Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Picture of the Girls Christmas 08

I was just getting ready to mail out Christmas cards when I realized that I didn't have a picture to put in of the Girls. Cheetah is 5 and Tegan is 13 ( she'll be 14 at the end of March) I decided that a picture on the big rock in front of the house would be a good spot. Getting Tegan up was easy. Getting her to cooperate was quite another. I think she thinks that she is retired and she doesn't have to listen to anything. Everytime I got ready to take the picture, she would get up or look away. Cheetah was actually the good one if you can believe that! I finally got it - and they were very happy to get to run around and stop behaving! Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheetah's contact grid work 12-21-08

Yesterday, I worked Cheetah on the grid from Rachel Sander's box method for running contacts. I had toyed with the method over the summer, but I didn't have the DVD then of course, so I was missing many of the steps. I am trying to be a good girl and go through the process, step by step. I shaped the box already, and worked on just having her jump in and out. I added the cue and I did the test that she recomended were you are out of alignment with the box and in line with the dog. She passed that test easily. I am now working on the jump grid work, and starting to add movement. I have had some days that I thought she was doing better than she did in this video, but I hadn't had the camera out ( bad dog trainer) so I guess I don't have any proof.

If you see anything that I am doing wrong or not doing right, please let me know.

I will be posting more on this soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cheetah and the Baby Deer Gang!

And what to her wondering eyes should appear,
but a rock full of birdseed and six baby deer.
They ate and they ate and they climbed on the rock,
they were having a party until they heard her bark!
Run bambi, run bucky, run billy and vinny.
Go buddy, go Flower - now don't they look silly?
thru the middle of the agility field,
To the the cedar's they flew
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all

Sunday, December 14, 2008

BRRR..MAD CO Trial 12 6 & 7, 2008

Last weekend we went to the MAD CO, USDAA Trail in Charlottesville, VA. It is inside ( if you call a freezing horse area inside) but after many years of trailling, you learn how to dress for just such an occasion. I had on 3 bottom layers which inlcluded polar fleece and lined windpants. 3 top layers + a coat, gloves, hot hands, Turtle fur ( like a big turtle neck - just the neck), and one of those ski head band/ear muff things.

Cheetah and Deva stayed in the van, where we used the principle of the greenhouse effect to our advantage. We covered both of there crates in one of those fuzzy velor-like blankets, so their heat would stay in their crates. I also had Cheetah's foggy mountain coat on. Every time we went back to the car to get them they were nice and toasty.

We had 11 runs over the weekend, because it was double games.

We Q'd in 8 of them getting 3 1sts, 3 2nds, a 3rd and a5th. We won the Grand Prix and got a bye to the second round of regionals, and we got a Super Q in snooker. It was a very good weekend for the girls ( Deva was 7 for 11 and also got several placements I can't remember right now, and a Super Q too!) The video from this trial is up!

Next....MADNESS Team Trial in Jessup, MD. (Christmas weekend!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chatham Trial Nov. 22 & 23, 2008

Cheetah and I went to Chatham KC's agility trail last weekend. It was a little risky going to an outdoor trail the weekend before Thanksgiving. The weather on Saturday morning was pretty chilly, but luckily I had many layers on. Cheetah wore her fuzzy Foggy Mountain Coat and stayed snuggled up in her crate in the van until her runs.

There were 3 runs/day Fast, Std, JWW.

Sat - Fast class - 1st place.
This send was fairly challenging, they went from a tunnel out to the chute, but there was a jump next to it that was closer to you, so if you didn't keep them on their same path, they would go in on you. After the chute they took the triple, but most dogs that had problems had it with the chute/jump discrimination. Only 5 dogs in excellent got this send. four of them were from Love on a leash ( go us!)

Sat - JWW class - She took an off course - can you guess which one? "Carpe Weavum"

Sat - Std class - bad Aframe, and some other wild stuff. Once we NQ'd she got a little crazy. Very nice DW though. and a good Teeter.

Sun- Fast class- 1st place
This send was had potential to be challenging b/c of the contact performance. I planned to cross behind after the chute and sent her over the a-frame. Because I was behind a little bit, she took the extra stride she needed to go all the way through the yellow and also turned her head to check with me a little bit. That lined her up good for the correct end of the tunnel. The jump afterwards was easy.

Sun- JWW class - 1 place
She handled this well, and saved my butt. I had planned to do a rear cross on the takeoff side of the #4 jump, but I was too worried that she might see one of the side jumps down the line so I used motion to cue her to stay with me, but I rushed it and actually got almost ahead of her. I knew if I decelerated to keep on the take off side, that we would have a "failure to communicate" so I went to the landing side of 4, which was dangerously close to the off course tunnel, so I am crossing behind her at her heels and yelling right, RIGHT, RIGHT! and she did....good girlie! the rest was very nice.

Sun - Std class - oops I did it again!
I pulled her off of the teeter too soon and to a wrong course jump. The rest of the course was very nice, She actually paused at the bottom of the a-frame and hit a hard 3 o'clock weave entry that I thought I would be up with her to "help" her, but I was not up there, but she got it anyway! I needed to go forward on the teeter a step or two so that she would stay longer and I would do my front cross in the correct spot. then we kinda faked our way out of the ring.

The weather was much better on Sunday - I actually took off my coat when I wasn't running.

Next week, we go to MAD CO in Charlottesville so until then.....See ya!

P.S. - Oh yeah check out the videos!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I forgot to post Halloween!

I still forget that I need to post things to this blog sometimes - (quite Debbie!) So anyway, here we are at the building's last minute Halloween party! I had gone to school in pj's and just didn't feel like taking them off, so she got to wear some too!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cocker Club Trail, Woodbridge, VA

Cheetah had a pretty good weekend last weekend at the Cocker Trail. She picked up her 27th QQ and 92 MACH points. She got 2 1sts and a 3rd. Check out her video of this weekend under my videos. I finally figured out how to string clips together!! Now if I could just get them embedded in the post itself. UPDATE - Here is the clip!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Miss Cheetah's dancing debut

Cheetah and I danced on Sat. night for an SPCA fundraiser. It was called Valley's Pet Idol and was complete with the three judges. We were told that we would have a 35 x 25 stage, as you can see, we didn't. It was a little crowded up there. Some one with a little terrier mix had went by earlier in the week and said - you'll have plenty of room!

Cheetah did pretty well considering the following:

1. I had only agreed to do this 2 weeks ago. ( I did not have a routine - I did have 1 move and the song.)
2. It was about 1/2 of the size I thought it would be (and I was wishing that the larger size was larger)
3. the stage was hardwood and even though we put down rugs, she still slipped.
4. there were about 50 kids under 10. ( and she loves kids because they give up cookies easily!)
5. There were hot dogs in the audience
6. There was popcorn in the audience
7. Did I mention that there was hot dog AND popcorn AND kids in the audience!!

Check it out!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The quest for running contacts!

I have been working on Cheetah's contacts for almost 2 months. I decided to change her class setting only 2o/2o to a running. I have mixed up a few of the common methods out there, trying to find the one that seems to make the most sense to both of us.

I have done some with Silvia Trkman's method, which is basically just run across a plank on the ground and slowly build up the height, marking for running to the edge and not jumping.

I have done some of Rachel Sander's pvc Box method, where there is a large 30x36 pvc box, attached to the contact zone of the the aframe and after some ground work, they gain understanding that 4 feet in the box is good, so that when you put it on the a-frame, it focuses them on that area.

I have put stride regulators on just above the contact zone

I have placed a hoop at the bottom of the a-frame so that she doesn't get to practice jumping off of the end.

I even has started to use a laser light to have her chase it down the yellow area.

In this clip, I have the hoop infront of a 5'3" a-frame and she is chasing the laser light. That is why the room is a little dark.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Westminster round 1 (weimaraner club)

I forgot to post about the trail last weekend. All and all it was pretty good. Cheetah was 4 for 6 and got our 4 QQ for MACH II. We had 2 3rds a second and a 5th place.

The carpeting at this venue is not the best for Cheetah's grip - she doesn't get as near as good yps here as she does on field turf, dirt or outside.

Friday- July 18, 2008

Jumpers - 147 yards SCT - 39 sec. Her time 28.06 yps 5.23
she really slipped on this course, since it was the first one of the weekend, I guess she needed to get used to the footing. She mangaged to get 3rd, out of 8 q's with 15 dogs.

Std - 168 yards SCT -60 sec. Her time 39.22 4.28 yps *
This was an interesting course by Blair Kelly ( aren't they all) When I saw his name on the confirmation letter, I thought - I wonder what he'll do to us this time! Well he had 10 weavepoles and a broad jump in excellent. That's Blair for ya! I learned something interesting, Cheetah didn't clear the tire very well and it was the first obstabcle. The second one was the A-frame. I think she was so focused on the A-frame, that she forgot to handle the tire correctly. It only bugged her a little bit, then by #4 we were back on track. I actually did a rear on this course - go me! I don't know whether she noticed that she got ripped off out of 2 poles or not. She got 2nd place out of 8 q's and 15 dogs.

QQ # 4 toward MACH II

Sat - July 19, 2 008

I pulled her in off of the last jump of a pinwheel because I executed my FC too soon/didn't support the jump enough. If I had been trying to miss that jump I would have worked so much harder for it:) But she did stick her contact, I actually got to say yes! she went wide on the next turn and we bobbled later because I was going to get a FC in on the teeter - nope! but she didn't take the off course weaves that were calling to her and she came and took the jump first like a good girl. She handled the lateral distance to the DW well and knew we were going to turn and not go over the dummy jump ahead.

Jumpers - 148 yards SCT - 40 sec her time 25.48 5.8 yps* 3rd out of 8 Q's/21 dogs
Blair, Blair, Blair - you are truly cutting edge! a broad jump in Jumpers to the triple no less!
The opening was nice and flowing until you go to the transition from 11-12 and the back side of the broad jump was way in the path of the 24" dogs. I knew it would be hard when I thought it looked close for the 12" border terrier that I was running. But she was a good girl and followed my rotation and not the jump in her face! Good Girl!

Sunday July 20, 2008

Std - 164 yards/SCT 58 sec. Her time was 38.94 (it's faster to fly of the A-frame) :(
It was a nice course and she did great, except for the dock diving impression she did off of the A-frame! The saddest part is, I didn't even mark it - did I say anything at all NO, NADA, ZIP! I just ran on like nothing happened! How am I supposed to teach her that it is not exceptable, if I can't even stop myself. I am making a promise to myself - if she leaps off of the a-frame - STOP, PAUSE DO SOMETHING!! DO NOT PASS GO until you have MARKED IT!

Jumpers - 140 yards/ SCT 37 Her time 26.11 5.36yps :( 5th place.
She was a good girl, I layered a jump at the end that I debated about and found myself on it. I moved out of the way a bit, held my signal, she started to pull off, saw my signal and went back on the line and took the jump. Good Good Girlie!

Next weekend I will be back at Westminster for the Elkhound Club - see ya!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Ok - I have been slacking in my tale from WT tryouts. But here it goes!

Departure – Dulles Airport
We left Friday morning, My husband took off of work to drop me off. We got there about 6:15
and the flight was at 8:43. So I had it all planned. I had Cheetah’s Crate all decked out in yellow and black Safety tape, Her Name in 3” letters, reflectors – the hole nine yards. It looked like it should be handled by people in HAZMAT suits. (I didn’t want them to forget to put her on the plane) . I had a little back pack put on the top, and a furniture dolly strapped to the bottom, so that I could move her around myself and not rely on the sky cap (?) people. Well, we rolled the crate on the sidewalk, and I swear that I got it about 5 feet away from the van, when one of the bolts holding the wheel on, sheared off. GRRRRHH!!! So off it goes and I’m back to relying on a little help from my new paid friends!

Luckily the second guy that came over was really nice. The first came over, started to pick up the crate…put it down, and walked away to talk to the other guy. He brought in the crate and all of my bags up to the counter, then after we took care of the paperwork and got rid of my checked bags, he rolled her crate over to an area where we could wait out of the way until it was time to check her. He then came back about 45 min later to help us get her through security and then take her down to the plane. The security check was kinda odd, the TSA guy tapped on the sides of her kennel, looked under her bedding, but almost forgot to look in the back back. Then HE had to put the zip tie around the door after we put her in.

I then went through security myself (oh what fun!) – remember I’d never flown before, so I am just looking at what the masses in front of me are doing so that I can get through as quickly as possible.

I then follow the endless stream of signs – looking for my gate ( B14 ) I feel like Dory in finding Nemo, just repeating my gate over and over again, turning left here, down the escalator, over the moving hall ways, up the escalator.

I met up with a friend, Barbara who was on the same flight as me. She is a very experienced flyer and dog traveler. I think it was very helpful to have her there to walk me through the rest of the process. There was “moderate” turbulence as she put it, because we had to go over that big storm in the Midwest.

Arrival - Minneapolis Airport
We landed and collected all of our stuff, Cheetah came out of the oversized luggage claim, she came out of the crate in good shape. She was happy to be out, but seemed to be OK.

We had to get another guy to assist us getting everything down to the car rental place. I am glad we had him with us, because we had to go down two sets of elevators and a tram ride. I have no idea how we got there! I picked up my mini van and we loaded everything in and we were off.

The Room – Red Roof Inn
I got to my room about 11:30 and ordered lunch to be delivered ( I was not going anywhere else for a few hours) We relaxed in the room until about 3:15 then we went to the trial site to get set up and have our practice session that was at 4:45.

Practice Session
Cheetah seemed to be fine during practice, but she was a little confused as to why we were out there for 6 min with out any cookies. The way it was set up was there were 3 set ups and you had 2 min at each station, then you rotated. You could bring toys, but no food in the ring, and Cheetah is a food hound. So she was a little bummed about that .

We then had a meeting and we drew for our running order, I was # 32. But to make it fair to all, the 1st round we ran in order. The 2nd round we ran in reverse order, the 3rd round we ran in reverse seeded order. The Next day the 4th round would be start in the middle, work your way back then start at the beginning. And the 5th round would be in reverse seed order. The way they do the course time is weird, it is the time of the fasted dog in the class + 10%, so about half of the class or better is going to have time faults.

Saturday Round 1 - 207 yards - standard course time 36.660 - Cheetah’s time 43.084 rank 28
The first round was a standard course and she did good, except that she landed really long after the broad jump (international broad jumps look like a moat!) and had a hard time collecting to get on the teeter so she went by it. She has tried to get on them before when the footing is slippery and her timing is off and she scuffs the inside of her knee, so I guess she just didn’t want to do that again. I restarted her she did a quick head bob ( a 2nd refusal) then got on. Our time was at least 5 seconds slower than it should have been because of it. The rest of the course was flawless. I was very proud of the fact that she didn’t even look at the weaves going from 2-3.

Saturday Round 2 – 155 yards – standard course time 26.79 – Cheetah’s time 28.129 rank 17
This was the jumpers round were there was a really long lead out (I was between 3 & 4)with a very depressed view of jump 2. She did a great job there were several places were she could have taken a wrong course, but she listened really well.

Saturday Round 3 – 181 yards – Standard Course Time 34.820

Cheetah’s time 36.078 – rank 22
This was the last round of day one, and another standard course. I did a lead out push from 2-3, then a FC between 6 & 7. She landed too long off of 14, and took about 2 extra strides, but other than that, it was a really nice run.

Sunday Round 4 – 180 yards – Standard Course Time 32.55 – Cheetah’s time 34.303 – rank 31
I was concerned that she would see the weaves coming off of 2, so I didn’t think enough about the 4-7 transition, I was just about a step behind through that whole process which was ok until #8. I needed to be up there to pull her through the gap on the threadle and I wasn’t, so she read it as a serpentine. A 50 point WC penalty. I just let her take the tunnel from the wrong end, no need to bobble her up any more, I just wasn’t were I needed to be. The rest went very nicely.

Sunday Round 5 – 189 yards – Standard Course Time 35.44 – Cheetah’s time 37.25 – rank 20
Another chance to get the treadle right, this time it was at the beginning. I chose to be on the landing side of 2 and do a lead out push. Cheetah pushes better than she pulls, so I knew that she would push through the gap. She is also a really good jumper so I wasn’t worried about the #3 bar, like some others were discussing. I let her drift out to give her a good approach to the teeter then I drug her to the tunnel. She handled the 11-13 combo very nicely and she even stuck her a-frame contact until I said yes. She wasn’t temped by the tunnel as she came around 16 -17. She was a good girl!

I don’t really get how they did the scoring. They sorta had a day one ranking and a day two ranking. I sorted the data so that the over all times/faults determined the ranking. According to that data, Cheetah ranked 26th out of the 34 large dog participants.

The trip home
On the way home, I again was on the same flight as Barbara, so that was nice. We got Cheetah loaded pretty much without a hitch, she had gotten through the security check pretty easily, this guy was much more casual about things ( I’m not sure that was a good thing). The only problem was when they went to take her and the other two dogs going on different flights, they were concerned that the backpack would be rejected when it got downstairs to the plane. I assured them that it had cleared security and she had flown from Dulles to MN with it and it would be fine. They finally agreed to take her down ( which made the other dog owners happy, b/c they were holding up there dogs too.) Barbara and I went through security, they confiscated her applesause ( FYI – it counts as a liquid) and put our shoes back on. We then went to the food court, and I grabbed a salad for the plane. I suddenly realized just how much shopping you could get done if you had not had a dog with you. But I don’t understand, you can only access this after going through security, and then all you have with you is a carryon bag. How much stuff could you buy if you can only fit it in your carry-on?? Do they really make money in these stores? Anyway, we boarded the plane and we lucked out, no one had the middle seat, so I got the window, she got the isle and we had some elbow room to boot.

We arrived back at Dulles about 9:40 pm and we all crammed into this tram-thing and got over to the arrival gate where Sheli and Joy were waiting to pick me up. It was very nice of them to offer to drive up 2 hours and back to pick me up so I wouldn’t have to get home all by myself at midnight! Cheetah was very happy to see everyone when we got her out of the crate. We drove home via the senic route, because we thought we knew what we were doing ( appearently not!) but it only took us about 20 mins out of our way, so it wasn’t too bad.

All in all, I think Cheetah and I handled traveling pretty well, and had fun at Tryouts. I think I am planning to go again next year.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Welcome to the World of Team Cheetah

I have created this blog spot to keep people up to date on the Adventures of Cheetah. I will back track a little bit, so that I can put some video of other events up that people had wanted to see. Cheetah is a 4 yo Golden Retriever aka "Fireside's Screamin' Cheetah" She has been so much fun to train and she is a great dog to live with too. She has a lot of drive with out being too crazy (just a little bit)

I will start with the weekend of March 9, 2008 ( the day that Cheetah MACHED)

On Fri 3/7/08 we needed 2 QQ's for her MACH and I really wanted to get it at the Blue Ridge Trail in Winchester, VA. because I love club and the facility and I had gotten my MX and MXJ titles there too. Well I suppose I was a little more stressed about getting that QQ than I thought, b/c she was all over the place, I think we NQ'd 3 times before obstacle 8. I think that was a sign that perhaps I should snap out of it and just run my dog!

Sat the 3/8/08 ( we STILL need 2 QQ's) but this time the agility gods were kind and I didn't loose my mind and we got our standard run.

Std course time 62 sec yds 176

Cheetahs time was 43.82 and 4.02 yps 3rd place

Next it was time for Jumpers. This was an interesting course in that there was this circle of jumps that you had to go around 2x before exiting, and we were joking that we were going to get stuck in the loop and never come out. I said that I would know exactly when to leave b/c it would be after we went past the weave poles twice ( her favorite obstacle) and I wouldn't want to go by them again. I was so right, she drifted out to them both times we went by, she wanted them soo bad, but she was a good girl and didn't take them, but it did make the crowd ( who know how she is) laugh.

Std course time 42 sec yds 157
Cheetah's time 30. 72 yps 5.11 ( darn those weave pole sirens!)

Sunday March 9, 2008

Well this was the day I had be dreaming of (literally) I had a dream that we got our MACH this weekend, at this location, and I even remember what I was wearing in the dream when we took our victory lap, so you best belive I wore this outfit today.

The Standard course was interesting and I think that I was running her alittle tight, but she was a good girl and did everything I asked.

Std Course time 64 sec. 184 yrds Cheetah's time 46.13

OK - only one more run to go.

I watched the little dogs run this very technical course up close and personal - I was assistant scribe. Dog after dog NQ'd on this course. It got to the point that the timer rather than saying go when ready wanted to say "next victim" or "may the force be with you"

I thought I was going to throw up. Sheli said she couldn't even talk to me, because she was nervous for me.

JoEllen helped by yelling at me as she had the other runs for the weekend ( this worked for me - I don't know why?)

When I finally walked to the line, I was sorta numb. Once I released her, I don't really remember much else until I got the final Front Cross in to shape the weave pole entry, and I suddenly thought OH MY GOD - I am clean we just have to weave and take the last jump, then I'm like SHUT UP and handle the dog. She cleared the last jump and the building exploded with Cheering! I was exstatic!!! We made our customary MACH lap and Cheetah was looking at me like I was crazy until I could get her close enough to stuff to start sending her to obstacles. Then as we came around the last section of the course I sent her to the weaves, and she NAILS the entry - this was from the same jump that was in the course and was the one that I was SO worried about. I was so proud of my little girl. She was amazing.

Std course time 36 sec, 135 yards Cheetah's time 25.84 (3rd place)

I will continue to look into the video uploading...