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Friday, May 28, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away

It has been raining buckets the past couple of days.  Here is Bosley outside saying "Let Me In!  I am a Mountain Dog not a Water Dog!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

We spent the weekend at an agility trial - the first outdoor trial of the year. Saturday it was pouring rain, windy and cold (just above freezing). I thought the weather was miserable - my dogs thought it was the best agility weather ever! Overall, I was happy with both dogs all weekend. I didn't take my video camera along, so I have no video, but here is a quick rundown:

Advanced Standard 1 - The first run of the weekend and she (of course) got the zoomies, tried to get me to play "catch me if you can", and basically had a fun time. For her silly antics, the judge gave her "the judges choice award" - partly because of how goofy she was, but more so because Maggie really reminded the judge of her friend's Berner who recently passed away.
Advanced Standard 2 - Maggie ran great - we argued a bit about the down on the table, but the rest was good enough for a Q. This finishes her Advanced Agility Dog of Canada Title and she now moves to Masters.
Masters Snooker - We had a great opening and did 4 reds. We were on our way to start the closing when I broke the #1 agility rule - "never take your eyes off your dog". I thought Maggie was with me, but she ducked behind me and took a jump - so we got tweeted.
Masters Gamblers. Our first time in Masters Gamblers and I was very proud of Maggie. Her opening was decent - not a ton of points but enough. The closing was a tunnel and then a send to a teeter with about 20 feet of lateral distance. Maggie came into me after the tunnel and I stepped into her and told her teeter. She looked at the teeter, looked at me and then went right out to the teeter! This is a big deal for me because the teeter is far from Maggie's favorite obstacle and for her to go out and take it from that distance made me very happy. She didn't get the rest of the gamble because I positioned myself wrong and she took a wrong jump - I didn't care - she did a good job.
Masters Standard - I was thrilled with the way Maggie ran in her first Masters Standard run. She knocked a bar and then popped the weaves, but she was well under time.
Steeplechase - ran clean, but at the end of the weekend was losing her oomph so we were just shy of making time.

Advanced Standard 1 - I was trying to keep Bosley moving and got a bit far ahead of him in the opening line and he missed a jump. Heading to the weaves, something outside the ring caught his attention and he ran past the weaves. After I got him refocused in the weaves he ran the rest of the course great.
Advanced Standard 2 - It was pouring rain so I pulled Bosley from this run. The dogwalk is hard enough for him and I didn't want to risk him slipping off.
Advanced Snooker - had a good opening but just barely ran out of time in the closing to get enough points to qualify.
Advanced Jumpers - He was a bit sniffy on the start. We had 5 faults but I can't remember why - a refusal maybe?
Advanced Standard 3 - A nice run with no bobbles that I can remember. Q
Advanced Gamblers - I had an opening planned so that we would get a fair number of points. The mini gamble was jump-jump-turn away to a tunnel and I was going to do this twice in the opening. Easy I thought. But Bosley suddenly had agility amnesia and forgot what "turn" means. I had to quickly make a new plan and wasn't sure if we had enough points. Bosley had no problem with the final gamble - a jump, then a 15' send to a tunnel, then a straight line to the teeter and then to another tunnel. We ended up having enough points (barely) for another Q.
Steeplechase - An OK run, but Bosley isn't fast enough to make time. He had really nice weaves though.
Advanced Jumpers - The last run of the weekend. By now, the sun was out and Bosley said he could not possibly go any faster than a trot with the sun shining on his head. He ran clean but was 3 seconds over time.

Despite the weather, I was really happy with the weekend. Bosley focused really well and his weaves were great all weekend. His distance work is coming along nice and doesn't even hesitate on the gambles (so far anyway). We really just need to work on his speed - that is hard with a big dog who's natural working speed is a trot - 100 pounds is a lot of weight to be running and jumping all day.
Maggie ran well all weekend. She is now in Masters in all her classes except Jumpers. I never usually enter her in jumpers, but now that she is in veterans I think I will start. The lower jump height is making a big difference for her - both in how much more she can do in a weekend and in her attitude.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just When You Think Things Are Going Good

I took Bosley out for some carting practice tonight. I have been feeling very confident lately about how he is doing with all his commands and his cart control. Tonight my confidence got taken down a notch or two.

Whoa???? What does that mean? Easy???? What does that mean? Stand still while you go get the harness????? What does that mean?

On a good note, Bosley's verbal left and right directionals were good. I have totally (well, mostly) faded all arm signals for left and right turns. Bosley is also getting very good at tight turns and can almost do a pivot without moving the inside wheel. Tonight was also the first time I did any significant handling from behind the cart. I directed him over 2 narrow bridges with me totally behind the cart and he didn't even run into the side of the bridge! We don't need to do that for the DD test, but there is a whole section of the DDX test that all handling is done from behind the cart.

We did tonight's practice at a busy park and I am usually good at avoiding people so that we don't get stopped by curious onlookers. It is not that I don't want to talk to people about what I am doing with Bosley, but when we are training I would rather not be disrupted. Bosley also totally forgets what he is doing when someone stops to talk to him, and I really want to keep his concentration on his job. Tonight however, a couple flagged us down, and I couldn't ignore them without being rude, so we stopped. The lady asked me what we were doing and asked a couple questions about carting. She then asked me what mix of dog Bosley was. I said he is a Bernese Mountain Dog and I got that look that let me know she has never heard of that breed. She then said "He really looks like a St.Bernard. Is he a St.Bernard mix"? Yes, that is exactly what he is. Funny!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Neighbours Must Wonder . . .

There are no alleys in our neighbourhood. We back directly onto the neighbours' yards that live behind us, which leaves very little in the way of privacy in your backyard. Sometimes the neighbours must really wonder about me when they look out their window and see me taking pictures of Bosley posed in the yard looking like this:

I was working on my 52 Weeks For Dogs project this week and since the weather did not cooperate, I did the photo shoot in the yard. There was a challenge this week, simply called "Pop Culture". I wanted to keep a "dog theme" in my project, so I did an internet seach for dogs in Popular Culture. What I came up with was Charles M. Schulz's cartoon character "Snoopy" was the most popular dog in Pop Culture. So I decided to go with that theme and have Bosley pose as Snoopy's alter-ego Flying Ace.

The neighbours must wonder . . .

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Earning Her Keep

During the winter, our agility club rents a horse arena for our weekly classes.  Today the owner of the arena had a giant "Barn Bash" with lots of people invited for a supper and dance (with a live band).  He invited our agility club to come out and asked us if we would put on a little agility demo before all the eating and dancing and partying began.

I usually take Maggie to demos because, well, because she is Maggie.  She makes a good demo dog because she is goofy and loves everyone.  Today she put on quite a show.  We divided into teams for a relay race and Maggie really played it up for the crowd - galloping at full speed and going through the weaves so fast she was a blur.  OK, I might be exaggerating a teeny bit, but she did have a few cheers from the crowd about her weaving ;)

We also did timed individual runs to show off our stuff.  Maggie placed 3rd and won $20 courtesy of the owner of the arena.  It was lots of fun.  I really love doing demos - it is fun to show what our dogs can do in front of non-agility people (and if you mess up the crowd gets a big kick out of it).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This and That From The Weekend

Yesterday we went to an Obedience Fun Match. I was very happy with both dogs.
Maggie did pretty good and placed 2nd in Novice with a 196.5. She lost a couple points for lagging on heeling and a crooked front on her recall. She won a cute stuffed toy for her efforts, which she promptly ripped the head off of, strewing stuffing all over the ring.
Bosley did great in Open Obedience! His heeling was good (got distracted a couple times) but his figure 8 was very nice. He actually downed on his drop on recall - the first time ever at a match. He did take a few steps first, but he dropped. He got perfect points for his retrieve on flat! He was so excited for his retrieve over high jump that he went out before I sent him - oh well, we can work on that and I would rather have that then him not wanting to go out at all. His broad jump was awesome! We haven't worked the broad jump at all for a few months now but he did great. I had to call him to front as his broad jump is still not fully trained. I hope to get some more obedience training in over the summer and maybe be ready for a fall show - we will see.

Today I had full intentions of getting some carting practice in. I should have went out first thing in the morning when the weather was nice because it got rainy (I even heard some thunder) this afternoon. I know we won't melt if we get wet and draft tests go on even in the rain, but . . .

Here is Bosley saying he doesn't mind if it is cloudy and rainy out.