Monday, April 24, 2017

First Agility Seminar in the Books

Our first agility seminar is in the books! We had so much fun, and judging from the photos so did the hounds!

We had a whole range of sighthounds join us for this inaugural event, braving some really awful April snow conditions. From a little Italian Greyhound all the way up to a huge Irish Wolfhound! In between we had several Greyhounds, a Lurcher, and some Whippets!

I was so impressed with all the dogs and owners. What a talented bunch! We also had a couple of very brave hounds who worked really hard to conquer their fears. And we had some sort of unique challenges to work through!

I hope that the smiles say it all and that everyone enjoyed themselves and this sport!

Kenna enjoyed herself as the demo dog, though she thinks I need to come up with more demos so she can show her awesome self off a little more!

Thanks to everyone who came out to have fun with us!

We hope to see some of you in Calgary in a few months!

All the photos from the seminar can be found here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

13 months - Weave Poles

Kenna is 13 months old and she is an agility beast. I'm really enjoying her focus and work ethic.

Recently we started working on weave poles, the only piece of equipment she had left to learn. We don't start weave poles until the dog is just about fully grown, for the same reasons that we watch the jump height. I remembered weave poles taking quite awhile for Kili to master. We started them about 15 months old, and by the time we entered our first trial at 18 months she was JUST starting to do 6 poles very slowly. Confidence and consistency in the weaves comes with practice and I'd say about the time she was 3 her weave poles became really stellar, though she does sometimes still struggle with difficult on-side entries.

With Kenna I figured I'd start at 13 months and just really work on getting a really solid understanding of the first two poles and building confidence. Ultimately I wanted to get to 6 poles at about 15 months, giving us 3 months to build speed and consistency before she begins to trial at 18 months. Yeah, that plan didn't work. This dog is far too clever and confident for her own good. Even with a few short sessions a week we hit 6 poles in just 3 or 4 weeks. Oh well! We will work on entries and sequencing for awhile before we build all the way up to 12 poles!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Kenna - Battle River Canine Association

The girls spent a weekend in Camrose at the BRCA show. Kenna was entered in 2 days of conformation and made her Rally ring debut on Saturday. Kili was only entered in a single day of Rally on Sunday.

Kenna had a really good show all around. We took an 8 week class in conformation handling, so I felt better prepared which helped me to relax a bit. Kenna was awesome. I think she's in a bit of a minor fear phase because she was a little jittery when we first arrived. This venue has 2 HUGE fans on the ceiling, and she was visibly disturbed by them at first. She gave me this look like "Holy crap, mom! Did you see the giant, spinning spiders on the ceiling?" but she took her cookies, and then she spotted a little whippet who was willing to be her friend and didn't seem to mind the giant, spinning spiders, so after that she decided the fans were okay after all.

We've been working on her exams because she has trouble standing still for them. Mostly the issue is she just wants to make friends with the judge so she wiggles all over. She also doesn't really like having her groin area felt and often ducks her hind end down when they get there. It's been getting better because I've had different people at work perform exams on her over the past 8 weeks, but new people can still be difficult and unfortunately we don't have a lot of men in the veterinary industry so she doesn't get much practice with exams from men. However, at this show we had male judges both days and she was rock solid for her exams. I was so pleased.

There was one other greyhound entered at the show, an Open Female (older than 18 months), and she won the first day, but on Sunday Kenna finally earned her very first conformation point by winning Best of Breed. I always get so many nice comments on Kenna from other hound people at shows, but this is the first time the judge has also liked her. I was starting to get a bit frustrated, so hopefully this resets that for me and she'll have more luck now that she's getting a little bit older. Sadly, greyhounds take so long to mature... Kili didn't look mature until close to 3.

Saturday afternoon Kenna also made her debut in Rally. We've only been to 3 classes and I don't practice much, so I didn't have a lot of expectations for her at this show except to have fun and experience the ring as that can be a little stressful. But Kenna is a little worker bee. She had a moment of distraction at the start, but then she realized we were playing a game and she was super happy about that. This course was really short and not very technical (it was built for speed because Rally started really late this particular day), and the judge was one of the more lenient ones we have encountered. There were 29 dogs entered, about 5 perfect scores of 100, and one of those was Kenna who earned 3rd place. What a good baby dog! She's so much fun!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Kili - FSACA CKC trial

Kili once again made the top dogs listing for 2016 in CKC agility. She retained her spot as the #3 hound in Canada, despite missing a trial and having a poor showing at another. So proud of her!

As part of our "March Madness" we went to a full weekend CKC agility trial.

This trial was super special because Kili and Kenna's breeder was in Edmonton to judge a UKC Rally/Obedience trial. Unfortunately, we were unable to enter that because of the conflict with agility (and come on, agility always comes first!), so I invited her out on Friday night to watch us. The girls were so excited to be reunited with the original momma! It has been less than a year since Kenna left her first home, but Kili has not seen her breeder in 4.5 years.

Kili had a pretty awesome trial. She listened really well for most of it and ended up coming away with 25 points toward the 2017 Top Dog placements. That's more than half of what she earned last year. Partly that's what a good trial with a good Q rate will do for you (she was over 50% at this trial) and partly that's because last year she was only in the Master Excellent class for about half of the year, the first part of the year she was still in Excellent. You get 5 points for every Standard and JWW Q in Master Excellent, but only 4 in Excellent (and 3 in Intermediate and 2 in Novice).

If we keep this pace Kili will have the highest score she's ever achieved, and maybe even place 1st of all the hounds. We're really just there to have fun, but scoring points never hurts!

The Top 5 dogs in every breed qualify for the CKC Invitational in July. Last year was the first year for the Invitational and it was in Ontario so we did not attend. This year it is being held in Ontario again. My trainer is talking about going so I am considering it, as it would be really nice to have an experienced agility friend with me the first time I fly a dog.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Happy First Birthday, Kenna!

Today is Kenna's first birthday! Happy 1 year old to my crazy, sweet little worker bee. This busy little kid never wants to quit playing with me and is so much fun. She's also the sweetest dog in our household, and hopefully once she learns to settle and turn off she'll be a good little cuddle bug.

Our first year has been reasonably smooth with only a couple of minor health issues (kennel cough a couple of times and diarrhea a couple of times), and training has gone well in everything we've tried so far. I'm so excited for the next 6 months. I can't wait to start trialing in September, but at the same time she has grown up WAY too fast and I just want to slow down and enjoy what's left of puppyhood! Where did my tiny baby go?

Here's a little video celebrating all the fun we had in Kenna's first year of life.

Yesterday, Kenna weighed in at 24.55 kg, and she stands about a 1/2" below Kili. I suspect she's going to mature to be right around the same size.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

OC Trial - March Madness Begins!

Kili and I were at an agility trial last weekend and this weekend, kicking off the start of an insane month of trials and dog shows. Last weekend Kili ran absolutely amazing on some really tough courses, and she wasn't too shabby this weekend either. I was really pleased with her effort in Gamble even though she didn't Q. The final gamble was pretty tough, and I was impressed with her focus and listening. She tried really hard to figure out what I wanted.

I was also really happy that she managed to Q this Steeplechase run. It was the very last run of the day and I could tell she was tired. She didn't even try to make the weave pole entry, which is usually the first piece of equipment that starts to suffer. Also, this was the 6th set of weave poles I asked her to do. There were the 2 sets in Gamble (see the video above), then there was a set in Standard (no video, she ran very well, just got a refusal on a jump which was partly my fault), and then 2 more in Snooker (which she Q'd). Luckily weave poles are judged at a Starter level in Steeplechase, which means there are no faults unless you fail to complete them, they just eat up time which is precious in this event. Then she had a refusal at the A-frame, but there are no faults for that in Steeplechase, again it just eats up precious time. The allowed time in Steeplechase is generally quite tight. We have frequently found that if we have a bobble at the weave poles, we cannot make time. However, despite 2 errors, Kili was still 3 seconds under time. She absolutely FLEW on this course.

I do want to point something out though for those of you at home. The minimum spacing in AAC is 15 feet. When I walked the course, I had already identified that the space between the two yellow jumps after/before the A-frame was very short (the minimum 15ft allowed). I considered that the first pass might be alright since speed would be reduced by the stopped contact of the A-frame, however I had a strong suspicion that on the way back this would be a bounce jump. A bounce jump is when the dog does not take a stride between landing and take off... the landing of one jump IS the take off for the next jump. This is very difficult for the dog in terms of timing, and requires a great athletic effort. I do believe that part of the reason she missed the A-frame is because that too would have technically been a bounce jump. A very seasoned competitor came up to me afterwards and told me she didn't think my dog had any chance of making that A-frame safely, and kudos to my dog for having the sense to bail out.

You will see in a lot of the other jumps, that although she doesn't bounce them, she is unable to take a full stride, she is basically throwing in a half stride or a stutter step. I'm a little concerned to see what is going to happen when the jump heights change and Kili goes up to 24", because I think a few more of these jumps might turn into bounces at a higher height. I'm going to start doing some work with Kili on her striding and recognizing that she can decel and throw an extra step in.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

11 months - Rally

Kenna has also been going to rally classes in anticipation of a possible ring debut in March. I think she's doing really well, and her enthusiasm makes me laugh... a lot! She still has a lot to learn to get to where Kili is, but I think she's going to be awesome with a little more (a lot more!) work. She is just so much fun to work with, and hopefully she'll continue to find busy dog show environments to be no big deal.

She just turned 11 months old a few days ago and weighs in at just over 24 kg. She is still a little bit shorter than Kili.