Monday, November 1, 2010

Change is Good...I Hope

I'm the first to admit that blogging doesn't come that naturally to me. As a result, I don't always keep Dare's blog updated as often as I should. I think that I'd be even worse on the Resqtails blog if it weren't for the fact that my friend convinced me to get that blog approved for paid posts. I was a little hesitant at first. I really didn't think it would add up to much, but I was wrong. I was looking back and so far this year I've made about $600.00 just from putting those silly links in the posts. That extra money has come in very handy for dog stuff that I didn't have otherwise!

So, the other day, that same friend asked me if I had tried to get Dare's blog approved. Well, I hadn't, but I thought I might as well try. I contacted the company that gives assignments to Resqtails but they replied to say that I'd need to consider making some changes before they could consider adding Dare's blog. Which leads me to the reason for this post...

You will now find Dare's blog at:

I hate to do that, because I know it's an inconvenience to everyone, However, if it allows me to make a little more for the dog sports fund, I'm going to try. It actually should make for more regular posting on my part if I have an incentive. I can't help but think about Sara's posts about her kids in the class that need to see immediate consequences for their actions...maybe I'm still a kid at heart.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dare Fall 2010

I just have to share some of the pictures that I got of Dare this fall. I still find it hard to believe that this is her second fall with us. Time sure flies.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Extra Credit Weaving

Ok, training is just fun! That's all there is to it. Especially with a partner like Dare. Today we were out doing some weaving, working on different angled entries and I also wanted to see if she would recall to me through the weaves.

So, I led out and called her through the weaves, which she did nicely, then tossed the ball over the jump and turned around and ran back to the start where the camera was, to turn it off. Before I got to the camera I turned around in time to see her enter the weaves at an angle like we'd be working on, nail the entry and then continue slowly back to me. The best part...she was holding her ball in her mouth the whole time. LOL

You'll see that her weaving is much slower coming back through, but I'm not as fast when I'm multi-tasking either. :-) The fun thing is that she got the entry (without me anywhere near her), and finished all 12 poles all while concentrating on holding that silly ball. Go Dare!

Hope you are all enjoying your training as much as we are. :-)

Putting Things Together

The jump training continues. Along with other training too of course. But I thought I'd post an update on some of the stuff we're working on now.

We are still working on the basic drills that I've already talked about, and we're adding distance and impulsion to those exercises. Unfortunately, Andrea was right (darn her for knowing what she's talking about)LOL As soon as Dare started picking up speed and not just striding through, but planting her feet to jump, the box turned into the same scenario as all other stride regulators before it. Something to land as close to the front of as possible.

This week, I've been working a bit on pinwheels. Here's the baby pinwheel work:

The next step is obviously raising the bars, and then changing the angle of the pinwheel. The next thing that I wanted to do was try adding the pinwheel to the standard jump chute that we've been working on. So, here is that video.

I was looking for her to still read the spacing and jump heights of the straight part of the chute, but then be able to adjust her striding and jump style to solve the puzzle of the pinwheel at the end, and have her jump closely to the inside uprights for an efficient jumping path. I think she did a pretty good job. :-) I'm still waiting to hear back from Andrea, to see if we've missed anything on this one, but hopefully not.

Anyway, that's all for today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Jumping Experiments

The jumping experiments continue. The ultimate goal is still to get Dare more comfortable with striding in closer to jumps for take off. You know that we tried with the stride regulator. I decided to try something new, to see if it made more sense to Dare. It started with the suggestion from Andrea that maybe a foot target would make more sense to Dare as a take-off spot. Being a little lazy, I wondered if something that we already use for obedience. We have a pvc box that I send her to when we work on signals for obedience. I remembered seeing that Diana and Miley had used a pvc box when they were working on their running A-frame and I wondered if we could use a combination of ideas for Dare.

So, I started with the box and just clicked Dare for getting in and then tossed a toy out of the box to keep her moving. She picked up on that pretty quick. Here's the video.

Then I decided to try putting it together with the jump standards.

Now, I'm working on introducing the bars again on the jump. I also need to do some other variations, but so far, she isn't treating the box like she did the stride regulator, just landing directly in front of it, so maybe this does make more sense to her. I sure hope so.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Jumping Update

Well, I looked back and I haven't posted anything since July about Dare's jump training. Where does the time go? We have been consistently working on the jump training, I guess I just haven't been good about posting.

I guess I'll start with the very basics of what we're doing and what we're learning. First, I knew it was important to teach the dog to be comfortable and proficient at taking off with the rear legs. One of the pre-jump skills that we work on is the beg-stand-beg exercise. Here's Dare demonstrating that drill.

Then we've worked on the up and over collected jumping exercise that I showed you in the previous jumping post. Placing the dog right in front of the jump and targeting just a body length beyond the jump in an attempt to get the dog to simply lift the front legs off the ground and push off for the jump with the rear legs. We did this starting at 8" and worked up to 16"

We've also been working on baby front and rear crosses...These exercises also have been started at 8" and worked at all angles and then repeated at the higher jump heights on both sides.

We have also been working on some jump grids. This one is test help us see how well she is able to scope out the differences in spacing and in heights.

What we noticed in the grid work you just saw and when I started adding more distance and speed to our baby front and rear cross that Dare prefers to take off for jumps from further away, (rather than striding in closer), which is neither efficient or a safe way to jump.

This led to a series of drills where we are trying to use the stride regulator to get Dare to stride in closer to the jump before take-off. We had some success, and a lot of experimenting in the process, and we are still working on it.

It was also around the middle of August that it was suggested that I take Dare in to the veterinary opthamologist to see if she was having issues with her depth perception or eyesight in general. In examining her eyes, they did find that she has Distichiasis, which is just simply eyelashes growing where they shouldn't. It can cause irritation and eventually scarring of the cornea, but at this point, they said that it doesn't appear to be even causing any irritation, so I'm just to keep my eyes on it for any changes. Other than that, they said that her eyes looked great, and they found nothing that they felt would account for her early jumping.

So, having ruled out any major vision problems, we are back to training. With Andrea's help, we are focusing on helping Dare get more comfortable with striding in closer to the jumps and rewarding that behavior. We are actually doing this not only with jumps, but with the table as well, since she exhibits the same tendency to take off too early for the table as well.

It's a slow process, but a fascinating one. One of the other things that I'm looking into is how to help condition her better for jumping and agility in general. I got the DVD "Building the Canine Athlete" and I'm trying to come up with a practical routine for Dare and I to work on.

Anyway, as with the last jump training post, this is now more of a book, so I'll just end it here for now. Hopefully we'll have more updates and progress soon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

2 Months Today

Two months ago we started our weave training. I'm thrilled to be able to share today's weaving video. Today Dare did 12 weave poles, with no channels, no grid guides, no wires. Just straight up 12 weave poles. Woot! Here's the video.

I will probably keep working with the wire on the entrance for a while longer, while I continue to work on more difficult entries, but I'll be taking them on and off, since I want to use them as a reminder, but I don't want it to become a crutch for her.

Now I'd like to start including the weaves in short sequences too, while the weather is still nice enough for me to have all the equipment outside.