Sorry but we failed to get a good enough video of a trick for this week! I know, we are slackers. And we have a good story to tell you, but we're having problems with blogger and photos. So that will have to wait for another day also.
As a consolation though, we are going to share a video we saw some months ago and loved! I think all Sheltie owners can relate to it - I know it made mom feel better about her life with me when she saw it! LOL!
We went back for another day of the trial today - just me and mom because grandma couldn't go. It has been a long time since we have been to a trial without grandma! I missed her!
Any way, first up, Exc A STD. We weren't particularly worried about any of the course. But I knocked a bar on the double jump (#4) and it really hurt! I was surprised and it threw me and I refused to do some jumps and then refused the chute and then definitely I was not doing the triple or the panel jump (#14 and #16). So big NQ there! Mom was all worried wondering if I were hurt or not and wondering if we should stay and do the JWW run.
But I was physically fine. So next up was Exc.B JWW. Mom barely walked the course and was just concerned with getting me back out there and back up on the horse and in the saddle again as they say. The #3 obstacle was a big old double so mom was concerned if I would do it. We went out there and I jumped every jump (but not with gusto) and mom remembered all of the course despite her lack of preparation, but I didn't feel like jumping #14, so I just walked on by it. Hmmm....can't tell you why. But that blew the Q! Mom says she doesn't even care because she was just happy that I did as well as I did.
So that was our second day. Not much to write home about. We were finished by 1:15 but stayed to watch some friends run in the 8" class. When we got in the car to leave, it started raining really hard and then hailing! The hail was super loud hitting the roof of the car and mom had to pull over and stop driving until the hail let up. Fortunately it didn't last long and the rest of the trip was uneventful.
Nice and quiet trial today - not many people since it was a Friday. The trial started at 10:00 and we were all done at 2:30. Pretty good, if you ask me. My first run was Exc. A STD. This was my third try to get a Q (remember in my first two tries, I wouldn't do that chute/shoot!). There were a few tricky spots in this course - the weave entry (because of that dummy jump), the table and the chute were really close together (doesn't bother me since I am definitely not a chute-sucker!), and the wrap of #16 to get back to #17. But mom watched lots of runs and felt confident we could handle it. And we did! I did not start off fast (no surprise, right?) but I did the chute (slowly) and then finished the course well! We got a Q and first place and were the only 12" Exc. A team to qualify ( out of @ 6?)! But I barely made it - the STC was 70 and my time was 72.81 but we found out you can have time faults in Exc. A! So my score was 94. Whew!
Next up was Exc. B JWW. We watched a lot of runs of this course too and mom felt pretty good about it. One thing though, the start line was right next to the ring gate and the door to leave the room to go to the other ring. We didn't like that much. This is the first course where we had to do two pinwheels and a serpentine too. Interesting. One tricky part was back in the left-hand corner with #14 (and a dummy jump straight ahead) and #15 to the tunnel. When it was our turn we started out slowish and mom front crossed after #3 and then turned her head away from me to look where she was going and she forgot about me and I skipped #4 and just followed after her. Then we skipped #5. I jumped 6 and didn't feel like doing #7 so I didn't! Mom was like in shock or something, so she didn't reconnect with me until around the weaves. Once we did connect again, things went well and we finished the difficult parts without problems. It's all there in the video - not a pretty sight!
So a good day, all in all. Mom says she learned a lot from the JWW run and she'll try not to make those mistakes again! Grandma went with us today and we had a good time visiting with her! She also did the video-ing - thanks Grandma! We go back to the same place on Sunday and we'll try again and see how it all goes!
Today's tRicky T-Day trick is "snob"! I have been working on this for awhile and we have tried to make videos before that didn't turn out. This one is not even all that great. Mom would have to wear a head cam for you to get the full effect of my snobbery - LOL! Any way, I learned this with a hand signal - mom would at first hold a treat out to the side of my head and then just her hand. It took a LONG time for me to be able to turn my head and hold it there on the verbal cue only. Even now I some times need the hand signal (but not in this video)! Then we included "speak" which is super easy but I wanted you to see the contrast with my "whisper" which is harder! Don't ask me how mom got me to do that one - neither of us remembers!
We are going to an agility trial tomorrow and Sunday (not Saturday since mom has to work). Wish me luck and mom wants you to send me positive thoughts regarding the chute/shoot!
PS. I just found out I won a Gold Star (see it over there on the right side of my blog?) for the comment I made on Sara's Wordless Wednesday photos yesterday! Guess I have inspired a contest! So go check it out and make sure to comment on her photo next Wednesday so you can win too!
What do these flowers have to do with today's class? Nothing, I just think they are pretty! Usually we put a disclaimer in here about how no one needs to read through all this tedious agility description stuff if they don't want to but we also want to add that if someone reads something in here that they know we got wrong and can help us understand it better, please leave a comment! Thanks!
Class was about forward sends and parallel sends today. Not sure if I can explain each send -with a forward send, the dog makes a perpendicular approach to a jump where the handler slows down and uses her inside arm, straight-forward shoulders and a jump command to cue the jump with collection. With a parallel send , the dog approaches the jump parallelly (I know - there's no such word - like he would run directly into the jump standard) and the handler decelerates and supports the jump with an inside arm and straight shoulders and a jump command. The dog has to learn how to go right or left to jump the bar and jump with collection (I think). First we all picked one jump and practiced each send. Boring, but no problem. Then we did several sequences where we had to do either a forward send or a parallel send depending on the set up. So after the send mom wasn't supposed to do a front cross - mostly there were no side changes so she had to post turn (just turn around in place and run the other direction). This was not especially motivating for me so I didn't end up running all that fast.
Thoughts on sends: Send does not mean distance (as in send your dog from a long way away over a jump). A handler can be standing right next to a jump and still send the dog. Sends are cued with deceleration (lack of movement) and the jump is supported with the inside arm and straight shoulders until the dog commits to the jump. Dogs have different commitment points so if your dog has a late commitment point, you need to wait longer (inside arm, shoulders) before turning. Sends are affected by contacts if your dog has a stopped contact (like 2o2o) - say there is the dogwalk and then a jump straight ahead and then a wrap back to a tunnel. If the dog has to stop on the contact, the handler often stops too and then there is little time to increase motion in order to decel to cue the send (make sense?). We don't have that problem since I have what Jenn calls a "hail mary" dogwalk - not a running dogwalk but I run off the end with mom saying hail marys hoping that I touch the yellow! LOL! A handler has to time her running so that she doesn't keep getting to all the obstacles before her dog - that one is for mom (not necessarily about sends but something she needs to remember in general)!
It's windy and cool here today but we went and had lunch by the river and then went walking in a new little park and on a supposedly quiet little road along the river.
This is large-flowered trillium which is actually the official Ohio state wildflower! It is very pretty and we had never seen it before!
These photos were taken before I lost my mind over some cars that went by and had to be carried back to our car because I was barking like a maniac and pulling so hard on the flexi lead that I was choking myself. Mom was not amused.
Well, we decided to definitely not go to the trial on Saturday, but over the weekend mom tested my leg a little bit with a few easy jumps and weaves. I knocked a bar with my back legs on Saturday and hit the tire with my back legs on Sunday. Everything else we tried looked good. And I ran and ran in my backyard and never showed any signs of limping. Mom thinks I still put more weight on my right front leg than my left, but maybe I always do that?
Any way, today was our first class back with Jenn! She now has her own building to train in and this was our first time going there and seeing it. Very cool! We haven't had class Feb. 22 so it was awesome to be there! Today's class focused on rear crosses on the flat and at a jump and front crosses on the flat and at a jump. The first thing we had to do was jump, jump, rear cross on the flat, turn to left, jump, aframe. Mom took off way too fast and got to the cross position ahead of me so, of course, I couldn't do a nice rear cross! I needed to be out front! So we tried again and mom did a little better with her timing and we managed a slightly uncomfortable rear on the flat. But then I flew up and over the aframe (while mom held her breath and hoped that I wouldn't struggle or show signs of limping or anything)! Then we tried the same thing but with a rear cross before the second jump and that was much easier and felt much better. We also practiced the rear crosses on a couple other jumps with me being on mom's right side.
After that we practiced a recall to rear cross on the flat which was confusing for mom but she finally figured it out (I think).
Then we tried some exercises with front crosses on the flat - which we thought were a lot easier - and front crosses at the jump. We had to do aframe and then a jump off to the right and then mom had to move far enough ahead and out to do a front on the flat and line me up for two more jumps. This went pretty well - mom has done these before and didn't realize that's what they are called. Next we did it where I did the aframe and mom did a parallel send to the jump on the right and then ran down and front crossed before the third jump. Well, I was so fast that mom didn't have time to get the cross in! WooHoo for me!!!!!! She had to try again and trust my send more and get into position faster. It worked the second time.
Finally we ran a little longer sequence that included the dogwalk (no problem) and weaves. Overall, class went really well and no one saw anything weird about the way I was moving or anything. And I was very happy to be doing agility!
Some things to think about - crosses on the flat are used only between obstacles (they don't involve any obstacles), they can be very helpful for young dogs who don't know how to "send" yet or who require more motion from the handler to keep up their momentum, the front on the flat we did today was used with extension, front at the jump cued collection (don't know if this is a rule but we want to remember this point and think more about it), motion cues the rear at a jump, and mom should trust my sends more. That's all we can remember right now!
Here is a really quick video we made mostly to show the recall rear cross. The actual rear crosses aren't very good - mom didn't think it through enough to be able to really show the difference between rear at the jump (she should've moved laterally behind the first jump) and the rear on the flat.
(As always we are writing all of this down so we can have a chance of remembering it all and we know these long descriptions can be boring so please don't feel bad if you don't want to read it all!)
Yesterday was my 3rd Gotcha Day - the third anniversary of the day I came home to live with my mom and dad! Hard to believe it's already been three years!
Today's tRicky T-Day trick is cop cop backwards. I have been able to do it forwards for awhile but couldn't get the hang of going backwards until recently. It is really difficult to move only your back feet when you are used to using all four feet! Last Saturday, this was one of the tricks I couldn't do at all and what made mom realize that I must've been hurt with the disastrous dogwalk last Thursday. It has been a week now and in the video, I seem to not put my full weight on my left front leg. What we aren't sure about is if I tend to be like that any way (is it normal for me?). All this careful scrutinizing of my every move is confusing! Any way, kikopup just made a great video on how to teach cop cop - we didn't use her method but it looks awesome!
Here's my video:
I have been doing most of my regular activities - walks, running after squirrels in the backyard, etc. and have not limped at all but there is still the issue of me putting all my weight on that left leg. Yesterday we went to open agility practice and just did the chute - which I easily sailed through each and every time, of course! We are probably pulling out of the trial on Saturday just to be safe. My new class with Jenn starts Monday and we really want to be able to go and participate in that (the good part of class is it is less rigorous than a trial and if mom doesn't want to, she doesn't have to have me do the aframe, for instance). Maybe this weekend we can try a couple jumps and see if it bothers me - believe me - I have been doing plenty of "boinging" (like my friend Oreo does) on my own! You would think jumping would not be an issue!
We're having yet another gorgeous day here! High temperatures are 20 degrees above normal for this time of year. The warm weather has really brought out the flowers and flowering trees and greened up the grass. Dad even had to mow yesterday!
I'm still not feeling 100%, I think. Mom and I went to my favorite park for a walk today and I did ok - I mean no limping - but towards the end of the walk I got tired. Maybe it was the heat? Mom still keeps looking at me and wondering if I am putting all of my weight on my left leg. But I am running and playing like normal for the most part. Oh, I almost forgot - Dawn had asked me if we are still working on my emergency whistle recall - yes, we are but probably not as often as we should. Mom surprised me with it twice today and I went immediately to her. Actually the huge rate of reinforcement has strengthened my everyday recall too!
Dutchman's Breeches: This yellow flower is all over the park at this time of year. You might think it's dandelion but it's really a wildflower called lesser celandine: Taking a break (actually not yet - I am posing - when we take a break I lie down under the bench on the cool ground):
Still undecided about my trial on Saturday - guess time will tell.
Sorry for not updating everyone yesterday but there isn't much to report. I had a good time at grandma and grandpa's for Easter even though I didn't get to run with Wilson. It was a beautiful day and I sat outside with everyone for a lot of the time and walked around the big yard on leash. We did an Easter egg hunt for the kids and Wilson and I got to share some hard-boiled egg - YUM!
This morning mom and I tried some tricks - I did "feet" (jump up on mom with my front feet), cop cop (stand on mom's feet and walk), elephant, turn right, left, bow, crawl.....mom didn't notice any problems with the tricks I couldn't do a few days ago. I am still not begging to tug though. So we're going to try to have a normal day - I can run if I want to and go up and down stairs on my own - and we'll wait and see if I show any signs of being hurt. No agility yet - mom is afraid to try - and we're still not sure about the trial on Saturday.
Thank you to everyone for all your supportive comments! We weren't even going to blog about all this, but we needed your input! So thank you so much!
Well, the other day - Thursday to be exact - mom and I were out practicing agility in my backyard and mom sent me up the dogwalk with a very bad approach. I tried to do it any way, but I didn't get myself centered on the up ramp and had to scrabble to run and hang on to the board. By the time I got to the top, I couldn't hang on any more and I jumped off. Mom tried not to panic because she thought I seemed ok. She gave me treats and sent me back over the DW. Then we did a little more agility and all seemed fine. BUT later that same afternoon we wanted to make a video of a trick and it involved me putting my feet on mom's feet and I wouldn't do it. Then at dinner time I limped a little bit. Mom rested me all night and Friday morning I woke up and stretched normally and ran downstairs normally and mom thought all was good but didn't do any jumping with me yesterday. No limping, I was playing like usual and chasing cars, squirrels and motorcycles. So today mom tried a little agility after my morning walk (all looked good on the walk). I did jump and weave but I was very slow. So we stopped. I kept acting like I wanted to play tug, but each time mom got out the toy, I decided I didn't want to. And I only ran a couple steps after a motorcycle this morning and then stopped myself. Mom gave me a bath this afternoon and I got my typical after-bath zoomies and then limped a little. I am not really limping much. But I can't tug and I can't do tricks like under arrest and put my feet up on mom and cop cop (walk on her feet) but I can bow and stretch like that. Mom felt all over my front legs and checked range of motion (to the best of her ability) and I don't seem to have major problems that she can tell.
So - we don't want to panic. Has anyone ever had a similar experience on the dogwalk or similar movement restrictions? Could I just be sore and need a few days to feel better? I am not taking any medications (mom isn't sure what I could take with my sensitive stomach) and I haven't been to the vet yet. We are of course hoping that a little restriction in activity and a little more rest will heal me. I have one day of a trial a week from today, but mom is more than willing to pull me out of it. I am pretty good about showing mom that I don't feel 100% - like I don't want to play or run like usual. We're thinking of just waiting a little while longer to see.....but we realize there is a certain amount of risk of making something that wasn't serious more serious.
Tomorrow we go to grandpa and grandma's for Easter! Wilson and his family will be there. Guess I won't get to play my fetch and chase game with Wilson. Bummer! But I hope you all have a Happy Easter!
Before I tell you about the outing we went on the other day, I have to apologize to Princess Eva - a few days ago, she tagged us to play the 5th photo game and we never did it! I am not a very good blogging-game player. So sorry! I did play this game once before so here is a link to my post about it - Tagged.
On Wednesday mom and dad took me to one of our metro parks - this one is almost an hour away from our house and when we go there, we feel like we have really gotten away from it all. I think I blogged about our trips there before but I must not have labeled them because I couldn't find them. It was a beautiful day - sunny and temperature in the 60s. The leaves haven't come out on the trees yet, so the view through the woods was amazing. The pet trail is a gravelly road (no cars allowed) up to the top of a ridge. We followed it and then followed a road/path off to the side that was probably private property but there was no sign saying "no trespassing!"
First we had lunch: Mom and I ran around a little: Then we started out on the trail - we were the only ones out there and had the woods to ourselves: I think this bench commemorates someone's house and property that used to be there: Mom and dad rely on me to lead the way: This is the private road - look at all the green moss: Can you tell how high up we are? There was even moss in the road:
I could've walked forever but we eventually had to head back to the car. I sure can't wait to go there again some day!
My name is Ricky (Covewind Little Ricky, AX,AXJ,CGC) and I am a six year old tri-color Shetland Sheepdog. I do agility and I like to learn tricks too! This blog is about all that and some other stuff as well!