A Beagle Hits the Podium!

So the beagles and I survived our very first USDAA Regional hosted by The Bay Team! It was a very LONG weekend with 5 rings and oodles of rotation groups! I was nervous about even entering, so we kept our entries down to 3 runs for each dog: Saturday Steeplechase Round 1, and on Monday Master Standard and Grand Prix Finals (both boys had a bye! Dylan actually had 2!)

We got there Saturday where I was a co-chief ring steward for the Pink Ring! After getting the day started, we ran Steeplechase in the first group:

DAX’s Performance Speed Jumping, Round 1:

Dax ran really nicely, except we got to the weave poles at the end and Dax thought they should be optional. So he got an E and NQ, but he was still fun to run. And anyway the other dogs in his class set a really fast time, even with him moving, he still wouldn’t have made time.

Dylan’s Dog Agility Steeplechase, Round 1:

Dylan was staring at the fence line before we started, but I thought I got his focus when he ran straight to the A-frame, but he still took off to the fence. I got him back and we finished the course clean, but I never thought in a million years that we could have made time so I never even checked the scores. However, it turns out those crazy tunnels took out the rest of the 14in class and the time setting dog had 10 seconds of faults, so Dylan some how got second place, and a Q for a entry into Steeplechase Finals!

We spent the rest of the day taking care of the Pink ring and enjoying hanging out at the Zuke’s tent! They are a big sponsor for USDAA and the producer of some of the beagle’s favorite treats!

Dylan turning up the charms to move product!

Dylan wants YOU to get Zuke’s!

Dax and Dylan being cute as they can be for more Zuke’s treats!

I originally didn’t plan to run anything on Sunday, but since Dylan made it into the Steeplechase Finals, that all changed. Steeplechase was the last thing to run at the end of the day, but since the beagles spent the day napping, I was hoping to have a little baying ball of energy when it was time to run.

Dylan’s Dog Agility Steeplechase FINALS:

Dylan ran well, but I knew after walking it he wouldn’t love doing 2 sets of weave poles. I was right, he bobbled in the second poles, but we still finished clean! The little beagle didn’t run fast enough to get a Q, but he did earn his place on his very first podium!

Championship 14 in Steeplechase

He got some ribbons and some serious loot!

We came back for the last day, for a warm up round of Masters Standard and Grand Prix Finals! Both Dax and Dylan had Grand Prix Byes, so we skipped round 1 and went straight to the finals. Again, like Steeplechase, Grand Prix was at the very end of the day and was the very last event of the weekend. Everyone grabbed a chair to sit around the ring and cheer people on. I was used to running my beagles, but I had never done it for such a large audience before. It made my nerves fray, but it also made me want to run hard and make it count!

DAX’s Grand Prix FINALS:

Dax had a beagle moment after the #6 jump and when I got him back, I pushed him straight into the off course tunnel. So we got the whistle and an E, but we kept going and finished strong, minus our dogwalk contact and weave poles! (They are over rated anyways!) He ran fast and happy so I was completely happy with the run.

Dylan’s Grand Prix FINALS:

After running Dax, I ran Dylan as hard as I could. He had some slow-ish spots, but for the most part he ran hard with me. The one bobble on the course was mine where I was completely out of position after the weave poles, but I think I recovered and we finished in fine style and CLEAN! The little beagle even made standard course time for a Q, then when the dust settled it turned out that he was only 1 of 2 dogs to actually finish clean which meant he got Second Place for the second time and he got back on the podium!

Championship 14 in Grand Prix

We made one more stop to the podium before we left for the weekend to get a shot of Dylan and I with all his winnings: two Second Place ribbons, one Q ribbon for Grand Prix bye into the Semifinals at Nationals, two silver medals and two huge smiles one for each member of Team Dylan!

Team Dylan!

Also, Team Dylan made the USDAA website! We have our podium photos posted along with all the other fantastic teams!

A HUGE Thanks to the judges David Bozak, Evelyn Robertson, Patty Drom, Cody Keraga, and Tammy Domico for great courses and great company!! Thanks to everyone who helped and made the whole weekend run smoothly. And an even bigger thanks to all the competitors who kept an atmosphere of competition but also of comradery! It was so nice to cheer people on and have people cheer me on too!

I know the beagles and I look forward to running at more USDAA Regionals in the future! However, this will be a tough act to follow! Go Team Beagle!!

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My “New” Dog

So I have a “new” dog.  My 5 year old beagle, Dax, is my new dog. I have had him since he was tiny, little 8 week old puppy, but he officially a brand new dog!

On Wednesday, March 11th, I took my beagle boys to see Heather Sanders of Wags ‘n Wellness when Anne Kajava had her over to Jump’n Java Agility in Half Moon Bay, CA. This was the first time I had taken my dogs to her, so we went through her questionnaire and I started describing my dogs to her. When I spoke about Dax, I told her that he was a really nervous dog who was mostly afraid of everything, but could cope enough with the world to do performance events.  His favorite thing to do was sniff when he was nervous, so he sniffed a lot, including when he was on an agility course:

An example of Dax sniffing a jump when he is suppose to be jumping it

Heather, having a background with canine nutrition, had two suggestions for Dax:

1. Vetri Science COMPOSURE

This product is small, soft chew and intended to relieve stress and calm the dog without affecting the energy level of the dog. I was able to find this on Amazon.

2. Bach Essential: LARCH

This product is intended to help with a lack of confidence.  This is found online or at Whole Foods in the Whole Body Section.

I immediately started my search for these products.  By the next night, I had made a trip to Whole Foods and picked up the Larch, but the Composure was an online purchase, so I had to wait for it to be delivered which surprisingly showed up that Friday!

For the Larch, I started with 5 drops in his food every meal, which was twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Heather had told me this would work the fastest, but it would still take a few days to see any change. I did start to notice a little difference that first weekend after only 2 days of taking it. After about 3 weeks, I started dropping him down to 3 drops in each meal.

For the Composure, I started out with a test dose to make sure he didn’t have a strange reaction, but quickly bumped him up to 2 a day, with his food. The instructions on the packaging say 1 a day for a dog his size, but I front loaded him the same way they say to front load glucosamine when you first start taking it.  I kept him on 2 a day for the first 2 weeks and have now moved to 1 in the morning and a half at night and will probably see if he can go to just 1 a day.

The difference, while taking a few weeks, has been night and day. He was a nervous beagle who would walk courses when he just didn’t feel like running any more or wouldn’t even start at all. I spent a long time trying to determine what the cause was, if he wasn’t conditioned properly so he just didn’t have any energy or if it was a certain venue or environment. I even put a bark collar on my other beagle when he would run cause someone suggested maybe he was stressed when he heard Dylan bark.  But there was nothing specific about it. He just didn’t look like he was having that much fun at trials, but he had a blast in class! When he would focus, he was brilliant and really consistent! It had gotten to the point, I was debating if I should retire him from competition so he didn’t have to do something that made him miserable.

But after these “supplements” he is a completely different dog. He is RUNNING every course I ask him to. He is now faster that I know how to handle, when before I was doing all I could to keep him moving with our big issue being making it through the course under time.

Just one week after starting the LARCH/COMPOSURE combo, my slow dog not only qualified in AKC Masters JWW but got 3rd place out of 4 dogs picking up 6 MACH points! He had qualified before, but he has never run faster than another dog. He is usually just above course time if he even Qs at all.

Then 2 weeks later, 3 weeks after starting the LARCH/COMPOSURE combo, Dax ran his butt of at an AKC Master Standard course:

The first fault was mine, but all the rest I think Dax proudly owned, running too fast to get into the weaves and FLYING off the dogwalk during his running contact. I just loved how happy he seemed running around that course! His new issue is missing his weave poles because he is RUNNING too fast! I more than okay with a problem like that!

And just this past weekend, 5 weeks of taking the supplements, my Impossible Dog, ran at the Haute Dawgs USDAA Trial like he was always meant to be there, never having been a slow dog.  Here is his Masters Standard from Thursday, April 9th:

He didn’t qualify in that, but he did go on to run fast and clean in Masters Jumpers for his first ever Masters Jumpers Q!! I got so many lovely comments about how great he looked and one person even said they thought I was running a different dog! That really made my day!

He also, after taking Saturday off, on Sunday, went on to not only get his first ever USDAA Tournament Q by actually making time in Grand Prix, but he WON the class for a regional bye! And with some help from some very amazing people, get his first every SuperQ in Masters Snookers!

I am over the moon with his transformation and I will recommend LARCH, COMPOSURE and Heather Sanders of Wags ‘n Wellness to anyone who will listen!! I don’t know why it works, I just know that it does for Dax!

AKC Agility Trial Recap for December 27-30, 2014

The boys and I showed at TRACS (Two Rivers Agility Club of Sacramento) AKC Agility Trial from Saturday, December 27 through Tuesday, December 30.  We are still relatively new in Masters, having finally gotten Dylan’s last Excellent title at the last AKC trial we showed at, but since both boys were now completely in Masters in Standard and JWW, I consciously made the decision to run every course like we had nothing to loose and if I got anything less than 100% focus and effort, I was going to walk them off the course.  We run every course in our classes like its the finals at a national event and try the hardest version of every course but at trials I had been babysitting every little thing trying to get the Q, which made me handle nothing like we do in class.  I think the boys were probably wondering what the heck we were doing at trials, cause it wasn’t agility!

The “nothing to loose” handling style worked like a charm! The boys, especially Dylan, responded really well and actually resembled how they ran in class!  Stupid me! I can’t believe how long it took me to realize this, but I don’t think I was ready until now to run them this way, but I am so glad I did!  There is going to be a “Mind to Win Confidence Clinic with Karthrine McAleese” at one of the places I train, ACE Dog Sports, where I can’t wait to see what else having a “Mind to Win” can do for me!

Here is the run down for the dogs:

DYLAN

ARCHX Auburn’s Master of the Hunt NW2, RAE, RL3, AX, AXJ, OF, AD, AS, CL4, CAA, CGC

Saturday
DEC 27
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome Q NQ NQ Q
Points 13 10
Sunday
DEC 28
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome DOUBLE Q #1 NQ Q
Points 11 4 7

DYLAN’s Double Q Runs!

Monday
DEC 29
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome NQ NQ NQ Q
Points 7

DYLAN’s Time 2 Beat run from Monday:

Tuesday
DEC 30
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome NQ NQ NQ Q
Points 6

Weekend Tally: 1 QQ, 28 CH points
New MACH total: 1 QQ, 33 CH points

DAX

ARCHX AWOL’s Spirit of the Spot NW2, RE, RL3, AX, AXJ, XF, PD, APJ, APK, CL4, CA, CGC

Saturday
DEC 27
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome Q NQ NQ NQ
Points 11

Dax’s Master Standard run from Saturday:

Sunday
DEC 28
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome NQ NQ NQ Q
Points 4
Monday
DEC 29
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome NQ NQ NQ Q
Points 3
Tuesday
DEC 30
STD JWW FAST T2B
Outcome NQ Q N/A Q
Points 8 1

Dax’s Masters JWW run from Tuesday:

Weekend Tally: 0 QQ, 19 CH points
New MACH total: 0 QQ, 24 CH points

There were a few highlights that I am proud of:

  • When Dax decides to run, he RUNS and its a beautiful thing.  He ran every course clean, but was usually over time.  He decided on Saturday’s STD and Tuesday’s JWW that he wanted to run, and not only did he Q, but he got tons of points!  But when he didn’t want to at least give me a little speed, I held to my criteria and I walked him off the course. Dax’s Tuesday STD did not go well at all, and even after I got him on the dogwalk, this boy loves his contacts, he still wouldn’t pick up the pace and stopped short in front of a jump, so I scooped him up and carried him off.  He got no treats, no praise and we walked quietly all the way back to his crate.  I don’t know if he understood what happened, but he came out for JWW and his little furry butt RAN that course!  I don’t regret doing it, and I hope I continue to stick to my guns and take him off when he doesn’t run.
  • Dylan is an absolute joy to run! We are getting this really amazing connection and he is reading me so well that I want to be a better handler for just for him.  He is a monster on the course and once we polish a few things, I think we can go really far!  He ran every run hard and fast and I don’t regret any of the handling choices we made.  After our first ever double Q on Sunday, I really wanted to push it, so on Monday, the T2B course had the option for a rear into the weave poles.  I don’t like rear crossing into the poles, so we practice doing them all the time, but we’ve never run one in a trial, so I made myself run it that way and Dylan rose to the challenge and got in those weaves and never looked back!  There was a sorta similar handling scenario in Standard, but it was a rear crossed jump into the poles.  This put me behind him and I couldn’t feed him into the poles.  He made the entrance but immediately popped out.  It was a bummer that was the only thing we really screwed up but its good information and now I know what we have to work on!

This was the perfect way to end our agility trialing for 2014 and I can’t wait to see what we can do in 2015!

Dylan’s First DOUBLE Q!

Our latest brag… at 3 years old, Dylan got his (and my) very first ever DOUBLE Q!!

It was the third day of AKC Agility trials where Dylan was in Masters in both Standard and JWW.  It was his third Masters Standard Q, which he got 4th place actually beating another Masters dog, and it was his first ever Masters JWW Q!!

I went to this trial with the intention of running every course like we had nothing to loose – just like we run them in class.  It turns out, that is exactly how Dylan wanted to run them too! He has never been faster, we have never clicked better and I have never been more impressed with my little guy!

Dylan was entered in Excellent FAST, Time 2 Beat, Masters Standard then Masters JWW.

  • Run 1 – Excellent FAST: He has never been a very good distance dog, so we attempt FAST, but we mostly use it as a warm up. It was an overly complicated send with 3 different send lines, so we ended up with an NQ.
  • Run 2 – Time 2 Beat: Dylan had smoked Saturday’s T2B getting first for 10 points, so we ran it hard and fast.  He ran it well and fast, but there was a faster dog, so he got the Q but only 7 points.
  • Run 3 – Masters Standard: This was a tricky course, which had a few tricks to it.  Dylan ran his little butt off and we completed the course in fine style.  When I checked the score book, I was shocked to find that he had earned 4th place, the first time he had ever placed in Masters, actually beating another Masters dog for the placement! I proudly collected the 4th place ribbon and the 11 CH points he picked up!
  • Run 4 – Masters JWW: The very end of the day, the last class of the day, Dylan gave me every bit of his remaining energy and he ran the course.  It wasn’t his fastest run, so I wasn’t sure we made time.

I eagerly hovered as they put out the last score sheet of the day and scanned the page for Dylan’s score. My eyes almost didn’t believe it when I saw a little Q next to Dylan’s name. He had only gotten 4 CH points, but I was way more excited about the Q.  It confirmed that Dylan had gotten his first ever Double Q! I literally jumped for joy and cheered to myself.  The people around me probably looked at me funny, but someone asked me why I was cheering, and I proudly announced that Dylan had just earned my first ever Double Q! While I was jumping up and down, someone rush over my very first QQ pin! I was over the moon!

Today I was a huge dork and proudly wore my QQ pin:

I hope to earn many more of these silly pins, but this first one I will cherish forever!

DYLAN’s Excellent Agility Title!!

This past weekend, November 22 – November 24, at our latest AKC Agility trial, Dylan breaks his dry spell and qualifies in Excellent Standard earning first place and his Excellent Standard (AX) Title!

Of course we took the obligatory ribbon shot! He got a really pretty New Title Ribbon too!

Check out his title earning run:

The Long Agility Weekend

This past weekend was a busy one! I took Thursday and Friday off of work to start the 4 day marathon of agility. The boys were entered in two days of the Del Valle AKC Agility show and 2 days of the Fun Paws CPE Agility trial, but there was also the USDAA Nationals Cynosport going on in Morgan Hill, CA and the 2014 National Beagle Club National Specialty going on in Oconomowoc, WI.  So there was a lot going on and a great many people to cheer for.

We started out by sending a great big GOOD LUCK to all the competitors.  The beagles were especially excited to cheer everyone on:

They then started their own competition on Thursday morning. We arrived late, so we missed Time 2 Beat, but the course seemed a little more challenging than most T2B courses, so I wasn’t so disappointed.  They ran Master JWW first, and I mean RAN! I was over the moon with how my slow beagles moved their butts around that course.  My slow boy, Dax, actually Q’d and earned our first ever MACH points!

Dylan had a few minor misshaps with a few poorly executed rear-crosses which slowed him down just enough to be over time by 3 seconds, but since he was moving I still called it a great run!

We had Standard next, but by then, the sun had creeped out from behind the clouds and it started to get toasty.  Dax didn’t even try to run, so he got walked off the course. Dylan was working on his last Excellent Standard leg, but the very challenging opening and the heat lead to poor start, but after we got into the weave poles, he ROCKED the course… it just too bad it doesn’t count!

Friday was a bit better, we actually made it to the trial on time! Ran Master JWW again first, but Dylan was 1 second over time and Dax was 2 seconds over. Ran Time 2 Beat where both boys Q’d, Dylan getting 9 points and Dax getting 7 points. No Q in Ex/Master Standard as they were yet again over time.  We left the trial a little disappointed but we made our way to the USDAA Nationals.  We found a ton of people we knew, including a bunch of The Bay Team members, a club we are members of.  It was nice to see all the familiar faces and hear how well everyone was doing.  But one team we looked for specifically was the famous agility beagle we saw on TV, Team JAMIE! Handled by Gary Jones, Jamie is one of the beagles who competed at the first every AKC Agility trial at Westminster where he earned his MACH 2 and made it to the Championship round which was aired on TV! Prior to Nationals, Gary posted on Facebook Jamie’s team poster, Team PB&J (Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Beagle and Jack Russell Terrier)!  So when we arrived at the trial, the beagles and I were on the hunt!

Dylan found Jamie’s team poster, but it turns out that Team Jamie had finished all their runs for the day and had left to enjoy Nor Cal and went wine tasting.  We were a bit disappointed, but we were glad to hear that Team Jamie had some great runs!  We left shortly after so the boys could rest up for the rest of our weekend.

Saturday and Sunday we were entered in the Fun Paws CPE Agility trial.  Saturday the boys did great! Dax went 4/5 and Dylan went 3/5. Dax also finished off his L5 Colors requirement and Dylan finished off his L5 FullHouse requirements!  They were very tired beagles at the end of the day.

Sunday was great! Even better than Saturday! Dax ended up with his first every PERFECT DAY going 5/5 with his first Level C Q in Colors!! And Dylan went 4/5. Dax is finally in L5 Snooker with just 1 L4 Q in Jackpot away from his CL4 title and Dylan finished off L5 Colors requirements!

The only NQ we got all day was Dylan’s Level 5 Standard run.  Dylan had a WONDERFUL Standard run where he was running like the wind, weaving fast and hitting all his contacts! But I totally screwed him up with an off-course! He was running so fast, he actually beat me down the dog walk and I was completely in the wrong position to send him to the next obstacle, so he went back up the dog walk to hit his contact and wait for me. It was such a bummer, but Dylan never knew he didn’t Q. He still got all his cookies and plus extra kisses and praise! I was so happy to find out that my fast puppy is still in there somewhere! He is sooo much fun when he runs fast, and I was just so happy to see him run!

We ended up with a nice haul of ribbons and Qs. I am so proud of my boy and so glad they were able to last through our long agility weekend… Now time to prepare for our next weekend of agility!

The Road to RAE

Just needed to brag a bit… At just 3 years old, my little beagle boy, Dylan earned the Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title!

We started the long journey of 10 double Qs in both Excellent B and Advanced B in October 2013 and only went to indoor trials, which there aren’t a whole lot of in my area. So before last Thursday, Dylan had 5 of the 10 required legs:

Leg Date Judge Level Score
1 October 20, 2013 Harold Doan Excellent B 77
Advanced B 80
2 November 25, 2013 Lora Cox Excellent B 76
Advanced B 70
3 January 18, 2014 Mary Lou Just Excellent B 83
Advanced B 90
4 January 18, 2014 Linda Hause Excellent B 91
Advanced B 91
5 January 19, 2014 Michele Illes Excellent B 83
Advanced B 83

Dylan’s ribbon spoils from January 18, 2014!
He had won Second Place in Excellent B and 2 RAE legs!

Then starting Thursday we had 5 trials in 4 days, one trial each day, then today we had two trials in one day. The Thursday through Saturday trials were indoors in our comfort zone. He earned qualifying scores each day, but no placements for RAE legs #6, #7 and #8:

Leg Date Judge Level Score
6 March 20, 2014 Dorin Jay Ladd Excellent B 75
Advanced B 93

Dylan’s RAE leg #6 on March 20, 2014

Leg Date Judge Level Score
7 March 21, 2014 Susie Osburn Excellent B 92
Advanced B 87

Dylan’s RAE leg #7 on March 21, 2014

Leg Date Judge Level Score
8 March 22, 2014 Laurie Beck Excellent B 87
Advanced B 72

Dylan’s RAE leg #8 on March 22, 2014

Today’s trials were outdoors, which when we tried our hand at this same trial last year, it did not go over well (took the leash off, took one step and he ran straight out of the ring!). Today HE STAYED IN THE RING!! I was so happy!

He also decided to kick butt in the ring too! In the AM trial he earned himself a 4th Placement in Excellent B (score of 91) and in the PM trial he earned himself FIRST PLACE in Excellent B (score of 97)! He usually does worse in Advanced B for some reason, but he was still able to earn qualifying scores, which meant he earned RAE legs #9 and #10 and his RAE Title at an outdoor trial!! Again, I was sooo happy!

Leg Date Judge Level Score
9 March 23, 2014 Dee Dee Anderson Excellent B 91
Advanced B 85

Dylan’s RAE leg #9 where he won Fourth place in Excellent B and a monkey!

Leg Date Judge Level Score
10 March 23, 2014 C.Z. Pat Alverez Excellent B 97
Advanced B 89

All Dylan’s spoils from March 23, 2014!
For RAE leg #10, he won FIRST place and another toy!

He is now completely zonked out on the couch after enjoying the In-N-Out hamburger I bribed him with for his wonderful performances and the two new toys he won for his placements today. I am so proud that my Rally Novice A dog made it all the way to an RAE!