Sunday, September 30, 2012

Puppy Agility Workshop

Yesterday, Keltic and I went to a puppy agility workshop hosted by one of the best agility instructors in our area.  It was an all day seminar hosted in her own agility field. Yes, she has her own agility field, they live in a rural area and they have created their own agility field on their property about 500 meters from the house.

All the puppies at the workshop were between 5 and 7 months so were pretty much at the same level although you could see that some had more foundation work then Keltic. I think we were the only ones who have never played "crate games", and I'm not sure we will either.

The agenda for the day included:

How dogs learn,
Impulse control,
Shadow handling,
Restrained recalls,
Acceleration and deceleration,
Extension and collection,
Foundation work for front crosses and rear crosses, and
Beginning distance work with cones.

It was a very ambitious program and by the end of the day I think not only were the puppies pretty worn out but so were the humans.

Aussie puppy Fudge Ripple doing some ball work
I've done very little with Keltic in terms of his agility training but he did just fine. He didn't seem to mind the things that moved under his feet much at all.  He didn't want to have much to do with the ball though but he did get on the discs no problem with two feet anyway; we'd have to work on doing all four.

Keltic's buddy Sam working with the teeter board.
He also did fine at restrained recalls although I had difficulty just getting the toy in the correct hand. He did a good job at the deceleration exercise but I can already see the effect of doing heel work for obedience on only the left side.

On both the restrained recalls and deceleration exercise,  Keltic comes up to my left side and stops just wonderfully but on the right side he tries to go behind me to get over to the left side.

On the jump grids, he did great on the collection grid, especially considering we had never done more than one jump in sequence before. He was a good boy and held his sit stay, letting me lead out to the third jump and doing all three jumps to get his toy. I do have to get him more motivated for tugging and his toys so that he will really drive out to those jumps.

We have lots of work to do over the winter and next spring and summer.  Now though we have lots of exercises we can work on to help develop those agility skills which the seminar presenter says largely boils down to being able to send, run and recall.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I be 6 Months Old

Hey dere, it's Keltic here. Mums is lettin me rite the blog today as it's my half birday, I be 6 months old and is nearly growed all up. 

Ise started takin beedience two weeks ago as Mums says Ise gotta learn sum manners, that I canna stay a puppy boy furever. I be doin okay. The first class I was a barky boy and Mums got told she should bring a stuffed kong so I'd be bisee during the boring bits. I was pretty good at da last class, eben when we went outside to work. Ise still gots to work on downs, do naw know why I gots to lay down when Mums is jus gonna tell me to get up again.

In two weeks time, weese gonna do a gility seminar for puppies. Mums says it'll just be me and her, Beckett is gonna stay home. That's probably betta as I don work well for Mums when I hears Beckett barking as alls Ise wants to do is play with my big brudda. This past weekend, Mums took us both to the gility field.  Beckett and I gots to wander around an explore. I did the dog walk and A-frame all by myself. I do naw know why Beckett says you gotta work at gility, it seemed pretty fun to me.

Da first six months of my life as been pretty citing, Ise been lots of places and met loads of peoples and doggies. Beckett is a good big brudda, he lets me tug on him and usually lets me win when we restle. I miss da old guy dat used ta live here; he did naw play much but he used to let me takes my naps by him. Mums says he be gone to a good place and we'll sees him again sum day. Mums is pretty good to me too but she don let me bring the stuffy toys outside. I be fast though and did tricks her once or twice.

I can naw wait til I be a year old. Beckett says you get lots a good pressies when you is a year old.

Til next time, have a dog-gone good time, Keltic boy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Finally... a Masters Gamblers

I told Beckett last night that I would be happy with either a MADC title or a Master Gamblers Q. Well, we didn't get our MAD; some spinning in the first Standard and an off-course in the second saw to that.  But Beckett did get his first Masters Gamblers Q.  Yeah Beckett!!!  This Gamble actually worked well for him as I was able to keep handling in the box which I think even helped him get the last jump.

We didn't try the dog walk-tunnel mini gamble in our opening but we did try the teeter mini. Beckett loves the teeter and we've worked on a straight away teeter quite a bit.  He gave me a bit of lip before he went out to do the teeter the first time and so the buzzer went while he was on the teeter doing that mini a second time.

The nice thing about this main gamble was the first few obstacles were quite close to the box and that number 2 was bi-directional. I was able to do the first three quite easily. Once he was in the tunnel, I did a front cross to keep moving as he came out of the tunnel and to get myself on the far side of the box past the wing of  jump one. It allowed me to put him on a straight line for 4 with the room to rear cross 4 moving across the box. He read the rear cross really nicely and, since I was still moving, kept on going to 5 without hesitation.

Coming out of the ring, I was a bit bummed as I thought we didn't have enough points in the opening. I never count on getting the mini gambles so I always count them a single obstacles so I had it in my head that we needed the two teeters. Luckily, my friends told me that I had enough points when we got back to our seat, so Beckett got his jackpot of hot dogs right away.

Our first Masters Gamblers and it was good enough for first place among the 16" Regular dogs and best run for the Mini Regular dogs. All our hard work on Gambles is paying off. Yeah, Beckett!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Agility Summer

I took the month of August off as my vacation this year and in addition to visiting my Mum and doing some camping, we also did some agility trials.

First up was Riverside Agility in Shediac River, New Brunswick.  It was kind of funny that I went all the way to New Brunswick and it turned out that the judge for the trial was from Ontario. I knew Lynda from when I used to live near Barrie as she and her husband Dan were often judges for trials in that area. Riverside Agility is just like the name says right on the Shediac River. If the tide is in you can swim your dogs; but if the tide is out, it's not recommended as they might cut their pads on the broken mussel shells.

Ring crew setting bars

Robin-Ann and Logan

I had mentioned to Robin-Ann, the difficulty we were having getting a Masters Standard Q. Well, first up was a Standard run, and guess what New Brunswick was lucky for us and we got our first Master Standard Q. It wasn't pretty, Beckett started spinning coming out of the chute and I was sure he would have been called for a refusal on the tunnel but I guess he straightened out in time and we were well under the course time.

Beckett's First Master Standard Q
The next trial we did was at Guides Canins in St Lazare Quebec.  They allow you to tent camp on site for $5 per person per night. Guides Canins is training facility and the training hall has showers and washrooms and you can even set up your tent inside if you want which is great if the weather is bad. The trial actually runs all week with events in the evening every night and then runs right through the Labour Day weekend. I went on Friday and stayed three nights, running agility on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Looking toward the Masters rings

My tent site at Guides Canins

Starters ring was right in front of my tent site
At Guides Canins, we got our second Masters Standard Q and we also got two Steeplechase Q's as well. This Standard course ran really nice and I was very happy with Beckett. In the first Standard run of the day, he had leaped from the dog walk so we had to do some training in the ring; it paid off.

Beckett's second Master Standard Q

Our last agility trial of the summer was this past weekend at All Dogs Sports Club in North Gower. I was only there on Saturday seeing as how I was going back to work today, I decided to take a lazy day on Sunday. On Saturday, we had a severe thunderstorm watch and just as the trial started the thunder, lightning and rain started and a three-hour delay was called.  Some of us crazy people stuck around though and during a break in the weather got our first two runs in, a Snooker and a Jumpers. Beckett got his second Masters Snooker Q. Once everyone else had a chance to run these two events, the trial continued but with delays throughout the day for rain. The second last event of the day was a Steeplechase, having Q'd in three Steeplechase at Riverside Agility and Guides Canins, Beckett had a total of 9 Steeplechase Q's; you need ten for the Steeplechase title. He had been running pretty well all day but had incurred refusals due to spinning in both Jumpers and the Standard. Luckily in Steeplechase there are no refusals and he didn't spin too much in the Steeplechase and we Q'd. He was well under time running the course in 42.34 seconds while the standard course time was 52 seconds.

Beckett's 10th Steeplechase Q for his title of Masters Steeplechase Dog of Canada.
So all in all we had a very good agility summer. Beckett now only needs one more Master Standard Q for his Masters Agility Dog title, and two more Snooker for his Masters Snooker dog title. Those Masters Gamblers Q's are still eluding us but I'm sure they will come.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Growing Up Keltic

5 May 2012
5 Jun 2012
6 Jul 2012
3 Aug 2012
4 Sep 2012
Looking more and more grown up every day, it's hard to believe that Keltic will be 6 months old in just two weeks. We started obedience class last week and we will go to our first agility seminar at the end of the month. He seems to be a very smart puppy but he definitely has a mind of his own. He has a little habit of announcing himself while out on a walk; it's either amusing or annoying depending on the situation.  At the park, it's amusing; but at 3:20 am, while walking down a hotel corridor, it's annoying. He's a happy little guy who likes to meet everyone, he has never shown any of the typical Sheltie shyness; he even brings Beckett out of his shell a little bit. Can't wait to see if he will like agility as much as Beckett.