Monday, March 26, 2012

WAGS Agility Trial - March 23-25, 2012

It was an interesting and fun weekend but 3 days of trials with an hour and half drive one way made a long weekend for us.  On Friday, Kiah got her JWW title and 2nd place, I am so proud of her.  We are having some problems with weaves though, not sure what is going on and something we will have to work on. In standard, she took the dog walk instead of a jump and I am pretty sure by the confused way she looked at me I sent her there.  No videos this weekend so no way to verify it.

On Saturday, no Q's but no zooms and she watched me, so I am still really happy with her runs except the weaves in both JWW and Standard.

On Sunday, she got a Q in JWW, got the weaves on the second try was a bit slow and we were over time almost 4 seconds.  She was heading for a wrong jump but turned as soon as I called her and we finished the course without any other problems.  Std was another story, she did not want to be there; had to keep calling her to do obstacles, no weaves and no energy.  We did finish the course but I am sure we were way over time, never did check her stats.

I am thinking I may have given her and Keegs (he was there to keep her company)  too many rich treats after her JWW run.  When I got them home they both wanted to eat grass, Kiah ate enough to throw up and appeared to be more energetic afterwards.  Next trial more praise and less treats.

Kiah's  Q results are posted on the results page, didn't get any of the other run information and WAG only sends the qualifying information to you (found out later that they post all results on their web page so I have the information).  They are fast sending result information, got it last night only a few hours after the trial ended.

Decided no trials for us in April, just classes starting back up again this week.  Gas is high and I think Kiah needs a break for a while.  I plan to enter 3 trials in May but not sure about June yet besides the clubs trial at the end of June.  We will see how gas prices are at that time.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 17, 2012 Car-Dun-Al Agility Trial

We didn't do as well as I had hoped.  I could tell that Kiah was a bit anxious which stressed me so I wasn't as calm as I needed to be. Our first Open standard run was a bit slow, missed a jump and back jumped it, then she did not do the weaves correctly all 3 times. The last half of the course was good and we finished well.  In Novice jumpers we had two refusals and ended up 9 seconds over SCT due to several minor zooms.  The zooms weren't run around the course zooms and she came right back so that is an improvement.  I didn't bring Keegs with us but plan to bring him next weekend maybe with him there she won't be so stressed.  

I know I can't expect the same results as she had at our club where she is really comfortable but as long as she is having fun and continues to improve I will be happy.  I know the dogs in excellent have their good and bad days so I can't expect perfect results every time.  I will not get discouraged and will keep a positive attitude.

Monday, March 12, 2012

3/9-11/12 Forest City Agility Trial

What an awesome weekend; Kiah did well, I am so proud and happy with her progress.  On Friday she got a Q in Standard, first place and almost Q'd in Jumpers but the last bar fell.  She must have barely touched it since I didn't hear the tick.  Someone said I slowed down so it pulled her back a bit; my bad.

On Saturday, she did well again but I was kind of over excited in standard, she followed everything I told her to do (at least what she could figure out) so we didn't Q.  I calmed down in Jumpers but took her over the wrong jump on the way out so it was bad handler all day Saturday.

Sunday-Kiah was perfect and I did much better in my handling so we Q'd in both Standard and Jumpers.  She got a 2nd in Standard and a 1st in Jumpers.  This gave us our Novice Preferred Standard Title and our 2nd leg in Jumpers.  I am on cloud 9 to see what an improvement she is making and we are both having fun which is the best part.  I have videos I will post later.

Keegs, my silly, wonderful boy had fun at his first trial.  On Friday he didn't do much more than take a few obstacles and visit all the bar setters on the course.  Saturday was much better, not so much visiting and more obstacles and on Sunday he improved more.  This weekend was exactly what I wanted to see from him, since the trial was at the club it was a great place for him to get trial experience.  We may do a NADAC in April and then our club has another trial on June 30-July1 so I will enter him in that too.

I just have to add how wonderful agility people are; so many have seen our struggles the past few years and came up to us to congratulate us.  My club members have been so supportive and my trainers are the best in the world.  Renee and JoAnne thank you so much for helping us get this far and for your continued support.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

If I knew then what I know now - Don't get discouraged, it may take time.

Dog Agility Blog Event Day, please visit all the blogs (

I would like to share one of the most important lessons I have learned in the past year; don't get discouraged, it may take time.  I know everyone hears "this is supposed to be fun for you and your dog" when they are learning agility but hearing it and actual practice is often difficult when you are a beginner and have a beginner dog.

My Boxer Kiah is my first agility dog, she can do well in class situation but has a difficult time at a trial. I have some pretty awesome agility trainers and she knows her obstacles well.  After 2 years of trialing and not doing well at trials due to zooms, refusing to do equipment and inattention, I was really getting discouraged. It showed in my confidence, my lack of confidence in her at trials and trialing was no longer fun for either of us.  Kiah even got to a point where her head was hanging down, apparently with dread, when we went out to practice a run in class.  I was afraid I was ruining her and was thinking about retiring her last March when my agility trainer suggested I take some private lessons from an obedience trainer.

I felt I knew my dog, things in theory I knew but really didn't know, if that makes sense. The trainer is awesome and I learned so much.  I learned that Kiah is "soft", her feelings are hurt easily and she is "hard (lots of drive)" when she is obsessing with something and nothing penetrates that obsession.  I had one obedience class with Kiah when I first got her and although we practiced some basic obedience at home it was not enough for the her.  It is a continuing process and without continued training you backslide.  With the help of the trainer, I began to learn more about controlling her, making her want to work with me and have fun doing it. We try to practice almost everyday, she gets excited when I tell her we are going to train.  I keep it short and then we play for a while.  My confidence is coming back; we are beginning to have fun again and are doing much better at trials.  I am prepared to take baby steps with her and each step forward is a joy.

I heard somewhere you should start a journal and write in it every day.  Mine will say; DON'T GET DISCOURAGED. KEEP IT FUN!!!!  I also plan to post it on my refrigerator so I see it often :-)

So if you are having a similar experience, don't get discouraged.  It may take some time to find the trigger that makes you and your dog a team but it will come.  Just remember to smile, have fun and enjoy the experience with your dog.