Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Intermediate Agility 2 and 4

Hello Internet, my name is Rbaenen and I'm a terrible friend because I never blog. I'm sorry.

Now that I've apologized, I can get to actually writing something down. The good news is that I didn't have school today. The bad news is that I'm blogging to avoid studying for my MicroBiology exam tomorrow. Talk about a bad college student.

Pepper wants me to get him a Border Collie friend!
Someday when my parent's aren't mean/when I move out you can haz a friend, Pepper.

Check out our videos! Nobody was home to video Week 1 and Week 3 everyone bailed because they were "tired". Whatever that means...

Week 2

Week 4

For Week 4 we had to drop in on a pretty full class because I had to work on Monday. Pepper was really wild on his first run there because we had 0 warm up time and he had to wait for like 15 minutes before his turn. We had to skip Week 5's class because I had work Monday AND Tuesday. Sigh... But the ground has thawed AND I got a new tunnel. A 15' long tunnel! Photos and a video will follow someday when I'm not a bad blogger.

Pepper magically does the weaves now about 75% of the time. What the buck is up with that I'm not sure. He actually does it about 85% of the time correctly on my left side and about 65% of the time correctly on my right. No more Channel Weaves for us! From now on we'll just do it the straight up way until we are 99.999999%. Then we get to move up to 12 weaves.

I'm hoping that we will be able to refine our weaves this weekend and then show all the dogs up in class. *Our personal life goal, right Pepper?*

We already show them up in looks, might as well be better than them athletically too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

First Trial

Yay! We went to an AKC trial and survived! But we were dismissed... Pepper was a straight up a wild thing.
Note to self: do not go to trials 8 hours early. Instead, get there about an hour early. Oh, and remember to put the treats IN the bag. Not near it, not around it. IN the bag.


Enjoy our agility fail. It's hilarious.

Next time I think we will try a CPE trial. One of my instructors recommended it and said it is a little more forgiving for us newbs.

I'm a tiny angel!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prepping For Trial

Our first trial is this very Saturday!

Totally dying inside.

With lots of excitement.

Duh, of course.


The good news is that we mastered weave poles. Kind of. Right now Pepper can do it with lots of direction from me. We are still working with the Channel Weaves in class but I think its important to be able to do them for Saturday.

The only issue right now is the fact that Pepper is kind of scared of the A-frame. The one we practice on for floor time is super slippery and I accidentally got him scared of it directly after the video was taken. I'm worried he'll refuse me at the trial even though the one provided there will be rubberized. Perhaps tomorrow I can make a trip back out to Pet Play and Stay and desensitize him to the A-frame. He'll run the slippery one at a low height and the rubberized one at full height during the trial. Pfffttt.... thats all I'm worried about for now.

To counter act my nervousness and worries, I made a list of things I will need for Saturday!

Things to bring to agility trials:
  • Premium
  • Confirmation letter or e-mail
  • Running Schedule
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Treats
  • Dog toys
  • Dog water
  • Collapsible bowl
  • Doggy bags
  • Crate (optional)
  • Yoga mat
  • Towel
  • Food and drink
  • Camera
  • Purse w/ money
  • Chair
The crate is optional for Pepper only because he doesn't like his crate very much. I want him to be as comfortable as possible at the trial and as stress-free as possible. Instead of a crate I am bringing a yoga mat with a tie-blanket. Oh, and my sister. Anytime I need to leave the dog "by himself" he will actually be with my family. 

Caught up on blogging. Now I can nap in peace!

Beginner's Agility Week 6- Graduation

Yay! Our official graduation from Beginner's class. We certainly are winners, aren't we? As I am typing this, Pepper is actually being a wild animal. Nothing unusual there. Sounds like its time for a walk.

Anywho, Week 6 was... take a look.

Again with the crazy back pedaling on the teeter. He loves to get on that thing... Its actually annoying.

Someone make it stop!

P.S. Ignore the fact that this video is labeled as Week 5. We all know its Week 6. And we all know that I am bad with dates and such. And, and we all know that I don't want to delete this video, edit it, and repost it. Blah.

Beginner's Agility Week 5

Woah! Magic hiatus. Again...

Ok to catch ya'll up. Pepper and I have graduated from Beginner's Agility. Yay! And we actually started Intermediate Agility. There isn't proof of that because I had to to go by myself. But trust me, we went!

Week 4 was pretty good. The mysterious tunnel refusals showed up again. Except they weren't really mysterious. I had bad body position and then someone left treats on the ground. Our arch nemesis... stray treats.



Duke on take off


I like turtles...


Channel weaves + jump

Monday, February 11, 2013

Beginner's Agility Week 4

I am a bad blogger. I apologize to everyone who was waiting on my next post. *crickets, am I right?* I am bogged down with school and a new job. I am now working at Pet Supplies "Plus" which is fun but I still have to finish up at my other, waitressing job. Which means for the next two weeks I will be working two jobs and also attend school. Blahahahahaha... dying inside.

In week 4, Pepper was not the perfect animal he almost always is. He was wild! For all of class. It could have stemmed from him not really eating dinner before. All kinds of crazy nonsense went on when the lease came off.

Puppy parkour is not allowed in class.

We introduced the really, really low teeter. And also the A-frame. Pepper loves that low A-frame. Its a really nice A-frame considering it is covered in little rubber granules instead of just being plain old wood. Pepper scaled that thing real quick. And repeatedly wanted to go over it regardless of wether or not I wanted him to go on it.

The trainers also thought it would be a great idea to treat Pepper for doing some really easy things. The lowered teeter was so easy and he kept getting treated for jumping up and down on it. The other dogs needed the treats because the teeter was scary to them. Pepper was like, "This is soooo easy + treats from a fanny-pack = They always give me snacks from their fanny-pack for easy things!" This led to some interesting begging behavior.

All those wonderful sits right in front of the trainer? That would be Pepper doing extremely polite begging. Naughty dog...

Week 5 was better considering I asked the trainers to NEVER treat my dog. He doesn't need it and it teaches him that anyone in the ring will be a treater. He needs to focus on me and me only. Especially with our trial coming up.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Open Floor Time 1-26-13

Phew. Just when you think you've got it, you introduce something difficult and he does that with ease too! Then you try to do the weaves and he suddenly doesn't want to do that at all... Maybe I over worked it? You tell me.

Our course yesterday. Special thanks to my new phone that can take panorama shots.

I spent the night at U of M and then headed home Saturday morning to get some training done. My BRAND NEW IPHONE said it would take an hour to get home. Made it in 45 minutes. Whose the winner now? I picked up Marie and Pepper and off we went. He cried the whole way there because he is a cry baby all the time now.

iPhone photo shoot!

Yesterday was the day that we were going to start doing contact training on the A-frame and dog walk. Very exciting. And I was worried. The teeter is no problem but the A-Frame and dog walk are slippery. Pepper is really agile but he is also old. At this point, I'm not sure he'll be able to do the A-frame at full height. He must also be really careful on the dog walk. The one we have in class is covered with a better material that is more grippy but I'm still concerned. 

At the beginning of the dog walk.

We are officially signed up for the Trial in March so we've got to step our game up. We shan't embarrass ourselves in front of everyone. That means no more wussing or loafing about in class. I'm going to request the weaves be put a lot closer this week. Its week 4 so we need to be farther along anyway. I guess other than that we can't "hurry up" our class. We have to move at everyone else's pace. Mayhaps I will also request that we be paired with the pitbull, Milika. She is learning faster than the other dogs and is the closest to Pepper's level.

The dreaded curved tunnel!

I'm guessing that we will use the lowered teeter in class this week. I feel like I'm always speculating this but this week I'm 75% sure! Pepper learned to use the full height teeter this week so I don't see any problems arising there. And I think we might introduce the dog walk. Pepper and I will be working from our right side as much as possible in class. If we can help it, I want to do no left-sided work at all!

I apologize for this video being one million years long.

I have 95$ worth of quarters in the back of my car that will serve as our offering for the Intermediate Agility. We sign up next week! Now I can afford another class session without dipping into my precious savings. The previously mentioned savings are now being used to pay off my car and my brand spanking new iPhone5. Well worth the cash considering I need a car to get around and an iPhone to record our session/remain cool.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beginner's Agility Week 3

I know I've been silly about posting videos on random days but I'm here to put a stop to that! Officially, Class videos and posts will be done either Tuesday night or Wednesday day. Open Floor Time videos and posts with be done either Thursday night or Friday day. Trials or extraneous nonsense can be posted anytime but probably will be done up on weekends.

Anywhoodles, this weeks class went AWESOME. I feel like I say that every week but really, this class was great. We did a lot of our work on the off side (Pepper on my right). Generally we fail at this. Last week's video totally proved that. This week was an un-fail AKA beautifully done. Also, every single dog ever registered for class came so we got plenty of them on our video this week. The ring was pretty crowded but we still managed to get 2 sequence runs in.

Overall, we need to work on the curved tunnel. Pepper likes to refuse it sometimes for seemingly no good reason. I also want to introduce the dog-walk and A-frame. I don't want to rush things but there is a competition in Lapeer from March 1st-3rd (We will be there on the 2nd, if we attend). I really want to enter it but I don't think I will send my money and registration in until we do this Thursday's Open Floor work. I want to see how he does on the dog-walk and A-frame. I will be introducing those and hopefully doing some finishing touches on the weave work. I think we are past the wide open channel and could probably work a very small, wiggly channel at this point. It really all relies on what Pepper does this Thursday.

If we do enter in the competition, it will be in the Standard Novice Preferred class. That means Pepper, 22" at the shoulder, will jump 16" and will run a standard course with 6 weave poles in it. I got a little over excited about todays class so maybe I will reconsider later this week but I am 85% we are going for our first trial in early March. Just 4 months after we started seriously training.

Am I crazy?


Check out the premium. Maybe I will see you there!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pepper Can Do That!

The Michigan Winter Dog Classic was this weekend. Of course, I wanted to go. There were going to be confirmation events, rally, obedience, and even some agility competitions. But best of all, there was a chance to bring Pepper to his very first dog show. And there was an agility seminar for him to do whilst there!

OMG been waiting in line for like an hour (literally). Do I look annoyed or what?

Pepper made lots of friends while we waited for a million hours for our turn. We met a 9 month old Corgi, a tiny Border Collie, another Aussie, and an assortment of small dogs/terrier animals. My little sisters came into the ring to do a little work themselves. Susan especially wants to do some work with Pepper. I figured, hey, why not? Pepper was extremely well behaved during the whole show. He wore his head-collar for like 5 minutes before he settled down and I put on his buckle collar. I wish we could have been off leash in the ring but there were other dogs/the ring wasn't fully closed. Can't have Pepper potentially terrorizing the entire dog show...

Pepper does the table because he is a champion. Marie and Susan watch us expectantly.

After our escapades in the ring we got to see the pros do agility just down the row. That was pretty cool. I was almost positive Pepper could do it. The course didn't seem terribly difficult though I didn't know was class was running at the time (novice, open, excellent, etc.). While we were in line, one of the trainers from our class recognized and came for a chat. She thought I had brought Pep to do the actual agility course! I wish... We are good in class but we aren't exactly ready yet. After Beginner's Agility is over, I'm going to gauge him and put him in a few fun matches. If we perform well there and well in Intermediate Agility, off to compete we go!

On another somewhat related note, I ordered a "team" sweatshirt. Its unclear if its super cool or super crazy-dog-person-cool. I guess we will find out. Either way I am excited to get that in the mail! I am mulling over the possibility of selling AussieDogAgility merchandise. In the future, me thinks.



We are going to look really professional at matches now.  :P

Beginner's Agility Class Week 2- Bonus Material Included

Week 2 of class proceeded much more quickly than last week. Everyone was ready to go this time. Except the new people. That's right. We had two more dogs join our class. Merlin the Standard Poodle and Piper the white German Shepherd. Merlin ended up peeing in the tunnel and Piper is so shy its scary. She only likes her owner. They had to play catch up all class. In the end they did ok but I think the weave poles will be a problem.

We worked on two new obstacles. The swing board was brought in and a ramp was also set up. The swing board is new to agility in general and we may or may not see it being used in competitions. The ramp was introduced as part of teeter and dog walk training. Pepper breezed it. Because he is a champion. And because he has secretly already seen a teeter!

Surprise, surprise. All that teeter building went to good use. I don't have any evidence of Pepper on our home teeter because we have been practicing when the videographers aren't home. Maybe this week we can catch the elusive teeter practice...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Teeter Build Part 2

Missed out on Teeter Build Part 1? Check it out here.

So you've got that awesome base painted and ready to go! Expect you don't have anything teetering on it yet... Good news people. I have brought to you the second part of the Teeter Build. And might I say it went very well.
The supplies!

You will need:
  • Eight 1 and 1/2" screws
  • A drill with corresponding bit
  • Four 3/4" pipe fittings
  • One 1/2" galvanized pipe
  • A tape measurer
  • A marker
  • One 12' board that is 2" thick and 12" wide

She's a big one!

Measure out your board. Firstly, make sure its the correct length. Its a good idea to actually bring the tape measurer to the lumber yard with you so you know exactly how long of a board you are getting. Secondly, we need to find the middle (6'). Mark the middle and choose the side that will be the "short side". Make about 1"-2" from the center line. By deviating slightly from the center, you can make sure the teeter with favor a side. The "long side" will always rest on the ground, the "short side" will be up in the air until the dog tips it.

Line the pipe fittings up on your "short side" line. I used the galvanized pipe to make sure they all lined up correctly. The end caps for the pipe should be taken off in case you need to make some adjustments or you want to slide the pipe out without disturbing the fittings.

Now you tap the screws in. This way the fittings aren't going anywhere whilst you prepare to drill. Drill in one side of fittings at a time. Make sure that you aren't screwing all the way through the board and onto the topside. Screws + dog paws = no good. After you screw in the first side, proceed onto the other side.

It should end up like this! The fittings are secure but the pipe has sliding room. It will rotate freely without jiggling loose. Slide the pipe out and jockey the board onto the base. Its really nice to have a partner help you with this. I did it by myself and it took like 20 minutes. The board is heavy so be careful lifting it. I suggest balancing the board on boxes so you can slide the pipe through the wood holes into the pipe fittings and out the other wooden hole quickly/way more easily than trying to hold it.

Finished teeter building! Its on its lowest setting (12") because we are still training. 

Next we move onto the painting the board. You will need paints of two different colors.

  • Blue paint
  • Yellow paint
  • Play sand
Blue is the board's main color so I put a coat down and then sprinkled the play sand over it. This improves the grip of the board. I would not use this board in icy or slick coniditions. It is meant for ideal weather only. Use your best judgement during outside practice!

Give the first coat an hour or two the come back and put on another coat of paint and sand. Repeat one last time until you have paint, sand, paint, sand, paint, sand, and a last coast of paint. Its like a paint and sand sandwich!

Your teeter is practically finished. Be sure to look out for our final install in the Teeter Build series: Teeter Build Finishing Touches. A Teeter Training post will also be made for your enjoyment.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beginner Agility, Class Numero Uno

We learned Spanish!

Just kidding.

Its video we've all been waiting for. The moment of truth. Will Pepper remember everything we've worked on? Will he be able to ignore the other dogs? Am I going to tense up and feint? Will the audience distract him? Will he look just as handsome in fluorescent light?!

Never fear. All these questions will be answered. Right after this video:

Pepper is the star of his class. The trainer even said so. *Proud dog owner moment* There are a few other dogs in his class. There are 5 of us total. The other dogs will make random appearances in our video and hopefully Marie (our photographer/videographer) will be able to take individual photos of all the dogs.

All the dogs doing some work, sorry its blurry...

I was expecting to be surrounded by young Border Collies or maybe even a BC mix thrown in there. I was surprised to see a variety of dogs. No Borders! Weird... Here is a brief description of each of the dogs. I hope this will do until we can get photos up.
  • Dillion- A purebred Doberman Pincher; handsome and very strong, he has no problem pulling his owner around
  • Duke- A little dog mix, Icelandic sheepdog maybe?; wily and rambunctious animal who is still working on basic obedience and now starting agility
  • Brandy- A golden retriever-chow mix, I suspect; the other older dog in the class who is patient, she works really well with her owner
  • Milika- A blue and white pit bull doggy; she is super sweet and loves to jump over the bars, she is a very wiggly pup
  • Pepper- A fantastical beast who appeared when a unicorn exploded into magic dog dust
Car rider to class, he was a sleepy puppy.

Class was great but it also felt short. Part of the class was spent talking dog manners (don't let your dog sniff and yip at the other dogs, its working time not play time!) The trainers promised we would get started right away next time.

Wobble board, some on leash work.
Channel weaves, so fancy.

I am super excited for this upcoming class. We won't be playing with the precursor obstacles but rather working directly with them! I'm also hoping we can lengthen the tunnel and close the weave gap. Pepper and I are also ready for the teeter, I think. Our own teeter might not be complete until next weekend. If we start in class, we can work on the teeter at home. Completing 6 weaves independently and doing the teeter unassisted is part of graduating to Intermediate Agility. I know that not everyone passes on the first try but I think Pep and I can do it!

Teeter Build Part 1

Ever wanted to build your dog a teeter totter? Wow. Its just me. Thats cool. I can teach you how to make one anyway! Today I'm going to show you how to build the base. You are going to need some 2X4s. Three to be exact. And they should be 8' long. You will also need some 3" screws, 3" nails, a metal pipe, pipe supports, end caps, and your sense of adventure!

Cut the wood into these specified cuts:

  • Two 40" base pieces
  • Two 28" post pieces
  • Four 18" brace pieces
  • Two 17" cross bar pieces
 It was so nice today that we could cut the wood outside. That was convenient because hauling 8' of pressure treated wood into the house could have been a hassle.
 Here we are are cutting the four braces. My dad was really helpful. The braces needed to have a 45 degree angle on one side.
 Yay circular saw! (AKA, scary noise maker that could take a finger. Be careful!)
Here are a few of our wood pieces. I label ALL of my wood pieces with their size. Any leftovers? Label those too! "Extra wood, (Insert date here)"

Phew. That was a lot of cutting. Now lets check on our other supplies. We needed all those screws and nails and stuff, right? Yes, yes all of that. But most importantly, you need the metal pipe. It will act as our fulcrum. Eventually, we will attach the 12' long teeter board to that very pipe using pipe supports.

Look at this cool wood screw. Its 3" long!

Here are some of the other requirements:
  • One 1/2" around galvanized metal pipe, 18" long
  • Box of 3" nails
  • Box of 3" screws
  • One 1" drill bit, its a big one!
  • Paint (your color choices/whatever is around the house)
Lets get building!
 Attach the 28" post pieces to the 40" base pieces. Find the very center of the 40" base piece. Mark that, then mark two inches from the center on each side (four inches in total). This is where the 2X4 post piece will go. We used both nails and screws for this. The nails held the pieces steady whilst we screwed. They also add extra strength.
 Next we put the cross bar pieces in. Remember, these pieces are 17" across. The need to be nailed and screwed in on either side of the post pieces.
 Hammer and nail. Drill and screw. Working hard or hardly working.
 Now we are adding the other base and post piece. The cross bars are once again nailed and screwed onto this piece.
 More hammering. More drilling.
 This is the basis of the base. The rest of the pieces are for extra support or finishing touches.
 We are talking about how we want the brace pieces to go in. 45 degree angle was the ticket!
 Whilst we were cutting the braces, my sister, Marie, took this photo to show how the pipe will fit. Looking good so far. The bar goes all the way across with a tiny bit of room. The end caps will keep the pipe from slipping out unexpectedly.
Testing the brace piece's fit. Its good enough for me! We then tested all of the brace's fit.
 Testing. Testing 1, 2, 3...
 Almost done. We nail the brace pieces into place. They each get a few screws too.
 Nails and screws on the top.
 Nails and screws on the bottom.
 Oooo... pretty...
Almost there.
The finished, but unpainted project! My dad and I admiring our work/adjusting some nails.

Woah! Now you've got this cool base. What now? I have the answer, friend. The answer is: Drill the holes for the pipe. Ours are drilled holes are at 12", 18", and 24". This is a prefect training teeter as you can move it from a super low height (12") all the way up to AKC competition height (24"). When those holes are drilled, test the pipe for a good fit. It should fit but not be tight. However it also shouldn't be too loose! The pipe needs to rotate without jiggling around in there.

Now get to painting.

 The base is now painted a light blue-grey color. It was left over from painting my room. We had quite a bit left over and this project hasn't even made a dent in gallon of paint we have left.
The holes we drilled. Aren't they nice?
Ta-da! The finished base.

Part 2 of teetering building will be out later this week.