Yearly Archives: 2011

Herding with Slayte

I’m finding that herding is actually becoming kind of fun and addictive with Slayte. With Enzo it is frustrating and tiring and we never improved. Slayte still has tons of drive for it but is much more pliable. Funny because in life he is much more headstrong than Enzo. He pushes out and stays out. He is also willing to slow down and use his brain which also gives me time to think. Enzo thinks that going faster is the solution to all problems which makes him a great agility dog but it’s bad for herding. It also caused problems with tracking in frisbee but we figured out a way to work around that. When Enzo is in drive mode his brain shuts off. Slayte likes to mix things up when he sees an opening but a lot of that is because of my bad timing and handling since I kept getting stuck against the fence. I feel like I am actually able to learn now and that is a good feeling. I still have a bad habit of walking towards the sheep when I send him around and sometimes I still get stuck in the death spiral but at other times I feel like we are actually doing what we should be! I need to get better at watching both the sheep and my dog and I need to be more proactive about keeping the sheep off of me. It’s also nice that Slayte doesn’t mind working for someone else.

Slayte has had 6 lessons so far and this video is from our 5th lesson. Now just to figure out how to squeeze in herding lessons around my agility schedule!


Some Agility Videos

We didn’t double Q but Enzo had two nice runs so I bought the videos. 🙂 So close though!

Trying Herding Again

Years ago when Enzo was young I had tried taking herding lessons with him for about 6 months or so. We didn’t really get anywhere and he just got really wild and started just running in circles and refused to change directions. Tooney got interested and was much less crazy at first but somehow she ended just running in circles too so I stopped trying to herd.

Now Slayte is here so I’m trying to herd again. I’m hoping that maybe I won’t mess him up too. I think we are making some progress and I’m starting to get it. Slayte is pretty crazy about it already but he does seem to be more willing to work wider than Enzo is which seems to be making things easier on me. I’m also trying Enzo again. He is still crazy but he will lie down now if I tell him too. Didn’t have that before and don’t have that with Slayte right now.

Anyways here is video from Slayte’s second turn at his second lesson, the first one was pretty wild. This time he worked pretty nice. Enzo only gets one turn because he runs too fast and wears his pads off if he does two turns.

And here is Enzo’s turn. Sometimes I feel like I am more of a goalie than a partner with him. haha.

2011 AWI Championships and Crusty Classic Videos

Jenn and I went to the 2011 AWI Championships at Purina Farms in Missouri. We drove the trailer and it turned out to be a real nice trip. We got to have St Louis style bbq, which was also a nice plus.

The event was streamed online so my family was able to watch it live, which was nice. Enzo was the first to go in freestyle and had an awesome round. We followed it up with a great toss/fetch round. Our goal was to make the cut to the finals and Enzo made it! We didn’t have a good 2nd round of freestyle, but our goal was accomplished. We had a great time.

Here’s our first round of freestyle:

I am not sure when we will travel far for another disc dog competition. This may be it for a while. I’m not opposed to it, but the only thing on the list of “to-do” for disc dog traveling is to go to the Skyhoundz finals in Tennessee. I don’t like their freestyle format very much as compared to the other organizations, so it is unlikely I will spring for it any time soon unless there are some kind of very special circumstances.

Here’s Enzo in his skeleton costume from the Crusty Classic:

Here’s Tooney in her little bee outfit from the Crusty Classic:

Thanks to Jenn for putting the videos up!!! She’s the best!

Slayte vs. sheep

We got to try Slayte on sheep after our club’s frisbee playday today. It was just like Enzo. At first he barked at them like they were scary and then as soon as they ran from him, the switch went on. He seems to be a little naturally wider working than Enzo but just as crazy. At the end I told him to lie down and he did actually hesitate for a split second!

He also did great at frisbee today. His retrieves were great and his focus was good but we only had one dog at a time in the fenced area so the distractions were at a low level. He also caught a bunch and his tracking skills are awesome.

2011 Crusty Classic

Jenn and I just got back from the 2011 Crusty Classic, which is the California disc dog championship and is dedicated to a former competitor. It was loads of fun and great weather. It was our favorite Crusty Classic to date.

The wind was about 25mph during the toss and fetch round. Enzo was awesome all day and had the highest freestyle score. He ended up in 4th overall because we only got 3 throws in toss/fetch and missed 1 of them. He was running fast and hard but I was throwing all the discs past 50 yards – ie, 10 yards too far. It is a strange situation to feel like you did as good as you could, yet knowing you could have easily done better. Tooney had one of her best freestyle rounds ever and put the highest toss/fetch score up for the day and ended up 2nd place overall! More and more I have learned that toss & fetch is the most important part of the game in terms of winning. Enzo has the best freestyle of the day, yet Tooney ends up placing ahead of him simply by getting 1 more throw off.

Tooney did all of this after cutting her foot last weekend and we weren’t sure if she could compete. The last couple of days before the competition she seemed better so we wrapped it up and she showed no ill-effects during the competition. She was also blowin’ mud, so she probably wasn’t feeling too good. And she just turned 9. Every year I am more and more amazed by how good she is. She won 2 competitions this year (with big turnouts including all the big guns) and gets a 2nd place at our state championships. Wow!

Jenn ended up 2nd overall in the intermediate division with Enzo (the highest level toss-fetch only division). They had 2 great rounds and Jenn had 1 throw at 50 yards!!! I think her 2nd round probably was her best round ever.

The wind was strong all day, probably in the 20mph range. Enzo had a really good round with only a handful of drops. He also had a solid “bulls-eye” score – which is a toss/fetch type of thing. He ended up 3rd overall for the day. Tooney did really well, but in the last round was pretty tired and missed 3 throws that were right inside her mouth and pushed her out of contention. They didn’t mention any of the other placements so I don’t know where she finished. They handed out another award, which was best overall toss/fetch and Tooney won it!

At the competition, they brought some awards that were not handed out at our USDDN qualifier, so Tooney and Enzo got their awards from that. At the end of the day we ended up with 5 trophies and 1 medal. 3 for Tooney and 3 for Enzo. If I have the breakdown correctly it is:

Tooney: 2 for toss/fetch, 1 for freestyle
Enzo: 2 for freestyle, 1 for toss/fetch

Really proud of the pups. They have been awesome all year and have some big wins. World finals are next weekend. I hope Enzo continues his great run.

Awards, medals, trophies, blah blah blah

We started competing in disc dogs about 7 years ago and were getting awards at the local level pretty quickly. Then after they started cluttering the house and even our cars, I decided to only keep awards from the big regional championships, if we were ever so lucky to earn awards at that level, or if we got super lucky, placements at the national level. I then threw out loads of awards that didn’t meet this new standard. A clean start…

The very next year, we start placing regionally. And the year after… and the year after that… so on and so forth. Every award at regional or national level began filling space in the house. My plan was beginning to backfire because the awards at the higher level, as it turns out, are physically much bigger. Go figure. I have a smorgasbord of winnings with something from pretty much every possible placement, division and organization that exists. Plaques, medals, big framed photos, trophies, special production discs, shirts, certificates, etc. Whatever they gave me, I kept it. Anything from the local championships – straight to the trash (or if the organizer would take it, I would immediately give it back to be used at another venue).

Now I sit in a house with these awards all over the place. This weekend we did really well and ended up bringing home 6 more awards. I said to Jenn: “WTF??? This is getting ridiculous. Maybe we should have someone melt all these things down, shape it into a disc and just keep that as the cumulative memento.” Jenn just laughed at me.

The real issue is that these awards have no meaning to me. When I see one sitting in some random location in the house in most cases it doesn’t spark a memory in most cases. My memories are simply about playing with the dogs.

Interestingly enough, I realize how bad this sounds to most people. It may sound like there is some level of arrogance associated with it, but I feel absolutely no connection to the awards. I can’t be faulted for NOT being materialistic can I? I feel fortunate, lucky and blessed to have 2 awesome disc dogs with another currently in training. The only award I really like that I can think of right now is a picture of Tooney and I the SoCal club presented to us. And the reason why – you guessed it – because it’s a picture with Tooney. It sparks immediate memories. I pick that up and I know exactly what it is.

I am not sure what to do. Maybe I junk all the regional ones and keep just the nationals? If I still feel they have no value, why should I keep any of them? At the same time, it seems really stupid to throw out national level awards, even to me!

One thing I have not said is that the above feelings are towards the hardware itself. I LOVE the memories I have simply playing with the dogs. They are truly what Jenn and I live for.

I don’t care about the awards. At all.

Why am I posting this? Apparently I’m having guilt from the fact that I feel like throwing them all in the trash. Maybe by writing it down and going back and reading it and updating this post as I have new thoughts, it will help. Hopefully Jenn will read this and think about it also and give me some advise. Maybe one day they will all be thrown in the trash and she probably won’t even notice for a year or more.