Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our 1st Agility Trial

I know you're probably dying to know what happened this weekend at Marley's first trial.  Well, I have to begin by saying we survived the heat (temperatures between 100-106 degrees the whole weekend) and Marley had a great time.  We did Perf Jumpers on both Saturday and Sunday.  We are still having issues with Marley's height, I had her measured both days and the measurements are very different.

Saturday:  I found a quiet cool spot under a tree by the car to crate Marley.  I picked up my map and worked on my strategy. When it was our turn I lined Marley up at the start and took off her collar.  I released her and she took off...to make new friends with the pole setters and the Judge.  I managed to call her back and she kept finding new stuff to sniff.  Needless to say it was quite an experience.  I'm really glad I didn't have very many expectations.  Overall, I met my goals by staying on course and Marley met her goal by having a great time.

Sunday:  The quiet cool spot under the tree started to cause Marley some stress and I ended up moving her closer to the ring.   She kept an eye on me the entire time she was in her crate. It was a bit unnerving.  I spent time working on nose touches and heeling to help her overcome the distractions.  I also spent more time at the practice jump.  When it was our turn I set her up and slowly walked away keeping my eye on her the entire time.  I released her and she jumped over the jump and took off towards the Judge.  I used my no-nonsense voice and called her back. Once she was next too me it was fantastic.  She took all the jumps in front of her and didn't hesitate going into the tunnels.  It was marvelous until we headed towards the finish.  With one jump left she veered away and started running towards the scribe and timer.  I managed to call her back and jump over the last jump. It was awesome!

Our instructor met us at the exit of the ring and told me we did a great job and gave me some advice on cool down.  Our instructor is the best!

Overall, we had a great time and everybody was simply so nice and welcoming. I can't wait to do it all over again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It is about time!

We are heading to our first trial.

I'm very nervous and I've spent the this week fretting.  The highlight of my panic was  when we measured Marley in class and she measured 13" which means she'll need to jump 16".  When I measured her she was 12" which means we've practiced jumping 12". The trial secretary was fantastic and moved Marley to performance.

Our goals for this trial are quite simple.

  • Survive temperatures of over 100 degrees
  • Don't go off course
  • Stay calm (not sure if I'll actually meet this goal)
  • Have a fun time
I really do not have expectations from us at this event I mainly want to see how Marley does in this environment.  

I'm so nervous!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It is only a matter of time

File:Striped Skunk.jpgNature is not our friend.

Recently a skunk has been making my front entryway his highway to the city.  At first I thought it was a fluke and he would find a better route.  However, we have had a few sightings.

  • I noticed him a building away and chose to stay inside.
  • I didn't see him until he was between my front door and myself.  I waited about 20 minutes for him to choose to move on before I was able to go inside again.  
  • He was wandering by the stairs next to my front door.  I turned around and took Marley out the back door. 
Yesterday, I decided to take Marley out early and miss our striped neighbor; unfortunately, he had the same idea. We ended up going back inside and waiting for about 30 minutes before we went back out.  

At this point I've started collecting skunk odor removal remedies, I figure it is only a matter of time before we have an encounter. 

So far I've learned the popular tomato juice remedy is not very effective.  The popular baking soda, peroxide, dawn seems to be a good remedy.  

My favorite is the Sadie Skunk Solution:  when your dog has been sprayed smear your dog with Crisco and then wash with shampoo.  It works under the premise that the oil in the Crisco will draw out the oils in the skunk spray.  Two of our friends have tried it and it worked great.  

I keep hoping I never have to try it but it seems like it is only a matter of time. If you have a great solution that worked for you please feel free to share it. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Attitude from Marley

Today is The Dog Agility Blog Action Day and the topic of discussion is Attitude.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to share how I've had to learn to adjust my attitude when I'm working with Marley.  I can't suck it up and pretend to be happy and pleasant when I feel the complete opposite.  I wanted to share how my change in attitude has altered our weave training. I wanted to share how I've learned to evaluate our emotional state prior to each training session and feel comfortable about just loading everything back in the car and playing Frisbee instead of training if we are having a poor day.  I had great plans for my blog post and then we went to class...

Where Marley dished out the attitude, I have to say she does a great impression of a teenager.  

  • We were doing some hand touches, after three she looks at me...throws herself on the ground and barks. 
  • We were running a jumping sequence where Marley kept missing a jump.  I stop Marley looks at the instructor, looks at me and rolls her eyes.  Yes, I was the one making the error.
  • We were on our pre-class walk and Marley saw a cat strolling by and was ready to chase.  I asked her to leave it and she gives me the "you have got to be kidding" look and proceeds to whine. 
  • I was trying to read something and she wanted attention so she starts making soft primate like noises until I acknowledged her presence. 
I'm beginning to suspect she watches James Dean movies while I'm at work. She has no problem conveying her emotional state; however, I have to say I'm not pleased with the whole eye-rolling throwing herself on the ground.  

I did notice all the Border Collies seem to be perpetually happy, I'm sure they don't dish out attitude. Hm..maybe I should stop anthropomorphizing.

If you would like to read some great articles about attitude in agility please head on over to the Dog Agility Blog Action Day.