Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gepps Cross Mock Obedience Trial and other weekend news.....

The main reason for this post is to have a bit of a brag about Kenzie's performance in the mock obedience trial today however I thought I would also mention the fact that we trotted off out to the DogsSA show grounds yesterday for a bit more work on socialising Kenzie.

Caught up with Lyndsay and Holly (and Lyndsay's boyfriend James). I thought Kenzie did a great job at the show with not spooking to much. She was entirely happy but she was taking treats from both Lyndsay and her boyfriend without trying to hide behind my legs so we are making slow progress.

Any way off we went to the mock trial today held at Gepps Cross. Kenzie has been to the grounds once before when she was tiny (this time last year when I trialled Ness). I was tossing up between doing CCD and Novice with her but the decision was pretty much made for me when I discovered a huge number of CCD dogs had arrived and not so many Novice dogs. Kenzie was 10th in Novice. As I didn't know I was suppose to take desexing certificates they both had to be vetted and she coped ok with me holding her - again progress. The novice judge today was Neil MacDonald. I wasn't entirely sure how Kenzie would go given her recent freaking episodes out at SAODC training with Keith. She was also a bit spooked and stressy when we first arrived however she met up with with BC buddy Fern and then when she saw Tash her tail started wagging and she seemed to perk up.

Before they started I took Kenzie over to the ring, armed with my clicker, treats and her tuggy lead. I did a lot of C/Ting for having her look at Neil and also look at the stewards. I spent time just playing tug with her outside and chatting to various people. She seemed to be coping really very well. It was good fortune that one of the stewards in our ring was Danielle from SAODC with Holly (and her GSD who's name escapes me right this moment) so at least I didn't have to be too concerned about her spooking at the steward during a figure 8 as it was somebody she knows pretty well.

I then took her back to her crate and crated both her and Ness together for a while. I wasn't too sure about how stressy Kenzie was so I took her off again later and played some 2 toy game with her mini i-squeaks off to one side of the oval. She got pretty heavily involved in that game so I figured I would put her in the ring and see what happened.

Took her over while the dog before was in and we just tugged and played and rough housed. I didn't ask for her to heel into the ring but we tugged our way to the start peg.

I am over the moon with how she performed. It wasn't squeakie technically clean but her errors were genuine "green" dog errors rather than stress related and considering her performance the other Tuesday evening I was soooo happy for her.

Her heelwork was nice. I need to do more work on positions, turns, changes of pace, duration, figure 8s but hey its the longest heel pattern she has done and only the third proper "called" heel pattern we have worked together. I think I was walking a bit to fast and probably could have slowed up a tad with her but I am use to having to walk faster to keep Ness enthused. She did some lovely positions, gave me good attention and if she had crumbled at that point I would have said she had progressed. She was happy to play with her tuggy toy and race after her ball as a reward for her heelwork at the end. I also wasn't having to carry food in my left hand today and was able to have it in my right hand/pocket and reward.

I didn't take my chance by even attempting a stand for exam today so we moved on to a recall. Her halt on the first recall was lovely. She anticipated the command to come but I wasn't to fussed. She had never done one that long before and at least she was keen. I called her to me and rewarded a very nice front. She has a tendency to bounce up at me and throw herself in my lap if she breaks. We went back and tried it again. This time the halt was a bit off and then she went to anticipate coming with me when I left. Took a step back and rewarded the sit before leaving again. This time she waited and came when I called her. Nice present. The judge then said finish your dog and I gave her a command to "heel" with the hand signal. Well duh she hasn't been taught the word heel and I haven't really taught a finish to her yet. She has a flip finish on the command "close" but its not a particularly accurate finish. Reason I haven't taught a around the back finish is because of the GD conflict with agility so I have been undecided about what to do.

Retrieve next. She heeled up and sat nicely. Waited till I threw the DB. Then she got a bit confused. I don't think her brain registered the first time that she was suppose to go and fetch the DB. I gave a second signal she went off after it and returned to a front position with a sit - yee har but then stood up as I took the DB.

The best was yet to come. She did an absolutely gorgeous COP drop. I was worried as Neil left the dog down for what seemed like an enternity before asking the handler to return around behind but Kenzie stayed put. Was a bit distracted but none the less completed the exercise correctly and promptly.

I am so thrilled of my little munchkin's performance. Todays performance gives me hope that I will manage to put an obedience title on her without having her lose the plot in the ring. While we have a long way to go on a stand for exam at least she can hold the rest of the work together, at grounds which she isn't super familiar with and with a strange judge putting us through a pattern. As I said before her errors were just green novice dog errors not stress related errors.

So enough of the chatter - here is the video........

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Well lets see its been a while since I have had a chance to post. What with agility training, obedience training and now herding training to fit in I just don't know where to start.

Agility first.

Lets see her progress with her weaving has been out of this world. Tonight she was comfortably and with a high degree of reliability nailing 12 club base plated weavers as well as doing 12 stick in the ground weavers with both left and right side entries. I am so pleased with her progress and even Ness trying to get in the way tonight didn't phase her one little bit. She was funny as I was standing around at a fair distance to the weavers and thought I would see what she would do - well she ran under the jump but continued on and nailed the weavers driving hard right through to the end. Very pleased. She did a bit of work on a low scramble and also the end of the dogwalk but I do need to actually do more concentrated effort then just mucking around mostly with Ness at the same time. Her jump grid work when we have done it has been good. She seems to read her jumps well and adjusts her stride a lot better than Ness does.

She will also now go through a chute tunnel and we have been doing some work on the tyre. She will sequence a tunnel and the table together but I would like a down on the table so will need to work on that. Jumping as part of a sequence is still a work in progress as she tends to want to turn and spin back at me or run past the jump.


Hmmm well she can work very nicely. She is quite happy doing the novice exercises and can do them well apart from her issue with people. She is technically very precise and an absolute joy. She has a lovely recall, good retrieve, nice COP drop. Need to do some more work on duration heelwork and also positions and turns.

Now to the lastest activity - Herding!!!!

We trekked down to Meadows to attend a herding clinic run by Cass Robertson as a part of a Dogs SA herding session.

Kenzie (and Ness) had an absolute ball. Any way Kenzie's first shot she wasn't sure what to do. I had to grab the sheep and run backwards with them and play with the sheep. Man I got a good fitness work out running backwards with a sheep uphill. Towards the end of the turn she started switching on though so I figured I would stay around until they did the second turns after lunch.

The video of her first turn in the pen is posted below:

On her second turn, whenever she looked like switching off all I had to do was take a couple of steps towards the sheep and she would circle behind them. So much less having to play with the sheep.

I have no clue what I am suppose to be doing which probably doesn't help anything however she was doing really well at bringing the sheep to me.

The trainer thought if she did that she would quite happily pass an instinct test and thought she definitely had a lot of potential and it was worth putting the time and money into her if I wanted to go down that path.

So now I am trying to make a decision about entering the instinct test Saturday week. Think I will probably enter and see what happens. We would have passed the first time so I would assume she should be ok now but guess time will tell.