Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mileage at LEAP

OK, so here's a new one. How many miles do you think you walk at an agility trial? From the moment you step out of your car to the moment you climb wearily back into it at the end of the day. From 6am to 5pm - or 6am to 3pm (on those glorious days that START with BIG dogs), walking your dogs, back and forth to the car, building courses, walking courses, score running, leash running, trips to the restroom, etc - it all adds up.

So what do you think? Two miles? Five miles? TEN miles? I've been using an iphone application called LogYourRun - I use it to track my walking and running distances, to calculate my speed on a per-mile basis, to track elevation changes and to better calculate my calorie burn. I've been averaging about 30-35 miles per week and am struggling a bit now finding more time to add more distance. The problem with LogYourRun is that it relies on GPS features which are dependent on having a good cell signal. In a couple of the places we trial there is no cell signal at all inside the building, which means that I can't track distance I log leash running (as an example). So when I realized that I had cell signal inside and out of the facility last weekend I set up an experiment.

My first test came Friday afternoon when after setting up crates for the boys I realized that it was approximately .27 miles from the crating area to the revolving doors (and .30 from the crating area to the bathroom). Clearly this weekend was going to add up the mileage in a big way!
Saturday's mileage - click for larger image.

So 6:00am, I rolled onto show grounds and turned on "Log your Run". I have the app configured to stop the timer when I stop moving and restart the timer when I move again. In all LYR thinks that I spent about 4.5 hours moving - which sounds just about right. I didn't leash run or score run this weekend. I did help with course building for all four of my classes. I also didn't deliberately head out for walks other than stretching everyone's legs every couple of hours or so - I did decide with the chaos (and the super thick crowds of people) to walk the dogs one at a time - some quality time for Murphy, some training time for Kipling and Teller 'is the best dog' time  - Woo's favorite part of the weekend.

Still trying to figure out mileage? According to LYR, I logged 10.18 miles between 6am and 3pm. I wore my phone all day except for about 5 minutes before my runs, during my runs and then for a couple of minutes after my runs.
Sunday's Mileage - click for larger image

Sunday I stepped up the distance now that I had a baseline estimate of the average day at a trial. I walked 1.5 miles on the track around the facility with my friend Ann. I ran 4 laps (a bit more than 1 mile) around the outside of the facility with Teller and then walked two more with Murphy and Kipling. My total distance for Sunday was a bit over 14.25 miles.

Interestingly enough these numbers correlated with Ann's own LYR distances on her Verizon iPhone - so I don't have any reason to doubt accuracy.

There are a couple of anomalies though, I know that I never actually crossed through the center of the facility - there were two soccer fields parallel to each other and while one was used as the two agility rings, the other two fields were in use as soccer and football fields there are a few lines that presumed that I did - which means that my overall mileage was probably higher than the 14.27.

These numbers do not include walking dogs at the hotel - morning, evening and late-night or the rest of the miscellaneous mileage that goes on with life with dogs!

Monday, March 26, 2012

LEAP - March 24-25, 2012

Mixed bag for Team Teller this weekend at the LEAP trial and it has me re-thinking going back to this venue next year for this trial. March in New England is typically not outdoor soccer weather as it was last week - so of the three turf fields at the Star Hill Center - two of them had constant soccer games on them, there were footballs flying through the air, balls hitting the netting dividing the fields. Crating was on a basketball court next to a volleyball game - actually next to two simultaneous volleyball games. I've been to this venue before in June and October and the whole vibe was much quieter even with all the other activities going on.

Lots of slipping on Saturday from Teller - getting used to turf after a winter of dirt and rubber matting..We finished Saturday with a QQ.

Sunday was a different story, Everyone who knows Teller knows he is virtually unflappable - but three footballs going up in the air and hitting the netting startled him during our standard run, he looked up at the balls and completely missed the #3 jump, I brought him back - everything else was gorgeous and I used the mistake to train the rest of the course. Jumpers was a great run with a missed weave entry - I'll take responsibility for this one, I rear crossed the poles and totally disconnected from him.

Alas we live to play another day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kipling at the Barn - March 21st, 2012

Kippie ready to hit the beach, the pool, the lake...
He's not very picky.
Our 4th day in a row of 80+ degree temps, super short session at the barn for the yellows. Every spring (summer? Winter?) it takes the three of them a lot of time to get acclimated to the warmer temperatures. And let's be honest - 84 degrees is pretty atypical for March in NORTHERN VERMONT!!!

Teller worked contacts and weaves, Kipling worked just a bit of contacts. Lots of activity and PONIES all over the place tonight so Kippie got to work on-lead so I could reward focus! I got a few good reps, good attention - lots of good opportunities to reinforce good stuff. Went through lots of cheese and quit early.

Here's Kipling's session:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunrise over Saratoga - March 18th, 2012

Playgroup - March 17th, 2012

The boys had a busy weekend too - lots of training time for Kipling, lots of walks for all three boys (they even got a lot of solo walks this weekend) BUT we're always on the look-out for safe places to let the dogs off-leash to really RUN. We found such a place this weekend and the boys met shelties Chesney and Coach, Pomeranian Bebe, Tollers Squeegee and Navy, husky Kai and PWD Myles.

Kipling 11 months old

Nothing like rolling in the grass to make your day better.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Schenectady Dog Training Club - March 17-18, 2012

Kippie and I found this waterfall on our hike between 
Teller's JWW and Standard this morning. It was too 
pretty not to take a picture of!!
A four-AM start on Saturday morning, one QQ, one double NQ (today), Woo went two for four with wrong courses this morning in JWW and again this afternoon in standard. We had absolutely gorgeous springtime weather, I was able to log 7 (at least) foot miles and lots and lots of laughs - oh and home by 3:30 this afternoon - plenty of time to defrost the dog food freezer in preparation for another dog food order (there's always that moment when you take a deep breath before plugging in that 30 year old freezer thinking "I hope it comes back on!") then rake and clean up the dog yard from a long and dark winter!. All in all a good weekend!!! And two more chores crossed off this weeks to-do list!

There's nothing like good sneakers, a winding dirt road
There are some 'playdate' pics to follow - but here's Teller's 31st QQ:

Oh and the boys came home to sardines for supper - they look pretty happy eh?
Teller, Kipling and Murphy prepare for sardines.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

From 'winter' to late spring..

My dogs have historically struggled a bit when winter temperatures start to bleed into spring and late spring temperatures. We haven't really had much winter - snow or cold, but when we go from the 40's to the mid to upper 60's it's a shock to their furry bodies. Yesterday it was 45 degrees and misting when Teller and I ran 4.25 miles around town. Tonight just 23 hours later it was 67 degrees and sunny when I brought the dogs to the school. The boys galloped around for about 40 minutes but were clearly 'done' at that point - nothing a bit of water and belly planting on the tile floor wouldn't fix. The downside was that I had to run my 3.9 miles by myself tonight - just as well at the 1.9 mile mark the skies opened up and POURED! I ran home a but faster than my plan and still ended up soaked to the skin with spring rain....could be worse, but eh...

Anyhow, I brought my camera out for today's romp and retrieve session:

If all else fails 'lay down' - soccer on one side and capture the flag on the other.
My three dogs off-leash in the middle! Super good dogs eh?
Note that Murphy has to be 'different'.

Kippie (in raging adolescence) being a dweeb (again) and bashing into very
patient (and forgiving) Teller.  

Kipling's 11 month old portrait.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ipswitch River Wildlife Sanctuary

So the part two of last weekend (which technically ought to bepart one since it happened BEFORE the dog show part - but I digress):

The boys and I got up extra early Friday morning so that I could get in a three mile walk/run before the trial weekend - dog show days can go any number of ways and often time this means that I don't get the mileage in that I'd like to. Blah, blah - got 3 miles logged in about 55 minutes.

I had arranged to meet my friends Sharon and Lesley at a wildlife sanctuary north of Boston - a three hour and change trip for us, but I'm told that the birding is amazing and we just HAD to go. So we went  - the weather was gorgeous - sunshine in and out of cloud cover and mid to upper 50's. Yes, this is MARCH in New England!!! The birds at the sanctuary were absolutely amazing - truly - for me topped by the St. Francis of Assis moments with the birds (literally) eating out of my hand. We saw thousands of chickadees, some downy woodpeckers, tittmouses, nuthatches, a couple of blue jays, cardinals, red squirrels and lots of beaver activity (but no beaver). All the while our dogs were stuck in the cars while we hiked around the sanctuary.

And a video from Friday:

Salisbury Beach - March 9th, 2012

Think he's a little excited?
Photo Credit: Lesley Mattuchio
After the sanctuary (and the in-car confinement) the dogs were clearly ready for some off-leash fun so we headed north to Salisbury Beach - open to dogs and humans on the off-season. It was low-tide - there were lots of seagulls here, some seals on the rocks off-shore (I had no idea there were seals in Massachussetts!) and an expansive beach for the dogs to run like maniacs. Now - my three critters have never seen the ocean. We don't have sandy beach opportunities here as most of the lakefront on Champlain is either too polluted for swimming or is privately owned - and by the time Kipling was a strong enough swimmer (and big enough) we were smack in the toxic algae season here so he hadn't swam in any water other than our pool!
Kipling and Teller - photo credit Lesley Mattuchio
To say that there was great joy on the part of the goldens would be a colossal understatement. Some pics of the day - there are more on facebook if you're so inlcined - see the captions for photo credits - I left my camera in the van so I only had to worry about my three beasties instead of three beasties and a big lense!

Links to Facebook Albums:

Photo Credit: Sharon Pica
Photo Credit: Sharon Pica
Photo Credit: Sharon Pica

Photo Credit: Sharon Pica 
Photo Credit: Sharon Pica 
Photo Credit: Sharon Pica 
Photo Credit: Sharon Pica 

Photo Credit: Sharon Pica 

Photo Credit: Sharon Pica 
Photo Credit: Sharon Pica