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Old 02-20-2013, 11:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking It's the small things...

Just had to share - Fiona and I were invited to train with the advanced competition class at my club last night and we were running excellent level courses (though we're just beginning to compete for our novice titles) and Fiona rocked! The trainers encouraged us to go all out and even try the full set of 12 weaves...I am beaming that she did so well and even nailed 12 weaves repeatedly!!!

I did have to remind her half-way through though to continue weaving. Her first time through them she stopped in the middle of the weaves and looked ahead at the rest, then at me like, "This is new...Is this the never ending set?" But I said "Weave!" again and she finished them. We had to collect pretty hard and fast to make some of the turns and weave entries because it was so tight for a dog of her size but we were able to make it. And there were lots of enticing off courses for a novice dog - like tunnel openings right next to the DW and jumps lined up for the taking in spite of the course numbers telling us to turn. She's nailing her 2o2o on the DW, she's really driving the teeter (after spending the last year working on various teeter issues), we've got a pretty good running contact on the A-frame...everything has really started to fall into place the last few months in training. It's been a much needed shove forward in our training and I'm so excited to see what lies ahead for her this year.

Our first AKC trial is this coming weekend. Here's hoping our progress in training translates to the trial setting!

Nothing big to most people but we've been having a lot of those really feel good nights in training lately where every thing clicks and I had to share this particular feat (though small). I was so proud of her for running so well with some tough courses and for making me look like a decent handler in front of all those great teams...for once, at least. LOL

That's all. Thanks for letting me geek out for a bit.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey, sounds pretty big to me. After all, none of my dogs can do any of that.

Good luck at the trial.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Not a small feat at all! Congrats to you both!
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That sounds really fun and awesome! You'll totally rock that trial.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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WOOOHOOOO and I feel like it's always the never-ending set of weaves after screwing both my dogs up GREAT JOB and great teamwork!!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sounds pretty awesome to me. Good job. Can't wait to hear how your first trial goes. We are back in the ring on March 2-3.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey, I'd be excited and geeked out too! Awesome team!
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Huge congrats to you and Fiona! It's such an awesome feeling when you see such progress like this. Great job!!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm cheering for you Brigette!! That sounds fantastic to me! She did what you asked and more. Is someone video taping the trial? I'd love to see it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Sounds awesome to me! Agree with LoriZ would love to see some video
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Isn't it nice when your dog makes you feel proud instead of embarrassing you? ha ha

Sounds like things are really starting to fall into place. Hopefully one day we will be able to do half of that! Good luck at the trial this weekend, we are pulling for ya!
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Big congrats to you and Fiona, and much continued & future success.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It IS all those small moments that are important.
You should be very proud of both your good girls!!
Sharing time with our dogs plus accomplishing something we have worked hard for=excellent.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:22 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks, everyone. We've both improved so much since our first trial last summer and I think we're ready for AKC (our trainers agree)...so here's hoping. But, if we don't run well I don't really care. We don't have a lot of experience in a show environment and that's still affecting how we run at trials vs how fluid and wonderful things go in our familiar training environment. She's still pretty amped up at shows and it wears her out when we wait around for a few hours, which is common when you're running Novice.

I just have to find the right combination of focus work, exercise, and downtime before we run (and she has to adjust and learn to settle when we're not in the ring) so she's not bursting at the seams with energy and blowing me off but she's also not worn out and mentally done. There's a whole lot of hurry up and wait at trials!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Z View Post
I'm cheering for you Brigette!! That sounds fantastic to me! She did what you asked and more. Is someone video taping the trial? I'd love to see it.
BF will not be able to be there on Friday but he'll be there Saturday and Sunday and he's going to record it for me. If I can get it to work I'll post it!
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Yay!! Congrats!
Best of luck this weekend!
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:15 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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---------------------------
BF will not be able to be there on Friday but he'll be there Saturday and Sunday and he's going to record it for me. If I can get it to work I'll post it!
I want to see also, so here's hoping it works.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:34 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I know how great those leaps in training are. Big or small, the successes make the teamwork bond with your Doberman PARTNER grow in richness. CONGRATULATIONS!!
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:40 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The amazing feeling you get when it all works is the reason why agility is so addicting!
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:42 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Congratulations! I know you and Fiona will do great!
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:48 PM   #21 (permalink)
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That sounds like magic to me - as Jenny said that's why we persist - to get this feeling.

If the AKC trials are close enough to you, why don't you only enter the morning or the afternoon and not hang around all day? She will get used to that later but no need to force it now.

When I start trialling Jill, I will only do the morning classes while she is in Novice (have to get weaves under control first). Once we move to Open (assuming we do) I will then look at all day trials since we will be more in the middle of the day - may also consider FAST or T2B. Initially, I will only do ASCA trials which have back-to-back runs (Std or Jumpers or Gamblers use the same course reversed for the 2nd run usually).

So, just an idea that I have seen a lot of people use here in OR with their green dogs.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:29 AM   #22 (permalink)
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While we retrain V's contacts I am only entering JWW. I almost think this is a blessing in disguise as he only has one class a day we can show up early or late and he doesn't have to hang all day. Although it doesn't bother him too much. We take lots of walks - not working walks just relaxing ones - no focus. The next one will come to trials and hang all day just to get used to the whole trial experience. I also try to crate away from the ring and barking dogs (Aussies). He does better when he's away from all the chaos and can actually rest. I bring him a kong & a bully stick (if there is enough time for him to digest the stick).
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:33 AM   #23 (permalink)
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So excited for you and Fiona. You go girls!
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:01 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Hey, where's our videos?
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:42 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosemary View Post
Hey, where's our videos?
They're awful, and I don't mean that we did that badly. LOL

BF took video but most of it's black. He wasn't paying attention to where he was standing while videoing and there were windows along the top of the arena so if he held the camera angle just a bit too high it over-compensated for brightness and the screen went dark. There's also one video with about 1/2 of it not even on us during our run because he was watching us and forgot to follow us with the video. LOL (In his defense, he had walking pneumonia and I can't believe he even came at all. He's feeling better now though and we have a fun run this Saturday that I'm hoping he can record for me!)

Quick recap of the trial...

We're running Novice A because Fi's not titled yet and I've never titled a dog, so for anyone that doesn't understand AKC agility classes that means we are the greenest of the green teams out there! LOL

Friday our JWW run was a joke. I've been going back and forth with our trainers as to whether or not a start-line stay is realistic with Fiona and they keep insisting so we keep trying but...I don't know. So I set her up in a start line stay and I'd say "Fi, WATCH" and she'd look at me for about a second and then she'd be scanning the ring again. She'll hold her stay until released, that's not the problem. The problem is keeping her focus on me while she holds her stay. So I knew I didn't have her mind in it but she was staying and our trainers are ringside watching, of course. LOL I released her and she BOLTED past me racing as hard as she could around the ring. LOL LOL She didn't jump a damn thing. Not one obstacle. LOL But she was happy as pie, as always. Very proud of herself.

And this was after a long walk before the trial, focus work beforehand, warm-up on the practice jump, some play and roaming the grounds on a long-line, she'd pooped and peed prior....*sigh* My crazy, crazy girl. The second the leash comes off she lights up like Christmas. It's nothin' but wildfire in those eyes. LOL

So we exited the ring like you do when your dog short-circuits.

Right before our standard run one of our trainers caught me and said, "To hell with the start-line stay. You're losing her the second you lead out. Just run for all you've got with her." So we did. I walked her to the start, tossed the leash, yelled GO and we both took off at a dead run. She did 12 out of 15 or 16 obstacles (I can't remember exactly how many there were now) and she did all of the contact equipment and did it right!!!!! I lost her to zoomies when we turned back to face the crowd on the home stretch. She decided to race along the barrier for her adoring fans and then ran to the judge to run and jump in circles around him, licking his hands. LOL He held up his hands, laughing pretty hard and said, "I can't be your friend right now, Fiona!" (Yes, every one knew her name pretty much immediately. LOL She was a crowd favorite. )

Saturday, she did about half her JWW course, including the weaves!!! But we had an off-course tunnel (damn those things) and she blew past a few of the jumps. I think she's having trouble refiguring her stride on a full-size course. Where we train is a pretty small building and obstacles are closer together. I think it's throwing her off somewhat when running full speed and covering so much ground between obstacles. Something to work on.

Her standard course Saturday she did about 1/2 but she was cherry picking obstacles similar to how she ran JWW.

Sunday, she did 2 jumps in JWW and then a zoomy fit so I excused us. Same exact thing in standard - triple jump, tire, zoomy fit, I excused us.

All in all, I feel really good about the highlights of the trial. I know some people would have been super pissed off and called it quits entirely. I've seen people do that when frustrated with a novice dog. But I know my dog and I'm really happy with what she did do 'right' and I think we just have some work to do. I was so over the moon with her Friday standard run I could have cried. I would have picked her up and danced out of the ring with her if I could have - I still am so excited she did so much of it and she nailed the contact equipment. We've put a lot of work into those stupid contacts! LOL And she did it! And she weaved! All of them! Midway through a course AT A TRIAL! My crazy girl held it together long enough to give me that much.

And she's having the time of her life. It's truly priceless to be on this journey with her. Every step of the way she's been a challenge for me, from the day she came home as a 10-lb firecracker to nearly 4 years later. She has her own agenda in life, which doesn't always align with mine - LOL - but we'll get there in our own way.

It's funny because just last night I had an experienced handler approach me in the advanced competition class and she said, "Were you frustrated with what she did at the trial?" My immediate response was, "There were so many highlights to what she did at the trial...I wouldn't know where to find frustration for it." And she commended me for my attitude and told me she hates to see people give up when they aren't instantly perfect. She told me the human ego can be an ugly thing in some dog's lives. She's right, and I've seen it but Fiona promptly squashed any semblance of an ego I ever had. LOL I know a little and she reminds me of that, often.

I had a lot of experienced handlers who I'd never met introduce themselves to me after our runs and talk with me, telling me what great potential Fiona has and they were very encouraging. Many people told me the fast and crazy dogs are the best but they can be extremely challenging and they hoped I wouldn't give up on her due to my inexperience. It's reassuring to hear that from experienced and talented handlers who don't know me at all and have no reason to want to build me up. They see what they see and they know and love the sport. It's nice to get that feedback from people outside of my own club.

Long story short (too late) - We're a work in progress, together. <3
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