Monday, April 27, 2009
Spring updates: EO, Crate Games and Puppy training
So a few weekends of agility have now passed by. It is nice to be getting out and competing again. I have Zen to run and am working on getting us both fighting fit for the European Open 2009. I am so proud that Zen has qualified for the EO this year. I had not tried out with her last year due to puppies and this year I knew we would struggle slightly from being out of action for the past few months. Even so Zen did me proud and qualified as one of 4 medium dogs to represent Great Britain at the European Open.
Here is our jumping run. There were some loud call offs as the course did not really "flow"! There was lots of large gaps with tempting obstacles either side. I was amazed we got around this course and, along with many other handlers, said something like "f...ing hell" when I got near the finish line. ( BTW stop reading now for this next section of "too much information") This 1st run was difficult for us as we had just spent the previous week with a severe stomach virus or food poisoning leading up to us having to hit the emergency clinic for a injection to help me stop vomiting after 12 hours straight. That was a tough week and I had not had a full meal up to that day! (not that I couldn't do with missing a meal or two!) I really felt that towards the end of that course that I would not be able to continue. My legs felt like jello and I was too weak. But somehow the adrenalin kicked in and we finished out the day with 3 clears and made it to the final where we came, I think, 2nd. We finished 3rd overall. Zen is just a great dog and I am so proud to be representing my adopted country again.
The puppies are just growing and growing. They are becoming real dogs! Training-wise I am attending a puppy "play and learn" class with Zaz. It is a nice class with similar minded people which makes it more fun. Unfortunately I have not yet found a class for Itzy but I am still looking. I wish they had two of the same class in a row! This class is sort of a "pre agility" which is nice; no equipment but lots of basics and fun things. I have been proud of Zaz as she is just so into her training. She works well for food and offers behaviors yet her tuggy and retrieving is coming along great. I am NOT taking that for granted and we are working on tugging and play retrieves ALOT with both pups.
Our "CRATE GAMES" experiment is continuing. Today it was raining and I cancelled lessons, so I watched part of the DVD again. I started with a little "yer in yer out" to warm them up and then worked on the next session called "collar grabs". Both pups seemed to catch on quickly and it was nice to see them staying so well in the crates when the door was open. Hopefully that will only help my startlines stays in the future. Probably the only glitch I had was with Zaz who upon returning to the crate would start offering behaviors in the crate and got a little frustrated with me which caused the occasional yip yip. As this was our first time doing the "collar grab" session; I am hoping that this will decrease in time. I think, according to the dvd, I can stay at this level for quite awhile before adding the "scholarly elements".
This past weekend we attended a local UKA agility show. It is the closest agility show to me as it is only 5 minutes down the road. I can not pass up that opportunity. I do love the UKA shows as having the opportunity to train in the ring in a competition setting is so invaluable. I love to see Zen's face when she hits the perfect contact position and I am able to surprise her with her toy.
I also had the opportunity to run "my" border collie Cory in jumping on Saturday at UKA. The pressure was on as so far we have had 2 runs and both have been clear. I shouldn't have worried as Cory was a star and we went clear and came in 2nd only 10ths of seconds behind the winner. I really enjoy running her and am glad for the opportunity. It can only help me with my own handling although it feels like I hardly handle Cory; she just seems to know what to do. Karen jokes that Cory is not really that fast but she is the perfect speed for me right now. :-)
This coming weekend is another weekend of UKA shows followed by our first championship show of the year. It will hopefully be our last camping show until August. Why "hopefully" you ask? Well I cannot tell you as it might jinx us but will update you all in a few weeks!