Sunday, December 02, 2018

Kenna - International Night

Kenna recently attended her very first International Night, hosted by a local competitive trainer. International Nights are a special fun match type event that features world level or "international style" courses... i.e. hard! Although anyone can attend (if you can get a spot! They sell out fast!), these fun matches tend to have a lot of very high level competitors (world team members and those with world team aspirations).

I decided to try it out with Kenna as she's been developing really well and I wanted to test some of our skills. I'm always looking for ways to push myself and become a better handler, and what better way than international courses!?

I was so proud of us. There is a Jumpers course and a Standard course, and you get 2 turns at each. I'm sad that I forgot to video our second run on this Standard course as it was pretty close to perfect. In this first run we handled it really well for the most part, but Kenna tripped going up the teeter and had to bail off, and you'll also see that she almost face plants coming out of the close tunnel. And then I messed up the handling at the end (in the second run I instead chose to trust my dog, leave the backside after the dogwalk earlier to get far enough ahead to do the blind cross instead of the front, preventing me from losing sight of the tunnel entrance we were aiming for).

Can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Monster Match 2018

I took the girls to their first disc trial in almost two years! Wow! Time really gets away from you sometimes!  Being a secondary sport for us, disc tends to lose out to agility trials... and there are so many agility trials that there are frequently conflicts between sports.

Kili had a lot of fun but had a bit of a rough day. She slipped and fell on the second throw in her first game, and ended up doing a couple of rolls so I pulled her from the rest of her run to make sure she was okay (she was). She played well, but in typical not so focused Kili fashion, for the next couple games, and then seemed a bit off again in her last run so I basically pulled her from that one as well. I think she may have just been tired by that point as she didn't seem to be sore.

Kenna was a rock star though. We got off to a difficult start when she saw the ducks in the pen beside the field and wouldn't leave them alone. We ended up having to move the ducks in order to get her to focus. It was a bit surprising because she's my super focused dog, but also not surprising as she's my better chaser in lure coursing (though I'd still argue that Kili is my higher prey dog). But the rest of the day went quite well. Kenna even earned 2 ribbons. She was second in 4-Way Play and I was super stoked that she got fourth in Freestyle! It wasn't an overly exciting showing, but I was pretty happy with it considering we didn't have a routine and hadn't practiced any of our tricks in over a month. Maybe next time around I'll actually do some practice and come up with a real routine!

And although by most disc dogger's standards both of my girls are epic in their gentleness with their discs... there is a significant difference between Kili and Kenna. In our world, Kenna is a disc destroyer. I've bought her new discs after just 2 years - her old ones are salvageable but need to have all the rough edges ground down with a dremmel. Now, many disc dogs completely destroy discs in a single session, so I can't complain about not absolutely needing to replace discs after 2 years... but compare to Kili who still has discs from 5 years ago. Not only does she not puncture discs, she barely even leaves a mark. I think these photos illustrate the difference....

 As you can see, Kili basically catches with her incisors while Kenna chomps a whole mouthful!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dogs At Large trial - Kenna MJDC

We were at another local trial recently where both girls ran fabulously. All of the errors were mine - I messed each dog up once with my handling... Kenna on her Masters Standard run (not videoed) and Kili on her Challenge.

Kili was a very good girl but the entire day I felt like she was a bit slow. At first I wondered if she is just getting older and needs to be dropped down to Specials. She's also had a bunch of time off for that toe injury, but I did run her at the CKC trial last month and she was wickedly fast. Finally after the final run of the day, as I was running her back to her kennel my trainer noticed that she was limping on her back left leg. I couldn't find anything significant with it and she is right back to normal again, so she must have just tweaked something.

Kenna finished her Master Jumpers Dog of Canada title as well on this final run. Good girl. We really need more Gamble and Snooker runs to enter as we're falling behind on those. She still needs one of each to get out of Advanced... we just haven't entered any trials offering them lately!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Kenna - CKC Trial in Calgary

In mid-September I decided to take the girls to a CKC trial in Calgary. We unfortunately missed most of the trials this summer due to my hectic schedule training for the World Championships in Ultimate Frisbee, and so we are just getting back into the swing of things for the fall. The girls are both very happy about this. Kili had hurt a toe in August right after I got home from Worlds, and so she had to be on agility hiatus. I did allow her to run in this trial but only 1 run per day, and because her championship is finished she only ran Jumps and Tunnels which is a bit of a newer class. She did great and Q'd in both.

Kenna on the other hand had a very full weekend with 5 runs each day. Saturday went awesome for us, except for some slipping and dropped poles due to the wet ground. But she was engaged and didn't otherwise put a paw out of place.

Sunday was a bit of a different story. I think I've realized that I need to enter more 2 day trials with her! She struggled a bit on Sunday, and honestly I think she was just mind blown at running a second day and a little bit of puppy came out. She was a little unfocused, making some uncharacteristic choices. Nothing like Kili back in the day (and sometimes still in the current day, ha ha!) but certainly out of character for my serious, focused Kenna. That's not a surprise though. She needs to learn to work through being both simultaneously aroused AND tired, and I think that was the struggle for her. We also just had bad luck. On two good Jumpers runs we had bars in one and then I messed up in the other.

Overall I was pretty happy with the weekend. I approached the weekend with the mindset that I wasn't going to baby any of the handling... I was going to run it like I know we can in practice and trust myself and my dog. Sometimes in agility we might see a hard section of the course and two ways to run it. One which is better and faster, and one that is SAFER but not necessarily as pretty or as smooth. Us casual competitors often just want the Q (nothing wrong with that!) and so we take the safer option. But sometimes to get better we need to test our skills that we know (or think) we have in practice to see if we have them in a trial setting. And sometimes it helps us identify areas that need more work.

We got some Q's (and therefore points toward Top Dog!) and we also had some great take aways on skills that need to be worked on more. There is always something to do in agility training... your dog is never totally trained.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kenna - CKC Intermediate titles

After I posted Kili's CKC championship videos I completely forgot about posting Kenna's runs from that same trial back in May! I've only just remembered!

Kenna actually had a really awesome trial that weekend as well and completed both of her Intermediate titles, moving up to Excellent.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Kili - CKC Agility Champion

A few weeks ago the girls went to their first CKC trial of 2018. It's a local trial, and one of the few times we go for a full weekend. I was especially glad we managed to attend both days since we will be missing most of the other CKC trials this summer due to my Ultimate frisbee touring schedule.

Kili was a true rock star. She had already completed all of her Jumpers with Weaves (JWW) that she needed so I did not enter her in any JWW runs. CKC is notoriously expensive, and so I had decided awhile ago that once she completed her championship I would no longer enter her in Standard or JWW, only in games (Steeplechase, PAD, Jumps and Tunnels). Unfortunately, only the Standard and JWW runs count of top dogs placements, so she will not be very high up the standings this year. However, since she was the #1 hound this year, I'm okay to let her slide a little in the standings and give that a rest.

She only needed 3 more Standard runs, and there were only 3 offered at this trial. Knowing Kili's Q rate is usually around 50-75%, I figured it would probably take 2 trials. However, she was a very good little girly and had a 100% Q rate for the weekend and completed her CKC Championship. She is now a dual agility champion in both AAC and CKC. Time to move on to UKI for the trifecta!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

OC Trial - Splitscreen Agility

Last weekend the girls attended a local agility trial and both did really well.

Kenna had a bit of bad luck in her Gamble. She had a beautiful opening, but the course time for the closing gamble was very tight and even though she did it, she had a little bobble that cost enough time that we were a split second over time... so no Q. :( She also had a really beautiful Challenge run that I didn't get recorded.

Kili ran really well and had a perfect trial. She completed her Master Team Relay Dog of Canada and got her 10th Masters Jumpers which completed her Expert Bronze Jumpers. Unfortunately, I didn't get either of those runs on tape.

Both girls ran a really nice Master Standard course and I have video of both girls. So I thought it would be really fun to split screen the runs and watch them run it against each other. It really highlights the differences in their running styles. Kenna is so compact and can turn nice and tight, and she collects nicely over jumps when asked. Kili has no clue how to collect and takes pretty much every jump in extension no matter how hard I try to convey to her that she needs to shorten up her landing. The result is that Kenna is WAY faster, even though their actual ground speed is probably fairly similar. Kenna saves strides by turning tight.