Monday, 7 September 2015

ASCA 2015

This year, I took Piper down to the ASCA trial at Tee Creek. We have gone every summer, it is my favourite trial of the year :) It was about a 3.5 hour drive, so this year we also camped at the farm for two nights, a first with my girl.

Saturday we were entered in two rally advanced runs, one sub-novice obedience run, and two jumpers agility runs. Sunday we were entered in a whole day of agility - two jumpers, two gamblers, and two standards.

Saturday we had a great day, qualifying in both rally runs, the obedience run, and one of the jumper runs. Not too shabby! Sunday we qualified in another jumper run (for Piper's first agility title, JS-N) and a standard run.

I was super happy with her. She was focused, and happy to work through the whole weekend. She ran, and qualified, in three different events in one day, and ran five times. In ASCA there's no option to lower heights until the dog is seven years, so Pip had to jump at 20". Normally we train and trial in AAC at 16", so she had a few dropped bars. I wasn't too concerned with that. I screwed up the timing for our gambler runs, so again, my fault. I was super happy Piper successfully did weaves for the first time in a trial! We've worked so hard with them this summer, it was nice to see her able to complete them. I definitely held her back though, I need to learn to trust her more.

Attached are the videos of our two jumper runs and two standards runs from Sunday afternoon.

Monday, 10 August 2015

tricks are for kids (and dogs)

Since I moved from Guelph, I've spent quite a bit of time teaching various tricks. With Piper, I enjoy spending time learning multi-step tricks. She's so eager, and offers so many different behaviours, I find it a blast to teach her!

I've worked a bit with Ace as well, mostly on things that I had tried (and failed) to teach him when he was younger. 

Its great for in the winter, when its too cold and snowy to go on many walks. I also find it a nice break from obedience and rally. We are able to work on different skills and body postures. I feel like the more we do, the more attentive Piper becomes, and ultimately the better obedience dog she becomes!

This year my goal is to teach Piper a bomb-proof "hold". Hopefully that will allow us to move easily from Novice to Open Obedience, when we are ready. 

A few of Piper's favourites...
Beg - one of Piper's favourite tricks to offer

Bow - another fun one. She can find this position from either a stand or a down.

Handstand - one of the most difficult we have learned so far. Another one she likes to offer!

Friday, 30 January 2015

winter in muskoka

Winter in Muskoka, otherwise known as "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

There's a lot of snow here. More snow than anywhere I've lived before. And it's cold. Very cold. However, the hiking trails are still phenomenal, my apartment is NOT cold, and work is reasonably busy!

Other than being a freakazoid about having to drive in the snow, I'm really enjoying it up here. In fact, I think I would struggle moving back to southern Ontario.

Here are a whole bunch of winter photos - excuse the crummy quality, I only have a camera on my phone at the moment.

Percy and Archie - no idea what they were getting up to.
Attempted selfie of Piper and I on New Years Day

Lazy night. Barely space for me on that bed!

Hiking/posing at Kerr Park

Snowy Ace, at Wilson Falls (notice his boots, and my snowshoes?!)

Run faster Ace!

Piper at a different section of Kerr Park - and on a different day.

Too cold to go outside? We'll do an indoor workout!

Piper all snuggled up with Percy.

Piper says "I'm gonna get you!" Poor Ace

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Fall CKC trials

In early November, I entered Piper in a two rally novice runs and one obedience pre-novice run at the Georgina Kennel Club Trial. The trial was held in Lindsay, about half an hour from my parent's house, so travel was easy. It was probably the largest trial we had entered, with rally, obedience, and two conformation rings. The whole arena was full of dogs!

Piper was first dog on the line in the obedience ring, and rocked her final pre-novice leg. Yahoo!

We then had to wait about two hours for our first rally run. She already had a leg from the previous winter, and had her ASCA RN from the summer, so I was nervous but didn't doubt she would qualify. Hubris haha. I walked the course and it was a little awkward, but not very many fronts (which I struggle with). When it was our turn, we seemed to breeze through...until we got the second last sign and I thought "hey, I thought there was a similar sign near the beginning of the course...oh shit". I walked right past the third sign on the course. Stupid, nervous Kelly! So we didn't qualify in that run, even though everything else was beautiful. Oh well.

Waiting around another few hours for our second run, we chatted with a woman who had a Toller set up next to us. Turns out I had met her before through a mutual friend. My mom and her friend also stopped in to watch our last run. Now all of a sudden I'm surrounded by people I know and the pressure's on!

Piper warmed up beautifully as we prepared to go into the ring. The judge is already in the ring as we walk in. All of a sudden, Piper won't stop staring at her. I get her attention to start the course. Once we get going, she looks back at the judge again. The poor judge can't figure out what she's done...I can't figure out what she's done! Piper continues to half pay attention to me and half to the judge throughout the entire course. It was super sloppy, with tons of out-of-position marks off, but the judge passed us. I actually can't believe she scored us as well as she did! The only thing I can think of that threw Piper off was that there may have been a noise as she entered the ring. Maybe she associated it with the judge? It was just an odd run.

I do for sure think we both need practice at trials, specifically with ring nerves and proofing. We are going to do our best to find a few mock trials, or maybe even enter a few trials as exhibition.

So now Piper was only one Q away from her CKC RN, and boy was I determined! I found out there was a trial only an hour from Bracebridge the following weekend, and our old instructor was judging! After confirming we were allowed to compete under her, and confirming we were allowed day-of entries, we arrived at the trial the following weekend.

It was a much smaller trial, and Piper was the third dog on the line. I've noticed our early-in-the-day runs are ALWAYS our best. Anyways, it was a phenomenal run. We came out with a score of 99 - only 1 point off for out of position. My faith was restored after our crummy rally runs the weekend before.

Piper heeling in our 3rd qualifying RN run. She really is awesome :)

We are now in an advanced rally class to learn the new signs and practice working off leash. I hope to join our old friends at the Peterborough Obedience Club for their May trial. I was also hoping to try entering in novice obedience, but I'm not sure I will be confident enough for that. Time will tell!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

OSPCA volunteering

In August I connected with the manager of the Muskoka OSPCA and asked about volunteering to spend time walking, training, and generally socializing the dogs. It took a little while to get organized, but I've gone pretty much every week for the past 6 months.

I've met some pretty awesome dogs, and a few who definitely pulled at my heartstrings. A few others who drove me crazy. I'm certainly learning what I like in a dog and what I don't. While I tend to prefer herding dogs, there have been a few anomalies who have been phenomenal dogs. Good thing I have no room for more animals in my apartment! That will all change when I move to a house with a fenced yard, hopefully in the spring. Kidding...I'll likely hold out for another Aussie, a few years down the road. I do enjoy helping the local dogs, and hopefully teaching them a few core skills, like sit and wait, to help them acclimatize to their adoptive families.

Generally when I get to the shelter, I check in to see if there are any dogs who can't be walked (usually due to recent surgeries), and who is most in need of a walk. Usually these are the dogs who are super high energy, or really nervous and in need of extra socialization. I take them out into the little off-leash pen and let them get their zoomies out, hopefully at the same time learning that I have lots of tasty treats and that they can offer things like sits to get them! Then I pop them on a leash and take them out on the little trail behind the shelter. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk the trail, I wish it was a longer route. Leash walks are sometimes successful and sometimes super frustrating, depending on the dog, their food drive, and their existing leash skills. 

I plan on continuing to volunteer indefinitely, and eventually to help further develop their volunteer program.

This little female was super cute, very friendly and outgoing. Some type of large breed mix. Already adopted, but I always try to spend some time with puppies when they are in :)
Porter was a 3 yr old boxer cross (nudge nudge - doesn't look anything like a boxer to me) who totally stole my heart. He was surrendered by an owner who could not afford the vet bill to remove porcupine quills from his poor pooches face :( He was in the shelter a number of weeks, and was the most gentle dog I've ever met.
Teddy was a 10 year old spaniel...this little old man had enthusiasm and ball drive to spare. If I wasn't in an apartment, I would have taken him home in a heartbeat.