Saturday, May 25, 2013

Flying Picolator!

I just realized that I have not yet put this picture on the blog!

{His ears give him lift!}

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Curse Is Over?

Pico and I traveled back to 4 Seasons K9 Athlete Center in Washingtonville, OH yesterday to run 3 CPE events: Full House, Snooker, and Wild Card.

{why are we in the car at 6:00 am on a Sunday?!}


Full House was the first event  and all Levels (1,2,3,4,5,C) were run together since each dog/handler team designs and runs their own course.
Pico has struggled with Full House as he is seemingly drawn to the Table like a magnet! In Full House, the Table stops the clock and ends the game if the dog touches it at any time after crossing the start line. Only one Q is needed to move from Level 1 to Level 2 and we hadn't been able to do it yet!

This was the first trial that we've attended that offered Full House as the first run AND Small-To-Tall as the running order! We got to the trial site and then ran 21st. It was so nice to get one run in early rather than waiting hours to start our day.

The course looked like this:

For Level 1, we needed 3 jumps, 2 circles, and 1 joker, and a total of at least 19 points.
I chose to start by heading away from the Table! We took: Jump(1), Jump (1), A Frame (5), Tunnel (3), Dog Walk (5), Tunnel (3), Jump (1) {at this point, we had completed the Full House but only had 18 points}, Jump (1), Tunnel (3), TABLE!

Pico missed his A Frame entrance and we circled back to pick it up. After that, he was running fast with good focus. There was only one cross (RC into the first tunnel) so it was a great beginner trial course. Pico had 40 seconds to complete the course and his time was 30.68 (even with the A Frame redo). He got a Q and a First Place so I was thrilled! Cindy Wilmoth (Jaeger) declared "The Curse is Broken!" I sure hope she's right. Jessica has been great about putting Tables out in class for Pico to work around but not on.


{Full House Blue :)}

Snooker was next ... I needed to figure out a way to take a Red Jump, an Obstacle, a 2nd Red Jump, an Obstacle, a 3rd Red Jump, an Obstacle (The Snooker) followed by Obstacles 2-7 (The Close) before running to the table.  For Level 2, I also needed to make sure we got 28 points before running to the Table. The Table is not 'Live' in Snooker like it is in Full House so if Pico is drawn to it, there is no penalty unless I have directed him there. Here is what the course Looked like:



After many, many iterations ran through my head, Megan Ellis (Joey, Lily, & Savvy) and Dee Ferrell (Pebbles & Pixie) helped me devise a safer plan using Tunnel 2.
We ran: Red 1 (1), Obstacle 2 (2), Red 2 (1), Obstacle 2 (2), Red 3 (1), Obstacle 2 (2), and then our Close 2-7 (27) for a total of 36 points.
Pico had 50 seconds to complete the course. He finished in 48.26 with a Q and a 3rd place. He was moving very slowly (I called it the slo-mo snooker) and I think he was probably mirroring me as the course was very tight and I had to really think about where to go next. I was probably slower than him! I was just thrilled to get our second Snooker!

Last up for us was Wild Card. For Level 2, we needed to choose 2 'A' Obstacles and 1 'B' Obstacle. Here is the course:


I usually feel pretty confident when I look at a WildCard course. However, our results have been very mixed in this event! I tried to draw both Pico's path and my own path on this course map because I was a little concerned especially about getting him from 8 to 9B. If I failed to get him to 9B, there would be no WildCard Q!
I was pretty set on my plan until I walked the course. Once out there, I began changing my plan and then I found myself very confused! I decided in the end to stick with my original plan and thought that if I FC'd  after Jump 8, I'd have a better shot at getting 9B.
Pico surprised me by skipping Jump 3. I was able to get him around to retake it. He was moving very slowly again. He missed Jump 7 and I'm pretty sure he backjumped it before taking it in the right direction causing 5 faults. With all of that happening, my Front Cross was late and I was very luck to get him over the Double at 9! I really wish I had this run on video because I'm not sure what I was doing to cause him confusion.

{Relaxing at Home after a Long day of Agility!}


I chose not to enter the last event of the day, Colors, because Pico is in Level 3 in that event (you go lil dog!). I don't think he is quite ready to see Weave Poles or a Teeter yet in a trial setting. We will not be trialing in June because of Dog Camp so that will give 2 months of practice to really set him up for success.

I was thrilled to have such a nice day with such awesome results! Pico is getting better and better at dealing well with the high-stress trialing scene. He was kind to everyone he met and even let Megan pick him up! I am so proud of my tiny teammate.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Update...

It's been awhile since I've blogged! Pico is still plugging away and is still loving Agility...

{The Picolator in his conformation pose}


We trialed 3 runs in Wadworth on April 21 and got a Q in Wildcard Level 2 and a Q in Jumpers Level 2!
Our Snooker fail was entirely my fault and I erred on the 3rd red jump! We were nearly done with the Snooker and Pico was very focused. There is nothing like hearing the judge say, "Thank You!"

We finished up another session of Agility Classes and we have started naming Pico's 6 straight weaves! Very exciting stuff! He is not quite reliable enough yet to ask him to weave in a trial but he should be ready by our July trial. We have also had some nice Teeter work from him since he met a 'bad' teeter and started bailing at the pivot point. I can only hope that he will learn to love the Teeter as much as he loves the dang Table!

Speaking of which, we have a CPE trial coming up on May 19 in Washingtonville. Pico is entered in FullHouse Level 1, Snooker Level 2, and WildCard Level 2! (I didn't sign up for Colors because Pico is now Level 3 and I just don't think he's ready to see trial weaves and a teeter yet).
Fullhouse will be our first run of the day... Pico has yet to Q in this race because he is magically drawn to the table. Touching the table stops the clock and ends the game! I think he's made as many as 2 obstacles before disregarding all of my cues and running for the Table! We will see how he does... Cross your paws!



Gilda has been coming with us to weekly practices and she improves each week. She is now shadow handling at full speed. She is also  jumping 12" and taking Tunnels and The A Frame. Last week, I asked her for a Jump, Tunnel, Dog Walk and she balked at the DW. I don't remember that being a problem for her before but apparently it is now!

The most incredible Gilda news is that she has (finally!) learned to ignore the dogs behind the fence at the Agility site. She now eagerly looks to me and heels off-leash the entire length of the outdoor Agility field despite Pico running and barking along the fence line. Considering that she couldn't take 2 steps of Loose Leash Walking a year ago, I am thrilled and amazed. It truly seemed to just click for her one day. I was shocked but luckily was ready with attention and treats!  I keep thinking that if she can have a breakthrough of this magnitude, in this environment, she is capable of having epiphanies elsewhere too!

We start a new class session next week with 1 new team (Tori/Mayhem) and one former classmate team (Diane/Karma). I am looking forward to the challenge of learning in a group class!