I haven’t done a blog update in a while, but I am pleased to say that for once this is because Jagger and I have been busy training! We have been (mostly) injury free, weather has been tolerable, and there is enough grass in the yard to practice agility most days if we haven’t gotten heavy rain.

I’ve got a pretty long training list, but my focus with Jagger has been on:

  • startline stay
  • proofing 2o2o for teeter
  • thoughtful jumping effort and striding
  • weave poles (the BANE of my agility existence)
  • running dogwalk
Jagger lying on the carpet

That’s a long list, little buddy. You’re lucky you’re handsome.

Jagger’s main issue with jumping is that he’s in a huge damn hurry. That’s kind of a high class problem, I know, I know. He’s all about getting from point A to B as quickly as possible, and as all geometry students and border collies know, the shortest (and thus fastest) path between two points is a line. A line through the jump bar. Jagger is able to do a regularly spaced jump grid with no problem. However, when you add the speed component of a more agility course-like setup, he feels the wind in his fur, the adrenaline starts going, he does a line of coke off the first bar as he creeps up on his start line and the next thing you know we have bars and jump standards down all over the place. Jagger also likes to run around jumps, which is a typical baby dog thing to do, but again, it’s so much faster! Mayhem, I tell you. Instead of more grid work, we did these types of irregularly spaced circular grids with a tunnel for speed:

jumps in a circle with eager border collie

I’m told speed circles are kind of old school. Jagger says he can be retro.

Here’s our summer training all summarized in a fun little video I made, complete with running dogwalk montage:

And here’s the obligatory mass download of all the running contact video in case you are a) a true RC nerd/afficionado b) in Silvia Trkman’s online RC class again like me or c) have been struck by a sudden, uncontrollable urge to watch border collies running in slow motion to combine your love of Baywatch reruns and dog agility.


Spring Training

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Busy, busy, busy!

I’m very happy to report that Jagger’s rear leg injury healed up very nicely. We never did get an exact diagnosis, but two different vets were of the opinion that Jagger needed to develop his quad muscles more so as to better stabilize his knee. His patella does NOT luxate, but he is a skinny little thing. Toward that end, we started a conditioning program 12 weeks ago according to the program described by Sasha Foster in her book, Canine Cross Training. I’ve noticed a definite increase in Jagger’s muscle tone, and the injury has not recurred. I’ve also seen his teeter and jumping performance improve dramatically during this time, so I’m calling it a success. We will continue working on these exercises, as there is progressive difficulty beyond the initial 12 week program. This dog works out better and harder than I do, hah.

Jagger only needed two weeks off from agility to heal from that injury (ah, youth) so we did get in some nice training progress after all despite having to pull from a few key seminars (as soon as he got better, I promptly got sick. Again. Thanks, daycare.)

At some point during April, Jagger managed to break my less than one-year-old NTI Global tunnel. When I say “break,” what I really mean is rip completely in half. It must have been the sonic boom. Anyway, I decided to take European-style precautions with my remaining, aging tunnel.

Jagger and his tunnel

Good thing one tunnel is dead, because these are all my sand bags.

Fortunately, NTI Global was AWESOME to work with and sent me a brand new tunnel under warranty at no cost. Apparently they aren’t supposed to break like that, even if you have a batshit crazy border collie.

The other big news from spring was that the back yard FINALLY got final grading and seeding. I am beyond excited.

Bermuda grass seedlings

Grow little seeds, grow

I was starting to think it would never happen! We’ve had record amounts of rainfall this winter (aka “Mud Season”) and spring (aka “Monsoon”). At one point my yard went from nearly finished grading to “lake” in a few hours:

dry, open yard ready for seeding


Lake Jones

After 😦

A lot of the seed washed away, but the drainage is very good now, so the soil has actually stayed in place. We have a few patches of decent grass started, but we will need to re-seed in a few weeks I suspect. Here’s what it looks like now, and here’s what Jagger looks like when he’s hoping the neighbors will come to visit him and provide hugs:

Jagger at the fence hoping for hugs

Hugs time?

And finally, after all the mentions of the human “puppy,” I did bring her to her first agility trial at the end of June. Jagger is still a ways from competing yet, but I had some great fun with Copper in our USDAA Masters Challenge debut (alas, did not get that Q for Nationals… wish there had been more local opportunities!). Here’s Hannah with my friend Tracy:

Hannah being held by Tracy

Hannah sporting her Under Armour shirt like all the cool agility handlers. I hope she holds off on that tattoo for a few years though 😉




Injured reserve list

Posted: April 9, 2013 in injury

I’m sorry to report that Jagger’s had a minor injury of some sort. Over the last two weeks, he has at various times come up hopping on three legs briefly (one hind or another in the air) after sprinting. He looks sound within minutes, seems back to normal after a few days of rest and gradually increasing activity, but as soon as he sprints the injury is back. We’re taking it easy for a couple of weeks while we try to figure out what’s going on. It was disappointing that I had to pull him from both this round of online Agility Foundations Class as well as an upcoming local seminar on running contacts. But, better to be careful now than risk a more serious injury.

Jagger awaits his vet exam

I can has lollipop if I am good for vet-lady?

There always seems to be a lot of discussion surrounding running contacts regarding how to decide whether or not you “should” train them. There’s somehow the implication that you “can’t” train running contacts unless you’ve completed a checklist that says you “should.” Personally, I have always thought that there’s nothing particularly special about them and that you don’t need a reason to train them other than that you like them. They are a labor of love, they take a long time, and you need to love them to go out and train them. Case in point, here’s what our dogwalk training looked like for the month of March:

I only train them 2 or 3 times a week, and I don’t tape every session, but this is a pretty good idea of what things look like. I probably spend 10-20 min total per session which includes warm up & cool down with plenty of time to play tug and rest in between efforts.

“… so I have.” – Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

I’ve signed up for another round of Silvia Trkman’s most excellent Agility Foundations class. As preparation, I made a short video of how we are coming along with the early exercises:

I also revisited a sequence we worked on last summer, and it wasn’t so pretty.

I officially never want to see this sequence again, and I have definitely over-worked it. I will spend the next couple of weeks working on shorter, 3-4 obstacle sequences that don’t have so many tight turns.

I most look forward to her advice on how to proceed with weave pole training, because stuff like this keeps happening:

Jagger with fur scraped off his face :(

“That did NOT leave a mark. I totally meant to do that!”

Princess Bride reference source 😀

Only I don’t ride him like a horse. At any rate, with the move and the new baby, my training time has been pretty limited. My new house’s back yard is in that “has to get worse before it gets better stage” of being completely unusable as a training space until we stop getting torrential rain for several weeks and my landscaper can finish grading it to fix the drainage. Apparently North Carolina has decided to have a monsoon season this year, so it may well be May or June before this work gets done. The good news is that the trees are cleared and the debris is removed, and the fence installation got started before we were once again deluged by rain. I was able to do a little training with Jagger before the trees came down and the yard really got torn up:

Jagger’s slamming the weave poles pretty badly, so we are going to have to back up a few steps and work on that when I have a regular training space again. I’ve been trying to work on his running dogwalk once a week when I can get out to a training field. It’s not ideal, but after some messing around and refreshing both our memories I was able to get to the exciting milestone of seeing his first hits on the full height dogwalk:

It’s very inconsistent, however, and Jagger really wants to switch to four strides as soon as possible (good! faster!) but he’s not extending enough and comes up short on the contact (not so good!):

So I am back to working on no-speed approaches and Get The Contact Game as here in our last session:

I was pretty happy with how this session went; I think I’ve found a good spot to work on back at the first apex where I can keep working on helping Jagger understand not to leave the downramp early. I am seeing some funky striding going on at times, and am not totally sure what’s going on with that. Maybe he is just trying to figure things out, too. I have been jackpotting every attempt that is in the contact zone at all and have rear foot separation. I just wish we had more time to practice! Hopefully by late summer my yard will be useable again, and better than ever.

Bored puppy is bored

Posted: December 14, 2012 in new puppy
Tags: ,

Hi, dis Jagger here. We moved to new house couple weeks ago. It ok; I like that Mommy has been home a lot but dere no space for agilities here yet 😦 Mommy said we have space soon but trees are in way. Whatever, I can wraps treez. Bored.

Pine trees marked for removal

Totally room for tunnels here

Holly trees pending removal

Look! Weave poles even fit heres!

Tunnels in temporary storage

My tunnelz, totally not getting used 😦

I helped unpack our stuffs… I tried unpacking the bags of paper (good toys!!!) but I gots in trouble 😦

Jagger removes trash from the trash bag

I helps unpack the paper!

I also helped make da bed the first night. I think my helps are very underappreciated. *profound border collie stare*

Jagger in our bed looking very comfy

So… where you guys gonna sleep?

Mommy is also going to have a puppy any day now. My brudder Copper been saying this for a while, but I guess I just noticed. I hope human puppy isn’t too noisy. I dun like the crying very much. I hope Mommy can run with me again once the puppy is here. I’m really bored.

Jagger wishes to have my attention

US Weekly boring. Do something nao?

Jagger and the baby bump

Human puppy ok, I guess. Wish Mommy would run more.

Bai for now!