A Secret Mission

The continuing adventures of Cisco, GS Dakotas Secret Mission

May 15, 2010 5:37pm

TAG - May 9, 2010

Cisco only came with us on Sunday for TAG this year. I had him entered in P2 Jumpers and P2 Snooker. Jumpers is by far Cisco’s favorite class of any venue we’ve done as there are no weaves and no contacts. Snooker is a class that he likes, he’s pretty good at and occasionally we get away without contacts or weave poles.

We weren’t that lucky this weekend as snooker had both 6 weave poles and an a-frame in it, but we still had a really nice run. He Q'd and came in 2nd place. He weave poles were still as slow as molasses, but he did them and he had a very nice contact on the a-frame. 

Jumpers was the last class of the day and he had a really nice focused run. I can still outrun him and did beat him to the last jump, but he Q'd and came in 1st place actually beating a dog in time — usually we’re barely under course time if we are at all. 

Our jumpers run reminded me how much fun it is to run Cisco when he’s on. I don’t have to over handle him — he just knows what is expected of him and we work really well together as a team. I hope to have many more runs like that with him in the future.

Apr 26, 2010 12:44pm

Two more MXJ legs!!

This weekend at the PVGRC trial, Cisco was only entered in JWW, but qualified both days earning his 7th and 8th MXJ legs!

Cisco ran both courses really nicely and with decent speed except for the weaves which seemed to be as pokey as ever. One of the owners of one of Riot’s litter mates was there this weekend and remarked how happy he was running the course. I wish I knew what I could do to get him more excited before a run, he always comes out of the ring so much happier than when he goes in.

I didn’t manage to get any video of Cisco — last height class of the last class of the day means there aren’t many people still around other than those that are stuck working the ring or those running in the class. And the photographer says shooting JWW isn’t as good for sales as standard, so there are no photos of his runs either.

Cisco has been on a nice roll since we went up to New York for the HVGRC trial last fall. He hasn’t been entered in all that much since then, but has come home with at least one Q in every trial he’s been in since then.

He’s only entered on Sunday next weekend - I think I got the last two runs available on Saturday for Riot as when I tried to submit with a run for Cisco on Saturday, I was told I had selected one too many classes and needed to remove one. This was the first time I had entered a trial online. I do wish I had removed a run for Riot instead of Cisco for Saturday. Depending on how Cisco does on Sunday, he’ll be either 1 or 2 legs away from his MXJ title before I stop trialing for the summer. Hopefully after I have the baby, he’ll still be able to compete in 24” and we’ll be able to get those last two legs this fall or winter. It’s just hard stopping when he’s been doing so well this year.

Apr 21, 2010 12:26pm

Cisco Attempts the WC

I entered Cisco in PVGRC’s Spring WC test knowing that we weren’t going to make it to any training days this year before the test. But I figured I might as well give it a try — after watching last fall’s test, I had regretted not entering him as I was pretty sure he could have passed. 

The WC was run after the WCX so it was around 11 before we got started. I was there uncharacteristically early that morning, so there was plenty of time to relax. Cisco however started whining as soon as we pulled into the property and every time he was able to see me from his crate. 

My two biggest concerns for the test were the use of birds (he had not seen a pheasant before) and the distance to the marks on land — specifically with the memory bird on land as we hadn’t done memory birds as very long marks and I was afraid he’d give up before he reached the mark. Turns out neither of these was of any concern. I did have a problem introducing him to chuckars last year as it took about 10 throws and lots of convincing to get him to pick one up. Fortunately right before we went to the holding blind we had the chance to introduce him to a pheasant. It was thrown about 5 feet from him and he immediately went and got it and picked it up and brought it back. Pheasants were not going to be an issue.

The marks were not nearly as far away as I had expected. I’m horrible at judging distances and from reading through the rules the day before, I thought the marks were going to be a lot further away than what we had practiced in the back yard. Turns out they were pretty comparable. 

Cisco did pretty well on the double. He went out and eventually brought back both birds. He did try and get a bird from the bag first before getting the one that was thrown for him (it’s a lot less work to find the bag that the thrown bird), but he did for both birds go and find them. Once he picked up the first bird he did start heading more towards the second bird than back to me, but a “here” from me put him back on course bringing the bird to me. I sent him to the second bird and did have to resend as he started to go, but then stopped. After a brief hunt he did bring that one back too. Not as clean as I would have liked, but good enough to get called back for water.

We didn’t get to water until after 2. The water work for the WC is relatively easy. It’s two singles, one on the water with a splash and one barely on land on the other side of the water. The first bird was the one with the splash and Cisco enthusiastically jumped in the water with a very nice splash. He swam out to get the bird and once he had a hold of it, I called “here” and he briefly turned toward me and then decided it would be easier to get out on the other bank. I’ve never had him leave water before so I’m thinking he was probably cold. He took that bird out on the opposite bank, dropped it to shake, but was a very good boy and picked it back up. He desperately tried to find another route to me that didn’t involve getting back in the water. I was laughing, the judges were chuckling, and I was pretty sure he was going to be the first dog to cheat as he discovered the bridge to come back to this side of the land. Fortunately, he stumbled or tripped on the bridge and turned around and went back the other way. (If he had brought the bird back via land, he still would have passed.) After he turned around, he did eventually get back in the water and swim the bird back. He did put it down once he got back to land (fortunately that’s the only requirement for the WC is getting the bird back to land, not delivering to hand — now if only that was the case for the JH). 

He saw the second bird go down, but didn’t want to get back in the water to get it. I’m not sure if this was because the water was cold, or because of a lack of confidence. In most of the training scenarios he had seen last year, he had seen birds fall across water on land, so the concept shouldn’t have been too foreign to him. However, it has been a while. Anyways, he didn’t get that last bird and therefore didn’t pass the WC.

We certainly came away with things to work on:

- Looking for birds in the bag, needs to be corrected

- More work on doubles to gain confidence

- More water work

Overall, not bad, and he had fun. 

Apr 4, 2010 11:00pm

Mid-Atlantic Agility Showcase

This weekend we were down in Fredericksburg, VA for the first ever mid-atlantic agility showcase. Cisco was only entered in 4 classes since he stresses so much over contacts. I had him entered in his favorite class Jumpers (which has no weave poles in USDAA — even better) and Snooker (which occasionally has a contact, but a lot of times we get lucky and doesn’t).

Friday, like most of the dogs, Cisco seemed a bit disconnected. His first course was Advanced Jumpers and he turned the wrong way and just wasn’t paying a lot of attention. He dropped a bar on a poorly timed rear cross. It just wasn’t a very good run.

His second run of the day was advanced snooker, which was outside on grass. I got to the walk-through late and had very little time for formulate a plan — I didn’t managed to get course maps for any starters or advanced courses any of the three days we were there. This snooker course not only had weave poles, but it had an a-frame too so I was a little worried about the closing sequence with him, but figured we’d see how far we got. We had a very nice opening sequence, but we started the closing by taking jump number 2 the wrong way in the closing. Apparently there was only one correct way to take that jump in the closing and since I was late for the walk-though and never got a course map, I didn’t know this little detail. whoops. Oh well, Cisco was very happy with himself after the run, so that was good to see.

The only class he was entered in on Saturday was advanced snooker, which was sometime in the afternoon. I again was late for the walk-through but managed to get myself and Cisco over there in time for his run. There were a bunch of conflicts, so even though we were supposed to be 6th dog in, it looked like we might end up being second. The gate steward had just informed us that we may need to be ready to go in next, when Cisco looked up at me and I saw blood on his neck. So nothing, like getting the poor guy all ready for his only agility run of the day and pulling him seconds from his run. I took him back to our crating area and upon further examination, it looks like he might have nicked part of the scab off on his chin coming out of his crate on the way to the ring. It wasn’t bleeding and he was fine. I felt kind of bad pulling him, but at the time, I had no idea what was wrong.

Sunday, Cisco again got to run jumpers in the afternoon. They were supposed to be holding the jumpers ring until the Triathlon got done running, but they only held it while the championship dogs were running and not the performance dogs. Someone came and found me and said they were calling for me. I had to run outside and get Cisco and bring him in. Poor guy didn’t get any kind of warm up before his run, but had a very good run. He was upbeat and excited and came in second place with a Q. It was a great way to end the weekend.

Mar 15, 2010 11:00pm

BRDTC Agility Trial - March 2010

Riot wasn’t the only one who got to play agility this weekend. I decided I’d enter Cisco only in JWW for the three days at the Blue Ridge trial. Friday, I think Cisco was a bit rusty. We had a couple of issues on course. I had a pull to the tunnel that the weaves were in front of and Cisco took the entry to the weaves on the way to the tunnel — something I had never considered him doing. We had another wrong course somewhere along the course and for the first time Cisco dropped a bar and I’m not sure why. It was on the triple and I don’t know if it was the lack of training these last few months (he hasn’t run agility since mid-December in Cleveland) or if I caused the bar to come down or what. He didn’t seem to be in any pain, so hopefully it was something I did. We ran late in the day (I think it was nearly 4 o’clock before he ran) and I wondered if my decision to run him in only JWW was only going to work for trials where Excellent JWW was run in the morning.

Saturday I forgot the running order was switched and JWW was first so we got there with 3 minutes left on the clock for Cisco’s walk-through. I asked a friend to check me in and ran out to familiarize myself with the course. Well the judge said to clear the course with 1 minute and 42 seconds left on the clock. I had made it to obstacle number 13 and that was it. Ugh. It was at least an hour, maybe even an hour and a half after that that Cisco finally got to run and he came out blazing fast. Cisco, not only Q’d, but picked up 8 MACH points — meaning he was 8 seconds under time. This double the number of MACH points we had in the previous 5 runs combined. That’s MXJ leg number 6 for Mr. Cisco!

Sunday again had JWW second and Cisco didn’t run until probably 3 or so. The course was a really nice flow-y course. I didn’t pull him in close enough on the first 180° on the course and he missed the jump. I didn’t bother to fix it but kept on going and he had a gorgeous remainder of the run. It was also a fast run as he was 7 seconds under course time. I think this only running JWW might work out for us :-D

I was really pleased with his performance this weekend. He nailed his weave entry each day, and while they weren’t necessarily the fastest weaves I’ve ever gotten out of him, he completed them each day and they weren’t the worried, pokey kind I’ve also come to expect from him. He has done weaves a few times in the backyard this year. So hopefully that helped. I’m not sure I’ve gotten that kind of consistency on weaves from him ever.

I have Cisco entered in Jumpers and Snooker for the Mid-Atlantic Agility Showcase at the beginning of April. USDAA jumpers is his favorite course because it’s just jumps and tunnels with no weave poles. Snooker typically doesn’t have contact equipment, so I’m taking a chance and entering him in that too. 

Jan 27, 2010 5:40pm

Back to Field Work

I love how excited Cisco gets for field work.

His obedience improves every time we do field work. I think he is understanding that in order to play, he has to do his obedience.

I did drills with him for the first time this year. First we tackled wagon wheel — something we’ve tried a few times in the past, but have lacked understanding of what was expected. Since he’d been doing really well with double marks, I figured we’d give it another go. He was much more patient while placing the bumpers. There was a bit of confusion on the first two sends on which bumper he needed to go for, but I was able to call him off and re-send to the right one. The third bumper, he got right the first time. Which resulted in a happy bumper and ending the drill. Next time we’ll work further.

We then did a couple of doubles (which he nailed). And then finished with the ladder drill. I put out 5 bumpers and did all of them. The first 2 he did well, the next two he didn’t drive out far enough and came back, before deciding to drive out to get the bumpers. The fifth he drove to much better. Next time we’ll try it with 8.

Dec 28, 2009 4:28pm

Private Lesson

Today we had a private lesson with Claudia. Cisco did really well. Today I was pushing him away from me because I had a drive-y Cisco. Something to really watch out for. I got a few exercises to work on with Cisco too.

We did a lot of work on rear crosses today since we were having problems at our last lesson, but Cisco nailed them today.

Dec 15, 2009 9:42pm

Crown Classic Agility Trial

I was a little worried about signing up Cisco for 4 days of agility since he seems to fade after a run or two sometimes. But since we were going all the way to Cleveland, I figured we better make the best of it and signed him up for everything. He had 3 runs on Thursday and Friday, and 2 runs on Saturday and Sunday.

Turns out he probably ended up having the best trial ever.

Day 1

Thursday we started the day bright and early with Open FAST. For some reason Cisco has really taking a liking to FAST — especially when we can avoid the weave poles and contacts. I planned out a fairly easy course with only a teeter as far as contacts and by-passing the weaves all together. My strategy with Cisco has always been not to try and get as many points as possible but to plan a path that has enough points to qualify and get in and out as fast as possible. It seems to work because he’s fast and motivated throughout the course. We ended up with the most points for the class and Q’d with a first place for his 2nd Open FAST leg.

We didn’t Q in either Std or JWW on Friday and we were stressing over the weave poles and quite pokey.

Day 2

Friday we again started with Open FAST and Cisco again Q’d with a 1st place completing his Open FAST (OF) title.

Our next course was Exc Std and again he was stressing big time. The weave poles were the third obstacle and he bailed on them about halfway through. Since I noticed he was stressed, we moved on and ran a fun course, we ended up skipping a few obstacles, but I wanted to make that run as fun as possible. This was so frustrating after what a great run we had had in Open FAST and how enthusiastic he was. I resigned myself that I needed to find a different strategy with him and maybe this meant not trialing him anymore. He loves classes, but does have a tendency to stress and become unmotivated at trials.

Our final class of the day ways JWW. And we managed to Q. We were very slow and pokey again and we only Q’d because AKC rounds down the time so our 40.39 was rounded down to 40 which was the SCT. So a Q, but no MACH points.

Day 3

I wasn’t sure how day 3 was going to go since we didn’t have the super fun FAST class first thing in the morning. Our first class was Standard and amazingly enough he qualified with a 3rd place! Our second AX leg!

This was followed a few hours later by a JWW run that was really quite decent, but we took the wrong end of the tunnel. No one saw anything that I might have done to push him into the wrong end, but he took it. Again our time was a couple of tenths of seconds over course time so if we would have gotten the right end of the tunnel, we could have Q’d.

Day 4

We were late and they were already running standard by the time we got to the trial Sunday morning. I walked and ran Riot’s course and then checked Cisco in and went and talked to people about how the course was running. I said I was going to run the course since I had paid for the run even through I wasn’t going to get a chance to walk it. Well somehow we ran it and ran it clean. Cisco almost took an off course jump after the teeter (I was told he actually touched it, but the judge didn’t call it), but I was able to call him off. We Q’d and got 1st place for this 3rd and final AX leg!

We also Q’d in JWW a few hours later. It took a lot of cheerleading on my part, but we made it through the course. I think that’s our 5th MXJ leg.

I’m thrilled we were able to finish his AX. This was something I was convinced wasn’t going to happen since we had been in Excellent Std since July 2008 and hadn’t Q’d once until New York last month. But he managed to Q in 3 of his last 6 runs to complete it!

I need to figure out what direction Cisco’s agility career is going to go. I know he does stress and am thinking about maybe only running him one class a day. Also, with the arthritis in his elbow, I need to consider moving him down to preferred classes. But being half way to his MXJ, I’m considering running him in just JWW for a few trials to see how it goes. I was really hoping we’d be able to finish he AX before moving him down and I’m so glad we made that goal.

Nov 30, 2009 10:23pm

Private Lesson

Cisco and Riot shared a private lesson today. Admittedly We spent much more time with Riot than Cisco today. Cisco only got to run one course. And we had to work through many portions of the course. The main issue we were having is Cisco was looking at me much more than he usually does. He was nice and drivey, but at the same time he kept looking back at me. His contacts were all decent, but his rear crosses were horrible. He was reading them late. Even as we worked them, he was still reading them late. They did get better, but he was not starting to turn until after he landed. His weaves were good, but sends and rear crosses needed lots of work.

Nov 2, 2009 1:33pm

HVGRC Agility Trial

I decided to head up to New York for the HVGRC golden only trial. I love golden only trials and I knew a lot of Riot’s relatives would be there and it would be fun to see them run. Cisco, Riot, and I headed up to New York after work on Friday night. We got up there just in time for bed.

Saturday temperature wise was not a bad day, but it rained on and off all day with a really windy afternoon. Our first run of the day was Open FAST — our first time running OF. We had a really nice run. It was near perfect with the exception of the teeter being part of the bonus. There was no way Cisco was going to take a teeter 10 feet away from me. I knew that, so I tried it once, and then pulled him back around and made him do it after I had stepped into the bonus area. I was very happy with it.

Our Standard run was gorgeous. Well, with the exception of a refusal on the teeter. The course was table to teeter and I think I should have hung back closer to the teeter and made sure he was committed to taking the teeter instead of assuming he was going to. Even with brining him back around for the teeter, his time was 61.something seconds and course time was 66 seconds! We were well within time for the run and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Our last run on Saturday was JWW. By this time it was a little slippery out there. So I was a lot more careful running. We had a really nice run. He almost took an off course jump, but I managed to call him off of it — I heard someone say “nice save” as he turned off of it. phew! We finished the run clean and qualified — barely. course time was 40 seconds and his time was 39.43. We got no MACH points for the run, but hey, we Q’d for our 3rd MXJ leg! He did have a couple of wide turns and we wasted probably two seconds with his near wrong course.

Sunday, we again started the day with FAST. We had a really nice run — I got a few compliments on it. I didn’t try to maximize points, just set up a nice smooth flowing path with enough points to Q. We Q’d and got 3rd place and our first OF leg.

Standard was next. And we Q’d!!! This was the first time we Q’d in Excellent Standard (a day, I wasn’t so sure I was going to get to see). He had a really nice run — was a little slow going down on the table and almost missed the last jump, but managed to squeeze it in without a refusal.

The Sunday JWW course was a lot of fun. I really want to set up this course to practice font crosses on (there were 6 of them). I had a feeling we wouldn’t do so hot on this course. Cisco was a lot less motivated on his weaves (the third obstacle), getting a refusal on the first attempt and popping out early on the second. He was also pokey, but overall it really was a nice run. I didn’t support the 3rd jump from the end very well and he missed it and the one after, but that’s okay.

I tried something different with him at the trial. I didn’t try to get him revved up or try and get and keep his attention before his runs. I just let him stand by me and let him look around. I did keep him from sniffing. Once we were the next dog in the ring, I’d ask him if he was ready and get a bit of tail wagging. I also tried to be really upbeat throughout the run. After our run we ran and got his flying squirrel and threw that a few times. I do think he still stresses in the ring, but this routine kept me calmer and he ran better for me. Our last JWW run, I think I was tired too, and didn’t get him or myself pepped up enough beforehand. Who knows if any of this will work at the next trial.

                        ARMBAND                        SAT                        SUN
  STD TRIAL   24082  EXC A  EXC A
         Qualification         N.Q.         QUALIFIED
         Standard Time/Yards         66.00         188.00         65.00         187.00
         Recorded Time   61.53         62.28
         Recorded Score   0         100
         Placement            2
  JWW TRIAL DATA  24082  EXC B  EXC B
         Qualification         QUALIFIED       N.Q.
         Standard Time/Yards         40.00         151.00         41.00         154.00
         Recorded Time   39.43         46.22
         Recorded Score   100         0
         Placement             
  FAST TRIAL DATA  24082  OPEN  OPEN
         Qualification         N.Q.         QUALIFIED
         Standard Time/Yards         32.00         0.00         32.00         0.00
         Recorded Time   37.49         27.98
         Recorded Score   0         58
            Placement                       3
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