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Everything posted by SecretBC

  1. Love both videos! And I, too, hope that any or all of my dogs are still running half as well when they are that age.
  2. Training in my back yard more or less has me prepared for about anything I might run into at a trial, footing wise. Let's just put it this way -- I have a big pile of dirt that I use to go around and fill in the divots that Secret digs around the yard. I've gotten to the point where I don't bother to fill anything until I set a course that is in that area of the yard (otherwise she'll just open it up again). In addition to the holes, voles & chipmunks have done a fine job of making my yard pretty uneven over the years. Honest to god I'm pretty surprised I haven't broken an ankle yet. The dogs don't seem to have ANY problem -- they all run great at home. We don't have a ton of outdoor trials around here anymore. One club stopped using a particular park because they refused to change their "Monday mowing" schedule -- this meant that come the trial weekend the grass was like 8" tall. Seriously, it was pretty bad several years in a row and the small dog handlers in particular were very vocal in their griping. Not to mention the goose poop & feathers that covered the park every year. I know another trial venue stopped getting used after tow trucks had to come rescue several vehicles from the mud & muck -- and apparently this had happened several years in a row. Unfortunately for me, the facility that is local to me has some of the worst footing in the area. They used to have super craptastic mats (old & slippery) and then they built a new arena and put in turf -- but with sand mixed in, not rubber. It gets very slippery and all three of my dogs have wiped out on it. I tend to run my dogs more conservatively there because of this. I will not stop going there, though, because it's 30 minutes from home (vs. 3 hours for all the other trials). I do find myself not trialing outdoors much, if at all, anymore -- but not because of footing. The weather is too insane and unpredictable around here. I can't afford to pay $300 in entry fees to have a horrible weekend in the rain or temperatures above 90. My dogs don't run well in either -- So I send my $$ to trials with indoor venues. Example: I skipped a huge trial this coming weekend with all of my friends (outdoors) and instead traveled across the state to an indoor trial where I didn't know a soul. And hey, the dogs ran great, so I feel I made the right choice. And I'll continue to do that all summer, choosing the indoor venues over outdoors. I'm lucky I have that choice, as the majority of trials in the upper midwest are now located indoors -- either in facilities built for dog sports or indoor soccer arenas. I just wish we had more dirt trials, but they are few and far between. I love dirt. Except for the dirt we ran on at NADAC Champs in 2009. Worst experience of my life. That's where I learned not all dirt is good!
  3. My dog walk is 12' x 8' x 12' and even THAT screws up my dogs, I think. The only time they have a chance to see a full size dog walk is at trials. The stops don't really matter, but I still can tell that Secret performs differently. Last year I once again tackled a running dog walk with Kaiser. He was 100% at home with gorgeous hits -- But at trials the longer middle board seemed to just throw off his entire stride and he was NOT getting it. I finally relented and we've gone back to a "managed stop" (ie: I have to be there with him...). Maybe one of these days I'll get my dog walk out of the garage for the year and start working on this again, but he's back to Qing so I'm happy. And I have to say, it's so much easier to mow without all of the equipment out there... This seems to be the year of Jumpers courses for me.
  4. Okay, that video is one of the coolest things I've watched in a while. I loved the little smoothie who came in third. The difference between what that video showcases and what NADAC presumes to do with the addition of barrels is that the above video is an example of incredible handling skills. With the use of a barrel in NADAC, the dog will be running on a straight path, encounter a barrel to go around and continue running on a straight path. Um, boring? And I do agree with you regarding the statements of safety. And someone did bring it up on the list that dogs could easily be injured by slipping around barrels on less than ideal footing. Of course, Sharon never, ever runs her dogs on anything other than dirt or grass, so it stands to reason that her dogs are able to dig in and push well around barrels. The rest of us schmucks, especially those who live in the upper midwest, typically are forced to trial mainly indoors on synthetic surfaces. My dogs have face-planted and wiped out on the landing side of a jump with a NADAC-style turn (ie: not sharp). I imagine they would be pretty hesitant about going skittering around a tight barrel turn because they know they'd lose their hind end. But again, there is no reasoning once Sharon has made up her mind that something is safer. When it was brought up, she simply said that you needed to take facilities into consideration and not trial where it isn't "safe." Well that's nice, I just won't trial anymore, I guess.
  5. My personal policy is to never use a facility that lets my dogs co-mingle with other dogs. I have no desire to have my dogs interact with strange dogs without me being there to supervise. Not only do I not want to have to worry about scuffles or injuries, but nor do I want my dogs potentially picking up something from a strange dog. I realize that many, many people use doggy daycare facilities and are obviously fine with these things -- But it is not my personal choice. I am fortunate to have family to care for my dogs when needed the majority of the time, but on the rare instance where boarding is necessary (such as when the whole family is traveling together), there is only one local facility that I will even consider using. Unfortunately for the three dogs it's almost $100/day.... But I at least know and trust that they are getting the care I paid for, which includes lots of time outdoors in large fenced runs, individual play time and large private suites with beds & television sets. Here's our place, although we haven't had to use it for some time now: http://www.k9countrylodge.com/ It says a lot that I was able to trust them with my Klee Kai.... I don't trust anyone with him. He's "quirky." There are a lot of boarding places in this area that operate like one of the cruddy shelters -- They have a small indoor (cement) space with a door to a small outdoor (cement) pad. And that is how they are kept for their entire stay. Uhhhh. No thanks. I'd stay home before leaving my dogs in one of those places.
  6. That article was very interesting, thanks for sharing! It's nice to hear from someone "sensible" who has been with the sport for so many years. I don't know what exactly made Sharon so jaded against traditional agility -- She was apparently one of the "names" back in the early days of USDAA but broke off to do her own thing. NADAC started out as "agility" with more wide open, flowing courses. Who knows why her view of what agility should be has changed so vastly over the years. I do get annoyed by all of the people on the list that preach that they do NADAC for the good of their dog and so that they can continue to compete safely well into their prime. Hmph. I give you as an example Jenny Damm's dog, Elvis, who just turned 11 and is still competing on European courses (which as we all know are far more technical than what we see in the US): The messages that continue to come through the list frustrate me to no end. Going on and on about, "It's a barrel, what's the big deal, why can't you handle sending your dog around a barrel." These people completely miss the point. It's not about the barrel, it's what the barrel signifies -- All of the stupid changes that NADAC has incorporated over the years has made it something that moves further and further away from "agility." There is no challenge in NADAC anymore, save for the Chances class perhaps. Apparently to say such a thing is offensive to those who do struggle, though, so those posts don't make it onto the list.
  7. Well, your e-mail was just posted to the list.
  8. Great points! And I agree with your comment that NADAC has always leaned towards being beneficial for those who have obstacle focused dogs. Where else could you get away with pointing your dog down a line and expecting them to just keep going until you say otherwise? I call that obstacle focus more than following the path. It's one reason why Luke is so good at distance -- he just keeps going until I tell him otherwise. Kaiser to a lesser extent -- but Secret has always been more prone to look to me for direction, which is why she seems to enjoy more technical courses -- because mom is doing more than running a straight boring line.
  9. Yes -- An Elite Regular course can technically have one performance of 12 poles and one performance of six poles (you'll see that when weaves are used to replace the teeter on recycled courses). Then of course there is weavers, where in Elite you perform three sets of twelve poles. The vast majority of NADAC clubs went to 24" weaves as soon as they were allowed. With all the talk of safety and avoiding injuries to dogs, though, I can just see those going away eventually as well! Like I said, eventually EGC will just replace NADAC.
  10. Again, I love the implication that if you don't like it, you must just suck! I wrote a reply, we'll see if it goes through.
  11. If he has certain triggers that you are familiar with, try to monitor the environment to get his attention before he latches on. Easier said than done, I know. There should be signs that he is starting to go into that hyper-focused mode, though, and as you become more in tune to this it will be easier to ward off. It should go without saying that this is a dog to NEVER introduce to a laser light.
  12. Yes, at that age motion tends to get their attention. A high pitched, "puppy, puppy, puppy!" perhaps combined with some clapping as you run in the opposite direction tends to do the trick. When they follow you, reward with a toy or tasty treat to help build the value of the recall. If he's of the uber-independent variety, it wouldn't hurt to keep a long line attached to him to reel him in if he's totally blowing you off. Then reward. Bottom line is to not let him develop the habit of ignoring you. In my experience most puppies are super turned on by the chase me game until they hit about four to five months old and discover that the world is pretty interesting. But if you work hard to reinforce the game when they are young you can generally work through that stage.
  13. Agility trials and flyball tournaments are great places to pick up interesting name ideas. I love being gate steward at trials and getting to see all of the unique & popular name ideas out there. The one I'm sitting on at the moment for the next dog (which is likely a looooong way out there, so I'll probably forget it) is Trigger/Trig. Someone who trials in my region has a dog with this name and it just really appealed to me -- I think it goes back to my horse loving roots. lol I find naming to be so difficult. Luke came with that name from the shelter and I never changed it because I was so conflicted. I did name Kaiser before I picked him up. I thought for two days what I would name Secret and it just suddenly popped into my head about three hours into the drive home with her. Some dogs are easy to name, some aren't. It's something I struggle with at the animal shelter where I work, too. With some animals a name pops into your head instantly -- others I sit and stare at them forever and can't come up with anything that seems right.
  14. If I was experiencing this with a two year old border collie I would definitely be wanting to dig deeper into the issue and figure out what is the underlying cause. If you haven't already, I'd go to a University vet school. I'm fortunate to have one three hours away (MN) and one two hours away (WI) -- they are both top rate in special diagnostics. Yes, it will cost money, but you should come away with answers. Three hundred miles is worth it to help your dog.
  15. That's because there are very rarely any opportunities to handle a sequence differently on NADAC courses. Ooooooh, you can do a front cross here or a rear cross there. Yippee skippy. Although, that really WOULD be a challenge to many of the people I see at NADAC trials. I think there are some people who have honest to god never done a front cross in their life. When I throw in blind crosses I get all sorts of ooohs & ahhs.
  16. GOOD FOR YOU. This is one of the biggest issues with people new to any dog sport -- they are so concerned about "looking stupid" in front of everyone and fail to do what their dog NEEDS. It is why there are so many disconnected & disinterested dogs with frustrated handlers. So keep it up. Good job!
  17. I follow the AgilityNerd Facebook page and last week Steve posted a Danish jumping course that raised a few eyebrows. The course can be seen here: http://www.agilitycourses.dk/index.php?c=324 The octagon of jumps is an excellent training tool, but it's not often you see that sort of thing in a trial. It would kind of blow my mind, actually, and I thought the course map was really trippy when he posted it. So of course I printed it out and told myself I'd set it on our next training day. That was last night! I do think that the walk-through for this course at a trial would be a complete and total nightmare with everyone crammed on the inside of the octagon, but aside from that it ran a lot better than I expected. I was surprised at the lack of off course obstacles we had, as I expected several while bypassing jumps (Snooker skills are NOT our strong point!). It was lots of fun -- If you have the capability, I recommend trying it out. I left the octagon set to hopefully work those types of drills later in the week -- very versatile!
  18. In all its glory: Yeah.... Honestly, I couldn't even respond to that e-mail because it pissed me off so much.
  19. As the Kool-aid drinkers have continued to chime in, Sharon has only gotten more resolute about her decision to add barrels. That's kind of how it always goes. She mentions something in passing, you get a few protestors, a whole SLEW of "OMG, I worship the ground you walk on, Sharon!" posters, and then she puffs up and proclaims this new idea to be the *best thing ever* and that it WILL go into effect. Immediately at Funraisers, next year at all trials. It went from, "Clubs will have the option of using barrels," to "Clubs will be required to have at least one barrel." That's just how NADAC is. Honestly, competitor uproar means nothing to Sharon and she will do what she wants. Hello, look at the hoopla over the VT program (the stupidest idea ever, to integrate VT points with those earned at traditional trials). There was uproar over that and she did it anyhow. That was what ultimately pushed me to start trialing elsewhere. It was too much for me. The only reason I plan to continue with any NADAC whatsoever at this point is because Kaiser is two Chances runs from NATCH (where he will be the first Alaskan Klee Kai to do so) and Secret only needs seven Chances for hers. Once that's done I see no point in continuing. My oldest, Luke, is ready to start stepping back anyhow. The reason I'm so vocal and bitter is because I've been a huge NADAC supporter since I started agility. I have defended it more times than I can count to people who left and people who've never even tried it. I can't defend it anymore, because it's no longer "agility" as the world knows it. The changes are becoming laughable. The Kool-aid drinkers are ANNOYING AS HELL. I'm so sick of the, "It should be about having fun with your dog. Awards and titles and Q's shouldn't matter at all," blah, blah, blah. Well guess what, some of us do like a little competition and are vilified in NADAC for saying so. Sharon's latest about how she doesn't feel it's the "course's responsibility to challenge you" is the newest line of BS to annoy me. Uh.... I haven't been "challenged" by a NADAC course for the last two years. It's the whole reason I started doing bonus lines with Luke, because I was bored out of my mind by the repetitive nature of the courses presented every weekend. If I went to a trial where you were expected to run the same course twice in a row I'd just leave. If I want to practice skills I set up exercises at home and run them several different ways. I go to trials to test myself -- and I expect the courses to challenge and test me. I shouldn't HAVE to have 50' between myself and my dog to feel challenged. The courses at the Elite level should have SOME element of difficulty....
  20. To the OP -- You may be overwhelming the puppy, you may be doing "too much" or she may just be a late bloomer. Secret was similar as a puppy, except she was at least food motivated. I did a lot of clicker training with her and she thrived on it -- I typically used kibble as her main reward because it's all she needed. I rewarded very rapid-fire -- frequent and often to keep her playing the game. If she got frustrated because I took too big of a step forward or asked for too much she would disconnect and stop playing the game with me. Meanwhile I kept trying to build her interest in playing with me (with toys, without toys, anything!). I didn't have much success, so I kept going back to where we did have success -- more clicker work. More or less I just kept completely killing any play drive by asking for more and more "work" in the form of trick training. She figured that she didn't have to play with me because eventually I'd give her what she wanted -- food. FYI, she *did* play with other dogs, just not with me. When it came time for her to start agility foundations I was so frustrated. I couldn't turn her on to it at all. I eventually brought the clicker into that work, but it just made her slow and thoughtful. Eventually I just abandoned all training and focused on getting her to play. We didn't have the type of relationship I wanted, so I worked on building that and making stuff "fun" for us and not so serious all the time. I had been SO proud of having the "perfectly well behaved" puppy that knew a million tricks, but along the way we just never learned to be goofy together. I'm going to do things differently with my next puppy. I'll potty train it, obviously, but beyond that I don't plan to do anything but play with it the first year. Who needs manners? I want drive. Manners are easy to teach. Drive is easy to stifle and kill.
  21. For whatever reason, NADAC has been separating itself from mainstream agility more and more every year. It started with the removal of obstacles (no teeter, table, tire, chute, spreads) in the name of safety. Then hoops were introduced as a "ground speed obstacle." NADAC was the first to introduce rubber contacts, which I'll always consider a great and wonderful thing. But aside from that, I just don't understand what is with the constant push away from mainstream. Everything is done in the name of "safety" for the dogs. This barrel fiasco is brought about because apparently there are dogs wiping out in tightly curved tunnels. Maybe the problem is not with the tunnels, but with constantly pushing the dog to run 9 yps? I love fast dogs. I love watching fast dogs. But agility is more than just seeing how fast a dog can run. You can go to a greyhound track if that's what trips your trigger.
  22. Found an "EGC Combo" from Champs that combines everything. I have no idea what the actual course is in this case -- the thing about EGC is that you don't correct mistakes, you just keep going and are scored for how many things you get right.
  23. If you really want your traditional agility mind blown, witness the "gate/hoop circle."
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