26 November 2012

Kurgo post-script

So far, Kurgo hasn't published my negative review of their collaps-a-bowl BUT I did receive a very positive email response yesterday. 

"Kurgo does offer a lifetime warranty against manufacturers defects and having viewed the attached photos this would certainly be covered."

So they will be sending me a replacement bowl.  It will be interesting to see how long it lasts. 

In the meantime, I went ahead and ordered another Dexas bowl directly from the Dexas website.  FREE shipping and NO sales tax.  Can't beat that!!

25 November 2012

NOT impressed with Kurgo!

Two - 2! - weeks ago, I purchased a Kurgo collaps-a-bowl.  In only two - count 'em - 2 weeks and with minimal usage, it has now developed a large split along the bottom fold rendering it totally useless.  And each time I had to use it on yesterday's walk, the split just got bigger and bigger.

Readers may recall my post about the Dexas collapsible bowl.  Well after 8 months of use, it's proved to be exceptionally durable. So why did I buy a Kurgo bowl?  Well, unfortunately, I left my Dexas bowl back in Canada and the only collapsible bowl I could readily find in a store was the Kurgo. 

I left a negative review of the Kurgo collaps-a-bowl on their website.  I wonder if they'll publish it. (Only highly positive reviews currently appear.)  In the meantime, I've also sent an email to Kurgo voicing my extreme dissatisfaction with their product.  Wonder if they will reply.

So, two BIG THUMBS UP to Dexas collapsible bowls & two big thumbs DOWN to Kurgo.  I'm going back to DEXAS!!!

22 November 2012

Happy US Thanksgiving!

Miska, Tyro and Diva think there's nothing better than a post-walk nap on US Thanksgiving Day. (Well, a romp in our woods back home would be - in their opinion - a heck of a lot better but that ain't happenin' in AZ.) To our friends back in Canada, the temperature reached about 80 F today.

Tyro who likes it half in and half out


14 November 2012

F.A.S.T. is fun!

My two Vizslas and I competed in our first F.A.S.T. class in AKC agility this past weekend.  Unfortunately, the Cdn Kennel Club doesn't offer this class.  Frankly, I had never heard of FAST until this fall.  This class was introduced by the AKC in 2007 but since I have only started competing in agility this year (2012) after a long hiatus, I am not familiar with all the changes made in recent years. After watching people compete in F.A.S.T. at Wine Circuit in Romulus, NY in September,  it looked like a lot of fun and so I entered both Miska and Diva at trials in Tempe, AZ without knowing a thing about the rules!!!  

Here's a synopsis of what FAST is all about which I gleaned off the Internet.

F.A.S.T. (fifteen and send time) is a newer addition to AKC agility.  There are 15 obstacles - hence "fifteen" in the acronym. In this class, you make up your own course. Each obstacle is assigned points, based on the approach and the amount of time it would take to complete. In every F.A.S.T. class, there is a "bonus," which is a taped off area in which you must send your dog on to the obstacles inside the tape. Depending on the level that you're competing at, the distance may range from five to twenty feet. To qualify in any level of F.A.S.T., dog and handler teams must complete the bonus. Besides the bonus, though, teams are free to make up their own course, as long as they get enough points under the course time to qualify.  There is a time limit and points are deducted for each second you're on the course after the horn blows.  The maximum number of points you can earn in a course is 80 and there are minimums depending on what level you're competing at: Novice minimum 50 pts to Q; Open minimum 55pts; Excellent minimum 60 pts. 

Here was our course.  In the send area which is the area in the top R corner of the map which is cordoned off, I had to send the dog through the tunnel and then onto the teeter without stepping over the line which you can see on the map. We needed 50 points to qualify.

Somewhat to my surprise and delight, reliable, 'old' Miska did the send perfectly!!  The map below shows the route I took with her.  She doesn't work as well at a distance so that's why I said I was surprised that she did the send successfully.  The course time was 35 seconds and the horn blew while we were still on the course so we had to run like crazy to cross the finish line.  Miska accumulated a total of 72 points (the max is 80) but lost 6 due to being overtime.  Her final points after the time deduction was 66 points and we got a Q(ualifying score).  Yippee!! This was my first FAST Q ever!

I followed the same (or similar) course with Diva.  But when we reached the send section, she took the Frame instead of the tunnel. I tried 3 times - unsuccessfully - to get her into that darn tunnel. At that point the horn blew indicating we were out of time and so she didn't qualify.  And she was the one I was certain would succeed!  Just goes to show how wrong I can be about my dogs at times!

Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun doing this class and can't wait to do it again!

11 November 2012

Tortoise and hare (sorta)

Everyone knows the fable of the tortoise and the hare by Aesop in which the tortoise wins the race after being challenged by the hare.  Well, this weekend, I sorta had a kind of tortoise and hare situation in agility trials in Arizona between 9-year old Miska and her 4-year old daughter, Diva.  Diva, the younger, faster Vizsla didn't do as well overall as her older, sometimes slower mother Miska.  By at the end of the weekend, each brought home a new title but Miska brought home more qualifying scores and more rosettes in AKC (American Kennel Club) agility than Diva!  And because Miska didn't have so many wrong courses than Diva, her times were often much faster than Diva proving that in agility, accuracy is often better and worth more than speed!

Miska - total score 4:
  1. 1 new title - Novice Standard Preferred (NAP) (score of 100 & First place)
  2. 1 Q in Novice FAST Preferred (score of 66 & First Place)
  3. 1 Q in Open Jumpers Preferred (score of 95 & Second)
  4. 1 Q in Open Standard Preferred (score of 90 & Second)

Miska with the weekend's rosettes.

Miska's two Firsts (blue) and two Second (red) place rosettes. Her new title rosette is in the centre.
 Diva - score of 2:

  1. 1 new title in Novice Agility Jumpers (NAJ) (score of 90 & Second place)
  2. 1 Q in Novice Standard (score of 90 & 3rd)

Diva's rosettes

6 November 2012

Older sisters

These two lovely lady Vizslas are Miska's older half-sisters.  They share the same father - our wonderful Sasha (BPIG* Am/Can CH Varazs Kiraly Sassy Sasha Am/Can CDX, FDJ, RE, RAE, TT, CGC, CGN).  They are: Mila (L) aka M-OTCH Szuni's Shooting Star UD FDX TD AGI AGDC AADC CGC and Kosmo (R) aka CH Szuni's Rising Star FD ADC CGC.  These girls turned 13 on July 25 and this photo was taken this fall.  Thanks to breeder Susan Scobie of Szuni Reg'd Vizslas for sharing this photo with me.

L-R: Mila and Kosmo

4 November 2012

Contact conundrum

Dog agility courses utilize obstacles that have prescribed standards in order to assure safety and basic uniformity.  One set of obstacles includes contact equipment: a dog walk, A-frame, teeter-totter or see-saw and a pause table. Dogs must maneuver these pieces of equipment in a prescribed manner. For the dog walk, A-frame, teeter-totter, the dog must move from one end to the other end of the equipment and must touch within the yellow "contact' zone on the 'down' part of the obstacle.  With the teeter-totter, the dog must tilt the board and remain on it until it hits the ground.  If the dog jumps or flies off the A-frame, dog-walk or teeter, it's an automatic failure.

Last week I entered Miska in two Intermediate (= Open in AKC) standard trials, expecting her to easily pass and earn her title.  That didn't happen because of the contacts.  This video shows Miska in Trial 1 refusing to go over the dog walk and jumping off the teeter.  This really surprised me since earlier in the day at training, she had done them both successfully. Likewise a few days prior to this trial in run-throughs in much more difficult courses.

In Trial 2, Miska was far, far worse when I thought she would be better.  I got her to the top of the dog walk, but then she started to cower and refused to go across it .She was terrified.  I simply could not coax her across the top  board.  The judge finally asked me to lift her off so she wouldn't fall off.  I had never, ever seen Miska like that.  She was absolutely terrified to cross the dog walk. Needless to say, she did not pass either trial and so didn't complete her title. Although I was very disappointed, I was more concerned about our future participation in agility.

At the end of the trial, I was able to take Miska on the course and coaxed her with food over the dog walk and teeter-totter.  After several sessions with positive reinforcement, she was happily completing those obstacles successfully.

I still wasn't sure what caused her to initially refuse to do these obstacles. There were major differences between the trial setting and where we train.
  • At this trial, the contacts were rubberized but Miska has been on rubberized equipment before.
  • It was indoors when we have been raining outdoors.  However, Miska has trialed at this location before and been successful once before.
Four days after this unsuccessful trial, we went back to agility training (outdoors) on non-rubberized equipment.  It was cold and  windy in advance of Hurricane Sandy but at least the rain held off.  I thought about passing on the class because of the weather but decided to venture out in order to get Miska back up on the contact equipment, especially the dog walk and teeter.  Well, she was terrific!  In fact, she kept wanting to take the dog walk when I wanted her to enter a tunnel.  So she had no problems at our training site, which uses non-rubberized equipment.  This made me more perplexed as to why she had earlier refused to do them at the trial.

One possible explanation given by our trainer at Companion Dog Training is that the building structure could have made Miska feel crowded on the dog walk because it was set up close to a wall. That might explain the dog walk but not the teeter which was in the middle of the course.  In thinking back on things, Miska and I competed indoors at this location one other time. She passed the first run but not the second. I now think it's the building that is affecting her.  We train outdoors and rarely run agility indoors.  In obedience we always talk about training in different locations and the same, I guess, can be said of agility.  It's just a lot harder to do since the sport of agility requires a lot of equipment that needs to be set up.

Our next trials will be outdoors for some time so I'll see how Miska does.  

2 November 2012

More UKC photos

Thanks to Corrine Sellars who owns Bodi aka BIS (UKC), CKC/UKC CH Varazs Mokany Kiralyi Orban FDJ JH URO1 CGN NAVHDA NA PZ I for taking these two photos at this past weekend's United Kennel Club shows and trials in Rockton, ON.  That's Bodi's mom, Miska (Int'l BIS/RBIS (Veteran) AKC/CKC/Int'l/UKC CH Varazs Kiralyi Kedvesem FD, NAVHDA NA Prize III, JH, AKC/CKC CDX, AKC/CKC RE, AKC RAE, AgNS, AgNJS, NJP, URO2, CGN, CGC, TDI) in the top photo getting her High in Trial rosette with Miska's very thrilled hu-mom and breeder. The judge is Isobel Hutton of Brampton, ON.

Happy hu-mom receiving Miska's 3rd High in Trial

Line-up of UKC Top Dog Award Recipients. Miska on the L in the middle of the V's