Tuesday, September 27, 2011

High Flying

This is my agility instructor, she's also a member of  the Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue Team. Her dogs are trained for tracking and as cadavour search dogs.  This was a fund raiser called Drop Zone for Easter Seals; 85 people and one dog made the rappel down an 18 storey building. Crazy or what!!

Over the Edge
Just Hanging Out

Sunday, September 25, 2011


This weekend, Beckett and I trialled at Dream Fields where Beckett saw for the first time rubberized contacts.  In his first run, it appeared that they would make quite a difference as he did a really nice dog walk and teeter but in subsequent runs he had a fly-off on the teeter, leaped from the A-frame and self released on the dog walk.  He did have really nice downs on the table this weekend so maybe he likes laying on rubber.

We didn't get either Q's we were hoping to get, the Standard or the Gamble, but he did get two really nice Q's; one Advanced Jumpers and one Advanced Snooker. In Jumpers, he came second to another of his Sheltie buddies, a blue merle named Jasper.  Beckett's time was 29.30 seconds on a course that had a standard course time of 40 seconds. Jasper's time was 28.46 seconds.

The other qualifying score we got this weekend was, in my opinion anyway, a blazing fast Advanced Snooker. Starting from the bottom right of the course map, we did red (one), then six a, b, and the far entry of the tunnel for c, then red (one) in the top right corner followed by the teeter, then red and four. It was really messy handling getting to four but we made it. Then it was the red (bottom left) to the weaves for five.  Then it was the close, which ran so smooth. I thought the weave entry might be hard but Beckett was bang on his weave entries this weekend. We finished the close with a very nice teeter, then we ran the line of jumps to get back to the finish to stop the time at 55.25 seconds. I was told when the judge called the 7 for the closing teeter that the time was just over 46 seconds. 

Beckett's Snooker run was also good enough for best run for the Mini-Regular dogs. When my handling is good, Beckett is just an awesome dog to run.

Monday, September 19, 2011


If you haven't seen the video Bad Beckett Moments, you should watch it and you'll see the issues we are dealing with at the moment.

Anyway, I'm trying to decide if I'll retrain Beckett to do running contacts.  In the mean time, we are trying to re-establish two on two off as the criteria for his A-frames and to get him to drive down to the target position faster.  So this week at Red Gate, we did a lot of work on the table and the frame, trying to make both of those places, a really good, exciting place to be. 

I had noted at the last trial that the only time Beckett was seeing the small table was at a trial and wondered if that had anything to do with him not wanting to go down since he's used to the larger table. So at this practice, we only did the table using the small table.  I just told him to table and gave no other command, neither the verbal or the hand sign.  Once he went down, I rewarded the down with food and, once given the release, I rewarded the whole table behaviour with play.  Hopefully, this table work will result in Beckett going down on the table on his own this weekend at Dream Fields.  One more clean run in an Advanced Standard and he won't see the table any more.

On the A-frame, I added hoops to get him to put his head down and come right to the bottom of the frame.  We also worked with the table at the side, so we could work just the target position and not the whole A-frame. We added the target dish and ham to build value for coming to the target postion quickly. It seemed to have some success.  We also worked the 2o2o position with me calling out words other than his release word and by lots of movement (off camera so you can't see me jumping around like an idiot).  I'm going to build-up value with a variety food on the target dish and once that's solid, we'll try using his favourite thing a frisbee.

I'm still going to make a hit-it box and do the flat work for a running A-frame over the winter.  That won't affect how Beckett currently does the frame as for him there won't be any connection to the frame. Next spring, I can make the decision (or not) to try a running A-frames.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Days

Again this year, I took advantage of a program that lets me take leave without pay for up to 12 weeks but have my residual salary evenly split over the year. I had the month of Aug off work and will have most of January as well. 

My first weekend off, I went camping with some agility friends, then the next weekend I headed off to New Brunswick to visit my mother. My sister Juanita and her husband were also there as was my sister Annette and her daughter Amber. Actually Annette, Amber and I shared a hotel room while Juanita and Joe stayed at his parents.  My sister Karen and her daughters Alyssa and Kayla came over from Prince Edward Island during the week for a couple visits as well.

We took my Mum out shopping on Monday. Luckily, my parent's house had not yet sold so I was able to leave Tucker and Beckett at the house a couple times during the week.  The agility demonstration was on Tues and although we had concerns with the weather, it was a great sucess.  Wednesday evening, Annette, Amber and I went to the casino which was located next door to our hotel. We had a good evening. I won a whopping $21 but then I only played $5. Amber won $60 and she paid for our drinks and snacks after we had finished being high rollers. Thursday, Annette, Amber and I drove to the Gateway Village in Borden, PEI and met up with Karen and Kayla. We spent the morning shopping and had lunch together before heading back to Moncton. 

On Friday, Annette and Amber went with Joe and Juanita to visit a winery and Hopewell Rocks, while I went to Riverside Agility with Beckett and Tucker. Beckett got his first official measurement recorded on his AAC card. We had a very nice weather that weekend for agility. Beckett got two qualifying scores, one in Advanced Standard (his second) and his first in Steeplechase. On Saturday night, there was a lobster supper.  Karen and Kayla, who had joined me for the afternoon, stayed for the supper and then spent the night with me at the hotel as Annette and Amber had left for home that day. On Sunday, an agility friend, who was down visiting her family, drove all the way from Fredricton to cheer Beckett and me on. I spent another day in Moncton just visiting with my Mum before heading back home on Tuesday, 16 August. 

Once back home, I had great plans of doing many tasks around the house that some how for the most part didn't get done.  My parents house did sell so there were a couple visits to the lawyer's office to sign all the documents as well as doing a number of other calls and letters for my Mum's pensions and insurance benefits.  I still have more of that to do.

On the Labour Day weekend, I went to Guides Canins in St Lazare, Quebec for the first time to do an agility trial there with Beckett. We went up on Friday and camped on site Friday and Saturday night. They have a wonderful facility that even includes hot showers in the training facility. Beckett got his second measurement needed to sign off his card so he now is officially a 16" Regular dog. The funny thing was that the same judge (from Nova Scotia) who measured him in New Brunswick was doing the measurements Saturday morning, so we had to wait until another judge showed up to get Beckett's recorded. There were no Q's during the weekend but some pretty awesome runs.  Beckett's Advanced Jumpers was one of the fastest, even faster than many of the 22" dogs, but my handling caused two refusals on tunnels.  He also had a 30 point opening in Advanced Snooker using all four reds, two sixes (a combination obstacle) and two sevens (which was 12 weaves).

I went back to work the Tuesday after Labour Day, boy, did 5 am come early but there was lots of work to keep me busy and the week went by pretty quick.

This past weekend, we went to the All Dogs trial. For me, this trial marks the end of summer as it is the last outdoor trial of the season for us.   Beckett got an Advanced Gamblers Q, his second, so now we need one more to move up to Masters.

Beckett - Advanced Gamblers - ADSC Sep 2011

We also had an Advanced Snooker that made me think on feet. I had planned to do three 7's (the teeter) but when we were coming around to do the teeter a second time, Beckett took the one of the jumps of the number 6 combo, so I had to change my plan on the fly.  We were doing good until, in the close, Beckett took the 6a jump in the wrong direction. That error came in handy for the Advanced Jumpers where the Snooker set up of the combination 5a, 5b, 5c, and the combination 6a, 6b and 6c was the same as obstacles 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 so I knew to use a false turn and his name between obstacles 5c and 6a to avoid the same problem. He had just an awesome Advanced Jumpers but he didn't like the rear cross that I did between two of the jumps and he spun incurring a refusal. The rest of the run was beautiful and he finished the course in a time of 29.18 seconds.

The problems we've been having on the A-frame and table just got worse. Beckett did have a little bit of Sheltitude this weekend and there are obviously some issues that we have to work on, but he sure is fun to run and he has a work ethic like you wouldn't believe. At our next trial, we'll see rubberized contacts for the first time, that should be interesting.