Daisy Peel

Author Archives: Daisy Peel

Daisy has been on the forefront of the trend of online agility education, and her Online Classroom is one of the leading sources for those seeking to improve the quality of their participation in the sport from afar. Her instruction, whether online or in person, is widely sought after as some of the best instruction available for those at any level, with any type of dog.

Chispa blog – full stop

This will very likely be my last post in this blog. It's difficult to even write this post, but I'll do my best.

Chispa is an incredible puppy. She is everything I could have wanted in a puppy. She is happy, she is bright, she is VERY into me, and of course I am crazy about her. She has all the makings of a talented jumper. Her running contacts are coming along spectacularly. Her weave poles look amazing. In my mind, we are already world champions together.

A few weeks ago I noticed some lameness that was worse after our training sessions. She'd had some slight lameness a few months ago that resolved with a few days of decreased activity, and so I didn't really think anything of it. But when it cropped up again, I got worried, and suspicious.

In short, Chispa has been diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. She is currently in a crate, where she's been spending her life for the past several days, and she is on mild sedation, because being in a crate so much is not something either she or I are accustomed to, and neither of us are dealing well with it. She is not wanting to eat, and is, like me, depressed. She has a CT scan this upcoming Saturday to determine the severity of the issue, and then some sort of surgery, in all likelihood. However, surgery for elbow dysplasia simply delays the onset of osteoarthritis and makes a dog comfortable as a pet. Even as a pet, Chispa will be hard on her body. She will very likely not be able to be an agility dog of any kind, barring some sort of miracle at Saturday's appointment.

This is not something that was on the radar with any of her family members. Maybe it's my fault for letting her have more freedom than any of my other puppies – she's always enjoyed jumping off everything.  The bed, the couch, me. Regardless, our very bright future together as a working team has now gone dark, and I am just absolutely devastated. I try hard not to collapse into a quivering pile – it freaks her out when I start crying halfway through any sort of interaction with her. She's right there, looking bright and happy, and confused, because she wants to jump and run and play, and now, I have to say no. It is a small death every time I have to tell her no, we can't play, we can't run, we can't bounce around.

I hope that the news on Saturday is good – I'm not even sure what good news would look like at this stage. Yes, Chispa will live. Yes, after months of rehab after surgery she will likely be comfortable and live a long happy life as a pet. But obviously, that is not why she came in to my life, and I certainly wasn't prepared to mourn the loss of a working partner before we'd even managed to stretch our fledgling wings properly. This, hot on the heels of Frodo suffering a traumatic CCL tear and a subsequent TPLO taking him out of commission for several months has got the wind knocked out of me, and frankly, I wake up most mornings not knowing how to proceed through my day without crying.

Clearly, this is not how I envisioned the end of this puppy blog turning out. I was all in on this one, and this loss has absolutely crushed me. Hug your agility puppies and enjoy every moment with them, because you never know when your agility journey will be cut short.

Chispa Training for the morning

Training has kicked in to high gear here at Clear Mind Agility with Frodo and Chispa. Both have a list of “to do” items, and although Frodo's are more time sensitive, with Tryouts just around the corner, Chispa's list is longer, and because I'm going through Foundation with her, I'm revisiting it with Frodo as well. Frodo really benefits from this, because when we first went through Foundation training, he lacked the confidence to really stick his neck out and try different things. Now, revisiting it with him (particularly after he's been barking in a crate for a few minutes watching me with Chispa) is paying off with respect to his knowledge, as well as his mechanics and his enthusiasm.

In any case, here's a bit of our training from this morning!

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Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!

On disappointment

This past weekend, Frodo and I headed to Perry, Georgia for the 2017 AKC Agility National Championships. As in the past when I've gone to Crufts, the NAC follows almost immediately after. This year, NAC marked the end of a 2.5 week stay in Germany, followed by Crufts, and then, Perry, GA. Frodo and I have come a long way since our first AKC Nationals together, in Reno, NV, back in 2015. We weren't much of a team, although we did manage to have a good run in I think Jumpers with Weaves. We didn't know each other very well, and I was still deeply disappointed to have lost Solar as my running mate when he was still arguably in his prime.

I didn't go to AKC NAC in 2016, for various reasons, but I'd been looking forward to the event this past weekend, because at this point, Frodo and I are a good working team. We still have places to go with respect to our development, we're not finished growing yet as a team, but we're a pretty smoothly functioning team at this point nonetheless.

I'm fairly objective about our odds most of the time, and in my mind, our odds this year were pretty good, given the data that I had going in to the event. And at the event, in the International Sweepstakes Round, we put down a great run, coming in third by just a few fractions of a second. I'd wanted to do well, although winning would have meant turning down a spot to go to the European Open in Italy. Why turn it down? Last year at the European Open, Frodo had a hard time with the crowds ringside – he's much better at big stadium style events where there's more distance between the noisy crowd and the ring. So, while it's possible he'd be better this year, I didn't feel like it was in line with my goals. In any case, ISC was perfect – we did really well, but we didn't win, and so I didn't have to say no, which is chronically difficult for me.

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Chispa update – a year!

It's been a year since Chispa was born! I can't believe she's a year old already. Although I was gone for a couple of weeks recently, she didn't seem to have suffered from the lack of formal training. Of course I worried she'd forget everything she'd learned to date…nah…!

We are now in training for weave poles, contacts, jumps, and handling. It's a full plate, to be sure, and so I have been doing a lot of station training. Chispa is pretty smart, and PLAY is the name of the game for her. If it's not PLAY, she's not interested. Food…eh. She'll do things for food, but she really lights up if we are hardcore playing. And, with the smart part, repetition is not a great way to train if I want a lot of enthusiasm.

So, what do I mean by station training?

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Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!

Grown up girl photos

She's not quite a grown up girl yet, but Chispa is certainly having more moments where she LOOKS the part…

Not much to comment on with respect to training at the moment; Chispa's training has taken a bit of a back burner to Frodo's, what with our upcoming trip to Germany and the UK. I've started her 2×2 training, but probably won't start in earnest til I get back from Crufts, the week of March 13th. Her running contact training continues, and we continue to work on recalls on the flat, as well as wrapping a cone. I've also been doing one jump work with her, andIf you're not seeing anything more in this post, it's because you're either not a premium subscriber, or you are, but you aren't logged in, OR, you haven't been a subscriber LONG enough to see this content quite yet. Become a premium member to get access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum for this blog series!

Want to get notifications of new posts in this blog?

Subscribing below will sign you up to an email list to get notifications of new content only in this blog, and nothing else 🙂 You won't be able to see ALL of the content unless you are a paid subscriber.

Want access to ALL the content in this blog?

Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!

International Course Challenge: 2-14-2017

Here's the setup, course map, and analysis for the course that we ran in class at Clear Mind Agility this week. Enjoy!

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Chispa works through Module 2 of MJSFF

A few days ago I posted with an update of Chispa's progress on Module 1 of Linda Mecklenburg's Mastering Jumping Skills: Foundation Flatwork. As the videos get approved by Linda for inclusion into each Module, they'll also appear there. But, while I'm waiting for that, I'll continue to include her progress in this blog. Below is our progress on Module 2.

If you're not seeing anything more in this post, it's because you're either not a premium subscriber, or you are, but you aren't logged in, OR, you haven't been a subscriber LONG enough to see this content quite yet. Become a premium member to get access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum for this blog series!

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Subscribing below will sign you up to an email list to get notifications of new content only in this blog, and nothing else 🙂 You won't be able to see ALL of the content unless you are a paid subscriber.

Want access to ALL the content in this blog?

Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!

International Course Challenge 2-3-2017

Here's the setup, course map, and analysis for the course that we ran in class at Clear Mind Agility this week. Enjoy!

Want to read the rest of this article? This content is free, but you'll need to sign up to access it first! Once you've signed up, you'll receive an email with your login credentials, and you can log in and return to this page to view! If you're already a student and know your password you can log in immediately 🙂

Chispa works through Module 1 of MJSFF

Chispa's training continues, and it is FUN. I haven't been posting very often here, because there hasn't really been anything new going on EXCEPT for working through Linda Mecklenburg's Mastering Jumping Skills: Foundation Flatwork material. Right now, Chispa and I are working through Module 1. The videos below are all of the videos you'll see in Module 1, although only the first video has received Linda's OK to be included in the official material. The collection recall has been reviewed by Linda; the rest have yet to be reviewed.

We're also continuing our running contact training, and Chispa is now on a full height dogwalk. She's not completely confident on it yet so we're just doing the down ramp for now, taking it easy. I switched from my lower wood dogwalk to the full height aluminum dogwalk, mostly because I was tired of hauling the wood dogwalk around on PVC legs. The aluminum dogwalk is a couple feet higher from where we were, and, because each plank is hinged in the middle, it's noisy and a bit bouncy. So,  until Chispa is ok with those things, I won't be asking for much speed, just understanding and confidence. I continue to be amused and proud that my own methods using the Treat and Train have been adopted by Europeans and are spreading; it's nice to see people actually training their dogs instead of just throwing toys. Admittedly, it seemed to work for some, but I think the vast majority of dogs will learn better when the differential reinforcement is greater, and when they're thinking about what they're doing, for the food, rather than a thrown toy.

In any case, here are the videos!

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Subscribing below will sign you up to an email list to get notifications of new content only in this blog, and nothing else 🙂 You won't be able to see ALL of the content unless you are a paid subscriber.

Want access to ALL the content in this blog?

Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!

What’s up with Chispa?

Running contacts, that's what. And recalls.

Chispa's dogwalk is coming along nicely (video below, if you're a subscriber). At this point, it's just a bit of training daily when possible, every other day when not. We're also working on her collection recall on the flat, as outlined in Linda Mecklenburg's Mastering Jumping Skills book.

Right now, we're working on MODULE 1 of Mastering Jumping Skills: Foundation Flatwork. The video of our progress is below, along with our running contact progress. The feedback from Linda is that it looks good, but I will be getting another view/angle this afternoon, and will post that tomorrow, if I get feedback in time.

Over time, I'll post Chispa's finished and edited videos in the MODULE 1 material, along with Chipper's, from back in 2015. But for now, you can take a look and see where we're at! If you've purchased MODULE 1, or you have MASTERING JUMPING SKILLS, you will be able to follow along with what's happening in the video!

If you're not seeing anything more in this post, it's because you're either not a premium subscriber, or you are, but you aren't logged in, OR, you haven't been a subscriber LONG enough to see this content quite yet. Become a premium member to get access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum for this blog series!

Want to get notifications of new posts in this blog?

Subscribing below will sign you up to an email list to get notifications of new content only in this blog, and nothing else 🙂 You won't be able to see ALL of the content unless you are a paid subscriber.

Want access to ALL the content in this blog?

Paid subscribers get access to details on the training Daisy is doing with Chispa, as well as access to handouts, videos, and a discussion forum where a group of select (non-BC) puppy owners are working alongside Daisy with their puppies!