We had a huge breakthrough this week! After a long struggle with the concept, I think I finally understand how to get an object (a ball in this case) and hold on to it! Naturally I hold on to stuff all the time. I like to tug, etc. But to get me to take something and hold on to it on cue has been very difficult. Mom used to have dreams of me competing in obedience and she tried to teach me how to take and hold a dumbbell when I was younger. I didn't like that dumbbell and I think that is where my aversion to holding something on cue started. But from time to time, mom has worked on this trick or that with me to try to encourage me to "hold it." Lately we have been working on the roll up in a blanket trick (the one that Sara and Oreo did for tRicky T-Day this week) and I started understanding what hold it means with the blanket. Then on a whim the other day, mom thought she would try to see if I would pick up the little nerf ball and put it into the flower pot. We ended up backchaining and I started to take the ball out of the pot! But look at me, I can get it and hold it!! WooHoo!
If I really understand holding an object, then there are tons of tricks I couldn't do before but now I will be able to learn them! We're pretty excited, can you tell?
Sorry about the extreme lack of posting! Mom has been working (which is a good thing) and when she's not, we've been outside trying to enjoy the nice weather! We've been to the park and to my favorite pet trail (super, super muddy). We have been practicing some agility in the yard - really short sequences and mom is rewarding me for speed. We're still working on several new-ish tricks and have made a little progress. Yesterday at the park mom whistle-recalled me off bunny fur - I was a good boy! The other evening we had our first barbecue of the year - mom and dad had hamburgers (they don't eat a lot of meat but like the occasional grilled burger) while I had a beef marrow bone! So things have been pretty good!
By the way, if you ever feel like listening to some classical music and want to check out mom and dad at work, the CSO has an instant encore page and you can go there and listen to recent performances and check out upcoming concerts, etc. (The instant encore recordings don't seem to work if you have Chrome for your browser, though, so use something else).
It's finally Spring - our daffodils started to bloom today! So even though we may still get some cold weather (and snow?) at least we are the farthest away from the dead of winter that we will ever be! Happy Spring everyone!
We headed off to the trial today at 11:00 and got there a little past 11:30 and the 16" dogs were walking the standard course. So we arrived at the exact time mom wanted to. It was a little warmer and a little less rainy today and while it was still super muddy every where, at least mom had less to complain about! LOL!
Mom memorized the course as she watched others run it and everything looked ok for us except the chute was the third obstacle (we think I do better with it when it is later in the run). Mom made a plan for where to throw my slip lead too (since it was another tunnel start). When it was our turn, we took off and got to the chute and I refused to do it again! Mom is now calling it the "SHOOT!" Notice how well I did after she let me go on - fast teeter, fast aframe, and then check out my weaves - I did my fastest-ever-at-a-trial weaves - especially the last few poles because by then I could see the finish line and smell the chicken!! We NQ'ed again (my fault, I know and I take full responsibility) but even with my fooling around at the chute/shoot, I was only 2 seconds over standard course time.
When we finished the STD course, they were still running 20" dogs in the JWW. We waited about an hour and a half and that was ok for mom because she got to learn the course again by watching. People were saying that no one was qualifying and the course was too hard, etc. It did look confusing with that serpentine the first time through, then take only the middle jump there and then go through there a third time and take the outside jumps only. Mom tried really hard to look for the patterns and also the color of the jumps to help guide her. Any way, when it was my turn, I started out slowly (can you see a pattern here?) and poked my way through the weaves and the first jump of the serpentine and then I took off! It is really hard to tell from the video, but I was running my heart out. We did it!!! We Q'ed - our first Exc. B JWW Q - on our very last run of the weekend! We barely made it - my course time was 47.18 and standard course time was 47. Thank goodness they round down! Out of around 20 12" dogs, only 10 qualified.
Well, we're really happy with my speed and confidence this weekend and even though we only came away with one Q, we think we got a lot out of our 4 runs. But what are we going to do about my chute/shoot performance? Jenn thinks I don't like the darkness and the fact that I can't see the way out - but mom isn't sure that's what the problem is. She got out my own chute/shoot and set it up in our living room this morning and I went right through it many times, no problem. There's always something, right?
We went to a trial only 35 minutes from home today. Grandma, mom and I got there at 11:00 (the trial started at 9:00) and waited almost 4 hours for our first run - our first try at Exc. A STD. It was cold, cold, cold in that barn and dirty! And outside was rainy and cold and muddy and swampy and muddy and rainy and cold! Have I mentioned cold? Mom complained all day but grandma and I were real troopers and didn't complain at all. Any way, mom had time to watch tons of people and dogs on this STD course, so she had it memorized before she even walked it. I started out a little pokey and then when I got to the chute, I just blatantly refused to do it. I crept into the barrel and then came back out. So mom gave up and kept running and then I did really well! My dogwalk was fast and I was fast on the last few jumps too. But NQ - my fault this time - I can't blame mom because she did her part!
Then we had about an hour until our Exc. B JWW run. Mom was worried about this because of how badly she screwed up last week's JWW course by not remembering to tell me to do all the jumps. This course started out tunnel to a red wing jump (you can't see all this in the video - the video starts at jump #3). Any way, we went out to get ready and mom threw my slip lead on the ground not too far from the tunnel (she should've thrown it much farther out of the way) and I got all worried and wondered what my leash was doing on the ground over there? I went in the tunnel and worried more and then came out and got a refusal on the jump (#2) because I stopped to make sure things were ok with my leash! After that we got going and mom had to do some unconventional handling to motivate me to MOVE but I was really fast towards the end again - as a matter of fact, I was ahead of mom! But sadly, NQ again and mostly my fault again, although mom blames herself for the position of that silly slip lead! I am proud of mom for remembering the course this time! Maybe tomorrow we can both get our acts together at the same time?
We are not going there until noon tomorrow - the trial starts one hour earlier - but we are going to take a chance and go much later. Hopefully it won't be as cold and we won't have to wait as long!
We have finally been enjoying some nice weather after such a long and snowy winter! We've had a little rain yesterday and today but the temperatures are in the low 60s and it feels as though Spring is really here! Crocuses and snow drops are blooming in our yard and daffodils are up about 4 or 5 inches now. It's pretty muddy but we have done a little backyard agility this week. And I have been having fun chasing squirrels that seem to have forgotten that I live here - I have almost caught one on several occasions now but some how they manage to run just a tiny bit faster than me and make it up a tree. If I could climbs trees, those squirrels wouldn't stand a chance!
I am working on learning some new tricks that are not quite ready for video yet. The other day grandpa wanted to know if I knew how to turn left and right on the verbal cue alone and mom said "No." So that got her thinking and we worked on it a little this week - I am getting pretty good at it but no where near perfect yet. I wanted to make a tRicky T-Day video so that's the trick we used. You will just have to trust us that mom isn't doing any hand signals - you can't see her head in the video - but seriously, she is only giving me a verbal cue.
We went to our first trial since the beginning of January yesterday - only one day since mom had to work on Saturday. Mom is terrible at guesstimating when we will run our first run so we got there way too early. So mom worked the Novice JWW class and I hung out with grandma. Then we got ready for our first try at Exc. B JWW. The course was not difficult and mom had a plan. It did start out slowly for us because tunnel to weaves is not super motivating for me. But I got faster after that. The only problem - MOM! She messed me up. See the course map below - well, mom forgot to do jumps #12 and 13 - she took me straight from #11 to #14 and then to make matters worse, she didn't support #15 so I followed her right past it. It's a shame about my handler because I was doing a GREAT job!! Check out how much speed I had in the jumps at the end of the run! Mom was disappointed in herself but I forgave her right away - it was all good to me!
Our wait for the standard run was not all that long. We needed a Q in this run to get our Open STD title. The first part went well - it was a good start for me, but even with the jump and then the tire, my dogwalk was pretty slow. Then as we went toward the aframe, mom was way over on the side and telling me to go to the aframe, but I was excited and saw that tunnel and ran all the way over there on my own and started into it. Mom called me and I came back and went up the aframe. I was a little leery of that judge doing all that walking around, so my sit on the table was slow. But check out my teeny little hesitation at the chute (probably my fastest chute in a trial) and then a fast teeter! After that, we were home free! We did it! I Q'ed and got second place (fortunately you can have one off-course in Open and still Q - whew!) and so I got my OA!
I had a good time at the trial. I got lots of chicken, I got to hang out with mom and grandma, I got to see lots of people and dogs, and I did some good agility!
Next weekend (or actually now it's already "this weekend") we are doing Saturday and Sunday of a trial in a horse barn - the site of the 2007 AKC Nationals in Sunbury. (At least I think it was the site of the 2007 Nationals). We've never been there before but we're assuming that it is a nice facility. I'll get another chance at Exc. B jumpers - well, mom will get a chance to redeem herself) and I'll get to run my first-ever Exc. STD course! About 3/4 of the snow in my backyard is gone, so mom is promising to set up my dogwalk today and maybe we'll finally start practicing again. Although we're supposed to get rain Wed. through Sun. We're just exchanging snow for mud!
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!