Tuesday, March 21, 2017

First Rally-FrEe Advanced leg

Scored 163, which was a bit higher than I was expecting. Obviously Cai hadn't fully learned the Back Thru x3 or the Turn Back Thru yet, but I went ahead with the run because I wanted to support the video event.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Agility match

Our first agility match in a long, long time! Chimera was SO happy to be running again! He was zooming! In fact, at one point he did a quick zoom around the ring because he was so happy to be running. I stopped and held my hand out, and he ran back to me with a strong nose touch. We then continued our practice.

My focus was on getting tight turns (which has always been a weak point for us), particularly by giving Cai plenty of heads up without pulling him off a jump. I saw progress but we'll need lots more repetition on this front. I also worked on setting clear lines and using an "open" shoulder to direct Cai to jumps at a distance. This went fairly well. Our rear crosses were worse than usual.

I skipped the weaves, dog walk, and a-frame. We did the teeter once and he did okay, though he stopped at the tipping point rather than going all the way to the end. We had managed that in training at one point, but this is another area that needs plenty of review.

I'd like to get back into classes at ACE but I'm moving to a new area in mid-April. On the bright side, I'll have a giant grassy pasture in which to practice with my mini-equipment, and one of my friends will be setting up a full-size ring later this year. So for the first time, I'll be able to practice outside of class!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Guard dog

My landlord had a plumber come down while I was away. She didn't realize that Chimera was home because he was being quiet. He came into the living room/kitchen after a minute, stopped and looked at the plumber, then retreated to the bedroom again.

Good job, dog.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Paw stand

This is an older video that I just uploaded.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Cleared for agility

Another recheck with Dr Wendy Wallace, and she has officially cleared us to start agility training again! Of course we'll ease back into it with low jumps, minimal turns, etc. We can start with jumps and tunnels, then weave poles and teeter, then dog walk, and leave the a-frame for last.

Both Cai and I are out of practice, so we'll be focusing on handling work with low jumps rather than rushing to get back on the obstacles.

On a different note, I was also happy that Cai only barked at one dog while we were at the vet's office, and it was a brachycephalic dog that was breathing very loudly. Later we went for a walk at the cemetery and he saw three dogs and stayed below threshold around all of them.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Freestyle music picked, private lesson

No one else showed up to Freestyle class last night (possibly because of the storm), so Chimera and I got a private lesson. I had just decided what song to use for our first routine: I Kissed A Girl by Jill Sobule:

I had a few ideas already for certain parts of the song. I shared them with Judy, who gave me feedback, and then we worked on developing the parts in between. We're about halfway done already!

I need to edit the song file down to between 1:30 and 2:15 in length, then divide it up into sections that I can play and practice to individually.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Mat hate

"I don't like the mat. You can't make me use the mat."

He'll get on it for a treat, but he's never been into settling on a soft mat when we're out. He chooses the floor instead. Yet at home, he would never lay on the floor, but always chooses comfy beds. Weirdo.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Musical Freestyle class

I signed up for an advanced-level Musical Freestyle class with Cai. It's taught by Judy Gamet of Dogs Can Dance. The class is for dogs and handlers who have already learned a variety of Freestyle tricks and are looking for help putting a routine together. There are three other students, all of whom already have some basic idea of what they want to do. I entered the class without any ideas; I need help figuring out what kind of music would fit us as well as putting together sequences.

After a warm up for each student, Judy asked me to pick one skill that we already do well, and we brainstormed together. I picked going through my legs. We ended up with a fun sequence that alternates between walking forward and weaving through my legs, and has me stepping both forward and backward as Cai weaves.

For next week I need to come in with another skill to work on. I was thinking of picking paw raises (though I need to be careful of overtaxing Cai's left shoulder) or backing up.

Going through the brainstorming process with Judy really helped me see how I could start putting together multiple moves with a theme. I suspect my biggest challenges will be 1) memorizing the choreography for an entire piece, and 2) coordinating doing my own movements with giving the correct verbal cues to Cai, with correct timing. That part has always been a weakness of mine, such as one time when I yelled "hup!" as Cai ran toward a tunnel entrance during agility class. (He pulled up short and gathered himself for a jump, then stopped and stared at me. I was amazed, as at the time I hadn't realized just how much he does listen to my verbal cues.)

I hope that we'll earn our Masters (aka Excellent) level title in Rally-FrEe this year, and possibly even Champion. Once that's done, I'm planning on transitioning my sports focus to Freestyle. Agility is still up in the air until we get the all clear from Dr Wallace.

Chiro check up

While Chimera enjoyed running through the snow, on the second day's hike he was favoring his left shoulder. We cut the walk short.

He had his regularly scheduled appointment with Dr Wallace a couple of weeks later. He had slightly knocked his pelvis out of alignment again, and his shoulders were much more painful than usual. She said that it was most likely due to the different kind of activity than he's used to, and is not necessarily indicative of anything serious. I was disappointed, though.

We went to the pet store today and I bought a cute little dress for Cai - I've been looking for just the right piece of "formal wear." He flinched when I was guiding his left leg through the hole.

His bad iliopsoas sprains seem to have mostly healed, but now that shoulder is worrying me.