Photo by Paws on the Run Pet Photography

Monday, August 27, 2012

Critters at the field

All summer a group of us have been heading out to the agility field for an extra practice session on Sunday mornings.  A couple times we have worked on full courses.  More often we have set up stations to work on individual skills.  This summer has been about getting back to basics with Rookie Cookie so I have found these stations extremely helpful.  This last Sunday was especially productive as we had a ton of things to work on from the previous week at Agility Camp.  

We had a couple critter visits at the field this Sunday...

While we were setting up a gamble tunnel station I discovered several VERY large spiders on the tunnel bags.  That was the start and the end of my helping set up that station.  Anything with that many eyes and legs just can't be trusted.  Spiders give me the weenie-jeebies so I didn't get any pictures of the disgusting things.

Shortly after the "spider incident" I noticed a tiger salamandar strolling across the field.  Lucky for him or her we hadn't let the dogs out yet.  So I grabbed him / her and we took the opportunity to get a couple quick pics.      

I have really enjoyed my Sunday mornings out at the agility field.  I'm sad that the summer is coming to an end and with that our Sundays at the field.  One of the reasons I joined agility was to meet new people and to make some new friends.  The group of girls I spend Sundays with are awesome and I have really enjoyed getting to know them...      

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Agility Camp

Last weekend was the the weekend I have been looking forward to all summer long.  Cookie and I got to attend the first ever Go! See Spot! Fly! Agility Camp.  Honestly I had no idea what to expect from Cookie or the camp experience.  I must say it far exceeded my expectations :-)

Friday and Saturday featured 7 hours of on course training each day.  I must admit that 7 hours a day in the sun was a lot for both Cook and I.  Cook was a trooper... he hung on to the end and for the most part I felt like he really tried hard to do what was asked of him.  I was a little nervous going into the camp with Rookie Cookie as I didn't know what level everyone else was at.  The teams we were put into were fantastic.  Our team "Twister" was full of starters level dogs of varying skill levels, so I felt right at home.  The team was super supportive and lots of fun.  During the on course training I picked up lots of tips to make Cookie and I a better team.  I'm really looking forward to resuming our regular training armed with some new ideas to hopefully continue to improve.

Both nights we had lectures... I definitely learned stuff both nights.  Friday night Dr. Devall talked to us about conditioning the canine athlete.  I've never really put a lot of thought into warming up or stretching my dog.  I certainly will now.  Hopefully this is a topic that we can touch on during our regular training classes as I will need to learn how to properly stretch Cookie.  Saturday night Kyle Connelly talked to us about Goal Setting and Visualization.  I found this very interesting as I do a lot of goal setting in my everyday life and job but I had never really transferred it over into my agility training.  Sure I had set long term goals and dreams for us but I hadn't really broken the goals down into manageable short term goals.  I think this will really help me feel like we are having success as a team.  It was also pretty cool to hear about Kyle's journey to the 2002 Olympics.

Sunday was a one day games only trial.  It was fun to take all the stuff I learned from the first 2 days and apply it to the trial.  I must admit I looked at the courses differently.  I feel like I planned better for the gamble and the snooker runs.  Although we didn't get a Q I was happy with how the 3 runs went.  From Kyle's lecture I took the advice to set small goals.  I decided that I wanted to attempt the weaves in the gamble.  Which I did and we successfully did them so we repeated the weaves in the snooker.  I was really proud of how we did and the effort that we both put in.  I did have a meltdown because I feel like we may never get a Q again.  I tried really hard to not let Cookie know that I was discouraged and I think I succeeded and he had fun.

Being an agility camp Cookie and I got to tent it!  Cookie was a fan of the tent other then when I left him briefly alone in the tent... he managed to rip a hole in the inside part of the door.  Thankfully I think it will be easily fixable.  I was glad to have the Munster to tent with... not a big fan of sleeping alone in a tent.  It was also nice to have the Munster under the covers during the cold nights.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend!  I came home with a sun burn, a tired Munsterlander, and most importantly lots of things we can do to improve our skills and to build our bond.  I really hope that this becomes an annual event that we can be a part of for a long time!