July 30, 2007

Agilily - for all breeds

ADAA Wallerawang Trial

The action was fast and furious, keeping spectators riveted.

Dusty BAAD

We had a wonderful weekend at the ADAA Wallerawang trial. The weather was brisk but fine, and Nicola's brazier and large quantities of mulled wine kept the frost at bay.

Many thanks to judges Wayne and Jody who were marvellous, particularly with green dogs and nervous handlers.

The cold made Thommo rather stiff, so he had only one run. But he enjoyed the gamblers course, deciding to do an A-frame a third time instead of starting the gamble.

Dusty got several quallies and a first place against some stiff competition. She earned her BAAD title at just her second ADAA trial, and is 3/4 of the way to her AAD.

  • Beginner Australian Agility Dog (BAAD) - Dogs that have gained four Clear Round certificates in Combined-Elementary Agility/Jumping Tests with at least two being gained in Agility Tests.
  • Australian Agility Dog (AAD) - Dogs that have gained four Clear Round certificates in Combined-Starters, Intermediate and/or Open Agility/Jumping Tests with at least two being gained in Agility Tests.

Though BAAD does suit her!

July 25, 2007

Weave action

Canine Chiropractic

The August issue of Clean Run magazine has an article entitled,"Is It a Training Problem or Is It Physical?" by Tracy Sklenar. The first paragraph reads, "When agility dogs slow down, act stressed, avoid obstacles or leave the ring, we often look for answers in our training program. Perhaps there has been a low rate of reinforcement, or the dog does not understandwhat we are asking him to do in competition. Maybe the distractions are overwhelming,or the dog lacks motivation for the game. Sometimes, though, the answer is not to be found in training - it is only uncovered after a systematic and thorough medical workup. Many medical problems can affect our dogs' performance that are first seen (or only seen) on the agility field."

Australia now offers the highest level of Veterinary Chiropractic training in the world, through RMIT university in Victoria. The 2 year post-grad diploma, and 3 year Masters degree are available to qualified Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Veterinarians only.

The Chirovet website has some interesting articles on The Role of Chiropractic Therapy in Small Animal Medicine and Chiropractic and Acupuncture for Dogs & Cats plus a detailed FAQ and a guide to locating members of the Australian Veterinary Chiropractic Association.

July 22, 2007

Ag Ch Brenilly Wynona Ryder

Le and Rabbit earned the last 1st place ribbon needed to gain them their Agility Champion title on the weekend at the Coffs Harbour trial. Once a dog has Masters titles in both Agility and Jumping they require 20 additional qualifying certificates in both Masters Agility and Jumping classes (40 qualifying certificates in all) with 10 qualifying certificates in each class being a 1st place.

July 18, 2007

Pre-emptive cues

When I have finished sweeping, I tap the broom on the floor a couple of times. I've probably done this for thirty years, but I didn't know I did it until Dusty told me.

Duz wants to chase the broom. So I place her in a down stay, sweep a section and then tell her "Get it." She casts around and grabs the broom for a tug. This worked well for a while, then she began to consistently race for the broom, before my "Get it." She was predicting that the broom taps would be immediately followed by "Get it" so that became her cue.

This has sent be back to start line 'routines'. If I'm to have a set routine then I need to proof it so that she waits for the final cue - not one of the actions that precede it and therefore predict it. If I'm not going to go this route, then I need to vary what I do at the start line so that she is not picking her own cue from the chain.

July 14, 2007

I think I distracted him :-)

I think I distracted him :-), originally uploaded by marj k.

At training today we were doing a number of exercises involving a send to the table.

July 12, 2007


Thommo, originally uploaded by marj k.

My Thommo - he's such a sook at the vet, everyone there loves him.


Thommo has had sore front feet for a while - he'd seem fine for days then be three-leg lame on one front foot or the other. A fatty lump on his right foot confused diagnosis but radiographs today confirmed that he as osteoarthritis in both feet. Other joints seem clear for the moment.

Arthritis results from destruction of the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones that make up the joint. Cartilage destruction can be the result of normal stress on abnormal joints or abnormal stress on normal joints.

Thommo does subject his toes to quite a bit of stress through a pouncing action as he stalks sticks and toys. He uses the same pounce to come to a stop on the contact obstacles.

There has been lively 'debate' in Australia over the ANKC's decision to remove slats from the A-frame and DogWalk last year. However, though some say dogs can no longer tell the difference between the Dog Walk and the Teeter, the absence of slats will allow Thommo to continue with agilty for a while longer.

I'll limit him to one or two runs a day and watch him carefully. I know from my own arthritic hands that it's usually a day or two after exertion that I feel the pain so I'll certainly start off with a "less is more" approach.

Cartrophen Vet - a series of weekly injections for four weeks, in conjunction with
Sasha's Blend - a combination of marine concentrates with high natural anti inflammatory and joint protective properties, it contains the full range of GAGS (glycosaminoglycans) including Keratin, Dermatin, Heparin sulphates and the commonly known Glucosamine & Chondroitin sulphates which provide the necessary nutrients required to stimulate healthy joint function.
Rimadyl (carprofen) - for occasional use to manage severe pain.

We've cut back on swimming with the cold weather - but I'll get the wetsuit out and alternate swimming and walking. They both need to lose the couple of kilos they put on while I was away, also.

Duz doesn't want to pose

Duz doesn't want to pose, originally uploaded by marj k.

A fairly typical scenario - Thommo doing what I request and Dusty asking "Why do you want me to? Can I do it later? Can I do it differently? How about just Thommo does it?"

July 11, 2007

Nicknacks and prizes.

At the weekend's trial I was happy to choose photo frames from the selection of great things on offer, but was fascinated by the magents available at Canine Shenanigans.
"Agility Trial Qualifier" is pretty straight forward, but who decides whether non-qualifiers would get "Agility Just For The Fun Of It", or "Train Don't Complain".

July 10, 2007

Return to Agility

After four months with no agility - no training, no trials - Dusty, Thommo and I went back to training at Canine Fun Sports last Friday and to an ADAA trial on Sunday.

In the training session we worked on discriminations, layering and distance work with a semicircle of jumps behind a tunnel, and then on control on contacts and table. My footwork and hand signals were a little rusty, but the dogs seemed to pick up where they left off.

Thommo has sore front feet - x-rays on thursday this week - so I only entered him in one event. It was a good quick run, with perfect weaves but he had a refusal and a knocked bar at the end of the course so his feet may have started to hurt. A couple of tight pull offs eliminated most of the competition so he ended up with a non-Q first place.

In Dusty's agility runs I continued what we had been practicing in class and asked for a full 'down' on the contacts and a wait for an 'OK' which added seconds to our time, but she had clear rounds in both Starters and Elementary and third-place ribbons. In Starters jumping she had a great, focused run to get a Q and a first-place ribbon. However by Elementary jumping we had had some heavy rain and she was reluctant to 'down' at the start, I started too close to her, behind the wing, and then pulled her off jump 2 as I ducked around. After that it was another good run, but no Q and no ribbon.