Monthly Archives: March 2014

Whippets on AKC Nationals

Very interesting stuff is happening in the USA right now. AKC is holding their National Agility Championship, so teams from all over USA (and Canada) who gathered enough points throughout the year are competing in one huge competition. To give you an idea of the size, there are 6 size divisions and in the biggest one (20″ height) there are 443 dogs competing. There are 8 whippets running, one in 16″ division, five in 20″ division and two in 24″ division.

Competitors run three to five rounds (there is one optional Time 2 Beat round and an extra Challengers round), then the top 7% of teams get a spot on the Finals. So here’s the reason why I’m explaining all this: 32 teams from the 20″ class are going to the Final Round. First there are 20 border collies. Then on #21 there’s a whippet! What are the odds, right? But wait, there is ANOTHER whippet on #23! Out of 443 dogs. Pretty. Freaking. Awesome!

Congratulations to Louise Hoelscher with Frisco and Mary Hope Schoenfeld with Shela for nerves of steel and great runs! We are eagerly awaiting results for the other height divisions and of course the Finals!

I’m so proud of Louise and Mary! No matter what happens tomorrow they have shown that whippets do have the ability to hold their own against more popular agility breeds and I think we will see more and more evidence of this every year.

EDIT: I posted it on Facebook, but forgot to post it here as well: Louise with Frisco ended up #12 in the Finals and Mary with Shela was #27. HUGE congratulations to both of them!!! So awesome to have two whippets in the finals. It was very inspiring to see a lineup of 13 border collies and one WHIPPET among the first 14!
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Physio News

We’re back from the physio session and I have great news: Ruby’s toe is not really bothering him, it has just developed a lot of scar tissue which keeps it stable and (unfortunately) stiff which is especially apparent when he walks down the stairs. We got some exercises to try to break some of the scar tissue down over time. Most importantly there is no reason to keep him from running free 🙂

Java is also fine, just some muscle soreness in the right shoulder because she loves running to the right so much, but that was gone by the end of the session. It seems that we have successfully built up the left shoulder so there isn’t any detectable difference now. All ready for the K9 Conditioning next week 🙂

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Warning, Warning: Early Takeoff Sighted

I noticed that since our winter break Java has started taking off a little earlier and landing closer after the bar, both on straight lines and for cik&cap. This raised a red flag and I’ve been wondering what caused her to jump this way. I already have one dog that takes off too early and would prefer not to have another one.

In the past I have been told that a certain exercise by Linda Mecklenburg encourages dogs to only focus on their landing spot, not take-off spot and thus could lead to taking off early when in fact the dog should add a stride before a jump. We have been doing that exercise all fall and Java continued jumping beautifully. Then after not doing the exercise for two months we got this. Huh?
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Training In The Sand

Yesterday I took Java to train in a new location – first time running on sand and in a covered arena with its tarp flapping in the wind and LOUD dogs (and she said she was not going to be outdone in the barking aspect 😉 ) So yeah, great generalization/distraction experience for her. I was pleasantly surprised that she not even once thought about doing zoomies on that sand. Well, she IS really good about not doing zoomies in training, but I thought sand would be a bit more tempting. Or at least she would be a little spaced out because she’s in heat. Nope, 100% focused on the job at hand. Love this girl 🙂
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Or You Could Blame The Dog

Once upon a time when dog trainers wore stern expressions on their faces and barked their commands in firm voices, hovered over their dogs to push their hind ends into a sit while simultaneously pulling on the prong collars there was an unspoken assumption that everything that went wrong in dog training was dog’s fault. Dog didn’t sit on command? He’s stubborn. He didn’t come when called? He’s blowing you off. So they corrected those unwanted responses (or more often, non-responses) and punished if they saw fit.

Then we saw the light Continue reading

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Be Careful What You Wish For…

I have mentioned before that I didn’t do certain parts of Silvia’s Agility Foundations program with Java because too many wraps slowed her down. But her wraps out of speed were beautiful, so hey, it’s not like she didn’t know how to do it 🙂 I decided to wait until she matures a bit more before introducing more twisty turny courses. Now our winter break from agility got a lot longer due to that pesky thing called life interfering and we know that long breaks from agility often make dogs faster. I was not prepared for this. The girl was on fire! We did a sequence full of wraps and she maintained her speed throughout. She seemed as fast as Ruby. Continue reading

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Training Your Whippet In Agility – Part 2

I often wish there were more whippets playing agility. Why, you ask? It’s quite selfish, you see. 🙂 I like to watch them do a great job on equipment. The more whippets train in agility, the more great whippets we’ll see in competition and the more we will understand about the best way of training this wonderful breed.

Today’s post is a continuation of Training Your Whippet In Agility. Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading

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