Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NADAC Champs Video Here!

NADAC Championship streaming video here!


NADAC Championships

The New England group has arrived in Tennessee and the champs start tomorrow. I wish them a great time and super runs!

The requirements are 250 lifetime points in Regular with 100 points earned in the current year. The rest of the classes require an Open or Elite title with 3 qualifying scores in the current year. I reviewed the requirements for Champs and Stewie did qualify in all classes except Weavers.
It makes me pretty proud that he was qualifed to go. Maybe someday...........

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chances Success Sunday

Chances was the 1st class of the day again and we ran right away so I didn't get much chance to get nervous, that was probably a good thing. This Chances course was doable also! Stewie did a flawless job and also got the out at the end which was 2 tunnels right next to each other. Luckily I got there in time to push him out. It was a great run and we got to check another Chances Q off of our score sheet. We are down to 8 more to go!
Mary and Lexi got Chances Q's both days, that was awesome! Lexi has six more Chances to go to get her NATCH.

Elite Tunnelers Run Video

Thanks Carolyn for taking this video of Stewie's Tunnelers run on Sunday. It was a fun one!
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Addicted to Agilty-Saturday!

Kudos to Ray Wheeler, our great judge this weekend at Addicted to Agility, and for another great trial Michelle and Mike, have an awesome time in Tennessee at the NADAC Nationals!

Our first run was Chances and it was doable! I Unfortunately there were no course maps at all to make copies from. There was a send out and then the dogs had to come back in, and I didn't pull Stewie quick enough and pulled him off a jump. What a dunce! Other than that it was a great run and I was proud of Stewie's performance.

Jumpers was next and it was a really tight and tough one. I actually did a front cross to turn Stewie off a tunnel, and I think I performed it correctly and the brat cut behind me and took the tunnel after all. No Q there.

Regular was next and the first set of poles was the 2nd obstacle, after the start hoop. Mary thought he was get the poles since he wouldn't have gotten up to speed yet. But he blasted by them and I had to bring him back.

Regular 2: The poles were the 2nd to last obstacle and he got them first try and weaved great! Yahoo! Too bad we had missed a jump earlier in the run, drat!

We did redeem ourselves in Tunnelers and got a Q and a 3rd place. That Q gave Stewie his Superior Tunnelers Title, that is 200 points in Elite Tunnelers. Michelle gave us a title ribbon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Who’s Shaping Me?

Who’s Shaping Me?: " Could it be a Jack Russell Terrier??

Isn’t it funny how all of these posts on dogs shaping people have ended up having picture of a terrier with them. And not coincidentally many of your comments are about Jack Russell Terriers! Hmm, yes indeed Terriers are just masterful at shaping their people. It is because they are so brilliant and have a tenacity that allows them to continue to try something over and over until it finally works.

So let me start off by sharing some of the things my terrier have managed to shape me to do. Twister was magnificent at it. When I used to be in sales my dogs traveled with me. We would come home from work at night and I would rush to the bathroom. Twister would go to the office and take any new fax that came in from the fax machine and delivery them, one page at a time, to me sitting on the toilet. Now this was a good thing and she would get reinforced for it. However when I left sales and became a full time dog trainer there where no longer daily faxes for my little terrier to deliver. That didn’t stop Twister. Every once in a while as I worked at my desk in my office, she would dig through trash until she found an intact sheet of paper. She would then leave the office with it and then prance back with it in her mouth, proud as can be as if to announce “here, you didn’t see this one, this is a fax that just came in.” I would laugh my butt off and of course I would reward her. She then went on to include John’s desk in on the game. She would jump on his desk and take a piece of mail from his stack to deliver it to me. It always cracked me up (although it soon grew tiresome for John:)).

I had trained Twister to sit on a chair in the kitchen anytime anyone prepared food (dogs meals or human) in

Twister (1992-2008) working her chair routine

Twister (1992-2008) working her chair routine

the kitchen. When she got on her chair she would earn the chance to be rewarded. It wasn’t a gaurenteed reward, although Twister believed it should be. If I was preparing a big meal and was in the kitchen for a long time she would get on and off the chair as if to let me know she been rewarded enough. That never worked, what did work (and it took me giving her quite few reinforcements before I clued it) was if Twist didn’t get her cookies she would start to rattle the chair. She did it by shifting her weight back and forth on it in order to get it rocking against the tile floor. This quiet noise brought my attention to her in a more subtle way and allowed her to earn several rewards before I realized what was going on. She was a gem that Twister girl and I continued to reward that little game of hers long after I knew what she was doing. Sometimes cute gets rewarded too.

DeCaff shaped me to do something that later caused me about 9 months of training grief. Here is what happened. When she was a puppy and we would tug I would play Smack Da Baby with her (wacking her with my free hand as she tugged) and she loved the game. However if I smacked her anywhere from her shoulders forward she would drop the toy. She always was happy to re-grip but she always dropped the toy. So her behaviour unconsciously shaped me not to Smack Da Baby above her shoulders. No big deal right? Wrong. It took me 9 months to figure out why I struggled getting any speed or rhythm with DeCaff in her weave pole performance. It took her over 4 seconds to weave 12 poles. Once I realized it was that she didn’t the poles touching her anywhere near her shoulders or face I fixed my problem with less a month of counter-conditioning. When I was done not only could I Smack Da Baby anywhere on her body (including in her face) I also could also play the new game of smack-a-wee-baby-face-into-the polies. I never had a problem with her weave poles again and she went on to have one of the fastest times for Jack Russell and mini dogs in the Clean Run 60 Weave Pole Challenge.

Don’t think terriers are the only dogs that can shape behaviour either. All dogs have this skill. My Border Collies are just to obvious though. Clearly they haven’t learned the subtitles of the terriers. That is until Feature. I have always thought of her as Terrier in a Border Collie’s body. The most annoying behaviours Feature has pulled on me involve her crate games. Notice how she has managed to get me to leave her on an agility table rather than in her crate when I teach or train. She is just brilliant.

Okay, your turn. Continue to tell me the things your dogs have managed to shape you to do. Do be shy, I’ve showed you mine, now you should me yours!

Today I am grateful how all of my dogs; those past and present, continue to teach me that reinforcement really does build behaviour.


Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Eastern Regionals on ESPN this weekend & FCI updates, results and maps!

Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Eastern Regionals on ESPN this weekend & FCI updates, results and maps!: "The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Eastern Regional that was held here in Indianapolis this past August will be broadcast (delayed) on ESPN and ESPN2 this Sunday. Guess we'll see if any of the competitors needed some cheap health insurance after the event, BOL!! Here's the schedule:

09/20/09 Sunday 12:00 - 1:00 PM ESPN2
09/20/09 Sunday 5:00 - 6:00 PM ESPN

Spoiler Alert: Here are results from the event last August.


Don't miss some of the results & course maps we're posting with the FCI World Agility Championships being held in Austria this weekend. We've got one post going and will be updating that post throughout the weekend.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

NADAC in Wrentham MA this weekend

Mary, Lexi, Stewie and I are headed to Addicted to Agility's Wrentham trial tomorrow. It starts with tunnelers fun runs on Friday afternoon. Chances is the 1st class each day and Stewie is about the 8th dog to run Saturday morning. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wed Club practice

It was another beautiful night at the tree farm Wednesday. We set up a standard course from the CPE Nationals in Greenfield. It was a pretty tricky course. Stewie did great weaves again so I am hopeful for the NADAC trial this weekend! A couple of agility students came and are hopefully planning on joining NEAT so that is great news.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Training

Tonight we followed up on more go on's and lefts and rights to obstacles with a favored obstacle straight ahead. Stewie got caught the first time and then got all the turns to the left. He still is not as reliable at turns to the right, sometimes turning to the left. Will continue to keep training on it.

Annette State Forest

The beautiful pine forest

Hubbard Pond in Rindge, NH

Monday, September 14, 2009

Training and Tower Hill

Sunday Stewie and I worked in the backyard for a bit on get outs, and sends and then left turns to jumps and tunnels. He did very well taking the left turn and finding the tunnel entrance, instead of just continuing in a straight line.

Later we took a walk to Tower Hill Lake in Auburn for a couple of hours. First we hunted for a geo cache. Dave found it, but Stewie thinks he helped. Then we continued on a great walk.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Catching Up

No agility Thursday and Friday, just walks in the conservation land. Yesterday we all went to a Fireman's Muster in Woolrich, ME, where Stewie and Cleveland were adored by many small children.
Today is a great day, and we plan to get outside for a hike and some training too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Club Practice

We had beautiful weather and a great practice Wednesday at club practice. We set up a USDAA Masters standard course. It was a great course except for the threadle, I hate threadles. That is probably because I don't do them very well, I admit it!
Anyway, Stewie did fabulous weaves every time and got the entry every time, hurray! I handled the dogwalk from outside of the weave poles then called him over 12 and then turned and sent him to the poles. It worked great.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guilford Fair

Here are some pictures Dave and I took of the dogs and the fair. After the Show and Go, we walked around the fair and saw the horse pulling, and the horse show.

Sharing a drink!

Stewie watches the pulling horses

Show and Go-Guilford, VT

Lead out Practice

On Labor Day Dave drove Stewie and I and Cleveland to Guildford, Vermont to Breeze Thru Agility's annual Show and Go. Stewie went several years ago when he was very young and we had a great time. We went this year to work on our weave poles in a trial situation. We did 2 Standard runs and one Jumpers run.
Since the obstacles were awfully close together for us, I did a lot of layering and sending Stewie to obstacles. I did long lead outs on each course too, at least 2 or 3 obstacles and maintaining lateral distance also.
The sequence was the dog walk to a tunnel and then the weave poles. The first run, he ran by the weave poles just like he has been doing in trials. I resent him and he did great poles and I stopped and treated him.
The 2nd regular run he nailed the weave pole entry and kept going and finished the poles. I threw his tug and treat for him with a jackpot in it, just like I do in training. I think this was a good reinforcement for him.

The jumpers run was an easy one with lots of sends. I used it to practice my lead out. I led out 3 jumps and pretty much stayed in that position and sent him around the course. A spectator took some great shots of him too! Thank you Dave Copeland!

Jumpers photos by Dave Copeland, thank you!

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Club Practice

Club practice was awesome this week, beautiful weather, and lots of people and dogs. There was a nice USDAA standard course. I got some good distance practice with Stewie. He did great weave poles also! He bailed off of the teeter though, I will have to practice that more if we ever do more USDAA trials.
We had 3 good runs and Stewie was eager to run all of them. He and Tom's JRT Tara were much more calm around each other, so they are getting more used to each other.