Monday, November 30, 2009

Talk about a guilty Mama

So sometimes we learn there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Here is my true confession: I pushed Vegas too hard yesterday without realizing it. This morning she struggled to even stand. She was stiff and favoring her left front leg. I felt SO BAD. In a heartbroken panic, I helped her downstairs and went about our morning routine, making sure the boys knew not to let her upstairs - I was afraid she'd fall without me there to take care of her. I debated on giving her an aspirin as she really seemed uncomfortable - at least in her movements. Alas, and thank God! tonight she was fine. I felt so guilty but am glad she was up and around tonight and that it was mostly stiffness from the exercise then curled up position she slept in last night. However, I learned my lesson and will be clocking our mileage very carefully so I don't bump up our distance and intensity too much at a time. My poor girl....

And on to the good news, we did make it to the Portland International Raceway's annual Winter Wonderland this evening and met all of our wonderful Great Dane friends from PDX Danes; plus, our friends Pam and Steve joined us with their awesome trio of Corgis, Blossom, Sketty, and Jewel. A great time was had by all and the weather held all the way until 9pm. It was a PERFECT night for a stroll around the racetrack.

Hopefully in the next day or so I can get some good pictures of Miss Vegas in her stunning 2009 Christmas attire. Can we say Deck the Halls with Hello Kitty?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What a GLORIOUS day!

There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING that compares with a gorgeous Fall day like we had today. It was the kind of day that makes you think everyone around you is nuts for putting up Christmas lights. And the even more fantabulous news is that we are supposed to have four or five more!!!!! Okay, so now that I got that out of my system....

So, on this glorious day, of course we had to get out and enjoy it. I had previously said I'd probably stick with around 4 miles for another week or two, but I do believe Vegas and I rode closer to 6 today. She was quite the trooper and super excited to get a drink from the creek. We started out with a 1.3 mile jaunt from our house to the dog park where she half-heartedly played for a while, helped a pit bull knock over her mom (oops!), and off we went again. Our ride took us to several areas we hadn't been before and on a lot more uphills, including some steep switchbacks near the creek. All told, we went about 90 minutes total so for the distance we went in that time, it was a great workout for both of us.

For my own benefit and tracking of the rides we go on, I spent some time putting together our route today as best as Google Maps would show. It doesn't show the path we went on but I believe it's called the Boeckman Creek Trail.

The little loop is when I went one way and then changed my mind and went back. I find myself quite directionally challenged and didn't necessarily get lost but needed to get my bearings from within this neighborhood.

Where the line jogs left is where Boeckman Creek Crossing was. We used to live in the apartments right by this trail so had taken in quite a few times before. I had forgotten how many switchbacks the trail had - and that it was all downhill there and all uphill on the other side. The creek was in the middle and Vegas was nearly overjoyed at being able to get a drink of water.

After we came off the trail, we were in another neighborhood closer to the downtown area. The green space is the Oregon Korean War Memorial park that has a wonderful wall dedicated to fallen soldiers.

Finally we came through town, crossed under the freeway and headed home. Vegas was quite pooped by then and I know I asked a lot of her. I had stopped every here and there to let her rest and catch her breath, but I had to ask her to really move when we made a left-hand turn across traffic from a car lane. She's such a trooper but when we got home the silly girl wouldn't rest! Just a short hour and a half later we were off to the barn to practice with our friends Shana and Pixie.

There were a couple of people at the barn with us and one more who came later, but the gist of what Vegas did today just rocked my socks off. We haven't practiced threadles in practically forever! The first time I tried them with her today she totally did it. In fact, we went over a jump, through a tunnel, over a jump, and into a 3-jump threadle. I turned her over another jump and did the same exercise back-to-back without a break! As I've said before, what a rock star!! Most of the rest of the time we did the same exercise but I threw in some variety with the A-frame and weaves. I really want to focus on weaves this week with our nicer weather as we have a trial coming up in a few days. But the threadle was really exciting today as she just did it and I stayed on the inside the whole time. Such a good girl I have!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jingle all the way... (around town)

Today was GORGEOUS! It was perfect pick-me-up for a melancholy mood lately. It took me a while to talk myself out of bed today but I was so glad Vegas and I got out to enjoy the sunshine. Usually not too into Christmas this early, I decided to throw habit to the wind and ended up putting a Christmas collar on Vegas as well as her jingle bells. Donning her harness, my helmet, and my shades, we were off! I really enjoyed her jingling alongside by me!

Usually when we go to the dog park we take the back route that goes through the woods and under the freeway behind my house. This time we took the main route which is right at 1.5 miles. Arriving at the park, one dog was leaving and only one small dog remained. Shortly thereafter, a bunch of dogs showed up and Vegas played some but mostly hung around me. We left after about 30 minutes. I took a meandering route around town, stopping at the pet store and picking up some treats for my girl, then went to the post office, and then back home. All told it was about 4.5 miles. Even after having been stuck at home since Sunday, this was almost too much for Vegas. I kept her at a steady pace any time we were riding so she was trotting. The only time she got up to a lope or run was when we needed to cross an intersection. The last 1/2 mile were a bit difficult and I had to slow quite a bit. I'll probably keep our rides closer to 4 miles for a week or two until she can build up a bit more stamina. My goal by spring is 10 miles for both of us. We'll see how that goes.

As for today, she's a tired and happy girl. I hope tomorrow is another gorgeous late fall day that we can get out and enjoy on bike and four feet!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Open Barn - Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon we met Shana and Pixie at the Larsen Barn  for agility practice. I knew Vegas was a bit tired so didn't work too hard. We mostly focused on weaves using a set of just 6 poles. I did a lot of repetition but tried to focus on independence. Sometimes I did recall work and she was really getting that. I also worked her from a distance and sending. She was doing really well. She seems to need some cheering or me saying something while she's going through. For now, that's okay. We have really struggled with some weaving lately, so my main focus is all about just getting her to choose the weaves and take the correct entry. I decided to treat every good weave (the full set of 6) and it worked well today!

We also worked on 270s. Those are still a struggle and she's not always getting the 'go out' part. I think next time I'll plan on setting up the jumps with more space so we can run them more like it would be in a trial versus just a somewhat stationary activity. Sometimes with such a large dog momentum increases success. She has something behind her pushing her into making a motion. It sounds funny, but it actually works better - at least for Vegas.

Last but not least, I worked on her independent contacts for the teeter and dog walk. Mostly I set her up 10 feet or so ahead and called the obstacle then our contact word. I expect her to stay her contact until she hears a release word. I'm working a little backward on this because, while we have always had contact criteria, a word, and a release word, I haven't pushed her to stay on the contact until released. Somewhere along the way I accepted touching the contact as good enough. As she's my first agility dog, I guess there is some expectation to botch stuff good. I'm trying to fix that now. The thing is, Vegas really knows them (her contacts). For instance, if she comes off, I can take her back and tell her to touch and she will step back up onto the end of the dog walk or the teeter as she has been taught. The key part I now have a goal of achieving is independence on weaves, the dog walk, and the teeter.

We're getting there and I have a great partner in Vegas, so I know we'll make great strides together. I love my girl!

Biking - What does it have to do with agility?

I mentioned before we had started working with Craig French earlier in the year. I don't remember how the conversation came about but I think he had pointed out how muscular his Dobermans were. I thought Vegas was in pretty good shape but he said something like, "I'd like to see more on her." And so it began....

I pulled out the old mountain bike and started riding. I'm not much of a runner except on the beach so had to come up with a relatively low impact activity for me that I could use to build up Vegas' muscle tone. I had forgotten how much I loved riding, too! We started out with me riding and holding her leash. Um, I don't recommend that! It only took one crash where, had it been during rush hour traffic, I could have been toast. We ordered this really cool attachment called a WalkyDog and away we went! We've been biking about 3-4 miles a couple times a week most weeks since August or so. It's been a ton of fun and Vegas seems to like it, too. One thing that became readily apparent was that I needed to, and wanted to, build up her stamina. This has been great for that!

She loves to run more than I would have expected. A few weeks ago we even went to the middle school and road around their track for a total of 2 miles in addition to biking there and back. I let her off leash to run the track and she really enjoyed using the inner section of grass to do her running. She's become a bit competitive with her mama and likes to 'race.'

So today we went with Lindsay and Bess, who were bikejoring, to the Banks Vernonia State Trail and road about 3 miles from the Buxton Trailhead. The first half of the ride from the Buxton Trailhead to Hilltop was a slow uphill. Vegas was such a great girl and trotted/ran the whole way. We didn't push the speed but just kept a steady pace the whole way there and I know it was great for her. Despite the rain she seemed to really enjoy it. We passed a couple people and she didn't give me any issue with tugging. Her nose was going the whole time and I'm sure she would have loved to romp and sniff and smell all the good woodsy things, but she was a trooper about running with me and that was the point.

A big part of why I'm excited to build her up is so she can really make it through those long trial weekends. Sometimes she has started to peter out a bit toward the end of a day and I know it can be trying to get up and go again the next day. Plus, AKC trials tend to be 3 day trials, and the Rose City Classic will be 4 days of trialing, with 3 runs per day.
Here she is in her harness. It's one I made for her as a combination of a couple designs. We only use it for biking. And now that she's had her run for the morning, a bath, and a nap, we're off to open barn for some agility fun!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Big Ball

I bought this 120cm ball over a year ago and just now got around to blowing it up. The kids and I shared the chore blowing it up with a bicycle pump. Afterward, Vegas and I had some fun working out on it. I was excited to see that after a really long time not using the ball she wasn't afraid of getting up. She knew exactly what she was supposed to do and we spent about 15 minutes working on climbing up, then tried some sit > stand and back again. As long as I have a lot of treats she's totally game. I'm excited to use this tool to work with her more this winter and get her hind end built up, hopefully conquer some of our issues with the dog walk in agility, and generally have a tool to exercise her when the weather isn't cooperative.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday Night Leage - Week 4

Last night's league combined week 4 and half of week 5 since we run on Thursday night and next week is Thanksgiving. It had the potential to run kind of late since two runs for as many people as we have usually takes 2 hours on the dot. However, what a great group that pitched in and just worked hard because we were on the road home after 3 runs in just under 2.5 hours.

Without further ado, here is how the night panned out:

The first run was Faux Wildcard. Essentially this was a standard course with three 'wildcard' bonuses. If you successful completed 1 bonus, you earned 10 points, 2 bonuses = 20 points, and all 3 bonuses = 40 points. I'm excited to say Vegas got all three bonuses. However, with all good things, often come some bad. Such as the case with agility some days. For some reason she has started shutting down on me if it's something she doesn't like or she doesn't do well and I have to take her back. She did that here and it was a bit of a struggle to get her through 6 short weaves - of which she is more than capable. I'm most proud of how she accomplished the other two bonuses though. They're designated as 9a/9b and 13a/13b. The 'b' obstacles were the bonus. If you take a look at the angles she had to go from one obstacle to the next, she did really well. We got a lot of kudos for her ability to handle 13b to 14.

Our second and third runs were standard, both good courses. On all of them I really tried to work her start line stays but she had other ideas. She did good for a few seconds but not until I got to where I wanted to be. I guess that will remain ongoing. She had about 4 seconds on the table and then jumped we had to go back and sit and I got frustrated with her. We then made it through everything up to the weaves and that took about 5 tries. It's hard to tell on the picture, but it's not as straight of an entry as it looks. After the weaves she did finish well, although I had to enforce contact behavior at the end of the dog walk. I basically have given up the competition part of league and am using it to enforce training as she doesn't get much sequence practice otherwise.

Last we ran the week 5 standard course. This way we can miss league for Thanksgiving and come back the following week, run that week's runs plus the extra from week 5 and we'll still be on track. After allowing myself to get pretty frazzed after two completely botched runs, I decided I owed Vegas an apology and we spent some time outside playing and just petting her. We came back in and I just decided to play with her. This run went marginally better. The struggle again was the weaves. She just didn't want to do them. I finally let her just go on without doing the weaves. Everything else was clean and I was a proud mama at the end, especially with the pinwheel and 180 between 15 & 16. She did great and never took the 'off jump' you see near the dog walk and #15.

After we ran, they needed someone to scribe so I took that over. Vegas had other ideas as she felt I wasn't paying enough attention to her and everyone got some laughs out of the goofy girl crawling in my lap and me trying to see over her to the 'judge' while I was scribing.

All in all, I'm grateful my girl never gets mad at me and loves me no matter what. After realizing how frustrated I got with her on run 1 and 2 last night, I have realized I need to focus more on having fun with her and just work our trouble areas more so they are rock solid. Our foundation isn't rock solid yet so we have work to do, but I want her to know I love working with her and that matters more than anything.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

KKZ's Apache Vegas Rose - PEDIGREE

I thought I'd post Vegas' pedigree since I came across it. I don't know much about who is who in the Dane world, but my girl is pretty awesome so no matter who they are, she must have a lot of goodness they passed down.

So after having attended a wonderful education event with our great dane group and a guest speaker friend of mine, I came home and immediately applied something I learned. I am SUPER EXCITED to find out the results of Vegas' dam's OFA hip/elbow testing and bummed that her sire has no record with OFA. However, here are the results from her Dam:


Registration:WS11083302 (AKC)Sire:WP92030205

Breed:GREAT DANEDam:WS04290204
Birthdate:Oct 18 2004Addtl. Reg. #
DNA Profile:

OFA Number Registry Test/Film Date Report Date Age Final Conclusion
GD-10392E38F-VPIHIPSJan 8 2008Feb 7 200838EXCELLENT
GD-EL1243F38-VPIELBOWJan 8 2008Feb 7 200838NORMAL

From here, the OFA site also showed me Shade's sire's results. While this doesn't mean Vegas has good or excellent hip conformation, it makes me feel better and hopeful that she doesn't have bad hips. Soon, hopefully, I'll be able to get the testing done for her, too. That way I can rest assured I'm not going to cause her long-term damage to her body doing agility and all of our activities.


Registration:WP92030205 (AKC)Sire:WP47644301

Breed:GREAT DANEDam:WP81572204
Birthdate:Jun 18 1999Addtl. Reg. #
DNA Profile:

OFA Number Registry Test/Film Date Report Date Age Final Conclusion
GD-7868G28M-PIHIPSOct 25 2001Nov 27 200128GOOD
GD-EL382M28-PIELBOWOct 25 2001Nov 27 200128NORMAL

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Class

Tonight was our regular Tuesday night class and, as I was driving there, I realized it was the last in this session. We had a somewhat interesting day leading up to class. Today was about the fifth morning Vegas has woke her Mom up at 5:51 am - Yikes! Okay, yes, I am supposed to be up then, but she is hungry! at 5:51 am. This morning it was raining and she tried to convince me she didn't have to go potty so she could eat. Silly girl. Go potty, I said, and she did. Good girl!

Okay, so feeding time at unGodly hour over, Mom went to work etc. After work we went for a bike ride to the dog park since it wasn't raining - an exciting thing this time of year. It was kind of late so we didn't have long and actually stayed a bit longer than planned as it was near dark when we left. But, staying longer was totally worth it. Perhaps one of the most beautiful things about Miss Vegas is her full-strided run. There were a couple of dogs well-matched in size, probably 30 pounds playing happily when we showed up. All parties were interested in saying hello to each other and no fear/concern was shown. Vegas doesn't usually romp with dogs too much, but when she does, she usually chooses someone to chase. Oh boy did she chase these two! Such a beautiful sight it is to see those long legs fully stretched out, her body lower to the ground, and the ground eaten right up as she speeds across it. No matter how many times I see it - gorgeous to see a Dane run full out like that.

So then we ran home and she had about a two hour break before class - during which time she begged for at least 30 minutes for me to feed her. I caved and served up some yummy organic plain yogurt with raw honey, obviously not filling enough because she was begging again in no time. :) Apparently dogs don't do appetizers.

Off to agility class we went. Tonight we worked on 270s and wraps. Well, Vegas had practiced 270s on Sunday afternoon and was really grasping the technique. However, we were faced with a much larger 270 today than we had practiced. Oops! So one thing we were trying to do was to make sure that when she came over the second jump I was on the far side of the jump. Our partnership had been beautiful when I wasn't front-crossing, but for our exercise I needed to front-cross and be on the other side. Vegas had other ideas. She went around the jump. So our instructor, Tammy, put a 'gate' up perpendicular to the jump. Well, um, Vegas jumped it. Yep, all 30". Silly, goofy, but creative girl. So we turned the jumps up on end. She knocked them over. Okay, not working so well. Scooted the gates closer. She squeezed between. So, okay, what we learned is this: We have more work to do. Add that to the homework list for the week.

All in all it was a pretty good class. We have more things to work on which I'm trying to spin as a good thing...mostly because it means we're adding more difficult tasks and obstacle arrangements that, when mastered, will help to simplify courses for us. And Vegas is snoozing as I write this because she has a happy tummy and is tired. Her mom is tired, too. Goodnight!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Fun

Today was a rare day I didn't take Miss Vegas with me. Fortunately for me, she's not one to hold a grudge. Or perhaps it's because I came back when she was hungry, fed her, and so all is forgiven!

This weekend was an agility trial I really debated on entering. Any time I go to one I wish I had entered. But, three weekends in a row of trialing plus the cost, it all works out. This trial is hosted by the Mount Hood Doberman Pinscer Club at the Clark County Fairgrounds. I wanted to go up for a few hours to watch some people work and hopefully pick up some tips. I ended up getting there later than I should have and worked for three classes. It was fun and I even got to meet Marta Brock who is well known for running her Danes in agility here in the Pacific Northwest. So far I just met her Jive and didn't see the dog she was running, but there's always tomorrow! I also got to love all over another friend's Doberman, Rumor. What a love! It was nice to see a Dobie be lovey at a trial and not just driven! (Okay, well maybe that isn't the ideal, but I always want to pet them and give loves, so for me it's ideal.) This is one of those great clubs that "pays" you to work and you can exchange your worker tickets for a voucher to use toward trial entry fees. I think I'll go back and work some more tomorrow. :)

So that's that for today. It is always great to be in that environment. I'll probably bring Vegas with me tomorrow although she'll spend quite a bit of time in the truck. However, it will give me a chance to get her out and exercise her a bit while still letting me observe and learn from others.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Our Next Venture...

Just the briefest of posts to tell about our next venture. I scheduled our intro to herding session for December 12 at Brigand's Hideout! Danes may not be your typical herders today, but historically they were used to hunt, herd, and drive out boar. My Vegas girl isn't big on playing with other dogs too often, but she LOVES a good chase and usually "herds" the dogs the way she wants them. So, we thought we'd try out sheep! Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

League Night

Tonight was week 3 of NW Agility League. We have a great team, some really nice people. There is a Portuguese Water Spaniel, a Golden Doodle, and one other dog I can't remember right now. Tonight our team's job was to be ring crew. It was nasty out, I left the house late and somewhat unprepared, so I decided to just bring Vegas in and tie her on the metal bars of a horse-type stall. She did remarkably well, even with somewhat consistent whining. She didn't jump up and down. She didn't chew her leather lead. She didn't yip and get very loud. It was a pleasant change.

The first run we had was the game course and was called Almost Fast. It was an off-take of the AKC agility game called FAST. The course, as shown, has a "send" area where you get double points if you take all three obstacles, in order, without crossing the line. I am super proud and excited to say, VEGAS DID IT!!!! Such a rock star my girl is. I was so excited for her and us. As such a cling-on girl, this was a really big deal and she didn't even hesitate.

From there we pretty much went around the perimeter ten up the center over the a-frame. She was doing great and after a couple false starts on the weaves, I had her in them and then the team was yelling time so I had to let her jump out and go. I'm not sure what our points were, but even if they weren't enough, she did so good that's all that matters to me!

Our second run was a standard course. It wasn't too complex but I'm sure my primary level handling threw her off some. Vegas had some really good moments though, and a couple funny ones, too. Here I am of the mindset that I won't make her practice tunnels or do them any more than she has to, and then she decides she just has to take them sometimes. Such a goofy girl!
Again she took the dog walk. She did well on a 270 too, of which I am glad as we just practiced them in Tuesday night's class. Without momentum and me possibly being in her way, we struggled a bit going into the tunnel again and then after running out of it and over a jump, we were to go to the weaves. Silly girl, this is where the tunnel under the a-frame was just irresistible. I was able to call her back the first time while she was still about a foot from it. The second time she got her feet just on the lip. The third time she went ahead on through. Silly, goofy, tunnel loving girl. Then it took three or four times to get her through the weaves. The thing is, she totally rocks at weaves. A full 12 is a beautiful thing for her when she really gets going. Apparently they weren't her thing tonight though, and instead of just taking the 5 point fault, I wanted to make sure I focused on accuracy so we finally got them. Yeah for Vegas!

The rest of the run was pretty good. She had a great contact at the end of the teeter that allowed me time for a front cross to send her over the jumps and we finished well, not to mention she did great waiting for me while the last few people ran.

And the funniest thing of all, most people feed meat related treats, etc to their dogs. My girl chose apple tonight, and to top it off, I brought her peanut butter tube. YUM! Now she's sleeping peacefully on her bed while I tout her wonderfulness. I love my girl!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trial Weekend Summary

I had high hopes for this last weekend's trial, and at the same time, I was nervous. It's supposed to be for fun, right? That's what everyone says and that there is no other reason to do it. Well, yes, it is fun - a lot of fun - but for those of us who are competitive, have goals, and know what our team is capable of, it can be nerve-wracking because we naturally develop certain expectations.

A little history... Vegas and I have been training in agility since June 2008. She is my first agility dog, and a non-traditional breed to participate at that. She has always taken to everything we have done really well. We spent our first year or so training with All American Agility. When they got shut down, I looked into several options for continued lessons. We took a class through Columbia Agility Team that began in April and continued for almost two months. After that we were supposed to start pre-competition classes (although we had already been competing since April) in June and extend throughout the summer. Long story short, that fell through. We spent a lot of time practicing by ourselves during open barn times during the summer and then also took a couple of lessons from Craig French, best known for his amazing Dobie Rockets. Up until we worked with Craig, we had about 5 trials under our belt and a sum total of 1 Q. After our first lesson with him, we earned another Q at a NADAC trial. In August we earned another 4 at a CPE trial. September brought even more good fortune after working with Craig again - 7 Qs! The most recent lesson we had with him was in October just weeks prior to our first AKC trial. After a traumatic event on the first day before we had even run, Vegas ended up qualifying in 3 out of 6 runs for the weekend. However, day 3 was trying for me in particular as I expected more out of her and that is what leads us up to last weekend's CPE trial. Because she had done so well thus far, Sunday was heartbreaking because she quit on both runs after about 5 obstacles. Just quit. Gave up. Couldn't convince her to do another thing. Hence the stress and also, still, the hope we could pull off a good weekend in Corvallis.

Saturday we ran in the following order: Jackpot (Lev 2), Standard Round 1 (Lev 2), Standard Round 2 (Lev 2), Snooker (Lev 1), then Jumpers (Lev 2). Jackpot should have been a great start to have a chance to do some of the obstacles we like to do and gather points. Vegas was having none of it. She started off well then sort of just meandered off, didn't want to do anything I asked and we ended up just cutting our run short. Thinking all was lost and already frustrated, I got my girl situated in her kennel (no small feat) and then went and worked in the ring for a while. I finally came back and got her after walking our standard course several hours later. Yes, several hours later. Considering we had been up since I don't know when and on the road at 5:30 am, it was already early/mid-afternoon before we had our second run.

Boy was it worth it, though. My son was with me and my official videographer. Unfortunately for this run he had trouble with figuring out how to get the lens cover off and didn't capture it. It's too bad I hadn't gone over that with him because it was seriously a b-e-a-utiful run. Vegas Qd in this run, got a first place, and that left us with one standard run at level 2 before moving on to level 3 standard. Another hour or two later and we ran standard again. Again, what a rock-star! Another Q, and we finished our standard requirement for Level 2!!! One of these two runs was almost 15 seconds under time, too! No small feat for this big dog!

Continuing on Saturday...almost 5 o'clock and we still had snooker and jumpers to go. We were getting T.I.R.E.D.! We stuck in there though - we were not giving up now! I was getting nervous though. Snooker has been so difficult for us. It tends to be such a fits and starts type of event. Plus, I don't always like to make up my own course and I think Vegas likes the variety of standard and the fun and simplicity of jumping courses. It was finally our turn and we went in with a pretty good plan. I felt like it was doable and Vegas was following along just fine despite all the fun obstacles I was asking her to ignore. And then I forgot where I was at - essentially I learned that I can't count to three. *sigh* In my brief confusion, then when I figured out where I was at, I forgot to guide Vegas and she took a jump ending our "game." In retrospect, I had not taken her through the course I had planned. I took her over a jump (red) and through a tunnel (color) then over a jump (red) followed by a sequence of two jumps (color). Next we went over a jump (our third red) and I proceeded to take her over the same sequence of two jumps I had just before. In theory this is fine. However, I hadn't planned on doing this and it got me "lost" as I forgot if I had already completed the third red obstacle. Anyway, because of that and my failure to tell Vegas what to do for a moment, she took another red jump and we were whistled out - game over. So, that was our second NQ of the day and another lost shot at Snooker. BUT, it was totally my fault. Last but not least, we had a killer jumpers run. We probably got lucky getting out of there at 7:37 pm because a ton of Level 3/4/5/C people had scratched their runs. It was a fast course and easy for Vegas to finish. We didn't even wait around to "verify" her was 9pm before we got home and we needed to be back down there before 8am on Sunday.

Sunday was run a little differently in order to try to get out of there earlier. Not sure what was really different but it was nice - we left at 3pm! Running order was: Full House, Snooker, Standard, Wildcard, and finally, Colors. Full House - she did everything I asked except the weaves but we still had enough points and Qd. I had worked right after our Full House run up until Snooker and got pretty stressed because they changed the order and had Levels 1 & 2 run before the upper levels and I didn't get a walk through on Snooker. Knowing it was all on the line to finish our level 1 is what had me a bit peeved, to be truthful. Thankfully my friend, Jennifer, running with her adorable Chihuahua, Delilah, ran first and I just watched her course and took mental notes. BUT, then I had to run over to the standard course and walk/run it when only 4 dogs remained before our snooker run cause I didn't get a chance to walk it either due to working. Sense my blood pressure going up?! Ran back over to run snooker and still had to wait. Ran it and low and behold, WE GOT IT (See the video where I give the big "whoop!"). Back over to standard and things were going great for about 7 obstacles. Then Miss V decided tunnels were not her thing but she was going to strut her stuff on the dog walk. Boy oh boy, 2 additional times over the dog walk (the wrong direction and unneeded), I finally convinced her to go through the tunnel but it was a calamity of mistakes after that and we ended up with a horrible time and 32 faults. YIKES. That's okay, though. We had another short break and I worked again while Zach kept Vegas happy.

Our final two runs of the day were Wildcard then Colors. Piece of cake. Choosing the least problematic path, I avoided tunnels when I could in both events. We had plenty of points in Wildcard and finished Level 2 with another Q. A 32 second course for Colors, Vegas ran it in 20.35 for another Q.

What a weekend! She was so tired afterward but we had so much fun. It was a great group and a nice arena. Lots of familiar faces, good courses just challenging enough, and we are that much farther ahead with our CPE work. I was so proud of my girl...and her boy was, too. Next CPE trial is in December and we can't wait!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

At long last...

What a weekend! It has taken me hours to put together this video so without further ado, I'll post this and update the details of the weekend later. It was eventful to say the least! The very best part is that Vegas finished the last leg of her CPE Level 1 title with the elusive Snooker. That was so exciting!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just a quick update...

Maybe I was wrong. My girl was a ROCK star today! I'll post more later but the quick & dirty is this: out of 5 runs, we totally went nutso & blew Jackpot (1st run of the day), rocked Standard rounds 1 AND 2 so tomorrow we get to move up to Level 3 (WHOOHOOO!), I messed upon Snooker (although we completed the snooker, I just can't count to 3!), and rocked Jumpers. Soooo, 3 Qs out of 5 runs. Yippee!

Videos will be posted within the next couple days. Off to bed for an early start again tomorrow!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Agility Overdose

Ugg. No other word can describe tonight. For all my excitement, my dog was not in it. It's times like this when I'm on an agility high and ready to do it every moment I possibly can that I really wish I had a second dog - NOT because I need another one or love Vegas any less, but because I can only push her so hard before she turns tail and snubs me. I think that's what she did tonight and that does not bode well for this weekend. I hope I can sufficiently appease her tomorrow with a day off and not have a miserable trial weekend.

Anyway, I digress. Tonight we ran second and started with the standard run. It was a fairly complex course made up of 20 obstacles. There was quite a bit of contact discrimination which we didn't have issue with. The biggest issue I had was Vegas just wanting to ignore obstacles and that burns the clock when I have to constantly bring her back around. I will give her big kudos for completing her weaves again beautifully - not the first time, but once she did them in her standard run it was gorgeous. The run was clean (I think) but the time allowed for us was 70 seconds and well, yeah, our time was 98 and change. Ugg.

So in between our first and our second run, Miss Vegas had to be kenneled. She hates her crate. Okay, perhaps it's not the crate so much. After all, she would have acted similarly infantile had I leashed her to a hook on the wall. It's really all about not being with the mama. But alas, my job was to judge/scribe/time tonight, so I couldn't hang out with her. I don't think this impacted her performance, but wow was she noisy! An hour later we ran second again for Jackpot. Same course as standard but just accumulate a ton of points in opening and closing. Typical point accumulation with all contacts and weaves being 5 points, all circles (closed & open tunnels plus tire) and spread/broad jump 3 points, and single jumps 1 point. I didn't walk the course too much cause I knew I didn't have much chance of mapping it out and succeeding. So, I went into it pretty much winging it. I wanted to do the weaves first and she refused. So, we went onto the dog walk which she did twice back to back. I think Vegas might have taken another single jump and maybe the tire and that was about it - for the entire opening and closing! Double ugg! Yeah, not good. I think our points might have been about 15 total. Most people had a minimum of 35 or 40. Let's just say our score will be the one dropped off tonight - at least for Jackpot.

This whole off mode for her is new. I'm used to her barreling into a course with glee. I really think I have overdosed her and am realizing that one trial a month is plenty and perhaps skipping league or practice right before a trial might even be in order. Or, I need to figure out how to get her drive up and entice her to play before. I guess it'll be something I have to work on and use trial and error and perhaps prayer to figure out. Stay tuned....

NW Agility League

Tonight is week 2 of the NW Agility League and for some reason I'm completely stoked about it today! Perhaps it's because Vegas totally runs well in the Cash Barn. Maybe it's because she blew through the weaves the other night like one of the high-ranking Danes competing nationwide. Maybe it's just cause I'm an ADDICT! Anyway, I'm really excited.

I'll post courses each week and our results as we go along. I hope Vegas rocks tonight! It'll be agreat warm up for this weekend's CPE trial in Corvallis, OR.

Last week's courses:

Tonight's courses:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday Night Class

I was SO not up for class last night. Vegas, my son, and I biked 4.3 miles yesterday after I got off work which was a lot of fun. I even let Vegas "race" me on the track (she ran in the grass). We had a ball in the fresh, beautiful Fall weather and came home to make dinner. After dinner I attempted to read a book for a while and soon got too sleepy. I let Vegas curl up on the couch next to me and was cat-napping when the kids started bugging me about class time and getting ready to leave. They all but pushed us out the door as they got all of our things together, put Vegas' coat on her, and sent us on our way.

I am SO glad I went although at first I thought it was going to be a bomb. Vegas has discovered an 'off' button and I haven't found her 'on' button that corresponds to the off. Tammy, our instructor, is really good about having a concrete plan for classes. Last night appeared to be somewhat of a doozy. We started out going over a series of two jumps and had to wrap on the second jump then take a tunnel that was directly to the left of the jump. Vegas never excels when I am in a handler's position of not moving. However, Tammy gave us a pointer and she picked it up right away which was exciting as my handling maneuver was not going to work. From the tunnel we climbed the A-frame then went over a jump without wrap/front-cross then into another tunnel. The purpose of this sequence was contact discrimination - getting our dog to choose the tunnel or the contact obstacle at the correct time. She did well!

Then we moved onto another sequence that contained a jump followed by the dog walk, followed by a jump that was out a bit and offset from the dog walk, then another jump, a set of 12 weaves, and the table. Again, the challenge after the dog walk was keeping her moving into a long arc to get around a jump without me having any speed. She did it several times and we've decided to start treating that maneuver more often until she really looks forward to it. Yeah for great tips!

The final note I want to make on last night's practice is this: Vegas' weaves were STUNNING! She plowed right through them like it was a championship event! It was a thing of beauty and I really wish I had it on video. Perhaps soon. I'm really glad the kids pushed me out the door last night. Vegas' performance totally made it worthwhile.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Novice A Standard - AKC

This is our first blog post and to kick us off right, I'm including a video of our first AKC Standard run where Miss Vegas Rose had a clean run that honored us with a 1st place and score of 100. We were SO excited and the ham bone shows it! Tradition usually allows for a single, small, vanilla ice cream following a trial, but on Halloween, we decided to head straight home for a bigger reward. After a very trying weekend leading up to this run, it was a well deserved victory.