Monday, February 5, 2018

Off leash hikes

We've been doing a lot of off leash hiking lately. Chimera used to be terrible at coming when called, especially away from other dogs. Nowadays he is nearly perfectly behaved. At Lagoon Valley, he started running after a flock of geese taking off from the field. I called him, and he immediately, without any change in speed, made a wide turn and raced right back to me!

And here he is walking next to my side at Pt Isabel:

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2nd set of AKC Agility Qs

We were signed up for Standard and Jumpers on 12/29 and 12/30. I overslept on the first day, so we only got to do Standard. Cai was wild. He ran super fast! And blew past 3 obstacles! And slid off the table! And of course missed his weave entrance. By the end I was laughing at him so hard that I had to stop at the weaves to catch my breath. One of my friends took a video of this glorious run:

The next day was back to normal. Cai was his usual fast rather than "omg I can't keep up," and he didn't blow past any obstacles. He did miss a couple of turn cues when he was distracted by things outside the ring, but both runs were qualifying. Got weaves on the first try in both runs, if I remember correctly. (It's all a blur now, since Terra came down with pneumonia that afternoon, and then I got sick as well.)

Our next trial is mid-February, and hopefully we'll get his Novice titles in Standard and Jumpers! I'm not running Time 2 Beat or FAST yet because I can't handle those extra mental challenges.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Solstice!

First holiday picture in six years without Jasper Fforde. I miss you, party cat. At least Cai enjoys playing with his new sibling, too.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Rally-FrEe Advanced title (R-FE/M)

We signed up for the World Wide video competition. I recorded at Sherry's. I could record here in the back yard, but Chimera moves much better on a flat grassy field than on wood chips, and I wanted to set him up for success. Unfortunately on the day we had set aside for recording, it was extremely windy. Our ring gates were falling over, and one of the Free Choice signs blew away, never to be seen again. Poor Cai. This was not his best work. Despite the difficult environment, we qualified with a score of 142. That completes his title in the Advanced class, which is called R-FE/M.

We'll now be in the Championship class, which is identical to the Advanced class. (After that is the Grand Championship class, which requires 5 scores of 175+. That will be a challenge for us.)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

First AKC agility Qs!

Chimera was entered into his first AKC agility trial yesterday. We did a standard novice run and a jumpers novice run and qualified in both!

I had been sure that Cai's height was just under 12" and therefore he would need to jump 12". However he measured in at 11" with one rep and 10.45" with the second, so he's all set to only jump 8" in AKC! That's a relief - it's easier on his body, and of course he'll be faster on the course.

Jumpers was one big counter-clockise loop for #1-9. Before #10 I did a rear cross, and a second rear cross before #13. After #7 I was glancing up ahead and heard Cai give a loud squeal. I looked back and he was standing in one spot, hunched over awkwardly. The bar was still up, so my best guess was that he had landed oddly. I asked him to take the next jump, and he did it normally. So I decided to finish the run unless he showed me that he was hurt. He did the rest flawlessly. After we finished I asked the judge if he saw what had happened. He and a couple people from the ring crew all confirmed that Cai squealed as he jumped over #7, but since the bar was still up, he mostly likely had barely caught a toe on the bar.

I don't think that he was truly hurt as he would have been limping and/or slowed down for the rest of the course. Instead he sped back up and finished with enthusiasm. He didn't limp as I walked him around afterwards.

I put him back in the car for 90 minutes until it was our turn in Standard. He was sound asleep when I went back for him after the walk through and was slow to perk up. I worried that I hadn't given him enough time to wake back up and warm up.

Terra chewed on the map a bit.
I did a front cross after the teeter and again after the weaves, making sure to go deep so that he would have a straight approach to the broad jump.

He hesitated at the top of the a-frame, which was unusual. No problems with the tire or teeter. I saw him hesitate just slightly and look closely at the panel and broad jumps, which he hasn't seen in a long time, but I repeated the cue "hup!" a few times and so he trusted me and jumped them. On the weaves, he got distracted and looked off and popped out. Fortunately novice allows a redo and on the second try he was perfect.

So all in all I'm quite happy with how we did. I'll keep an eye on his toes (and let Dr Wallace know at his next chiropractic appointment next week). And I'll continue to work on figuring out just the right balance between letting him acclimate and warm up but not tiring him out.

Time to check the calendar for our next trial!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Vet practice

We took a break from practicing handling at the vet's office after I brought Terra home. I scheduled another one and had the tech run through a typical exam with him. She checked his eyes, ears, teeth, pulse temperature, lifted his front legs to look at his chest/belly, and palpated his abdomen. Later I had her stretch and feel all four legs. Here and there he gave mildly stressed body language (tail down, yawn, and/or tense face), but he tolerated it. He only tried to avoid her when there was a dog on the other side of the door that he needed to bark at, and when she picked him up (which I should have told her not to do). We had previously also worked toward getting a voluntary blood draw, but we're close to the limit of what we can do without actually drawing blood. Maybe one more session with that to come. Aside from that, I need to do practice a lot more with settling calmly on his side.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Monthly chiro adjustment, rally-free failure

I brought a cheese and salmon Bark Pouch for Cai to lick at during his monthly chiropractic adjustment. He loved it and was so enthused that he didn't growl or even fidget once. Dr Wallace was impressed. As usual, she had to fix up his pelvis and front left shoulder. She noted that his back left leg was also a little off, which was probably from hitting it on the agility tire on Tuesday. No injury to his toes, though.

I asked if she thought it would be okay to raise his jump height back to 12" and she said no reason not to. That means we can finally compete again!! We'll be doing AKC since it's the venue I'm most familiar with and is very common. (I'd love to do more TDAA as well but the one club that hosted events seems to have given up due to low entries and lack of volunteers to help run things.)

I signed up for a Rally-FrEe video event and we went to Sherry's to record. Cai was distractable and imprecise in his tricks. I stopped partway through our first run. We tried again and he was better but then he left the "ring" to follow a scent, which is an automatic disqualification. He's never good for more than two runs so we stopped for the day. We came back a few days later but it was raining so I had to scratch our entry.

I signed up for the world wide video event next month. I'll do more training in the meantime and hopefully we'll do better. I had expected too much from him after a long break without practice.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Foot owie

Chimera has never been good at the tire. He tends to misjudge the take off point. This morning he banged his back left foot against it and came up limping. I examined him, walked him around a bit, and then he was putting weight on it. I ran him over a small sequence but he was still compensating for it, so we went home early. I'm pretty sure it's just a little owie rather than a real injury - he's always been a drama queen.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Agility update, recent pictures

We've moved up to 8 inches in agility class. (We'd been doing 4 inches for a while so that we could get back into the groove after our long break.) Cai is flying over the jumps, and we're much more in sync now. Only thing that's still lacking is Cai's drive forward if I am not moving quickly. I have to be very careful not to slow down early on sends, which pulls him off. I'll move up again to 12 inches after his next chiropractic adjustment. If things still look good, we'll finally be ready to enter AKC Novice.

Here are some recent pictures:

We've both missed our regular off leash hikes.

Belly rubs while watching his sister play.

So suspicious.


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