Category Archives: Videos

Joe Camp on the other side of the camera

Joe Camp takes a lot of photographs of agility dogs. He’s an amazing photographer and I’ve been at more than one trial where his photos were the high point of the trial for me. (“Even if I didn’t get a Q, look at these amazing photos!”)

Saturday Joe was running Riggs for Lisa in FullHouse and I asked him if he wanted to run Rush, too. After he ran Riggs at the beginning of the 20″ dogs, he took Rush for about five minutes and played with him in the field. At the beginning of the 24″ class, he walked into the ring with Rush and I followed, so that I could run his leash.

This was the result. Note that Rush and Joe had never run together before. Good handling on Joe’s part, and good dog on Rush’s part. (If you’re wondering where I was while Rush was running, I’m wearing a turquoise sweater, and you can see me at two points during the run.) (And yes, that was a Q in FullHouse.)

This photo is my current favorite Joe Camp photo–but it is really hard to choose!

Photo by Joe Camp

Photo by Joe Camp

Weekend Report

Even the bad parts of the weekend were good!

Friday, I only got one Q in five runs, but… it was Rush’s third Q in Novice JWW, he got first place, and you can see video here should you so desire.

I got to the trial Sunday (skipped Saturday to go bicycling with Jay) and discovered that Rush won high in trial (non-sporting group) on Friday, despite having gotten an off-course in Friday’s Excellent Standard run (a run that was fast and pretty, with just that one off-course). He got an ENORMOUS and very pretty ribbon.

To open our day Sunday, Rush Qd in Open FAST, with a very spirited run in which he took the send bonus in both directions, the second time as a send from about 30 feet away…. 1st place.

In Excellent Standard, we had an amazing run, right until I called him off the last jump and he turned inside it (like a threadle). Yes, I am an idiot, but what an amazing dog to make that turn!

In Open Jumpers, he bounce-jumped right over the off-course option instead of taking a turn that I signaled late. It was exactly what he should have done, given how late I cued the turn. He did some tricky bits beautifully!

Finally, we Qd in Time-to-Beat, 9 points, and 36.66 seconds over the course.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE BEST PART OF THE WEEKEND!Yes, I’m shouting like one of those people selling Sham-wows at the home show… and for good reason.

DANCER, my lovely Dancer, who is calm and steady and at best medium speed, ran the same TTB course in 36.73 seconds. 7/100ths of a second slower than Rush. She did take down one bar, but she was FLYING… She did a four-touch a-frame. She flew through the weaves. She did the teeter so fast I didn’t have time to make the front cross I’d planned there and had to rear cross the next obstacle.

I have worked for YEARS to have Dancer think agility is fun. And suddenly, today, I had that dog! It was as much fun as running Rush!

Yeeha!

Video of Rush in NADAC Jumpers

I asked Debbie to look at this video of Rush running NADAC Jumpers (this is an Open course). He ran it beautifully; I am trying to understand why he failed to make the turn and instead went back over the start jump. At this point, I’m pretty sure it’s because I was late asking him to turn. You can hear me say “this way!” as he sails over the jump; that was definitely way too late.

Debbie made this observation: “Rush’s point of commitment is so far back that any motion behind him will send him sailing through on whatever line he’s on.”    

And here’s the video: Rush’s NADAC Jumpers Run Sunday.

Fancy little maneuver

Blind crosses and a fancy little maneuver.

I went yesterday to watch some of the best handlers in this part of the country compete in agility at the Rose City Cluster. It’s at the Portland Expo Center, and it’s on mats on concrete. A million spectators, children, dogs, vendors. Chaos. About the most distracting environment you could have.

Focused dogs and amazing handlers. Really really fast dogs. I was so impressed.

There’s a fancy little maneuver that Debbie’s been teaching us, called the Ketscher. (You want to check the link.)

You send the dog over the jump, then–while the dog is jumping, because Debbie’s rule is that you can make a blind cross while the dog is busy (on the a-frame, in a tunnel, jumping, doing weaves, etc.)–you make a blind cross. The dog turns tightly, the handler gets out of there in a hurry, and it’s a thing of beauty when done well.

I saw a lot of them yesterday, and it renewed my determination to get it right.

I had Jay video some of my work on it yesterday. See it here.

Making good choices….

I took all three dogs down to Newport, OR for the weekend. Dancer was entered in the WAG NADAC trial, but Jay needed a break from being woken up at 5:30 by the dogs, and I knew they’d love going to the beach. I decided before I went that I would focus on having a good time all the way around–and I did.

I took the dogs to the beach every day and let them run like maniacs. Rush loved that! Elly enjoyed walking kind of with me and sniffing the various dead things. Dancer liked playing with Rush, too.

I’m trying to reduce Dancer’s stress, because when she’s stressed, she’s not happy. So I decided early on that I would focus on keeping things flowing and relaxed in the agility ring. Sunday it paid off, in a huge-big-honking-deal way. As I led out in jumpers, leaving Dancer in a sit before the first jump, I noticed Dancer looking to one side of the ring. Following her glance, I saw a friend playing with her dogs, about ten feet outside the ring and about fifteen feet from the second jump. A jack russell terrier and a big black dog mix. Two of Dancer’s stress triggers. She worries about terriers and she worries about big black dogs.

We’ve been doing a lot of “look at that!” work in Control Unleash class with Greta and apparently it’s paid off. Dancer gave the situation a long look, then consciously and deliberately shifted her focus back to me, meeting my eyes with complete assurance. It was an amazing moment for me. She chose, very clearly, not to be bothered.

I briefly considered running back to her and taking her out of the ring for treats, but she greatly enjoys jumpers, and it was a perfect course for her, so instead I told her “good dog! amazing dog!” and then said “okay!” (which is her release word) and got on with the course. She did very well indeed, earning a Q and a third place in a very competitive field.

I took video of the three poodles and my friend Deena’s dogs at the beach.

Official results:
Jumpers: Q, 30.21 sec, 133 yards, SCT 30.8 sec, 3rd place
Regular: Q, 46.71 sec, 165 yards, SCT 48.4 sec, 3rd place
Regular: .5Q, 49.70 sec, 165 yards, SCT 48.4 sec, 2nd place

CPE Nationals, Ridgefield, WA June 15-17, 2012

This was the largest trial Dancer and I have ever been to, the most exhausting, the most stressful… All of which makes it sound awful, which it wasn’t, but it’s not an experience I will repeat, not with Dancer. Dancer stresses, and when she stresses, she is slow, she is unhappy, and I kept thinking “if only one of us is having a good time, it should be Dancer… and I don’t think she’s having a good time.” But I had invested money, prep time, planning, so I kept on going, instead of just coming home.

I worked on learning how to help Dancer relax and un-stress. I worked on motivating her. I worked on not making corrections so that my dog could enjoy herself… and we had some good runs. In the end, she placed second in the Veterans Games 24″ division (to another standard poodle), which makes me very proud. She got three Qs (Snooker, Full House, and Wildcard). She got placements in seven events–4 blues, 2 yellows, and a fourth (white). We were the only team to Q in Snooker in our class (although you can see in this video that she was too stressed to take the double–but I didn’t need the points).

I learned that Dancer struggles with weaves (forgets how to weave) when she is feeling stressed; she struggles with the spread jumps as well.

After three days at a trial where there were 300 handlers, lots of spectators and vendors, more than 300 dogs, I woke up Monday morning craving silence. I took all three dogs out the Sandy River Delta, and I let them run. They had a good time (video here)!

Play stalking…

I took Rush and Dancer to the Delta this morning, notwithstanding the pouring rain. I couldn’t stand another day of manic dogs around the house. Well, dog. Dancer and Elly are perfectly capable of behaving well even after staying home for three or four days. Rush… not so much. Running him up and down the stairs twenty times is his idea of a warm-up. An hour of agility practice? Light exercise.

I got Rush out of the car at the Delta (and Dancer) and he ran straight down the path, out of sight–and I could see a good hundred yards–at top speed. Seconds later he was running straight back down the path, back toward me, still at top speed. I actually ducked behind a tree because I was afraid he’d run me over. He ran and ran and ran for over an hour. As we were walking back toward the car–so I’d already walked three miles and he’d probably run about ten miles at top speed–he stopped on the path to wait for Dancer and me to catch up.

I stopped too and started filming, curious what would happen next. You can see what happened next here.