps, 2 Circles, and 1 Joker and B) at least 23 points total. My original plan was to flow around the outside: Jump, Jump, Tunnel, A Frame, Straight Tunnel, Jump, Jump, Dog Walk... 
I decided to watch other runs while I was waiting for our turn and I totally changed my plan! I figured that Full House was the only game I could risk trying an 'unwalked' course. It seemed like the buzzer was sounding quickly and I was afraid that my original plan would take up too much time. What I ended up with was:
(S) Jump (1), Jump (1), Tunnel (3), Jump (1), Jump (1), Triple (5), Tunnel (3) [Our Full House was complete here], Jump (1), Jump(1), Tunnel (3), Jump (1), Jump (1), Triple (5), Tunnel (3), Jump (0) [ we had already taken this jump twice] Table!
It was a boring, Pinwheeling plan but it worked!  We ended up with 30 points and a run time of 31.86 [SCT 40] for a second place Q! While Pico did not have a SLS at all, he did stay with me and focused throughout the run.

Next up was Standard 2. Pico & I need 2 more Standard 2s to clear our Level 2. I am very anxious to move on! So anxious, in fact, that Pico senses it... He was sneezing at the Start Line (it took me awhile to realize that this is a Stress Signal for him and he chooses the most inopportune times to start doing it).

So, there we were at the Start Line... Pico's sneezing and moving around, and I panic! {This is where the song line comes in: 'She has trouble acting normal when she's nervous} When he finally takes the first Jump, I am surprised (not really what you're looking for at the beginning of a run). Pico took the DogWalk, Jumps 3-5, Tunnel 6 and then sailed around the near side of the AFrame. He has done this before once with a Dog Walk and once with an A Frame. I'm pretty sure it's because I've lost contact with him because I'm too busy worrying about the FC to come and assume he take th AF. I performed a clumsy front cross after the AFrame which freaked him out, he took Jump 8, and then completely missed his Weave entry. I restarted him twice but he just wasn't Weaving so we moved on... Tunnel 10, Double 11. I freaked out again and attempted a very late FC after 11 (with clapping and everything to try and reel him in, poor dog). When I finally convinced him to take the Teeter, Pico made it just past the Teeter contact, looked at me with uncertainty because I was so far ahead, and bailed off the side. I was able to convince him to take Jump 14 and the Tire 15 and I was just glad it was all over. As if it wasn't embarrassing enough, a friend posted in on Face Book for me!! As much as I didn't want to, I did forward it on to Jessica for any insights and help.
We have plans to travel back to Four Seasons K9 Athlete Center to use their Teeter and Weaves in a 'No Pressure' environment to see if we can decrease his stress there.

Up next, everyone's favorite game, Snooker! Often, I look at the Snooker map and wonder how we'll ever do it but then I remember, Pico loves Snooker! It's the one game which he seems to understand that he needs to stay with me. It's probably more like I know he has to stay with me so I do a better job of staying connected with him...

Our Snooker plan morphed a few times but the final plan was: Red #1, Obstacle 6b, 6a, Red #2, Obstacle 5, Red #3, Obstacle 2 for our open and then our close of 2,3,4,5, 6a, 6b,7a, 7b
We practiced my plan for Jump 5 on the practice Jump a few times before our run. I would send him around to the backside of the Jump for our Red #2 and then Pull him around it to jump again in the same direction for Obstacle 5. He had no issues at all with this which gave me confidence that we could do it out there in the Ring!
When we were up, Pico actually gave me a Start Line Stand! I led out to 6b and released him. He performed the entire Open beautifully... Completed 2 and 3 and then refused to Weave! I tried and tried but he repeatedly popped out at the 3rd pole. At this point, we had 21 points of the 30 we needed to Qualify for Level 3. The buzzer rang and I chose to complete the course before hitting the table. Other than the Weaves, Pico really performed well with good attention and speed I thought.

Mike had driven with us to the trial and then left before our first run to travel to PA to visit family. Somewhere between our Snooker run and our Colors run, he returned to the trial site. This has caused us issues in the past and today was no different! During Pico's Color run, he repeatedly ran to the sidelines, looking for Mike and ignoring my cues in his desperation to find him. It was a stressful way to end for him!

I was so happy to find that once home, Pico was completely himself. He was thrilled to see Gilda and ecstatic to get out of his crate. [Which, by the way, he laid very nicely in during the trial! He had much less reactivity to people and dogs moving outside of his crate so that was definitely a bonus of the day]

Today we will go to the Agility Underground and practice both dogs on our 'home turf'. The plan for Pico today is to really reinforce his Start Line Stays, his Teeter, and Weaves and to try and work some Forward Motion Front Crosses. For Gilda the plan is to reward for increased speed, do some 2x2 work, and have some play time in the building!

The plan for myself is to work on Acting Normal When I'm Nervous...

{Triple? No problem!}

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Perfect Day!



I have been trying hard to be a reasonable Agility person. I usually choose to run Pico one weekend day a month and choose 3 or 4 runs so as not to over stress him. I try my best to find a crating space that is tucked in and away from the main walkways. Pico is a high-energy dog who can get stressed if pushed too far. While his crating has improved dramatically, he still loses his cool with certain movements outside of his crate and especially around high-energy dogs (which is funny because he lives with Gilda!)
Gushing stress hormones are not conducive to concentrating and running a course! (I should know as I suffer the same with seemingly each run!)

This weekend, I abandoned my 'Reasonable Agility' persona and I officially became a CPE Addict:

1. I had everything packed and ready to go on Thursday (including my lunches for both days and bazillions of carefully cubed tasty dog treats).
2. I showed up at the trial site Friday evening after work and vacuumed mats for an hour so that I could set up our stuff in a prime back corner spot away from the hubbub.
3. I was able to volunteer and help with ring crew Saturday and Sunday now that Pico is getting more comfortable with the trial scene.
4. I was one of the last to leave on Sunday!

Pico really handled all of this very well and I'm thrilled with the outcome of our first nearly full Trial weekend. Pico was extremely nice and friendly to tons of people which made me happy. He was a little stressed by some of the dogs but we did our best to manage that. Here is how the weekend went...


Fullhouse is a strategy game so there is no numbered course. Level 2 requires the Handler to design a course using at least 3 Jumps (worth 1 point each), 2 Circles: Tunnels, Tire (worth 3 points each), and 1 Joker: Contact, Jump Combo (worth 5 points each) totalling at least 21 points.
The Pause Table is live at all times during Fullhouse and Pico has a history of running to the Table at random times and stopping the game, resulting in an NQ! Therefore, my Fullhouse plan usually involves, avoiding the Table and making my necessary points rather than attempting to accumulate as many points as possible.

Our plan was to run away from the Table! We ran Jump (1), Jump (1), Jump (1), DogWalk (5), Jump (1), Jump (1), Combo (5), Tire (3), Tunnel (3) [here, our FullHouse was complete], Tunnel (3), Tunnel (3), Jump (1)... Table for a total of 28 points and a first place. Our time was 28.34 seconds [SCT 40 sec]
The curse of the magnetic Table seems to be over!


We have been a little hung up on Standard because Pico was having Teeter issues and his Weaves were coming along a little slowly. We have done a lot of Teeter work and he seems to sort of like it now thanks to lots of Reinforcement with High Value Rewards.

This was a nice, flowing course with 15 obstacles. My plan was to lead out to 2 with Pico on my left. I would do a Blind Cross while he was in Tunnel 4 and have him on my right for Obstacles 5-12. I would Front Cross after 12 to send him to the Tunnel at 13, then bring him out of the tunnel on my right, send him to the Weaves and through the Tunnel at 15! We had to restart the Weaves once but he completed them and got a  Clean Q, First Place, with a run time of 46.54 [SCT 67]. I was thrilled with how well he did! Best of all, he really ran the Teeter to the end.


For some reason, Pico does not like Wildcard... This time, however, it wasn't the Wildcard that got him, it was the Weave Poles! The course looked like this:

For Level 3, we needed 2 'B' obstactles and 1 'A' obstacle. Since I knew he was required to weave at 5, I didn't want to choose the Weaves at 11 (a 'B') so I formulated my plan around that! Unfortunately, Pico would not complete the Weaves with 3 attempts (all off of my Left... more on that later). What he did do however, was a fabulous forward send to 6B!! I was so sure he was going into that Tunnel,  that I took off. I was up by Jump 8 when he came out of the tunnel and he was flying. Just as Jessica said, he knew to take 7 in between us! He had no trouble finishing the course beautifully. I felt really good about his speed and his attention on this one despite the NQ.


I was fully aware that if we completed this run, we would be eligible to move up to Snooker 3 for tomorrow's run. I tried to keep that thought in the back of my mind!  Snooker tends to freak everyone out except for Pico! I don't know why but he is very consistent on this game. I tend to be slower and more deliberate on this game and he just seems to  fall in to place and follow right along.
To get a Qualifying Score in Level 2, we needed to successfully complete our Snooker AND accumulate at least 28 points.

We ended this run with a Second Place Qualifying score and 34 points. I truly cannot remember our Snooker, and try as I might, I cannot figure out how we ended up with 34 points! I believe we did a Red-2, Red-3, Red-2 Snooker but to get to 34 points, we must have missed an obstacle in our close! However we managed to do it, we were now eligible to move up to Snooker 3 for Sunday!

{Pico visits Jack & Chase to get some Weaving Pointers}


We were not entered in the first run which was set to start at 8:00 so we left the house at 7:40. When we arrived at the trial site, everyone was yelling, "You're in this run!" I looked at the ring and people were walking the course! Diane (Karma) was kind enough to hand me her map (That's it below, I never gave it back to her!) and tell me "Circles!". I was able to walk the course exactly once before the whistle blew! I was panicking inside but I was so thankful that this happened in Colors of all the games!

I went out there and winged it! By now, I knew that Pico was not able to stay at the Start Line so I put him on my left and ran with him! At the weaves, he missed his entry so I turned him around and sent him off of my Right, and he completed them beautifully! And so we had a Colors 3 Q with barely a walk-through! 
After talking to the Trial Secretary, we discovered that she had inadvertently moved us up in Colors instead of Snooker!


Pico Loves Jumpers! And other than the 2 sets of dizzying pinwheels, I really liked this course! I started Pico on my Right and kept him there until 8. I did a Blind Cross while he was in  Tunnel 8 and he took 9-10-11 off of my Left. I did another Blind Cross while he was in Tunnel 11 and he took 12-13-14-15-16 off of my  Right. I was very careful to stay on my line for these as the Jumps zig-zagged a bit. Pico got them all for a clean Q with a run time of 33.09 [SCT 41] Giving him second place.


On Saturday, many of the Snooker Level 2 participants were loudly expressing their concerns over the difficulty of the course. I was a little dismayed as negative feedback does little for my confidence! Today however, I had to really work to shut my own mouth because when I first looked at our Snooker course, I had no idea how it could be done!!

For Level 3, We would need to a) Complete our Open (Snooker) and b) Accumulate at least 30 points total.
After much discussion with others, while walking the course, I completely changed my original plan!  I decided on Red 1, Obstacle 5, Red 2, Obstacle 6a 6b, Red 3, Obstacle 2 for my Open (Snooker) and then 2-6b for my Close. After adding up my points, I realized that I did not need the Weaves at 7 to Qualify so I opted to skip them for Pico's sake.
Pico followed right along taking each Obstacle I cued and we ended up with a 36 point Snooker Q and a First Place!


I like this course. I planned to start Pico off of my Right and then keep him there through the DogWalk 10. I would Rear Cross him into Tunnel 11 and them pick him up on my Right to take 12-13-14-15.
Pico started the course very stressed for some reason. Uncharacteristically, he refused the A Frame... Twice! Very odd. He started sneezing between 3-4-5 which worried me because the Weaves were coming up. As soon as he committed to Jump 5, I cued the Weaves and decelerated. He needed restarted once on his Weaves but it was smooth sailing after that. I think my Blind Cross after 11 must have been late because we nearly collided (I guess that negates the 'smooth sailing' comment). We managed to end the run with a Clean Q and a run time of 59.83 [SCT 63] and a Second Place. Not bad for all of that!


My goal at this point in our CPE career is usually to go for a Q rather than try for more points. This was a Non-Traditional Jackpot so rather than being required to complete obstacles at a distance from the handler, we were required to:
1. Accumulate at least 16 points before the buzzer (at 35 seconds) and
2. Get our Gamble by getting at least 5 points USING NO MORE THAN 3 OBSTACLES (20 points)

In Jackpot, the Table is not live unless you send your dog to it. However, your dog must hit the table to stop the clock and end the game. I sort of put my plan together backwards knowing that we needed to end at the table. Working backwards, I decided that ideally, I'd like our Gamble to be the Jump-Tire-Jump as that would give us 5 points (in 3 obstacles or less) and a clear shot to the table with little chance of Pico adding in another obstacle and negating our Gamble. I also decided to omit the Weaves and Teeter for Pico's sake. My plan became: Tunnel (3), Jump Combo (5), Double Jump (2), Jump (1), Tunnel (3), Back through Tunnel (3), Jump (1), Double Jump (0 for wrong direction!), Jump Combo (5), A Frame (5), Tunnel (3), Back through Tunnel (3). Just when I was ready to send him back through the tunnel, the buzzer sounded and we were in perfect position to do our Jump-Tire-Jump Gamble and hit the Table! We had accumulated 34 points and we completed our gamble in 3 obstacles for 20 points so we finished with a First Place, 54 point Q with a time of 32.37 [Game Time 57] {It seems that our buzzer must have blown at 30 seconds rather than 35!}

So in the end, thanks to the Trial Secretary entering us in Colors, Pico had his very first Perfect Day Qualifying in 5/5 Runs!! He really seems to improve with each Trial we enter and he truly seems to love running agility. After all, Fun is the name of the game...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Simple But Not Easy...

I've been a little frustrated with myself the last few weeks in Agility class. How hard is a blind cross? or a Lateral Send? Why am I struggling with seemingly easy maneuvers? Because, it turns out, like most things Agility related, they are Simple but they are not easy!

When I watched Agility for the very first time, I thought, "Oh my gosh! That looks like so much fun! Those people are really connecting with their dogs and the dogs know exactly what to do!" I saw the humans moving on the course, but it looked easy. Some ran, some trotted. A turn here or there. Simple stuff. It wasn't long before I learned how profoundly wrong I was!
Now, I have to try not to smile when people say, "My dog doesn't listen but he flies all over the place. He'd be good at that."

{Mad Skillz}

A Blind Cross for example, is a side changing maneuver in which the handler crosses in front of the dog and signals with the opposite arm. For instance, the handler send the dog into a Tunnel off of thier left side and 'picks up' the dog on their right side when the dog exits the tunnel.

Simple, right? Except that it's a skill that your dog needs to learn to read and it's also a skill that the handler needs to learn because, as its name implies, it is blind. I was trying to run forward in class with my left arm extended while craning my neck over my left shoulder. Not an easy way to run and not an easy way to cue your next obstacle! It turns out that you must have faith in your partner that he or she will read your cues and run on the side indicated.
We had beautiful weather this week and we spent lots of time walking at the park. When we are able, we do as much off-leash work as we can (Shhhh. Don't tell the Rangers). This includes 'Go Free', Recall work, and Shadow Handling. I decided to incorporate the Blind Cross signal into some recalls. When Pico was on a 'Go Free', and  I was ahead of him, I would signal with an arm extended back, shoulder slightly back, and call 'Okay. Here'. I didn't turn to look but rather worked on simply trusting that he'd read the cue. And he did! Such a good little dog. And the fact that he thinks stuff like this is fun, makes it all just play!

{Watching the Ducks at the Park!}

Today, we had a fantastic class with fun, short sequences. Pico was in the game and was really paying attention. We (okay, I) had some issues with my Rear Cross (Simple move right?) but we worked through it and will continue to work on them in practice.

The Rules and the moves may be Simple but Agility is not Easy... and that's exactly what keeps most of us working to do it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Life Is Short... Play With Your Dog (No Excuses!)

Today's Dog Agility Blog Event is all about Aging in Agility!
This video of 90 year old Amy Brastad proves that people of all ages can have fun doing agility!

I'm not sure much needs to be said after that (although I'm sure I'll find a way to string a bunch of words together anyway)...

I was introduced to agility 3.5 years ago when I was in my mid *cough* forties. I had a million reasons why I probably couldn't do something like Agility: I am uncoordinated. I have a funky left leg from being a preemie. I am uncoordinated. I might trip and make a fool of myself. I am uncoordinated.
Somehow, despite my excuses,  I kept right on showing up for classes. And I learned things. Seeing my dogs learn things is what keeps me trying to learn things!

I went to trials to see what that scene is about. At the trials there were people of ALL ages and ALL levels of coordination! In the end, I fit right in!

Ask yourself:
* Do you want to learn an entirely new way to communicate with your dogs?
* Do you want the challenge of working a course with your pup?
* Do you want to spend time with lots of other people that are crazy about dogs?
* Do you want to teach your dog tricks that will impress friends and strangers?
* Do you want the challenge of creatively storing a bunch of colorful ribbons?

If you answered yes to any of these, then regardless of your age, you can do Agility!

Please be sure and check out all of the other blogs about Aging and Agility here: Dog Agility Blog Action Day: Aging

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Pico and I traveled to 4 Seasons K9 Athlete Center in Washingtonville, OH yesterday to run Jumpers Level 3 (our first level 3 run ever!), Wildcard Level 3, Jackpot Level 2, and Standard Level 2.
We had a great time, saw lots of old friends and made a few new ones too.

{4 Seasons K9 Athlete Center
if you look closely, you can see
Marilyn & Henry!}

Our first run was Jumpers 3/4/5/C. I could hardly believe that we would be running the very same course that Level 5 and Level C teams would be running! I also couldn't believe that I would have to learn a 17 obstacle course! Yikes! A very special thanks goes out to Judge Margaret Hendershot for the nice, flowing courses she designs.
The course looked like this:

I have always said that Pico loves Jumpers. I have heard other Agility peeps say the same about their dogs too. I think, in our case at least, that part of this may be that I have less stress for Jumpers. I don't have to worry, "Will he weave?", "Will he take the teeter? Less stress for me directly equals less stress for Pico!
I walked the course as many times as I could and felt confident in my handling choices.
With Pico off of my right, I led out to the Tire and released him. I was able to FC after Jump 4 to switch him to my Left side for Obstacles 5-11. I did a FC after 11 and sent him over the Double Jump and 13 and then pulled him over 14. After he committed to 14, I just ran as fast as I could up the line. Pico didn't miss a beat. It helped me that he was moving a little more slowly than usual because I was able to think and cue more clearly! He had a clean Q for his first-ever Level 3 run!

Wildcard Level 3 didn't have quite the same outcome!
For Level 3, we needed 2 'B' obstacles and 1 'A' obstacle. The course looked like this:

My plan was to run: Jumps 1-2-3, 4b A-Frame, 5,6,7b Weaves, 8-9-10, 11a Tunnel, 12. I figured out ahead of time (and this is a HUGE accomplishment for me) that if Pico chose 4a, I would need to do both sets of weaves. If Pico took 7a, I would need to do the second set of weaves. Unfortunately, when we got out there, things didn't go as planned at all!
I am pretty sure that in my mind, I was S-U-R-E that if I started Pico on my Right with a lead-out Recall to Heel between 1 and 2, I could then send him over 3 off my Right which would guarantee that he'd take the A-Frame. In hindsight, I think I was confident about this sequence and more concerned about getting him from the A-Frame to the Right side of Tunnel 5. I most likely didn't connect with him after 3 because I assumed the A-Frame was obvious... After a nice 1-2-3 sequence, he went wide and  took the Tunnel at 4a! I adjusted and sent him through 5 and over 6. I did a FC so that I could send him to the Weaves off of my Right (he does better from that side) only to find that he would not Weave! Knowing that we had another set coming up, I kept on going. When we got to the Weaves at 11b, he would not Weave again! I was really surprised because he had been doing fantastic all week at home and at the AU building... He still got a post-run treat because he kept his little self out there with me the whole run.

Next up was Jackpot Level 2 and it was a Traditional Jackpot! This would be our first-ever Traditional Jackpot which requires the dog to perform obstacles at a distance away from the handler. Pico is more than a little handler-focused which means distance work is not his forte.

Level 2 Jackpot requires that the team designs their own course to get a minimum of 16 points in 35 seconds. A whistle then blows at which time the team must move to the Jackpot and perform the required obstacles from behind the taped line before the final whistle blows.
Here is the course:

My plan was: Tire (3), Double (3), Tunnel (3), Tunnel (3), send him back through the second Tunnel (3), A-Frame (5), Combination Jump (5), Dog Walk (5).
My timing was pretty good as Pico was just descending the Dog Walk when the whistle blew. Unfortunately, this meant we earned a big fat zero for our Dog Walk, AND we were far away from the Jackpot!
I got Pico off the Dog Walk and ran to the Jackpot! He must have sensed the urgency because he was cooking along! He took Jump (2), Jump (4), and just when he committed to Jump (6), I yelled Tunnel! more loudly than usual and Godlove'im, he took the Tunnel!
For all of his hard work, we ended up with a First Place Jackpot Q with 45 points! I was so proud of my little teammate and felt that no matter what else happened, we already had a good day!

It's a good thing too because our last run, Standard Level 2, was a disaster!

After sending Pico through the Tunnel to start, he took Jump 2, started sneezing, took Jump 3, still sneezing, and half-heartedly attempted the Teeter. He got just beyond the contact and then bailed. Because of the '4 paw Safety Rule', we had to move on. He took Jump 5, started sneezing again and missed his Dog Walk entrance. I was halfway along the DW when I realized that he was on the floor  behind me and not on the DW at all! We restarted the DW and he took the Tunnel. Once again, he failed to Weave. I sent him back through, He missed the third pole and I kept on going. He did Jump-Jump-A Frame, and then took the wrong end of the Tunnel. I sent him through the correct end and then he finished the final 2 Jumps. Whew! What a train wreck we had! He still got his favorite treat because once again, he stayed out there working with me until the end.

{Hey Lookie! Mom got ribbons and I got a Chicken Foot!}

And thanks again to Judge Margaret Hendershot who always includes a Cartoon to make CPE Agility even more fun!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lots of Firsts!

Pico and I had our first 2-day trial at Medina Swarm Agility Club on July 6 & 7, 2013. We ran 3 courses each day: On Saturday, we ran Fullhouse Level 2; Standard Level 2; and Snooker Level 2.
On Sunday, we ran: Colors Level 3; Standard Level 2; and Jackpot Level 1.

Our Agility Instructor was there to run our classmate Karma! It was wonderful to be at a trial with Jessica for the first time as she is a nice, calming influence and a fantastic resource! Pico spent time sitting on her lap and I did not have the presence of mind to get a picture. We will need to have a reenactment!

Pico ran FullHouse Level 2 for his first run of the weekend. Our requirements were that we perform 3 Single Jumps, 2 Circles, 1 Contact, and accumulate at least 21 points before going to the Table to stop the clock. Looking back now, 3 days later, I honestly can't remember the course we chose! Pico earned a Q with 23 points running the course in 33.56 seconds (40 second SCT).  I feel much more confident now that Pico can run Full House without being drawn to the table so we can start playing for more points now!

We also ran Standard Level 2 where Pico saw Weave Poles in a trial for the very first time!  Since Pico is not yet consistent with the Weaves even during practice, my plan was to send him once and then move on. I didn't think it would be fair to risk stressing him out the first time. During the course, He attempted the Teeter, got about halfway up, looked very confused when it didn't pivot, and ran back down for a fault. At the weave poles, he only took the first pole (he had a correct entry though!) so we did not Qualify. He looked pretty happy to be playing though and I am thrilled about that!

The last Saturday run was Snooker Level 2. With Jessica's help, we mapped out a Snooker using Obstacle 2 after each Red Jump. Pico successfully completed the Snooker and then, during the Close, took the wrong end of the tunnel at #5 which ended his points accumulation. Because we had chosen to use Obstacle 2 in our open, we only had 18 of our required 28 points, so no Q. Again, he was happy to be out there and stayed right with me so I was happy.

During our second run of the day, Standard Level 2, Pico completely refused the Teeter 2 times for a major fault, I kept him moving right on to the Weaves! He took the first 2 and popped out, so I turned him around, trying my best to act just as I do in practice, and asked him to 'Weave'... AND HE DID! I can't even tell you how exciting that was! Pico got lots of chicken baby food for that one!

Our last run was Jackpot Level 1. Now that I was more comfortable with Snooker, I thought it was time to finally gamble (pun fully intended) and try a Jackpot. When I read the rules (see below), I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into!

As it turned out, almost everyone in the place had as many questions as I did and it was the longest judges briefing I've ever been in!
My plan was to run Tunnel, A Frame, Jump for our Opening Gamble (Jackpot) and then to accumulate the necessary 12 points by turning Pico around and running: Jump (1), A Frame (5), Combo Jumps (5), Tunnel (3), Tunnel (3) and Table.
I couldn't run Pico to the table to stop the game until the first whistle blew so when I was done running my plan, I just started adding obstacle in! I was so relieved to hear the whistle and get him to the table because, by getting a Qualifying score on this course, we had successfully completed our Level 1 CPE!!
{Pico, CL1-R, CL1-H, CL1-S, CL1-F, CL2-H}
So, even though our Qs were only 2/6, we sure accomplished some great things and had 2 fun-filled days! I couldn't ask for a better little teammate if I tried!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pico Goes to Dog Camp 2013!

I do not like hot weather. I hate humidity. And, as everyone (thanks to Rachel O) knows, I am terrified of spiders. Dog Camp has an abundance of ALL of these things. So, as Karin asked me,
Why do I come to Dog Camp? Because of all of its Awesomeness!

The Ohio 4-H Teen Dog Experience was formed by Karin, Abigail, and Kristin in 2007.

"The Ohio 4-H Teen Dog Experience is an overnight camp for teens age 13-18 and their dogs. Our TAGteach Level One certified staff place an emphasis on science-based training, improving training, and teaching and leadership skills. Like any camp, we do campfires, crafts, games, and make new friends. But unlike most camps, we do lots of agility, obedience, showmanship, and other dog sports. While fending off near exhaustion from 4 days of activities that were too exciting to miss, campers were heard already making plans for later in the summer and next year's camp."
{Note: Karin and Abigail now have their Level Two TAGteach Certification!}

2013 was the 6th year that camp was held at Houston's Country Dream Resort near Marietta, OH. Each year, the Houston's kindly open their huge agility building as well as the red cabin and blue cabin to 12 enthusiastic teen female campers, 5 tireless, equally enthusiastic, counselors, one nurse with an early bedtime, and 20 dogs (if my count is correct)!!!

{Pico the Nurse Dog reporting to Red Cabin for Duty}

The schedule of events is exhausting just to look at!

THURSDAY ( Noon to 11pm):
Campers Arrive/TAGulator Craft
Lunch/Intro to Clicker
Agility Stations
CU Games/Impulse Control
Free Time (1 hour)
Scent Games
Obedience Stations
Training Game

FRIDAY (7am to 11pm):
Play/Pet Photo/Conditioning
Veterinary Skills/Problem Solving
Lunch/Tug Making craft
Free Time (1 hour)
Obedience Stations
TAGteach Intro
TAGteach activities
Shaping Observing-Food/Toy
Shape Counselor Dogs

SATURDAY (7am to 11pm):
Play/Pet Photography/Conditioning
Soapbox/Mat/Crate Games
Culture Clash Activity/Behavior
Free Time
Obedience Games
Training/Stimulus Control Game
Agility Scrabble
Dinner (Tacos)
Blindfolded Cupcake Decorating Contest
Tricks/Service Dog/Shaping

{Results of the Blindfolded Cupcake Decorating!}

SUNDAY (7am to 2pm):
Agility Games
Husbandry Health
Non Dog Agility
Campers Choice
Wrap Up/Evaluations

These campers and counselors are busy! throughout the session, I heard lots of laughing and no complaining! These are truly amazing people who practice positive reinforcement in every area of their lives!

This year, there was a nice mix of returning campers and new campers. Two of the counselors this year (Rachelle and Rachel) were former campers and did a fantastic job in their leadership roles providing teaching and guidance.

The OTDE also encourages leadership through their Teen Counselor program. This year, Hannah, Myranda, Helen and Bree, all did a great job teaching and helping the new campers. These are the 6 that will carry on camp in years to come (and maybe even run the world!)

2013 Camper Teams (in no particular order):
{Abby 'LaughsALot' and Gilmore the tireless!}

{Ada and 'I love my Ada' Fletcher!}

{Bree and the incredible flying Scotty!}

{Cassy and Ace the Wonder Dog!}

{'BrokenFoot' Emma and Quincy her steady companion!}

{Hannah and Crazy 'rub my belly' Wesley!}

{Helen and 'I'll stay on my mat forever' Maddie}

{Katie and Chase the Amazing BC!}

{Kayleigh and the beautiful, shy Brennen!}

{Myranda and 'I make my own course' Duke!}

{Sydney and 'Super Cute' Shadow!}

{Rachelle and 'Fuzzball' Autumn!}

I was thrilled that Pico was invited to come along to Dog Camp this year and I was very proud of him during his first-ever Dog Camp! He got to work on his Weaves, and join in on Agility Scrabble (he still feels terrible for taking the Tunnel instead of the Dog Walk) and while he was a little fearful of a few of the dogs, He was kind to all of the new people he met,
{Meeting Bree and Hannah after a nearly 3 hour car ride}

He had no issues walking the enormous hill multiple times a day,
{Little Pico, Big Hill}

He made new dog friends,

{Pico and Dazz hanging out}

And made himself right at home:

{Pico and his Pig Prize}

{Water Bowl or Swimming Pool?}

{Dog Camp Rocks!}
I will add more photos as they come in from other (better) photographers! I'll also add any camper/counselor comments I get. Thanks to all for a great time at Dog Camp 2013!