Friday, September 11, 2009

AKC Advisory recommendations

Earlier this week the AKC announced their list of recommended changes, that will be voted on in the near future. Some are good, some I really couldn't care less about and others are just silly (in my opinion).

I like the idea of the "position less" table, all the dog needs to do is get on, as soon as all 4 feet hit the table the count begins. I've lost a lot of time while Kittie slowly slinks into a down, then takes another second to get her elbows all the way down, and the judge takes yet another couple of seconds to decide, yes she really is down. 24" weave poles I'm all for.....although this may mean I'll be buying yet another set of weave poles (anyone need a set of 22" poles?). I love the idea of a true preferred agility Ch, not just a PAX. A PAX doesn't require any speed points, the PACh will have the same requirements of a MACh, 20 QQ and 750 points. It's nice to be able to have a goal to work towards.

The lower A frame for 8" dogs.......I won't be very popular with a lot of small dog people, but I'm just not for it. I've seen some dogs have trouble with the A frame, but I really believe any sound dog, that has been properly trained and conditioned can safely do a 5' 6" A frame. The little dogs have enough trouble being taken seriously in the sport as it is, we don't need yet another reason to be viewed as silly little lap dogs who can't really run. For those who have trouble with a 5'6" frame there are other venues that offer a 5' A frame, like NADAC. Maybe as a compromise lower it for preferred dogs of all heights????

There is a venue for almost any dog/handler, some are very challenging and competitive others are strictly for fun, it's great to have all those options, but we don't need to make things easy in every venue.

No multipliers for points, I don't much care. It's fun to get extra points with a placement, but it won't make a difference. It will make qualifying for nationals a lot tougher, but that's okay too. Every dog doesn't need to qualify for nationals. If you trial a lot and are reasonably consistent, you will qualify for nationals as things are right now, without the multipliers Kittie may not have qualified some years, and that's okay. It should really mean something to be able to compete at an event like nationals.

Things I would have liked to see: A break-away tire, if you have ever had or watched a dog get hung up on the tire you know this is a serious safety issue. There also needs to be something done with the teeter, it should be consistent and fair to all dogs running.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hip Dysplasia

There has been a lot of interesting information about hip dysplasia coming out recently. This blog has a nice summary, and I love the fact that she stresses the importance of keeping dogs in proper condition.

CHF notes on hip dysplasia – “Current Concepts Regarding Canine Hip Dysplasia” by Peter Vogel

I would love to see more information on luxating patellas, like HD it is also a polygenic trait, but it almost always seems to cause pain and effects the dog's quality of life.

Way to Go Gus

Indy's littermate got his first major!!! We think he's pretty cute!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back in novice

Kittie & Abby were entered in a 3 day trial over the weekend. I decided to move Kittie to preferred, so she can keep doing agility since she loves to run so much, but not have to worry about the jumps. I moved Abby too, just to see if there's any difference between jumping her at 12" vs 8" since she's so close to the height cut off.

Kittie loves jumping 4", it still seems kind of silly to me, I mean there's virtually nothing to jump! It is pretty fun though, Kittie's running full out, in complete extension the whole time. She's been different to handle, so I feel like I'm learning through the process.

Abby left me pretty confused and upset this weekend. The first run, was as I expected it to be, clean and fairly fast. She was just a second slower than Kittie. Second run, she took a couple of tries to get the poles, by the 3rd run of the weekend (2nd day) she was pretty much falling apart. We're not sure if it's stress related, or some type of mild injury. It's just so confusing, almost her entire agility career, has been like this. She's either running amazingly well, or falling apart, there's no inbetween (in class and trials), so it's hard to know what to do. she's entered 2 days next weekend, and I'm not sure if she'll be running. I'll have the chiropractor look at her, otherwise I just don't know what to do.....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Our first dogs

For anyone who has trained several dogs, and looked back at how you began, it's inevitable to stop and wonder , "How did (fill in the blank, first dog's name) do it?"

Willy was the first dog I trained for agility, Rudy and Kittie quickly followed before I was even competing with Willy, so they all pretty much started together. We didn't have jumps for the longest time, just 6 stick in the ground weave poles, no contact equipment of any kind, not even a training plank. We had no contact criteria of any kind, just run down the contact, screech to a halt at the target that no one ever really trained them to touch and get a cookie. My poor dogs had never even seen a wing jump, panel or broad jump until their novice debut, yet they did OK. Kittie managed to walk away after her first trial (3 days at the IX center in Cleveland) with her NAJ and 1 0r 2 legs toward her NA, thinking back, she must have been pretty slow, how else could we have managed?

Kittie's the only one of my original dogs still running, and she certainly has limitations due to her start and lack of foundation training, but she's come a long way and tried to make up for her limitations with enthusiasm!

When Abby started I had more experience, but still no where near enough. I really let Abby's wild enthusiasm push things along way too fast, and didn't proof each step enough. She's a really fun dog to run and certainly keeps me on my toes.

And now there's little Indy. The focus with her has been foundation, lots and lots of work on her foundation, and I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised lately. Thanks to months of foundation work, she's understanding things practically before I teach them to her, if that makes any sense.

We're taking our time with contacts. Her dogwalk is coming along nicely but for the first time ever, I'm actually nervous about training a running contact. I love Indy's teeter, she's been on different teeters, on different surfaces and she's handling it all really well.

I just started her jump training, and I have a new problem.....she has yet to hit a bar, not a bad thing by any means, but typically in their early training you can use the occasional knocked or ticked bar to teach them that it's important to keep bars up, just by withholding a treat. Still, I think I'll take no knocked bars over lots of them any day!