Counting the Days!

August 30, 2008

It’s now just 20 days until we leave for World Championships.  We will go to Hamilton for a team practice at Say Yes where we get to train indoors on the new carpet, then we are flying out to Helsinki. 

We haven’t done much course running yet but we have been working on lots of flat work and jump grids and lots of conditioning.  I am trying hard to keep the dogs in good shape this year but I am also trying to prevent any injuries this close to the competition.  Bounder came up lame last week while playing at the park but seems to be fine now after a visit to the chiropractor. 

As part of this years fund raising Jen and I are planning a funmatch on October 5th with half the funds going to our AAC national team and the other half going to the world team.  We will be running some courses from the world championships but also some easier courses for the novice dogs and handlers. 

I spent the day on the phone with what must have been every riding arena in town.  I am looking for an arena to rent this winter but it seems like everything is taken.  I can always go back to Sherwood Meadows but the footing was not ideal and I really don’t want to have to start classes at 7am on Sunday mornings!

It turns out I wont be able to go see Greg Darrett in Seattle as it is the same weekend Susan Salo will be here in Edmonton.  I have a flight credit that I have to use to fly somewhere in the US so it looks like I may end up going to Florida this January for some agility camps and trials.   I would like to try and get my qualifiers for US nationals early in the season and Florida may be the place to do it.

Since Fanny has been here I have really been focusing on Riot and Preston’s tugging.  We have been tugging before supper, tugging before we run at the off leash park and being very aware of what type of tugging I reinforce.  Riot is such as crazy little dog, always trying to outsmart me and take the easy way out…I always have to be one step ahead of her.  Preston is so good with the tugging, I can start to get his supper ready and he seeks out a tug toy and forces it into my hand. 

Preston and I have been working on our obedience and he is getting very good.  We are now heeling in the right direction and have nice duration and attitude.  I haven’t seen any CKC obedience in a while so I think I might make an effort to watch a trial next time we have one in town so I know what its all about.  Preston will be my versatile dog: agility, frisbee, freestyle, obedience, maybe some herding next?  I plan on getting some video of his obedience, now one week into training, but we will see if the weather holds up.

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Planning Ahead…

August 27, 2008

Here is a look into the future of our now top handlers:

I hope Greg Darrett has already started creating a system for when our bling cross body lines are feable and front crosses and threadle arms are just not an option 🙂

This week we had Fanny Gott here for a week of seminars.  We had a great turn out and everyone was left with some great tips and lots to work on.  The two day obedience workshop was very interesting as I have never done any formal obedience training and it is so nice to have methods that are all positive and based on operant conditioning.  Preston showed lots of potential for competition obedience and we will continue to focus on the foundation for heel work and a formal retrieve. 

Puppy day was great and it just makes me want to get my border collie even sooner.  I have so many plans and so many ideas of how I would like to raise her, I don’t know if I will be able to wait until next summer.  We worked on lots shaping and flat work and Fanny stressed the importance of creating a dog who is easy to reward both with tug and food.  It was a common trend that most puppies at the workshop were lacking the enthusiasm we want when it comes to tug drive.

Of course the handling workshop was my favorite and I am so happy that there was such a great group of people who all seem dedicated to Greg’s handling system.  The workshop started with a lecture on Greg’s system which is always good for everyone to hear.  We worked on lots of challenging sequences and even though Preston got into the dog food the night before and was a couple pounds heavier I still enjoyed running him. 

It was so enjoyable to sit back and be a student for a change and work my own dogs.  I plan to bring in more presenter in the next year so I have the opportunity to train my own dogs and be a student every once in a while.