Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here is my Chip In Widget? Anyway, I am trying to make it to the European Open this summer in the Czec Republic. According to US Team Coordinator/Coach Nancy Gyes, each team member should expect to spend about $2500 for the trip. In order for Team Cheetah to make it the EO this summer, we will need your help. Please click the button and help us Represent the US in international Agility Competition.

Here is our Promotional video...enjoy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Four on the Floor...Fix!??!?

As you know, I have been trying out a variety of contact methods in an attempt to come up with a behavior that we both can live with. recently, after I was practicing her 2o/2o behavior at home. I worked her for her dinner, running her over about 10 a-frames and teeters. Later that evening, she came up lame, seeming to favor her left front. So I rested her completely for 48 hours (that was fun) then I brought her to class and just did one run, with no contacts at 16 inches, just to have other people look at her. They thought she looked ok, but I wanted to take it easy with her anyway. That was a wed. class, and I teach on thurs. I usually bring her and work her some after class or use her to demo something, but I didn't want to be tempted to do anything so I didn't even bring her.

Friday we left for a trail, so I didn't do anything with her then. Sat. I ran her and she seemed to move ok, although she jumped her A-frame (so all of that 2o/2o didn't help anyway). I got her massaged afterwards and she said that she was definitely sore, but ok to run tomorrow, and to ice her tonight and give her some rimadyl, and to get a second massage tomorrow. I ran her the next day she seemed fine. She said that she felt some better, but to ice again for a day or two and take it easy with her for a few days. (See Mattiponi Trial)

All of this got me thinking....I already know that if I try to teach her a running a-frame that she looses her mind in the ring. I also know that trying to force a 2o/2o in practice can make her sore, and it still doesn't translate to what I want in the ring. I supposed to not train the a-frame at all?? doesn't seem to be practical.

Then I thought, well I haven't tried 4 on the floor yet, why not?

So I found an old clean run that had an article about training the 4 on the floor (4otf) method, and I read over the steps.

1. I started with a towel on the floor and shaped a down on it.
2. I started calling it "spot"
3. I practiced that for about 4 days then
4. I put it out in front of the bottom of the aframe.
5. I pulled it out about 2 feet from the aframe, because I didn't want her to try to jam her self into position and I didn't want her to leap onto it either. That seemed to be a good compromise.
6. I did some hop -ups with it, saying "spot" and she would usually stop in a 2o/2o, then I would say yes - "spot". She would then go into a down on the towel. I would say yes again to release from that.

Sometimes, she would go down all the way to a down the first time. I just said yes and released. I didn't want to stress her with trying to break the 2o/2o again. I'd done it 3x already.

In class, when I put the towel down, she does a 2o/2o. I started out saying yes and spot again, but somewhere along the way, I just started releasing her to the next obstacle (probably, because I didn't like making it seem like she was doing something wrong).

The next weekend we had our first trial with my new "spot" command. Sat, she did a great run thru, the contact, which I am perfectly happy with ( although I was apparently so happy that I forgot the course. Sunday's was a little jumpy, but it is still a work in progress ( see Cocker Club Trial)

The next trial, was Morgantown, she did really good a-frames there to. I was even able to front cross at the end of the frame. both were really nice run thru the contacts. ( see morgantown trial)

The third trial was Oriole - Aka the kitty litter trial. I did 2 really nice front crosses,and a run straight off, which was a little high. We had 2QQ's that weekend and were 3 for 3 in standard.. that hasn't happened in a while! ( see Oriole Trial)

It should be noted that I also was saying "wait" for the teeter for these last three trials, and they were MUCH better Teeters too!

In class she is still stopping 2o/2o in front of her towel on the word "spot".
It should also be noted that her 2o/2o never had a target or touch word associated with it.

Will this hold up, time will only tell, but I am very pleased with these early results.

Do I need to actually make her stop in the "spot" position in practice or competition? I do not know. Is it a fix....I sure hope so!

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted

Monday, August 17, 2009


This weekend we were at the TAG USDAA trial and Miss Cheetah had 6 good Teeters.
(well 5 1/2...the last one of the weekend, was not called, but it was a little lighter than I would like.)

I guess buying a competition teeter for the house must have helped. I hope that doesn't mean that I have to buy a comp A-frame for the house to get my A-frame back on track...Hmmmm!!!

She actually did about half of her A-frames ok too....just not as good as I would like.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Check out the partial teeter montage!

Here is what I've been trying to work on since I last wrote in. I was attempting to make a video of all of the comp teeters that Cheetah has done in the last year. Well, I have them all clipped together, but my stupid movie maker program won't let me publish it. So I can't upload it - grrr! I was able to publish an older version that only had 12 trials worth of the 20 (actually it ended up being 22 trials) So at least you can get some idea of what is going on. The main part that is missing is the progression from Aug to Nov. last year. I now have a competition teeter at the house ( as of 2 weeks ago) and I have been playing with her on it, which of course she is FINE on! I will have to make a video of those teeters so you can see the difference.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"easy tip it?"

Well we were at the Weim. Trial weekend before last, and While I only got 1 QQ for three days, I was very pleased with a possible discovery towards the fixing of Cheetah's teeter thing! On Fri, we had Jumpers first, which was fine, she loves jumpers. Next was FAST, so I laid out my plan and she didn't get credit for her a-frame (even though it really looks like she got it, but that's a different story) So send her back over the aframe on this loop I was taking, then off to do the send ( which she loves ...its weaves - jump, wrap back to the weaves!) then we do the teeter. She comes off the side, no points called, I send her back around to do it again, she does it good, but no points called again ( oh yeah, I forgot to put a jump in between) then I leave. Well I thought that I had a lot of time to doddle around and I did, because they never set the buzzer to go off. So they let me re-run it. Which was great practice, but I didn't get enough points in the first one do Q anyway, so it didn't really matter. This time, she gets her a-frame and came closer on the teeter, but the buzzer went off, so I don't know if she would have gotten credit or not, but at least we had lots of practice.

Std is next, and it is jump, jump, turn, teeter. So I do a LOP, and she does a great teeter. We Q, got 1st, QQ #11 for MACH 2, everything is great.

Sat - Fast is first again, and she doesn't get the chance to do the teeter, but got the send and Q'd. Then in std, she comes off the side again. People asked if I was putting pressure on her and crowding her, but she came off into me.

Jumpers was good!

Sunday, I got to thinking, that the reason she got the teeter on Fri, was because she was not going as fast yet. ( it was obstacle 3, remember) SO, I got to thinking for some reason about when she was in open and couldn't get fast weave entries so save her soul, so I said "easy weave" for probably a few months, and she would add a stride and collect enough for her entry. So I thought, why not try that on the teeter? So I made a FAST plan that was all about the teeter, and if we happened to get the send, so be it. I planned to say "easy tip it" and then make a little loop and come back by the teeter and do it again. Yes, I will get whistled off and not allowed to do any other obstacles, but it would be my last one anyway, so perfect. I did my plan (she had TOO MUCH send on the send, oh well.) but got 2 perfect "easy tip its" and I was happy.

Std - the teeter was after a long line of jumps and coming out of a tunnel with a FC in just before, I said "easy tip it" and it was perfect! ( we NQ'd on the aframe contact, but I can accept THAT better than the teeter problem.)

I don't know that it will always work, and I am still trying to do some things to help her get her teeter mojo back, but if I have do say "easy tip-it" for the rest of her career, so be it. I will be posting a teeter montage soon.

See Ya!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Good Teeter Training!

I have been going around the last couple of weeks, trying to get Cheetah on some different Teeters. A Lynchburg at the end of June we were warned by the judge that we needed to watch that teeter. ( Like I didn't know it was close, but I'm glad she was nice enough not to call it.) Then at Blue Ridge we missed 3 QQ's by the teeter. @%$)@#$#)%!! So I go to two different peoples houses, sign up for a different set of classes just to get her on different teeters. How do you think they were....they are all perfectly fine! I am ordering a comp teeter for my house, just so I can have another different teeter, but it is beyond me what her deal acutally is. I will upload those two trials ASAP.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I finally uploaded Nationals...

I finally got around to uploading my runs from nationals this year in Concord, NC. I must say I was not very motivated to do this because we only had one clean run and we had a quickly unraveling teeter issue, that I am not at all sure what the problem is. I am actually in the process now of making a teeter montage so I can see if there are any patterns that emerge from that. I will be posting more about that as it progresses.

I am also going to be uploading the runs of my friends GSD, Deva from nationals. She was ranked 20th in the 24" class. Woohoo!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Project!?

Well Cheetah and I are continuing to deal with her rebooting and it's going well in practice, we will see how things go in the next few weeks when we start trialing again. In the meantime, I have decided to take on a special summer project. I really liked Susan Garrett's 2x2 weave dvd and would really like to train them. The problem is Cheetah already knows them, and while I could tweak her entrances - I am really not prepared to screw that up. So - I am taking my brothers 8 yo Golden, Max and seeing if I can get him to weave with this method. I tried it today for the first time, and we had two sessions. Let me start be saying if he gets this either Susan or I are geniuses because he doesn't have an operant bone in his body. But he lives on the same property so, I have easy access to him.

I finally got a couple of tenative passes through the weave poles, but it was a bit contrived on my part ( leaning - having the leash in front of him through the poles, I even lured him a couple of times!)I know that is not correct proceedure, and I love freeshaping, and tell my students that they must be paitent and wait it out - but even I can only stand to watch a dog sit there and stare at me for so long before I do SOMETHING to clue him in that he is to move in this direction!

I will keep you posted on our progress - I may even tape some if I get him doing anything at all.

I think I need to power up the clicker with him and try some sort of shaping in general ( box lid - cone - something - ANYTHING ) maybe I can get a few synapses firing that way!

Wish me luck

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Well, between our performances at Nationals and WT Tryouts it became pretty obvious that we need to reboot her contacts! I was talking to Webb at tryouts about her teeter refusal issue and he asked if I had changed her criteria! Well of course...going from a 2o/2o to a running on the a-frame was bleeding into her DW and Teeter performances...DUH!! I could have maaayybee gotten her to stop on the teeter w/o the other two, but she used to stop on all, and now was trying to run on all! I think it was scaring her sometimes, but she just couldn't bear to do it any slower.

So after returning home from tryouts, I gave her her hop-up command...she did it like a charm. I repeated 3x. C/T each rep, then I put her on the whole thing. She stopped like she'd been doing it all along. ( whew) I trained it that week, using mostly hop-ups not too many full frames. I went to class, she stopped. I went to the trial this weekend, and while she didn't stop, she got her contacts and was much better on her DW and teeter. We were 4/4 and she got 2 blues and a 2nd and a 3rd.

I have a new plan to rework my old plan! ( I am all about recycling!) I will have to proof her some more and try to get her all amped up like at trails. I will miss the dream of having a running contact with her, but her 2o/2o is fast and I really think that this is what she needs for her teeter performance to improve.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sorry I've been so quiet!

I have been so busy lately that I can't even seem to think about posting, much less doing it. I am still working on Cheetah's running contacts, I think they are comming along pretty well. We went to Lebenon, PA on Easter weekend and she had good A-frames there. I have started using a target about 10 feet out and saying touch. She seems to be understanding it pretty well. I need to work on her DW and see what is up with her teeter ( she is coming off way too soon sometimes - othertimes she does fine.)

I will have to upload some sessions and post the itinerary for the spring. This week is Lynchburg and then its off to WT Tryouts.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

tonight's contact training

I left the height of the a-frame at 4'11" for one more session. My eye was off a bit, and she was moving strangely?? I kept thinking that she was taking extra strides, and she did severak times, but I kept seeing it even when she was doing it right.

I was on the off side
I was throwing her bait bag and not her chuck-it ball. I believe this was the biggest contributor to the issue. I need to switch up WHAT I throw for her more. I will put this on the grid tommorrow and see what I get.

11 reps:

1. sit - she skitters in to position
2. tunnel - she barely touches the box - but I thought it looked off?
3. tunnel - 3 feet in. one front foot is above the box and the others end up in.
4. tunnel & I switch to the heel side (hoping to get her to do it right) - she has a clean hit - but there is a small half stride extra
5. tunnel - off side again - good striding this time!(PERFECT)
6. sit - off side - PERFECT
7. sit - heel side - 3 in (her right "lead leg" does not go into the box on the second hit - this causes me to bring the box back up ( it was in position - from last session)
8. sit - off side - she still only puts 3 feet in.
9. tunnel -heel side - good !
10. tunnel - off side - I think all four feet were in, the lead leg was high. Whenever she separates her front feet it is not as good.
11. sit - off side - was really quiet. took three strides but ended up with all four feet in the box.

running a-frame 2-21-09

The a-frame is still at 4'11" ( day 2)
She is running on heel side
box is up a bit to start..then I move it down
9 reps
throwing the chuck -it ball

Most of these are actually starting at a sit infront of the the tunnel. If she is taking the tunnel, then I have the send to the tunnel in it.

1. good job - touches the yellow a little high but within the box!
2. good job!
3. good job! (moving the box down)
4. misses the box - no reward
5. send to the tunnel - PERFECT!!!!!
6. great job!
7. send to the tunnel - PERFECT!!!
8. Send to the tunnel - PERFECT!!! moved down into position

I was very happy with this session!

Cheetah's A-frame Training 2/17 /2009

Tues - I put the a-frame up to 4'11" and I also put the box up on the a-frame a bit. In this session, she did 10 reps on the off side.
Throwing her chuck-it ball

1. good job - was high in the yellow but well within the box (sit in front of the tunnel)
2. better - was deeper in the yellow ( sit infront of the tunnel)
3. send to the tunnel - good job!
4. sit in front of the tunnel - great job!
5. send to the tunnel - hit the top of the box
6. sit - great -nice and deep
7. send to the tunnel - high hit the box
8. send to the tunnel - PERFECT!
9. Perfect ( moved the box down)
10. using decelleration - good job!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cheetah's A-frame Training 2/16 /2009

I just posted Cheetah's video from the two trainning sessions we had this week. On Monday, I had the a-frame at 4'9" ( this was the second day of that height)

She did reps: ( all in Heel side) - all me throwing the chuck-it ball

1. hit the top of the box ( no reward)
2. good - all four in the box - threw ball
3. perfect - all four in the box even deeper she hit the sweet spot - threw ball
4. perfect - sweet spot - threw ball
5. bad - her feet separated and she hit the top of the box with her front paw and came off
6.perfect !
7. not good - separated her feet and hit one foot in the yellow but left after that - no reward
8. Good girl - she fixed her self!
9. Not good - she hit too high barely got in the box ( only three got in - she floated one front leg)
10.only three in the box

I will post Tuesday's session information later!

Salem Agility Trial 2-14 & 15, 2009

Last weekend, Cheetah and I went to the Salem Agility Trial. It was at a new facility for us, and I wasn't sure how she would handle the matting. Overall, I thought she did good on it. Her ground speed is never as good on matting, but she didn't seem to slide as much as I was afraid of. She had some nice runs, and ended up with a 2nd place in Sundays jumpers. I am blaming her breeder for causing the other NQ's for the weekend. Ya see, whenever either of the Shelmidines are around an agility trial that Cheetah is at, she does weird things she doesn't normally do. She dropped the panel this weekend, and she hardly ever drops a bar. I later went to harass Pat about this ( he was judging obedience in the other part of the building. ) He said - oh ya, I saw her drop that bar! Not only was he in the building but he was WATCHING! Now if that isn't proof of "breeders curse" I don't know what is! I figured he must have left early on Sunday or went out to lunch - because we Q'd on Sundays jumpers.

Her A-frame is not were I want it yet, but I think we are making some progress at home. I will post about that soon!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cold weather Training!

Today I braved the cold enough to raise Cheetah's Aframe to 37". I moved the box about 6" farther up the a-frame too, so that Cheetah would be encouraged to make 3 solid strides rather than the 3 skidery ones that she tends to do in practice.

My plan at this point is to do this for a few days, then I have to decide whether I should move the box down first or raise the a-frame again first? I will also try to tape her tomorrow, because it was only mid 30's today and I usually have my mom run the camera for me, so I thought that since tomorrow is going to be about 50, it would be the better day to tape.

She did:

6 reps
She hit the box once with back of her foot.
I moved the box up higher, and that helped.
I practiced off of both sides and threw a tug toy at the end.

I would like to have her at about 4 feet by the trial in two weeks. That seems reasonable?!!?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Timonium Trial Jan 2009

Cheetah and I just got back from a long weekend at the Oriole Trial in Timonium, MD. The days were long ( didn't get out of there until 7 any day) and there was a lot of hub bub going on. This trail has a pet expo going on in the rest of the building so we are sorta like a side show. Cheetah has never cared at all about any of that, but it is not a place I would want to debut a novice dog!

The flooring is this blue foamy stuff which seems to have plenty of cushion, but lacks traction. Cheetah tends to go really wide on turns on this flooring, because she just can't dig in the way she wants to, and lord knows she doesn't want to adjust! I need to cue collection and turns way...way earlier than I normally do, so the timing is very hard to get just right!

She didn't get any QQ's this weekend, but we did get 2 jumpers legs and 2 fast legs. Sunday's Fast course was right up her ally. a lateral send to the weaves, then taking the outer of two jumps.

She did several things that I am very pleased with:

  • She collected very nicely after the chute in the first fast class.
  • She stayed on the board on all other teeters execpt the first one, until it hit the ground ( she is so impatient!
  • She got all DW contacts.
  • Her A-frame contact in Sunday's fast was really nice.

Her a-frame contacts are still a work in progress, but at least she didn't leap off all of them, like the last time I attempted to do a running a-frame with her. I really need to get her to reach out to take the second stride on the a-frame. Right now she is doing the typical 3 strides in class and 2 in competition that Rachel speaks of in her video.

That's all for now!

Monday, January 19, 2009

More running aframes!

I have two videos uploaded on youtube that show our latest running a-frame training. The one on the 13th was better than the one today. This could be for a couple of reasons:

1. I was working on the right today, and I had spent more time working off of the left previously. I don't think it would be an issue unless it is a preferred lead leg thing and she is trying to change up at the last minute...except I can't tell, so if anyone out there can see that, let me know.

2. I had work on it at the building the other day on the aframe in the building, but I think that the slats are too big for her to bounce comfortably.

3. We just hadn't had a chance to work on it as much lately.

I left it at the same height ( ~30") and have a jump set up at the apex still. I think I will need to use something like that for a while to help her learn to jump up and over the top.

-I have been throwing her chuck-it ball afterwards, that seems to be working well.
-I haven't really put any handling maneuvers in it yet.
-She was 5/9 (55%) - not as high a percent of success as I would like....hmmm

Any thoughts on how to help her "get it" would be great.

I think that lowering it or putting the grid back down, might help some, but it doesn't address how to help her get this height, or higher ones.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cheetah's Grid on the a-frame

Today I decided to try something that Rachel Sanders suggested in her pdf file from the DVD on the box method for running contacts. She said that if the dog was having trouble bouncing in to the box on the a-frame, to try flattening the a-frame on the ground and putting the jump grid over it. This seems to be working pretty well. The video that I have uploaded shows this process. The one from 1-3-09 was the first day that I did this. The other side benifit is that since I had broke Cheetah's a-frame over the summer, and tried an abridged version of Rachel's method, then when I didn't like what is was seeing I decided to put her 2o/2o back ( which - took about 5 min). I didn't want to "break" her again. So by putting it on the ground, I never had to have her go through that awkard "what do you want me to do now?" stage. It was simply an extention of what we were doing.

I realized that I needed to remove the first jump after a few reps, because she was jumping over the up-side of the contact (not something I wanted her to practice. Plus she was droping that bar a few times, I think because she was trying to figure out how to collect when she wanted to jump extended over the begining of the board. After I removed that jump, things went pretty well. I did 20 reps - here is the break down:
1. strided through
2. good bounce!
3. tried to bounce but hit the top of the box
4. dropped the first bar - then strided through
5. good bounce!
6. good bounce!
7. dropped the first bar - then strided through
8. I left the bar down, good bounce!
9. I removed the first bar - she imediately started hitting the up - good bounce!
10. good bounce!
11. good bounce!
12. she hit the apex jump - and strided through ?? I told her I wasn't getting rid of that one!
13. she Steps over the apex jump - then strides through the box
14. She steps over the apex jump -then strides through the box
15. good bounce!
16. steps over apex, strides through only 3 feet in the box
17. jumps apex - only three feet in the box
18. raise apex jump from 8" to 12" - good bounce!
19. jumps apex AND then JUMPS BOX!! GRRRR
20. good jump! good Bounce!!

I decided to quit while I was ahead - because I should have quit earlier than I did, I just wanted to work out some of the kinks, then I kept finding new kinks!

She was 10/20 for that session. not as good as we would like it but it is a starting point!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wild, Witchy & Fast Strikes Again!

Cheetah and her friends Deva and Zippity were at a DAM Team ( Dog Agility Master) team tournament last weekend. Out of 37 teams, we ended up in 11th and made the qualifying cut score.

Watch the videos for the play by play. We won the 3 dog relay, and I had to hold on for dear life when Deva ran. Normally she is so civilized when other dogs are around but Deva is he BFF and she knows that when multiple dogs are out on the course at once, it means that she is going to go really soon!

Note that Cheetah is cocked and ready to go when Zippity came over the a-frame. I couldn't move to help Alyssa give me the baton, or Cheetah would have left with out me.