Sheryl's Alaskan Malamutes - Sebastian - Agility
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Sebastian - Agility - Next Level
All home agility equipment purchased from AffordableAgility

Sebastian hurdles
Sebastian running the course
with mom looking goofy waving the hot dog

1st Next Level Agility Class - September 13, 2005

They've set it up so that we've got 5 classes and we can pick either Tuesday or Thursday between now and Thanksgiving to use the classes or go weekly and sign up for more.

Last night it was just Sebastian & Bentley (a Springer Spaniel, I believe). They got on well and both were dying to play, but did get a bit "male" on us at times :)

We learned the tunnel/chute last night. This is a 3 foot tunnel with a 20' cloth chute on the end. The chute is "closed", in that both sides of the cloth lay flat and once in, the dog pushes thru the chute in darkness until out.

This is evidently hard to learn, but both boys had energy & enthusiasm last night and went thru the first time with Jen holding up the end and calling to them and thereafter went thru without that aid. Sebastian got tangled up in it once and we lifted it up to clear his confusion. Later on Bentley went thru the same issue.

Then we did the course timed with the tunnel/chute added as the final obstacle. Just used one hotdog for bait, but that was all that was needed.

The course was hurdle / tunnel / hurdle / tire jump / ladder / pause box / weave poles / 3 hurdles / tunnelChute

Weave poles we're seeing improvement, with him swinging out wide between each, eyes on the hot dog. That's our toughest obstacle.

Sebastian was sharp on each of our 4 runs through the course, and is now attacking the obstacles, rather than his former leisurely pace, which Jen noticed right away. Our final run was 47 seconds, with 2 knockdowns so a final of 57 seconds.

Improvement I believe is because we had a break from it, lower heat, lower humidity AND no crowd to play to for laughter :) I'm really proud of him

Sebastian - Jump from Sit/Wait Sebastian - Jump from Sit/Wait Sebastian - Jump from Sit/Wait

2nd Next Level Agility Class - September 27, 2005

Just Sebastian & two small white with red terriers of some sort, I believe. Of course, he was dying to play with them, but they looked to be a max of 15 lbs, so even though he wouldn't hurt them - outta the question!

No new obstacles last night, but the course was adjusted slightly, so it wasn't just repetitious.

The course was hurdle / tunnel / hurdle / tire jump / ladder / swing left to pause box / weave poles / hurdle / swing left to 2 hurdles / tunnelChute

He was a good boy, but a character. He nudged off his gentle leader before each of his runs. He doesn't initially hear as well with that off, so a challenge to get him into the sit/wait where he needs to be while he's in brat mode with his eyes sparkling about the state of affairs the whole time.

Once in position, he's all business and is sharp with speed and energy, attacking the obstacles. (One hot dog used as bait on each run)

Our first run was 53 seconds with no faults. Jen is so pleased with how he's jumping that she raised the hurdles from 16" to 20" and he's still fine with it, putting in the energy to clear the jumps.

We both tried to get photos of him jumping, but the camera flash wasn't cooperating and went off after he was over the jump. Have to check those settings so that it will flash for action shots & not "perfection still".

Weave poles are still our toughest obstacle. I started on the opposite side of him from usual last night so that I'm on the inside of the course, which caused some confusion, but not much. The swinging wide of the hot dog is still working, but we've got to do better. We need to do some practice with them because everything else is coming down to a matter of how I run the course with him, as he's got the other obstacles down pat.

Yup, believe it or not, it matters how I run the course. 90% of mistakes that dogs make on the course at this point are the handler. I have to crowd him at the tire or he goes around it on my side, same with the final of multiple hurdles. I can't anticipate the next obstacle after the ladder or I swing away from it before the end, pulling him off it before the end, which is a 5 second fault.

He's going thru the tunnelChute so quickly, and has so much mass that he sometimes tangles the fabric but with only 1 exception fought his way to the end for that hot dog. He hears lots of "good boys" through out the course, but many times while getting thru the chute.

He is so confident on the course, before, during and after the run. Before the run while Jen is adjusting the hurdles & tire from the little dogs to him, he runs the ladder on his way to get a drink, pees on the fence, says hi to Jen and then heads over to me at the starting hurdle. He is sharp, sharp, sharp during the run, and then after he's chowed down his hot dog runs over to Jen for some lovin' before I call him to get his leash on to give the others their turn.

Even after DayCare all day he was cranked with energy because of the gloriously cooler temperatures, but he's doing so well and I'm very proud of him.

Sebastian - running the course
Sebastian running the course

3rd Next Level Agility Class - October 18, 2005

Last night it was just Sebastian & Bentley (whom we met a few weeks ago) & Sam, the small white poodle from our regular Agility Class.

No new obstacles last night, but the course was adjusted quite a bit.

The course was tire / hurdle / ladder / tunnel / hurdle / pause box / weave poles / hurdle / hurdle / hurdle (no chute last night because of the wind & they don't have anchors for it yet).

He was a handful, and being very male with Bentley (being male back) in warmups, so we held off our warmups until we had our turn. Even then he was such a pistol I figured that just running the course would get him more on focus than any warmups.

Our first run was 54 seconds with no faults. We had issues with the ladder because of its angle after coming off the hurdle, and I had to call him back to start the ladder from the beginning. His eyes were on the tunnel and he wanted to fly past the ladder :)

On the weave poles I switched my position back to the outside of them and he did much better. From my standpoint of running the course it makes sense to be on the inside, but since he does better if I'm on the outside, then that's what we'll go with.

Our 2nd run was 58 seconds, our 3rd was 45 seconds and our 4th was 35 seconds! He's never been sharper on the weave poles.

Sharon showed up for the Obedience class that followed us & wanted to know how we were doing. I told her & said of course since you're here he probably won't do as well, but we'll see :)

Little Sam did his best ever. The tunnel was always an issue for him, but he flew through it. He was the star last night with the lowest time of 30 seconds. Bentley did so well a few weeks ago, but was off focus last night, maybe because his daddy was there to watch.

Our 5th run was 35 seconds, and a fault of 5 seconds for pulling off the ladder too soon (all our other runs we had no faults). AND, we could still run the course better :) Well, mostly I could run the course better, but the whole thing's a learning experience and we're learning.

He was a confident handful. Had to visit Jen while she was adjusting the jumps from Sam to Sebastian, and I had to remind him "no jump" because during one pass he jumped up on her and she told him he was rude. Subsequent passes he kept going up behind her thinking he was in charge when I'd call out "no jump", she'd turn around and tell him he was a brat (smiling the whole time at his antics). She said he was being very adolescent last night :)

Even after DayCare all day & 5 runs thru the course he was still cranked. After we finished our 5th run, I saw someone walking towards us for the following Obedience class that looked familiar. It was Boomer and her dad! Oh, was Sebastian excited, Boomer was one of his first friends last year when he was in Puppy Kindergarten just getting over his shyness. Boomer was bigger than him in PuppyK and he's now 5 times her size. She's doing well and I believe doing an obedience refresher, no agility for her because of hip displaysia & surgery to correct it. Boomer's dad always had a soft spot for Sebastian and last night was no exception. He was cuddling with Sebastian and the big lug leaned into him pretty good trying to let him know he never gets attention :)

Tried to get a photo of him coming through the tire jump, but he was too quick and I've got a shot of his forehead. Didn't want to take up anyone else's time in trying to get a shot, so canned the efforts for the evening.

I'm really pleased with his progress!

Sebastian hurdles
Sebastian hurdles at home

4thNext Level Agility Class - November 18, 2005

Just Sebastian for this class.

He was cranked from, for him, the wonderfully cool weather. He was very busy - constantly running the perimeter of the course, rolling on the ground, jump a hurdle or tire, run thru a tunnel or chute. Had to help Jen clean up his poop, show her where the garbage can was. In other words, he was being typical Sebastian.

The course was very different and laid out:
Hurdle / tire jump / ladder / tunnel / swing left to pause box / hurdle / weave poles / chute / swing left / double hurdles

Been a month since the last class so we weren't sharp on the runs, but you can see where some things are becoming second nature for him. The weave poles are not the challenge they were, now it's a matter of desire. His jumps are all set at 20" and he's putting in the energy to clear them easily.

Our first run was 60 seconds, then 50 seconds, then 45 seconds.

The ladder was our issue, which was a surprise because he's always been good at it. On each run we had to do it twice because he was pulling off it, or just running next to it.

Didn't get him straight through the weave poles, usually about 2/3 and had to call him back to complete them, which he did. "Yeah, yeah - been there done that - ok let's finish it and get on to the chute already" :)

In between each run, we let him run off steam for a few minutes. He was never still. He was the most focused for the final run, but had the most enjoyment in between runs and after our final run. After our final run he did the double hurdles on his own while he was running around.

Jen is impressed with his jumping because he's really putting the energy into them, both on the official runs and when he was doing them on his own. Next spring we'll move the jumps up to 24", the highest required and appropriate for his size. No sense pushing it at only 18 months old, we'll let him continue growing/filling out without undue stress on the joints.

I'm impressed at his complete enjoyment of the activity, it's very good for him and definitely keeps boredom away from him which is a necessity to keep him from being a canine of chaos.

Sebastian tire jump
Sebastian tire jump at home

10 month old Sebastian - down/stay with hand signals only
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