Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A couple of runs from the weekend...

....a beautiful weekend in Moorpark.  Lovely clear skies and yummy dinners at my favorite place, Café Firenze.

About as perfect a snooker run I can have.  Four reds were required and they were all in the middle.  Six was the tunnel weaves with a really tough weave pole entry.  No contacts (thank goodness).  A fun course.

Jumpers wasn't totally smooth and without faults, but we got through it, straight tunnel and all.  This judge really liked her straight tunnels!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Slip Sliding Away...

Criteria: a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.

Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, I let my criteria slip.  This slippage results in a misunderstanding between Fin and I what she is supposed to do.

This video is Aframes over a weekend trial.  I can now laugh, I wasn't laughing then.

How did it come to this between Fin and I?  We've had such amazing contacts.  We are always complimented on our contacts. 

The answer of course is slippage.  I get hyped up in a trial.  I get all about getting the job done.  Resulting in me not stopping and explaining to Fin that such behavior is not how we do things.  I justify it by saying, "As long as she hits the yellow, I'm ok."  Things move fast with Fin. I go in not thinking that contacts might be a problem and without a plan, let the behavior continue.

The result of this is a miscommunication between Fin and I.  She thinks that "at trials" she can go fast and doesn't have to stop.  She thinks in practice she can go fast and stop.  I have fallen into a trap that many people fall into.  Acting different at trials then I do in practice.

This blog is for funny stories, training antidotes, and also honesty.  The truth is I had to go back to November to find a 2o2o successfully done at a trial.  NOVEMBER!!!  That was 3 trials ago.  I have allowed her to run her contacts at trials for 3 trials.  No wonder I have no Aframe and the teeter and dogwalk are also suspect.

Next trial is in two weeks.  I have 4 days of classes to work on my A frame.  I will make good use of it.  Hopefully by day 4 I'll have my beautiful Aframe back.

In other news, despite our lack of criteria, Fin and I were able to get those last qualifications (Q's) we needed to get our Performance Dog Championship (PDCH).  We got a big ribbon and a beautiful Bar.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pests and the People Who Manage Them

I had a Pest Consultant come out and visit me at Morgan Hill Dog Sports.  It was his job to show me how to find and kill rodents that could cause harm to our facility.

He graciously explained that I had the triple threat:  Gophers, Moles, and Squirrels.  I knew about the gophers and Squirrels, Moles were a new thing for me.

With an educated eye, he helped me understand how gophers make their tunnels and how those tunnels can be found easily.  Then we moved on to Moles.  A different type of burrower, I learned how to identify their entrances as compared to a gopher and how to set the traps.

On to the squirrels.  He was so impressed with squirrel town he had to take photos.  He recommended using sticks that resemble dynamite and gassing the buggers.

After learning all about what could cause harm to my property, I found the gopher tunnels and set traps.  Receiving high marks from my consultant, I paid and sent him on his way with the satisfaction that I was taking action.  Five minutes later I caught and killed my first gopher. 

It wasn't all that much fun :( 

The next day we had a workshop at our facility.  I removed all the traps because I thought I had gotten the one gopher and didn't want the "view" messed up with traps.  The consultant assured me that gophers were solitary rodents and generally there would only be one per area. 

In comes a little terrier named Darby.  I should have paid Darby for a consultation because within a few hours, FOUR gophers were in her stomach from the little area that I had caught the one gopher.  Evidently I had killed the mother.  Leaving the dead mother in the den, the babies were making a run for it.  Darby got them and said "Yum."  I was totally shocked and horrified that I had killed the mother of these babies. 

But given time to think about it, I guess all is well.  All babies died very quickly.  No poison was used that could cause harm to the bird population, and Darby, well, she was pretty pleased with herself.

Evidently the moles had headed for the hills.  Darby gave the all clear and no traps had to be set for those.  Darby's mom said she would have Darby walk around the facility each week and alert me to any possible gopher/mole activity.  If Darby doesn't dispense with the rodent at that time, she will put a flag in for me to use a trap. 

I'm guessing I'll never need any of the traps....ever...again...now that Darby in on the job.

The squirrels are also now quiet after 2 days of working on sending little dynamite sticks down into their tunnel systems.  The only evidence is large areas of dirt where I sealed up their burrow system.  Hopefully they got sleepy and fell into deep dreamless sleep.

I am not proud of the work that I did, but I am proud of taking action.  It isn't easy for me to kill critters, but my actions this weekend could possibly save me (or student) from a sprained ankle (or more serious injury) by removing the critters that make holes large enough to fall into.

NOTE:  I'm thinking that Olive might need a little border terrier playment...Julie, if you breed Darby, please put me on the list...but don't tell my husband...I know he doesn't read my blog :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Internationalism - международен - अंतरराष्ट्रीय

The blogosphere is talking about Internationalism in the world of agility.  Check out all of the blogs at: http://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/internationalization/

There are more USA world teams competing right now then ever before.  The FCI, the IFCS, The WAO...so many I can't keep them straight.  In addition, the European Open is available to anyone that wants to go.  If you want to compete internationally and you have the dog, the skills, and the money...the opportunities are endless.
But how does that impact our world of agility in our little trials, in our little towns?  How does the availability of video posted on facebook and other networking sites allowing us to watch international teams compete impact us?

With this exposure, ideas start to creep into our training as trainers and mentors seek to improve their own competitive levels.  In many ways, I think that our foundation training has greatly improved as we see what it takes to be competitive at the higher levels of international competition.  There are more online classes, videos, exposure to top handlers/dogs which make high level agility training available to everyone.

We can't help but be influenced by ideas in course design and choices in handling in response to what we see on video coming from Europe.  I love the challenge of a course that I have no idea how I'm going to get through. 

On the other hand, I don't really see many European middle aged women with bad knees running those international courses.  All this focus on having the tightest turns,being at the jump to manage turns, the biggest jumpers, the newest handling ideas...might that be taking the fun out of the sport for the 97% of people that will never run outside of their own state?

I think the next few years of agility are going to be very interesting,  I'll be looking carefully for the "Middle aged woman who isn't in the best of shape just coming back from knee replacement surgery" class .... I know it will be coming soon to an agility venue near me (if the agility organizations want to make any money).  In the meantime, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and have a blast with my dogs.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Away

Fun times on the road!

Had a quick trip to Contact Point for USDAA agility.  Fin came away with a few Q's, but mostly she had a BLAST!  She was very happy and zoomed around the agility field. 

Weekend started out hot and with a late night arrival to the hotel the night before, both Laura and I were a bit tired.  But the shade of a huge tree, small trial that moved slowly, fun courses, and the company of good friends we had a fabulous time Saturday.  I enjoyed sitting in the shade and actually had some time to read a little. 

Fin ran fast and fun.  There was a lot of Fin barking at me (some of which was my fault...some was just Fin giving me hell). 

Olive enjoyed the trip, playing in the creek, chasing her bestest BC bud Piggie Smalls all around the creek and Orchard.  We got to see baby lambs, bunnies, beautiful butterflies, and some really fun agility.

I learned many things this weekend for future agility practice with Fin.  But what stands out the most is that I learned that my van is exactly 6'5 1/2" tall.  I learned that when a parking garage says the clearance is 6'6", that it is very possible that the parking garage has settled in places and perhaps the clearance is not actually 6'6".  In that case you have 2 women laughing hysterically and crying at the same time while trying to get out of said garage when the van has scrapped one of the beams.  Oh boy...that was one LONG drive inside that parking garage.  Laura yelling, "Keep driving!" and me driving so slow or not driving because of extreme fear.

Thanks to Laura, we have actual photo: