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.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Kili - Rally Enthusiasm

I've been taking the girls to a Rally class for the past couple of weeks. I thought it would be good for Kili to work in a new, indoor environment with new dogs and people. Although it's not the same as a huge, loud, and busy show hopefully it will help.

The first two classes Kili was definitely a bit tentative. Not as bad as she is at a show, but she was a bit distracted and a bit slow. I've been using combinations of food and toys depending on her mood, lots of fast paced, high pitched happy talk, and alterations in pace to try to keep her more focused and increase her tempo.

This was our third class and I was really happy with how she did! Although we still have some distraction, it was more of a happy, curious distraction than an "oh dear, what's that?" and overall her focus and her pace were much better!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

AAG Presents: Introduction to Agility

Apex Agility Greyhounds are hosting their first agility seminar for greyhounds (other sighthounds are also welcome)! This will be a half day introductory seminar geared towards handler/dog teams that have never tried agility before. I've been there before, so I know it can be a little daunting to step into the ring for the first time with a non-traditional breed! I'm here to help you do that without the need to worry about what other people are thinking (but trust me, most people in agility are really supportive, so they're probably just thinking "good for her/him!"), without needing to feel embarrassed if your hound gets a case of the zoomies... I've been there! If at the end of the seminar you decide you love this sport, I will have a list of great trainers (all hound tested and approved by yours truly) that you can check out for classes. Feel free to contact me with any questions, or to reserve your spot! A minimum of 6 dogs must be confirmed for the seminar to go ahead so don't delay! The girls and I can't wait to see you and share this wonderful sport with you!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

10 months - Edmonton Pet Expo

Kenna and Summit representing the breed.
January brings the Edmonton Pet Expo. While this is not the biggest, most wonderful pet expo experience out there (Pets in the Park in the summer is the best one in Edmonton, and Toronto has Woofstock which I miss dearly), it is still a pretty neat event. We have been going for the past 2 years with the local greyhound adoption group who has a booth. We hang out with our hounds and let people interact with them, and answer questions they might have about greyhound adoption. Last year I took Kili and Summit. This year I took Kenna and Summit, since Kili gets to have all the fun (she stayed home and recovered from an agility trial the day before).

Kili at last year's Pet Expo
Kenna is my Pat'n'Chat dog for SuperDogs, and she hasn't been in a large crowd of people since about the time of our last show in August, so this was good for her. She really enjoyed herself and thrilled people with her exuberance and kisses (remember, most of the other dogs are retired racers, so a little more contained and dignified!). Summit enjoyed himself, as he always does, in his more laid back way... namely laying or standing around hoping someone will come over and pet him (he was not disappointed).

Summit with his most adoring fan, my friend's little daughter.
We can't wait for next year!