Monday, February 22, 2010

Super Woo!


Actually, Wootie has nothing to do with this post, I just liked the photograph and couldn't be bothered to think up a decent segue.

The real Super Dog in today's installment is my Bestest Boy, Tweed.

Who, me?

Yes, Mr. T - I am talking about you!!

We trialed on Saturday and Tweed made me so very proud! His accomplishments this weekend were:

Steeplechase - 1st place and a Q
Masters Jumpers - 1st place and a Q
Masters Standard - 1st place and a Q
Masters Gamblers - 2nd place and a Q
Challenge class - 1st place and a Q

He went 5 for 6, as I got slightly out of position in his last Standard run and he dropped a bar. He was still several seconds faster than his competitors, but the 5 faults meant no Q.

Nobody could touch him in Challenge; the Q time is determined by the fastest dog, and he blew everybody away. It was the nicest run I think he and I have ever had. It *even* got us a compliment from the Sadist - not even a backhanded one, an actual, genuine compliment!

Udda udda udda - whuuut?

I know Tweed, I was surprised as well. It's such a rare thing.

I've been told it's not nice to brag, but I don't care! Tweed and I worked real hard to reach this level of teamwork, so I'm braggin' for both of us. Tweed's a winner!! I only wish I had gotten someone to video some of those runs.

I *heart* Tweed!

Piper ran 4 times in Advanced too, and she didn't let me down - she messed up every single run and didn't have a hope in hell of getting a qualifying run. More or less what I was expecting - she's a pretty thing, but running on fumes, not cerebral power.

Piper fetch me a stick with which to beat you.


You owe me $56.00 in wasted entry fees.

Ummm ... can I pay you in sticks? Here's my first installment.

Piper is officially pulled from trialing until we get some of our shit together. The Sadist says Piper really wants to please me and I get too frustrated with her, which shuts her down. It's hard to imagine her being shut down whilst she is at the same bouncing up and down on my toes like a cork in a stormy ocean. If that's shut down, what would she do if she were really happy - jump right inside my skin??? And also, if she wants to make me so damn happy, then why doesn't she get the hell off my cleats and go take a freakin' obstacle?

Really, Piper's two biggest challenges are:

1. Distance - Piper is attached to my cleats by an invisible elastic that only stretches a tiny bit. I thought with time the elasticity would develop some give, like a well used hair tie, but it's pretty damn resilient!

2. Weave pole entries. Piper's brain is like a nervous frog in a hot frying pan, and even though there are weave poles set up on the kitchen, she can't find the entry to save her life. We're going to go back and retrain the weaves using the 2X2 method - has anyone successfully retrained weaves this way? I keep hearing they are a great way to teach them, but stressful for the dog to relearn. I'm hoping that since she doesn't seem to understand them now, retraining won't be too confusing for her.

Oh well, I'm still strutting around all happy-like thanks to Tweed's glorious Saturday. Nationals, here we come!


Benny and Lily said...

Good job Tweed, you rock. We bet it all comes pretty natural huh? Keep up the good work cutie
Benny & Lily

Taryn said...

Tweed sounds like a wonderful teammate! Congrats on such a good weekend!

As to the 2x2s, I LOVE them! I run Cardigan corgis. I did a terrible job of teaching weaves with my first corgi, poor boy suffered thru my learning curve. With my second Cardi, I used the 2x2s. He's a weaving fool! It took less than 2 weeks from start to finish with maybe a ten minute session each day. Except for maybe a super hard/odd entry, he's got it down, and he's only 2. I would definitely give 2x2's a try.

team small dog said...

Hello Food Lady,

I have a few dogs. One retired from a nice agility career due to sore legs and no eyesight. One is a little machine who likes to win and Q. One is Gustavo. Fast as lightning, yet spent one year in Starters Standard. For various reasons. We will address here poles. Poles? Weeeeee! Right by. He is flighty, sort of like a pet squirrel in a tiny border collie body.

Teaching him everything has been a giganto learning experience, because, hello, squirrel, and I re-taught him his poles from scratch using 2x2's and this helped a lot. It did not fix it. His poles are still a work in progress but it definitely made them waaay better, as opposed to ridiculously sucky, like make me weep awful. We just have to practice them millions more times, he is sort of on the need to do everything a hundred million times to really get it program.

Jenn said...

congrats to Tweed! that's pretty awesome!

in future posts, i'd love to hear how you work on training Piper to move away from you to the obstacles. my pup & i have that problem (among others) & we've been working on it with minimal success.

we're both total agility newbies (6 months of classes & some home practice), and while we both love it, we may never actually see an agility trial. i have yet to perfect recall when there's the excitement of other dogs and owner's with better treats nearby. sadly, no dog parks around here to get good/safe practice either...

riosmom said...

Congratulations Tweed!!! Oh, and you too, Food Lady!!! There is nothing quite as lovely as being in synch with your dog on a great run - let alone six of them!

Yes, Piper could be "shut down" when she is jumping all over you, "shut down" as in wanting to please and not knowing what to do or how to think because she picks up on your mood. Poor Piper - time for more agility fun and less agility stress.

I haven't taught the 2x2 method but I taught Rio with just six poles (because he did so many a day) and he did them before everything he wanted to do - eat, go for a ride, go for a walk, play ball, etc. A quick little exercise - done properly - got him a reward and made him eager to do them. I taught Gracie by making weaves part of play, play, play, play and she is rock solid in them.

I know you are a good enough trainer to be using positive reinforcement and doing all the right things but I found training weaves outside the agility environment and making them part of every day's activity, i.e., fun, really helped.

Debra Kay said...

Oh Tweed, you da Man.

Is or was Piper ever a reactive dog to other dogs/people? I worked on that with Moon-and I've done such a good job that my high drive Moon man shuts down into zen mode when I enter the room.

He pastes himself to my side, sticks his nose at my knee and waits for me to rub his shoulders. If I do not comply and begin to play with the other dogs, he'll go lie down quietly.

Ok, good dog Moon-but the on switch is GONE. I want it back.

Erin said...

Awesome job, Tweed and Food Lady!

Carol said...

Rock and roll, Tweed and FL! What a team. Brag away, you did superbly!

Maybe it was the Ode??????

I feel your pain with Piper's focus. I call our female "BC with a Chihuahua brain" (no offense meant to Chi lovers). She is a flighty and unfocused attention monger, and shuts down totally if she doesn't understand what you want. Which is 95% of the time. I thought clicker training would be great for her, but she's scared of the click noise and doesn't offer up much in the way of behaviors. In 3 years she hasn't learned to return the ball all the way during fetch. She lets Giz do her cleanup work. I have no illusions that I'll ever make her an agility dog.

My verification word is triumi - I think they misspelled triumph!

Liza Lundell said...

Congratulations to Food Lady and Tweed! Sounds like a great weekend.

I taught my basenji to weave with 2x2 poles. Worked a treat. Until we found a set of three weaves, where she skipped the middle pole. LSS, she had learned to weave the bases--change sides wherever there was a foot, don't change sides if there's nothing there. Had to retrain on weav-a-matics. She still retains the wonderful entries, though, and is usually successful in the weaves if *I* don't pull her out.

Good luck with Piper!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you and Tweed! WOOT!!!

Weaves...sigh...the bane of my existence with Kat. The thing that has seemed to work the best (and this *might* help some with your distance work) is armchair weaves. I kid you not. I get the ball, park my ass in a chair in front of the weaves (start with just 6 or even less if she can't do that) and ask her to weave. When she finishes weaving, she gets the ball. Timing is critical here: you do NOT want your dog looking back at you for the ball but you also don't want to reward them coming out early. And throw the ball directly ahead of them so they charge out of the weaves.

Chair positioning is "around the clock." If the entry is the middle part of the clock, I set my chair at 12 and practice from one side. Next session, chair in the same place, other side. Next session, move your chair to just a wee bit off 12. Repeat. Ad Nauseum.

I can tell you Kat figured out her rhythm and has some decent entries and it made it FUN.

HA HA HA - my word verification is RUCKED.

Just change a letter....

Joe said...

Hey just I got me one of them HD DSLRs that shoots beautiful 720p and 1080p HD video. I need the practice. How 'bout you let me video some of your runs?

The Border Collies said...

How 'bout you let me video some of your runs?

How bout OKAY!!!

Karen said...

Congrats to you and Tweed on the FIVE Q's!!! You are so allowed to brag! I know the feeling, as my red and white border got 5 out of 5 Q's at our one day at the January trial, and I bragged:). It all fell apart at the trial yesterday though, and yes, it was those ugly weave entries. Kinda sad that my new to agility hubby got a Q with 'my' dog in Steeplechase, and I didn't. Brag on!
I too am wondering about 2x2's to train entries.

Corey said...

Congrats to the Tweed and his Food Lady! Very well deserved, I'm sure.

I have a very clingy Sheltie (that's sort of a redundant term, isn't it? feh) and we're heading out to a seminar in March so fingers crossed that we might be able to work on the whole distance dilemma. As for weaves, I've never really given the 2x2 method a thought...til now, lol. I may have to rethink my thinking!

PS: my verification word is 'crophyd.' What the hey. XD

Dog Nerd said...

I retrained a dog who had a long history of fairly decent weaves and found that the only difference between the retrain and starting from scratch is that I spent a LOT less time on the beginning stages with two poles with no angle. The previously trained dogs can get confused when they feel like you are asking for an incorrect entry so I moved quickly through this section and didn't push it too much. Once the poles were angled things really got rolling and this dog now has beautiful entries from literally ANYWHERE and is quite fast through the rest of the poles.

Tristan and Braun said...

Great job! And good boy Tweed! You certainly did the FL proud! :)

I hope you and Piper iron our your weaves differences the soonest!

Misty said...

I'd send you an email, since this is unrelated to your post, but can't find an address on your site. Anyhoodle, not sure if you're familiar with Pioneer Woman but she takes some very nice photos, has a great blog, and does lots of giveaways. Lately she's done quite a few with photography assignments. This week its pictures of your pets, and I immediately thought of you. You could score a gift certificate to B&H Photo or some such, and I think you have an awesome chance since your pictures are gorgeous. Here's the link (feel free to Google her if you don't trust random links though, no worries):