Thursday, April 10, 2008


Without class I have been thinking a lot about what my goals for Ike and Carmen are this year.

CPE Nationals are going to be in Massachusetts next year. I wanna go! This means Ike and I need 15 legs this year – I think the actual cut-off date for collecting legs is February 2009.

Last year I started trialing in August and picked up 11 Qs by December, so I *think* this is doable. Of course, as we progress the challenges will become more difficult, so maybe not? Regardless, that is my MAJOR goal (15 CPE legs – we have 1 for 2008 so far). Then of course it will all depend upon being lucky enough to make the draw.

Toward the end of accumulating enough legs for Nationals, I really need to work on Ike’s A-frame performance. Currently Ike hates the A-frame – more accurately he hates the descent. Katrin and I have worked out a plausible fix – essentially a running A-frame with a target plate after the down contact. The target plate would ensure collection and therefore no missed contacts. I think.

I think that if I continue to work on building up Ike’s rear (with the step-stool work, backing up, and hills) that will also help Ike feel like he is capable of controlling the apparently scary/stressful descent.

I retrained both Ike’s teeter and weave poles and now those are his two favorite obstacles, I am hoping I can get Ike to feel as much joy about the A-frame. I am also hoping that because I never gave him strict rules for the A-frame and was so vague about what I expected that retraining it might not be as much of a bear as it would be if I was training him a “new” method. But maybe the no rules method is still a method? We’ll see.

For Carmen, gads the list is long (but in some ways easier)!

1. Name-Game
2. Solid recall
3. Solid down
4. Clear job descriptions for all pieces of equipment
5. Trial site experience – John is going to help me with this.

Fingers crossed, maybe Carmen will be ready for some CPE trials next year. CPE does not include the teeter or weaves in Level 1. I am hoping to get her measured at the Act-Up trial on the 19th. I think she is going to have to jump 12”, but I will start her in Skilled so she will only be jumping 8” at first. She is a peanut compared to Ike. She is also a lot more motivated to play agility than Ike, so if I can get her out of the zone (when she is moving, she is moving) and focusing on me we might really be able to go places!

I think Act-Up is going to have a Tunnelers run the Friday evening (the 18th) before the trial like they did at the fall trial. I think Carmen would enjoy doing that, so I will probably bring her to check it out. It might be the Addicted to Agility trial the weekend of the 26th – I will have to double-check. As I mentioned a while ago, I don’t think I will ever enter Ike in another Tunnelers run now that I recognize how much he hates them (with a passion!). EDITOR'S NOTE: I obviously need to work on tunnel-joy with Ike.

We have a lot to work on. My fingers are crossed that I can work through Ike’s current A-frame apathy.


Katrin said...

and if I get this house, you will have easy access to an a-frame like less than 10min from your house!

We had talked about more a target mat than plate but what ever you decide

Jules and Ike said...

I think a target mat would work better for Ike. Honestly, I couldn't remember the specifics of what we had decided. I think it is official that need to start doing some memory work.

Ohhh!!! So exciting re the house. I have told all the animals to cross every limb! ;-P Yes, I am as big a goober as my dog.

helix said...

Jules, I would like to read your blog about Leslie's seminar but cannot find it. Would you send me a link to that please?

Helix Fairweather

Jules and Ike said...

Sure thing, Helix.

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

To be totally honest, are you really concerned about missed A-frame contacts with him? He doesn't strike me as the type of dog to take flying leaps off of things.

I agree that an actual *criteria* might make him a happier camper, but you might have luck retraining on just a very low A-frame to RUN, coupled with rear end awareness/strengthening.

One of the free copies of CR online has an article on building rear-end muscles/flexibility. Check it out. I plan to do more with Ms. Tessie once I figure out what's actually going on in that bum of hers!

Jules and Ike said...

Hi Cat: While I do not think that Ike will ever have the speed/confidence to make flying leaps off the A-frame I absolutely want to plan for that possibility! :) Hence the target mat after the A-frame to ensure that there is some collection going on. Ike is going to be 6 this year and every one I know with performance Schnauzers says 6yo through 10 yo are the BEST years competitively for them. I want to plan for Ike to continue to pick up speed!

Katrin and I also discussed having the A-frame lowered for Ike and practicing/reinforcing driving over it - this was my original plan for revamping Ike's A-frame. Katrin agreed this is an okay thing to try with Ike but cautioned that changing the height of an obstacle like the A-frame tends to make it a different obstacle for the dog - and I agree with her.

In Ike's case I DO think he will benefit from racing across a lowered A-frame and I was thinking I would also practice with the teeter in the manner Tracy Skelnor suggested in the seminar I attended in February. i.e. teeter blancing on two objects so the dog has the opportunity to race across it. I am very happy with Ike's teeter performance so this is all about his A-frame and even dog walk performance.

I will look on CR and see which issue it is - I might have it.

Are you doing the step-stool with Tess? Ike thinks that is the best game!

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

He just doesn't seem like the kind of dog that you want to stop on a course any more than he already has to (table) which is my only concern with a target mat.

Arguments could be made for doing what I'm doing with Strata, which is training a running *target* -- an item that the dog has to run across and hit with at least one paw in the process to get clicked. Stopping, pawing at it, and nose touches don't work -- has to be a run.

I've done a bit of stool work with Tessie except my darn stool went MISSING! I can't find it anywhere! And I can't find a book of the right size that she doesn't slip around on. I've started teaching Strata to put all four feet on a book, right now I'm consistently getting front feet with a hind foot occasionally sneaking up to join the party. He just hasn't had the lightbulb moment yet.