Loki and I went to a one day ‘course analysis’ seminar with Dave Munnings on Thursday.

We learnt a lot, I think. I learnt that Loki is so awesome for such a baby dog who has only had 3 competitions.

I learnt to trust him in places I wouldn’t normally trust him and just run.

I learnt a bit of a new way of doing K-turns that we need to work on.

I learnt that I need to proof Loki’s “GO VERY FAST THEN TURN” cue, as the turn bit gets a little lost and he tends to drift wide and ends up in weird places/on the wrong side of a bar etc and ends up with a slower line than a line with a 360 degree wrap and an awkward line..

I learnt a way of helping him with his weave problem that I’m going to try.

I learnt that he has the coolest independent tunnels regardless of my motion.

I learnt how to tidy up my threadle and make them a bit more reliable, sometimes.

I legitimately think his jumping class is helping! He knocked very few bars even when he was tired at the end.

I found that it was lovely after each of our turns to take him outside for a walk and to just calm down and reconnect. It wasn’t necessarily a cool down as we were having a turn every 20 minutes or so, but it was nice to just sit with him and get licked on the face.

I’m very very very much looking forward to the O/E seminar coming here next year… I think that’ll be super super fun.

Most of all, I just loved spending the day with my favourite guy because he’s the most fun and just the cutest little friend. He just makes agility super fun, even when we’re working hard and thinking a lot and feeling puffed and tired. I can’t wait till it all comes together for us even more and we know each other more as a team. Ooo it’ll be the best.

There will be video coming soon. 🙂


OMD times

So, Loki’s first seminar. Gosh he’s a little champion. He ran his heart out, and only at the very end he refused a Jaako or two because he was all: “really? I have to?”

We both learnt a lot – possibly me more than him (isn’t that always the way?). I improved my techniques on a lot of the turns immeasurably and you can see it in some of the moves on the video – the first attempt often worked ok but the last attempt was way better. I didn’t include all the fails on the video of course.

The sequence was good too and showed some definite places for us to work on (*coureversespinsgh*) – as in those situations Loki gets patterned so quickly and so begins to predict that despite my spin we’re still actually going forward. He also found Forced Front Crosses really difficult even though we’ve done plenty that have included a Jaako – take away that 2nd part and he wouldn’t take the bar. Cheeky. And, any front cross where I was up near the bar & he’d bring it down – if I was far from the bar it was ok. Obviously need to get him ok with me ‘crowding’ him a bit and still keeping it up. I still need to work on his commitment in German turns, not for the push part, but for the ‘come back over the bar’ part. I had a lot more success once I started using my off arm like they do in OMD but I liked Justine & Jessica’s rule of keeping that for ‘take the non-obvious side of the obstacle and flick back’. We were discussing this the other day in our little group of friends and didn’t come to any conclusion – some of us thought it would “muddy the waters” and dull down the signal when used for a threadle, but we also wondered if the dogs weren’t smart enough to differentiate between one and the other cue given that the situations and the rest of your body language is going to be very different.

He got to run 3 dog walks – the first one he didn’t hit because he was looking for the wrong exit, and he doesn’t usually hit the first time on a “new” dog walk. The 2nd had a backfoot JUST in, and the 3rd one was picture perfect and got a big reward right away. He even did seesaws! And, we started the weekend with no stay behaviour really, and by the end I could pretty confidently leave him and he wouldn’t pop up. That was lovely, but obviously still requires some work. But I think I found a way to practise it and reward him that seemed to work over the weekend so I’ll keep that up at home.

The only bad part of the weekend wasn’t part of the weekend at all – a friend told me that a lady (who is a dog/horse/human physio-type person) said to her that she suspected Loki was sore in the rear end. So Loki is getting the week off – personally, I’m not so sure – he wasn’t knocking bars or showing any signs at all to me. In general he has a sort of weird gait sometimes but so do his brothers so I’m thinking that’s genetic. I’ve had him checked over by vets and muscle people multiple times about his back legs in the past but he was given the all clear, told he had great muscletone, etc… he was very tired by Sunday but that’s to be expected… I guess that put a damper on the weekend for me – I don’t know why I feel like I’ve taken it personally, even though I don’t think it’s any kind of reflection on me, but an observation… It’s just made me feel tense, I think.

The photos aren’t wanting to upload from school so here’s a video for now instead. 🙂


I have one very, very sleepy Border Collie snoozing near the couch. Yesterday after the seminar he came home and wanted to chase Lumen and wrestle. No such wrestling tonight.

I don’t have the energy to debrief the whole thing right now and I’m trying to find some mad EDM music for the video (everything is too pretty and dreamy – I want fast and frantic, like how I felt running Loki). Once I have the perfect music, I’ll set it to upload overnight because our internet uploads at less than .4 mbps, it apparently shouldn’t take THAT long but trust me, it’ll take about 5 hours. Not kidding. Unless I upload it from school. Might do that, hey?

In the meantime here are a couple of sneak-peak photos that Nic took while I was out there madly trying to get from one place to the next. By the end Loki felt less frantic (tired) and therefore I felt less frantic. Watching the video though, I don’t know how it felt slower. This dog doesn’t do slow.

A very nice little backside-going collie, letting me get some distance on him for a second. ;)

A very nice little backside-going collie, letting me get some distance on him for a second. 😉

I love this photo very much. I made an effort over the weekend to pretty much reward Loki no matter what. I knew that most of the time, his mistakes were a result of my mistakes, or him being a baby. Here we've just stuffed something up but I love that you wouldn't know it by looking at the photo. So much happiness. :)

I love this photo very much. I made an effort over the weekend to pretty much reward Loki no matter what. I knew that most of the time, his mistakes were a result of my mistakes, or him being a baby. Here we’ve just stuffed something up but I love that you wouldn’t know it by looking at the photo. So much happiness. 🙂

And he didn't knock as many bars as I thought he might. LOTS of bars on Saturday when he was fully hyped to be there and we were doing little 3-bar 1-tunnel things... many less bars when shit got real. ;) (and real technical)

And he didn’t knock as many bars as I thought he might. LOTS of bars on Saturday when he was fully hyped to be there and we were doing little 3-bar 1-tunnel things… many less bars when shit got real. 😉 (and real technical)

Shape Up – musings, reflections, thoughts.

So we’re back from the weekend of learning stuff.

I sort of… don’t know how I feel about how it all went. Maybe I need to make some lists. Lists are good.

  • Lumen was great. Mostly. The first morning she was awful – she was so slow and disinterested I thought it was going to be a complete waste of my time. By the afternoon she’d perked right up and was running a bit slower than ‘at home’ speed. The next 2 days sort of fluctuated unpredictably between her being “on” and her being slow. By the afternoons she’d perk up and then crash, and there didn’t seem to be any consistency in when she would be happy or not based on what I did or didn’t do before a run, whether she had more or less time out of the crate.
  • I actually found a reward/toy that she really seemed to like – it’s a lotus ball that I put a piece of cooked sausage or something in, and she could tug it to open it up and eat the food. I want to focus at home with her on just playing with that ball, away from agility, to make it super awesome funtimes.
  • I really liked refining my handling and getting to play with cool moves like threadle-rears, German turns, reverse spins, etc. I was really enjoying those twisty courses and think it would be even more fun with a Loki.
  • It was cool to see what Lu could do even when I didn’t know she could do it cos we haven’t really trained it, at all. Like finding the hidden end of a tunnel, or calling past a bunch of tunnels without me really having to call her, she just didn’t worry about them. Which is Lu, I guess.
  • I learnt very quickly that the best thing to do for Lu was anything that would keep her in motion – for that reason we really, really like German Turns. 😉
  • There were no dogwalks, and because she hadn’t been weaving, they were ok for her to not weave, and there were 2 other 500-height dogs jumping at 300mm so I jumped Lu on 300mm too.

Ok… and then..

  • I have trouble in my brain finding the seminar valuable because although it was really fun to do 100 backsides and threadles and discriminations, I know that we’re never going to see courses like that here. Maybe not “never”, but not now anyway. We were thinking that maybe someone should bring UKI down here. Maybe I can do that. Y’know, with all the spare time I have. In the meantime we have these huge open big courses with stupid discriminations that you can’t handle cos you can’t get there… So it’s really nice that Lu can do a threadle-rear now but am I going to use it? Uh, not sure.
  • I felt a big conflict, in a way, between what I’d learnt during the OMD seminar and this one. In a way. Some of it was fine, like finding your dog’s line but there was certainly less emphasis on supporting, showing, and guiding that line. And more on “do this handling option here because we want you to” (which was us learning handling moves, that’s fine) or “Do this move here because it’s faster” rather than “How can I best show my dog where it’s going next ahead of time?” which is how I want to think. So I suppose in a way I need to take it all as more of a ‘training exercise’ rather than learning how to cue and decide the moves based on how it will best support showing my dog the line. I think there was some of this sort of discussion (As in, “Well, you COULD do this move on that bar, but then your dog would come all the way out here and it would be slower), but I felt also that they were ok with, say, running their dogs at a tunnel and using their ‘flappy tappy’ to stop them going in it and go over a jump instead, rather than giving the dogs confidence and speed by not letting their noses point at that tunnel (if possible) by doing some other move to help them. And I think for Lu, that confidence that yes, THAT is the way I want you to go, there are no questions, is something she needs. And I guess the more you trained ‘flappy tappy’ the less they’d have that question in their mind but I just… I don’t know – it didn’t sit so well with me to run at a tunnel (basically) but actually want them to come and do a jump next to it.

So… plenty to think about, but maybe not as much as the OMD seminar. I don’t want to compare the two, I know they’re different and maybe the focus was different, but I took pages and pages and pages of notes for OMD, and for this one, I drew 2 little diagrams of some setups I want to make at home.

I think now it’s time to sign up for OMD premium membership to start working through some of their exercises, turns and courses with Loki (and Lu), and building his Foundation skills using their method (and Shape Up as well, it can’t hurt to have more tools than less)… it’s time to keep working on their dogwalks (and we had a great session with Loki yesterday with a couple of leaps to differentiate between leaping and JPing), to work on proofing Lumen’s weaves and her entries. I’m thinking that maybe instead of teaching Lu the hard turns Silvia’s way, I might teach her a sort of 2o2o kind of thing which I read on Polona’s blog, as maybe that will be clearer for her – a STOP vs. a sort of run slower and turn type thing. And if I get a stop and a flick away then that will take care of those turns and she won’t have to question if it’s a collected stride & turn vs a run, it’ll either be RUN RUN or STOP in position. I think maybe that will be better.

… Maybe.

cramming & anxiety

Shape up Dogs seminar begins tomorrow. Advanced class. Lumen. I feel like the last 2 weeks have been cramming for an exam. Like I’ve tried to practise ALL TEH WEAVE ENTRIES and ALL THE THREADLES and ALL TE BACKSIDE BARS and I still feel so underprepared. My brain keeps telling me that if only Loki was older I’d be less anxious but of course that’s not true because he can’t do half this stuff yet either.

And it’s not like we could have gone in the Foundations class cos we’ve done 1,000 Foundations but I’m filled with this deep sense of anxiety that they’re going to throw something at us that we can’t do and then be all like: ‘sigh, maybe you should have done foundations’ and some of the people there working with their dogs will be all: ‘snigger, and she thinks she can hold classes?! look at her poorly trained dog’, and meanwhile there’ll be some hard exit off the dogwalk and she won’t be able to weave and I’ll have to do our awkward version of a threadle because we just haven’t had enough healthy time in which to practise.

Which I’m sure they’ll understand but it doesn’t stop me feeling like my dog isn’t ready, that we’re not going to be able to do what we need to do and that it’s just going to be frustrating. I do want to go and have fun and learn stuff to help my handling… but there’s all these niggling thoughts in my mind, and then I go spend $60 on different varieties of tempting foods for Lu in the hope that I can keep her motivated enough to do a halfway decent job during 3 days of running on sand.

Which of course is just another thing to add to the ‘you’re not good enough’ list of things.

At school, we have kids who are ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) and as such, they can get really anxious when there are going to be different or special days at school, so we write them a “social story”. Mine would read something like this:
This weekend is going to be different.

You will be going to a seminar with some great trainers.

Some things will be tricky, and some things will be easy.

Lu will not do everything perfectly, but she will try.

It will be different and out of your comfort zone but you will be ok.

You can celebrate every attempt with Lu and have fun learning different handling moves.

It will be a go with the flow kind of weekend.

You will be ok.

And now I read that over and over again.