Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our agility trainer has taken this week off. Jeep and I are really going to miss the class. We so look forward to our Thursday training sessions. Each week is such a learning experience and Jeep improves measurably. I have learned to do my crosses without thinking about what I am doing. When I spend too much time thinking about how they should be done I usually mess up. I am learning so much about body language with Jeep. He reads me so well and will take cues that I did not even realize I had given to him.
Next week I will be taking Max to class for a refresher, it has been more than a year since he has attended and the exposure will be so good for him. I know that I will not be able to stay away with Jeep so will have to do a drop in session in the Friday evening class. For the next few weeks I will rotate the boys so they both can practice and be ready for the trial in Oct.
I have learned that I truly need to have an exercise program for myself. I am not fast enough and I get tired too quickly. After working an hour with the boys in class I feel like I have just experienced an aerobics session. 
I have most of the equipment here at home so I can practice as much as I want and can fit into the day. I would love to get some cavaleties so they can practice trotting over them and stretching their muscles and improving their gaits. 
Max and Jeep are so different, I have to learn two styles of handling. Sometimes it is hard to remember how each works and what works best for them. Max is the dog who will run fast but wants me near him and Jeep is the dog who runs so fast that I need to learn to direct him from a distance. At the start line I need to start with Max and go with him. With Jeep I need to lead off as far as I can and go so he has to catch me. This is where I need to be in better physical condition. Hopefully once this hot and humid weather decides to leave us I will be able to get out and walk. Walking makes me feel good. It clears my head and I think of all the beautiful surroundings where I live. I love to walk with the dogs. I usually take two and they are the best company. I can chatter away to them and it does not matter what I say. They listen and are just happy to be there with me. 
Tomorrow morning will be so strange, not attending class. It has become part of our lives, a mental release, an hour of thinking nothing but agility and the dog. It is a wonderful therapy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I started taking Jeep to agility class last November. He basically did not know a thing about agility. He sure has the attitude and drive for work. We have had so much fun working together! I am amazed at how fast he has progressed. This coming October he will compete in his first AKC trial, which is just a month short of a year training for this event. 
The next session of agility is an intermediate level and we will continue to learn and grow. 
I know that my boy Max, who is pictured above on this blog would also love to get back into agility. As Max and Jeep are at the same level, I will be alternating weeks, this way they will both get the training and practice that they need before the trial. Max is a fast learner also but does not have the same drive as Jeep. Not quite as fast but is accurate and listens. He is more the type of dog that wants to run with you rather than ahead of you. Jeep is extremely fast and often ahead of me, so I need to perfect directing him from a distance. He is still young, only 17 months and often has some independent thinking that I need to deal with. Occasionally he will decide on an obstacle that is not in the direction that we are heading. My trainer says that I need to run as fast as I can and when he sees me heading in a different direction he will run to catch up with me and stay on course. We tried this in class and I was amazed how well it worked. Once he saw me take off and go in a direction other than the one he wanted to go in, he turned and caught me and did the complete course correctly. He is such a fun dog. Next session it will be Max's turn and he probably will have some catching up to do as it has been a couple of years since he attended class. We have practiced some here at home but he needs to practice in the class setting which is more like a show setting for him. It will be interesting to see how quickly he will remember. I think that latent learning will kick in and he will be fine.
The challenge for me will be to adjust to the type of running each dog will execute. They are so different so will need to be really aware of what we are doing.
I will be back here in a couple of weeks to let you know how Max performed and if I think he will be able to compete in October. It sure would be fun to take both boys and give it a try. Wouldn't it be great if they both did nice clean runs in their first trial! The weave poles will be the hardest obstacle for both boys !"Weave Poles"

                                                          The above picture is Jeep.

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Sheltie faces in our home!

Our Sheltie family has grown this past year. We have purchased a lovely tri male pup and his younger sister.
The tri male is Jeep and has the most wonderful temperament. We have been training in agility since Oct.,2011.He is a quick study and almost ready to trial. He has been a blast to work with. He just loves everyone and keeps life very interesting. Little sister Rosie who is also a tri joined us in December of 2011. She is as cute as can be and has a lovely outgoing temperament. She is going to her first dog show in two weeks and we are excited to see how she will handle it. She is in beautiful puppy bloom so who knows maybe she will take a ribbon. 
These two pups are the last to join our family. Tri colors have always been a favorite of mine and they now make the family complete.
It will be great to go through next winter with everyone all house trained. Makes life so much easier.
I plan to spend the rest of the summer working on obedience with Rosie, Lizzie and Brooke. My goal is for a CGC certificate for all by the fall. A huge goal but one I think we can attain.

We have closed our agility shop and no longer sell equipment. With the economy the sales were very slow and not worth the effort of keeping a separate website.  I still teach agility on Tuesday mornings and my group has grown. We have about eight participants now and it really is so much fun. This is not a class for competition but for bonding with and having fun with your dog. 
This is Jeep!                                     Illusions Jopavist I Get Around 
 This is Rosie!                                 Illusions Jopavist Winter Rose
Jeep is now 15 months old and Rosie is now 7 months old. We do need to update Rosies picture.