Friday, October 19, 2007

Rainy night and bored dogs...

Another Indian summer day, the boys and I slept in this morning then packed up and headed down to Amherst. Now we're all fed, pottied and in theory relaxing before bedding down for the evening - figures that as soon as we get here the sky opens up and the rain seems relentless - no walk tonight. The boys are so bored they're WILD - feeling the need to include me in their wrestling - I've been scratched, stepped on and bitten (and Teller is on his 4th time-out of the evening). I'm pretty full of nervous energy at the moment, Murphy is entered in Open B tomorrow, hoping that the mixed-up order of exercises combined with two weeks vacation from obedience training has relaxed him a little bit. I personally can't help but feel a little like the student who goes into the exam without studying - it's not like me to do anything unprepared so I admit to feeling a little exposed at the moment. Time will tell - we'll either qualify or not...and in the end either way is OK - though I do wish I was traveling with the pack this weekend, I (not unlike the dogs) could really use someone to bounce off of right about now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cheshire Kennel Club Agility Trial

We spent the weekend down in Keene, NH - the weather broke and it finally felt like fall - I was one hurting camper leaving the hotel at 6am when it was only a hair over 30 degrees - Brrrrrrrr! There was frost on the ground and on the contact obstacles - I was quite relieved that the trial ran little to big both days. This was Murphy's first agility trial since the Golden Retriever Club trial in July. The cool weather certainly agrees with him - he's had some pretty lousy practice runs over at Ruth's when it's been 80 degrees or so - he's got the beginnings of his winter coat now and he gets really hot pretty easily this time of year.

We tried the new AKC FAST class for the first time - interesting rules - once I really understood the strategy it's not so bad. We missed Q'ing by one point (I wasn't where I should have been when the time ran out) on Saturday so on Sunday I planned a little bit better - go out, get the points and the Send (gamble) and then get out and be done. The net result was that on Sunday we racked up 53 points in about 26 seconds - good enough for 3rd place over some really talented excellent B 24" dogs - so I was pleased.

Speaking of being pleased, Murphy came out and played the game every single run - he enjoyed himself, he stayed with me, listened to me and made time all but one run. Heck - look at that power and the smile on his face - that's a happy dog! We did seem to have trouble with the weaves this trial - which is weird because he's been making his entries consistently in practice and staying in the poles - this weekend he either missed his entries or popped out at pole 8 or 9. I didn't bring him back - obviously we have work to do or we wouldn't be missing them in competition - I think part of it was speed - he was really moving out this weekend and I'm not sure that I move as fast in practice (yep, that would do it wouldn't it) as I do at a trial. Definitely something to work on - as well as more reps - he's been doing a lot of obedience work lately and not so much agility so that's certainly a factor too. I was concerned that if I brought him back to correct the weaves that I'd lose the enthusiasm that I had across the board - plus I really wanted to see where we were from a course time perspective - if we can fix the entry problems over the winter then we'll be in super shape.

I also got to spend some time with my Nana and my cousin Brandi - I don't see either very often so it was nice to actually hang out with them during the trial. Nana brought some coffee cake (yum) and she got to see Murphy run a couple of fact the only run Murphy didn't make time was when Nana arrived 30 seconds before his run and he was quite distracted looking for her. Everyone had a great weekend - lots of ribbons all around the tents - it was a great way to cap off the agility season....

Oh and some pictures of Teller (Photo credits to Ruth):

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Action shots and training updates...

Murphy has had some time off this week. No obedience, no heeling just some simple agility sequences and some play-tricks. This seems to have had an improvement in his work ethic. Today we worked a couple of go-outs and some directed jumping....

Teller never ceases to amaze me. I started him over baby jumps a couple of weeks ago - nothing serious and even then a couple of jumps a couple of times a week. Last week I did some ladder work with him and the next day was able to put together a short sequence - jump, tunnel, ladder, tunnel - that kind of thing. Teller did two obstacles more enthuasically than one - and loved the game. I love that he loves the game and am thrilled that at this point he doesn't much care about which game he plays or what he's working for. I didn't have a whole lot of time today to work anything serious (nor am I in the right frame of mind to do so) so we worked some baby-start lines (wait and release over a jump) - what fun! I think Teller likes to jump as much as Uncle Murphy does!