Friday, October 29, 2010

When A Problem Is Suddenly Not A Problem It's Still A Problem

And I hate, Hate, HATE not understanding problems. I'm totally fine having them if I understand them. At least understanding enough to have some sort of plan to fix them. I don't even care how long it takes to fix (...I'm looking at you, Kate...) as long as I can feel like I'm on at least, sorta, kinda, maybe on the right road.

Enter Bella and her I-can't-do-weaves-at-trials crap. So, last time I brought this up I got some good advice on how to work on a problem at home that only occurs at trials. Put more pressure on her, weave into corners, weave into a bent tunnel, etc. This we did. This helped. Her weaves at trials have never gotten to the weaving like I'm not at a trial stage, but definitely improvement.

Two weekends ago, fell apart again. Just seriously like she does. not. want.

So last weekend we had 2 Standard runs each day. Was thinking would be crappy weekend with my non-weaving dog.

First, prior weekend = caca.

Second, weather unreal. Like “Auntie Em, Auntie Em, it’s twister-type!” weather.

If you are a spectacle wearer like myself, your weekend would have looked a lot like this:

Third, because of the weather I setup inside. I never setup inside. Too loud, too busy, and too much traffic directly in front of expens makes for cranky dogs (…Again, Kate, looking at you…)
So what happens? Great weekend! She frickin’ went and qualified in all 4 standards.

She was hella relaxed and having a ball!

Not too much Serious Face

Even in the poles
Damn her!

Now what do I do? Just hang out and wait for her to fall apart again? I don't know what her triggers are. It drives me nuts! One of my friends noticed that when I just say "weave," Bella turns and looks at me. ?? I have to pay attention to what I say outside of trials. It seems if I give her some other direction, she goes in, like go-weave or out-weave.

Or, even I just ask politely. Our last run of the weekend was Snooker. It was super late in the evening and I have a 2 hour drive home. The 7 was the weave poles. We had enough points to Q without doing the weaves so I decided to just ask her. If she didn't go in we'd just go to the table. So, out of a tunnel she comes, as I was front crossing I said, "you feel like doing the weaves?"

Bam, right in.

I do have to say I love that I can trust her on contact equipment. Now, I am not your hard-core agility person that wants a 1.5 second dogwalk or who expects her dogs to fly up to the down contact on the teeter and ride it down from there. I kind of just want them to do the equipment safely (not that speed is not safe...I'm not saying that so don't go there :-) )and how they are comfortable doing it. I am so not a shave seconds off anything person. I value more the fact that Bella thinks enough to not throw herself at the teeter when it's raining.

(Once again, Kate, your direction)

Must think on slickies

All trial photos by Dave Mills -



This dog is currently listed on the Nor Cal BC Rescue site as a courtesy listing. Owner re-homing.

If I lived alone I would go get her.

Bella 2.0

Actually, I would probably call her Ditto.



  1. Congratulations?

    Heh. I kind of know what you mean, though. It's awesome she did so well, but it's frustrating that you don't know WHY she did so well.

    I love that she took the weaves at your polite suggestion. Too funny.

    There's a lot of thinking in this agility stuff. I'm going to have to be a lot savvier if I'm ever going to enter a trial. You all make it look so easy.

  2. Be gratefull for such an accomplishment and all the hard work you both put into it. We say yippE for you
    Benny & Lily

  3. Gah! Why did you have to post that spotty red girl? Some of your readers live in NorCal, and have impulse control issues!

  4. "Gah! Why did you have to post that spotty red girl? Some of your readers live in NorCal, and have impulse control issues!"

    HAHA. Me too! I'm sitting here trying to decide if would be mean to make her live in my car. :-P

    You, however, could have could having a matching set, too. Maybe not as matching as Bella, but spotty and red none the less!

  5. I have no words of wisdom; you've got way more experience at agility and Kate than I do. Just had to say we named a bulldog puppy we raised Ditto because she looked a lot like her dad. Love the name.

  6. What great pictures :-)

    Agility looks hard...


  7. Well congrats on the 4 Q's:) Maybe you won't have to figure out what the weave triggers are because it won't happen again (here's hoping.
    I can relate. We have a weird dogwalk thing going on, where all of a sudden Jake will bail on the up plank, and on repeated attempts just keeps bailing. Can't figure out if it is dogwalks by a certain manufacturer (possibility), does he think it's the teeter (not his favourite obstacle), or what? Things can be going fine for a while, and then all of a sudden, seemingly out of the blue....:(

    Maybe it's just as well that NorCal is a fair ways from B.C.:)

  8. I don't like random problems either!

    Ah... what's one more:) If you get dogs that look alike, people who live with you and your neighbors can't tell them apart and don't realize you've gotten another dog. I know it's true about the neighbors anyway. I have four black tri's living here and even some of the agility people can't tell them apart.

  9. Congrats on the Qs!

    I don't usually comment but just reading this, I think you need to take all pressure off the weaves with Bella. You kind of said it yourself - you asked her to weave, having already not expected her to, and she did. In training, people are always more relaxed and if it does go wrong, you can always have another go, whereas you'll know, in the back of your mind, you have to get-it-right-first-time at trials.

    I think Bella sees the weaves as a pressure obstacle - she can see them coming, they're worrying, she knows she has to get it right ... so she avoids getting it wrong by not doing it at all. She can obviously weave just fine, so start playing no-pressure games with her - DON'T ask her to weave, ask her to run near or past the weaves without doing them, and make it so just approaching the weaves is a fun game.

    Anyway, sorry for breaking out of lurkerdom, and I really don't know if the above will help, but thought I'd mention it.

  10. Although I hate it when people give me this advice, it's actually pretty good advice so forgive me for passing it on to you .... "dogs are not robots, so sometimes shit happens."

    Honest, Piper is never going to have rock steady weaves. I retrained with 2X2s and really improved her entries and overall performance. Then the AAC switched to he wider spaced poles and Piper has no idea what they are as an obstacle. Tweed never even noticed the switch, but Piper's mind was totally blown. We're back at square one, just trying to get through them and hope for success. I just don't stress about it anymore, because it doesn't do either of us any good. The weaves may periodically fall apart for Bella - oh well! There's always another trial, right? ;-)

    I haz a different problem with Dexter... I built up so much value for contact obstacles that they are all he wants to do. He'll take a dogwalk over a jump any day. The A-Frame is most awesome. And by doG, he comes down the teeter, gets into 2o2o position, steps off, turns around, reaches up for the teeter with his paws and does the teeter the other way. He'll go back and forth like this for as long as I'd let him, if he could. So count your blessings ... you could have Dex! ;-)

    PS - please immediately go get Bella 2.0 kthxbai.

  11. OMG no way.. Nellie?!
    I was so considering adopting! hmm.