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Nose around Town will be in the (K9) Lap of Luxury

March 12, 2013

Course for Saturday

July 3, 2012

I put together a regular course for July 7th. I will not be there, but I wanted to at least provide a course that those present can use (or not).

Note that the tunnel under the dogwalk is a 20 footer. PDF: 0810-Mirage-ER1

Now posted! Meeting minutes

June 28, 2012

Now posted in the Members Only section- April and June meeting minutes. We did not have a May meeting due to the seminar.

It’s a NATCH

April 16, 2012

Mirha earned her NATCH title in Canby, OR, yesterday. That was a big milestone on her journey and she now has a beautiful golden NATCH bar to prove it. In other news from the weekend, Mirha scored in two Extreme Gaters runs, one of which was over the 100 point run index, had a run over the 100 point index in Extreme Hoopers and also scored high in two Extreme Barrel Racing runs.

So for Mirha, the weekend netted a NATCH and 2 Extreme Games titles.

‘Mber did well too. He scored well in two Extreme Gaters runs, and then had a nice qualifying jumpers run.

It was a very fast paced trial due to not that many dogs running, so little or no time to wind down between runs. By the end of the trial, we had far exceeded ‘Mber’s processing capacity and scratched out of the last runs.

As for me, I’m recovering from doing 32 runs in one weekend…

Course Analysis and Path Focus Handling Workshop May 5th, 2012

March 31, 2012

On Path to a Q – May 5, 2012: Workshop on planning and cueing the dog’s path to efficiently place them in front of the right obstacles. PDF version of flyer available here: OnPath2Q.pdf

RAT “Largus” Trial, June 22-24

March 26, 2012

Time to mark calendars – the RAT NADAC trial opens April 25th. Premium is available at Looks like this is a mail in only registration.

Meeting minutes from 3.8.12- now posted!

March 21, 2012

Hello everyone. The minutes from our March 8th meeting has been posted under the Members Only section. Please send corrections to me ( before our next meeting, April 7th. Thanks!

Saturday playday

March 15, 2012

Many of us will be attending the Sophia Yin workshop all weekend, and won’t be able to make it for this weeks practice time. From the looks of it, the weather won’t be very inviting either, probably meaning an inside session. If anyone is heading out there for practice and want a suggestion for a setup, let me know and I’ll put something together.

Restricted pages for members only

February 28, 2012

I have added a menu on the blog site for “Members Only”. So far, we only have the member contact information and the latest minutes there. The idea is to collect things like minutes, treasurer’s reports etc under that heading. The member pages are password protected using the same password as we have had on the site.

Also, I added a “Misc Info” menu item where we can put information that we want to remain permanent, rather than in blog form.


The Cost of a Fix

February 28, 2012

When something goes awry on a run, our instincts are to fix it. If the dog misses an obstacle, we might go back to the missed obstacle and have the dog take it. Doing so is understandable if it is a question of qualifying or not in some particularly important run. Perhaps you traveled far at great expense to get that Q.

But, step back and think about what going back to the obstacle means for your dog. Did he understand that something went wrong, and does he believe he caused it? Very likely. Why did he miss the jump? 9 times out of 10, it was because you didn’t position him to take the jump. So, in his mind, he now thinks something like “Oh, I was wrong. When she slows down, I shouldn’t turn into her”. This is how we create confused, insecure  or guessing dogs. If this is something that happens at very rare occasions in trials, perhaps the dog dismisses it as just something that happened. But be aware that there is a cost to doing this. Every time you interrupt your flow and go back, you are training your dog to distrust your cues and/or distrust his own instincts. If you do go back to rescue that Q, at the very least do it in flow as much as possible. If the Q can’t be rescued, there is absolutely no reason to to fix it.

I have adopted a set of rules for myself, and I try hard to follow them. One of the most important rules is to NEVER “fix” a missed obstacle, or an off course, in a training run. Unless the dog for some reason wants to avoid the right obstacle (injury, fear, etc), the fault is either a training error, a cueing error, or – most likely – the handler’s failure to shape the dogs path such that it leads to the right obstacle. In either case,  I do my best to finish the sequence in flow. Afterwards I try to figure out why it happened and form a plan to train that aspect. Remember – in training the objective is to learn and develop, not only skills, but also the relationship with your teammate. The objective should never be to do a “clean run”. If you do, cool, but if not – so what?

Every now and then you hear comments like “you can’t let the dog get away with it”, or “he must learn to follow my cues”.  Think for a moment about the “… get away with …” comment. It assumes that the dog doesn’t want to do what you are asking him to do. If that really were true, then why on earth are you making him do it? Agility is a team sport. It assumes that the game is rewarding and positive for both team members. If the dog doesn’t like it, forcing him will not make you a team. If you truly believe the dog is trying to “get away” with an incorrect behavior, form a plan for making the correct behavior desirable for your dog, or stop forcing him to play a game he doesn’t enjoy.

The other comment about following the cues is usually misapplied as well. In all likelihood, the dog did follow your cues. You just expected him to do something different than what you have trained him for that cue. The only other possibility is that you haven’t trained a behavior for that cue. If that is the case, punishment (interrupting the game) of the undesired behavior is a very weak training tool. Instead, develop a plan to train the behavior you want and link it to the cue you want to use.

So, remember: “Fixing it Doesn’t