Yearly Archives: 2009
Well, I read Rachael Sander’s contact article in Clean Run last month and she mentioned that one of the reasons dogs will be good in practice and then miss contacts in competition is when you reward contacts too much in practice. So the past few weeks I’ve been having Enzo practice contacts without rewarding him with food at the bottom. I had thought about doing this before but was worried it might actually degrade his contact performance. It does cause him to run off in practice on occasion now, but that gives me the opportunity to mark it and have him try again. I’m also starting to mix in some early releases in practice.
Overall it seems to be working. Saturday he ran off through dogwalk contact without any thought of stopping so I marked it with a hey and had him wait for a second. I think that got him a little worried because he ended creeping down the aframe while looking back at the judge. The judge was raising his arms for a knocked bar so that may have been part of his worries. He actually came to a full 2on/2off stop though! I praised him really excitedly. Maybe he was worried the judge was going to get him if he didn’t do what he was supposed to like he used to do with the instructor in herding.
Sunday, he was still a little slower on the contacts than normal but not anywhere near as bad as the aframe on Saturday. He didn’t quite stop but he was at least coming all the way down.
Both Tooney and Enzo were 3 for 4 this past weekend which is great. Enzo got 3rd in JWW on Saturday, 1st in JWW on Sunday, 2nd in standard. Tooney got 1st in Standard! She is really rocking standard courses lately with her running dogwalk. Enzo fell out of the top 5 for the invitational this past week so hopefully we have gotten to the point where we can start Qing in Standard consistently again. Hopefully by AKC nationals we will have figured it all out to get his speed is up to where it should be while still running clean! We were there back in June and July of this year!
I’ve been struggling a bit with Enzo’s contacts lately, especially the aframe. At the three day trial last weekend he missed all 3 aframes plus 1 dogwalk and 1 teeter. On the second day and third day I made sure to mark his missed contacts.
After reading the Rachael Sanders article about contacts in this months Clean Run, I realized that I fall into the category of rewarding too much in practice. So all last week I stopped giving treats for his 2on-2off. Once I stopped giving him treats, then sometimes he would either not stop or stop and releases himself which he was never doing in practice before. This gave me the opportunity to mark the wrong behavior in practice.
I think this new strategy may be helping… at least for now. Even though he didn’t come to a complete stop, Enzo put three strides on the downside of the aframe both days this past weekend which he hasn’t done in competition since before USDAA nationals. He did get called on his teeter on Saturday because his front feet left before the board hit the ground and his back feet pushed the teeter down. It was a borderline performance that sometimes gets called and sometimes doesn’t. Sunday he got all of his contacts but slid off the table. He tried really hard to hang on but ended up tipping over the edge. So still no standard Q’s but at least I feel a lot better about his contacts now. Tooney had a good weekend with 3 out of 4 Q’s. She may pass up Enzo in points soon if I don’t turn things around soon.
My next step is to practice quick/early releases from contacts in practice. I will try mixing it up with having him hold them longer.
I’m also doing the ground work for using the PVC box to train running aframe. Not sure that I will actually use it on the aframe with Enzo but I’ll see how the ground work goes.
I finallly got videos posted from USDAA Nationals. I haven’t really been as into posting lately for whatever reason. I was happy with how both dogs ran at Nationals. Tooney did the best that she could. She was less than a second out from making it to the finals for Performance Speed Jumping and her team did pretty well but needed better snookers runs to make it into the finals. Enzo was fast and intense and really paying attention but had aframe contact and bar issues. Here’s video from some of our best runs from the weekend.
So I’ve determined that I need to brush up on my mental management. Going for the invitational has put me in a state of mind where I’m too worried about whether or not enzo Q’s in each run and I’ve psyched myself out in standard runs with him for no good reason. He’s been good on his contacts and I should trust him and focus on what I need to do to get him through the courses and stop worrying about the results. I also need to stop rushing and make sure that I stay in contact with him. I’m re-listening to my Lanny Basham CD’s now and hopefully I’ve be able to get it together by USDAA nationals! Oddly enough I actually feel a lot less pressure about that than a local AKC trial at this point. I guess that’s a good thing but that might change as it gets closer. Mentally I need to focus stop thinking and talking about what we did wrong and focus on how to do things right. So as part of that I’m only going to write about the good things here.
Tooney did really well at the 4 day trial in Northern CA. She got one double Q and 1 Q each of the other 3 days, she placed 1st in all of the runs that she Q’d in except 1. Enzo had one really awesome JWW run where he got 1st and 46 points which is definitely the most he’s ever gotten for a jumpers run. I haven’t gotten around to posting most of the video but I put that one up.
Last weekend Enzo got first in JWW on Saturday on a really tough course and Tooney Q’d in JWW on Sunday. Oh and Enzo hit all of his contacts 🙂
Enzo has just been named the 2009 D2iSC (Disc Dogs in Southern California) Champion! It’s an annual award given to the disc dog team that earns the most points based on your finishes in your best 3 out of the 4 major competitions hosted here in southern California. Enzo and I beat out over 80 other teams to get this award! It will be presented at our holiday get-together.
Enzo also finished in 5th place with Jenn due to their great toss and fetch finishes this year. That’s impressive considering they don’t do freestyle. Freestyle teams earn more points.
Tooney and I finished in 12th place!
Here’s a couple pics from this year of my bestest buddy in the whole world. And yes, I love him so much, I bring myself to say “bestest”. I can’t help it:
What a fun but exhausting weekend. It was the windiest competition of the year, so some of the rounds weren’t as good as maybe they could have been. Jenn was also recovering from the flu. It was the biggest UFO and Crusty Classic in California history! Both days ran really late. This was the last disc competition for a long time for me, so I had to make the best of it!
Saturday was the UFO major. In intermediate division, Jenn got 3rd with Enzo with I think only 6 points. Yeah… the wind was THAT bad. There were probably more scores of 0 than not. Tooney didn’t compete with Jenn because she’s at the age we need to start resting her a bit. For my first round of freestyle with Enzo, the wind was really, really, really strong. He did great and after the 1st round, he ended up in 5th place. His toss/fetch was very solid at 7.5, but I only got 3 throws off – it was my fault, sorry Ebby! He missed the t/f top 10 cut by only 0.5 point. For the 2nd round of freestyle, Enzo was AWESOME! I knew since he had a solid t/f score that our placement should move up. They announced the awards for the top 3 freestyle – I figured we had a REALLY good chance of being in the top 3 – no mention of Enzo. Wow, that’s odd….. Then, announcing the open overall top 4 (t/f + both rounds freestyle) and Enzo was also nowhere to be found… I thought that was strange, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. No big deal!
SCORING ERROR!?!?! Yes, on Sunday, they found 2 major errors in the scoring calculations on the spreadsheet. After the new calculations, Enzo was 2nd in freestyle and 4th in the overall! Then, after yet ANOTHER mistake, Enzo moved to 3rd in the freestyle… whatever the placements are, he did good!
Enzo’s 1st round freestyle UFO Major. Notice at the beginning, the disc almost blew off my finger and I started laughing since I recovered! That’s a very risky and difficult move to do, especially with the wind, but I don’t back down from a challenge. After my round, friends surprised me by running out and throwing stuffed bananas at me because I dress up in yellow. We didn’t get it on video, though.
Enzo kicking butt for his 2nd round:
Little Tooney had 2 decent rounds in freestyle. It was really windy and she struggles more than Enzo in the wind. She doesn’t have the quick reactions that he does to recover when the disc moves with the wind. As expected, she didn’t make the cut. However, in toss/fetch, nothing can stop her, even with the brutal wind… at least I thought… In the 1st round of t/f, she was great. She ended up in 1st place overall with 12 points. I was stoked, and I figured we’d probably win it because she’s so good. For our 2nd round of t/f, the event was running really late and I was the last person to go since she was in first place (they run last to first). I had my sun glasses on because I didn’t think I’d need to bring my regular glasses with me. I couldn’t see a thing and as each competitor went, it was darker and darker out. Unfortunately, for our second round, we were only average, and yes, I blame it on the fact it was nearly pitch black out. I don’t normally make excuses, but it was a huge disadvantage. She got 9 points in the second round. It caused me more of a problem than her probably. I couldn’t see the lines on the field at all. I think we ended up in 5th place in t/f. I think she ended up 13th overall in the open division, which is actually really good considering how big the competition was!!!
Tooney’s round of freestyle: