What about Poppy? I haven't said too much about her as of late. True, I've been training her to become a nosework superstar and she absolutely loves it. But, as far as agility goes, between her stressing in the ring at trials, a sudden issue with the teeter that appeared early last spring, and then her injury in July, her agility career has been put on hold while I focused on achieving my 2012 agility goals for Ollie and worked on Hokey's foundation training. But I've really missed running my crazy girl. This is a video I made back in the fall of 2011, when we'd been struggling, but I was still holding on to the hope that the worst was behind us.
|Poppy with her ribbons from her first trial|
Despite her multiple issues, I LOVE running this dog in agility. She started out with such potential and I really thought she was going to surpass Ollie in superstardom. She has a lot of drive and learned everything so fast. I entered her in her first trial (USDAA) at 19 months of age as a 22" championship dog. She Q'd in 4 out of 4 runs.
|Results of her 2nd trial: Poppy AD|
The following month, I entered her in her second trial. She Q'd in 5 out of 5 classes AND because that gave us all the Qs we needed, plus the 3 judge minimum, she finished her AD title. At 20 months old and in only 2 trials!! I couldn't be more proud of my crazy little shelter mutt.
|Poppy's first CPE perfect weekend|
|A new CPE title|
Then there are my handling issues and the holes in her foundation training. I've always known those issues were there and tried to seek help, but didn't get far. Some of the things I've been working on with Hokey have given me ideas for plugging the holes in Poppy's foundation.
|Poppy Jan 2010 - the day after I adopted her (6 months old)|
After several months of no agility, during a break from nosework class, I signed her up 4-week mini agility class. The experience provided me with the opportunity to "take her temperature" when it came to agility and gave me some very useful feedback:
- Ring-stress. She still stresses when it comes to agility. There is a huge difference in stress level and focus between when she does nosework and when she does agility. However, she still worked very well and, after the first couple of classes as she started to feel more relaxed, I did start to see more of her true personality coming out. It will continue to be a work in progress.
- Handling. I really learned a lot about how I need to handle her in this class! I felt like for the first time, I finally got the type of feedback I needed. Poppy handles quite differently from the two little ones. With those long legs of hers, she's faster, bigger striding, bigger jumping and doesn't respond as quickly. I've found it very difficult to get my timing just right with her. Ollie has spoiled me in that my handling can be so-so and he'll still do just about anything I ask. No so with Poppy. She requires much more precision. I need to communicate my cues sooner and remember to always keep moving. After this class, I have a much better idea of where I'm headed with her and what I need to work on. And for that, I am so thankful.
- Physical soundness: This remains an open question as far as Poppy's future agility career goes. I'm still not sure what caused the severe lameness back in July. I will say that she has an odd quirk of standing knuckled over on the toes of that same leg. This is nothing new; she's always done it. It hasn't gotten any worse over the past 2 1/2 years and has never seemed to bother her or affected her ability to run like a fiend, careen off the walls of my house, launch herself down the stairs, or do agility. However, since she only displays this behavior on her left rear leg, which was the same one she came up lame on, it does make me a little suspicious. I did mention it to the vet back in July and, off the top of her head, she didn't seem to think it was related. I've also noticed that sometimes when I'm holding her and put her down, as soon as she touches the ground she has a tendency to poke her nose or bite at one of her hips --- not always the same one. Is it just another one of her weird quirks, or is she indicating that something is bothering her?
|"knuckling over" behavior|
|Wild and Crazy Girl|