Saturday, November 29, 2008

What's in a Rear Cross?

I started looking on You Tube for the perfect rear cross. I found alot of information and individuals posting stuff. Some good, some...well...not so good.

This one is interesting as it shows FC vs rear cross. Only issue I have is the 2nd rear cross is on the landing side and I thought it would be more effective if she had crossed as the dog took off (she was not in position - a common problem with a dog that isn't speeding in front of you).

Here is a really good example of someone executing a rear cross on the landing side of the jump. Notice that the dog actually turns into the person before turning the proper direction. I feel that the better placement of the rear cross would have been between 2 & 3.

Ok, this one is just wrong. This would be considered a blind cross and a big no-no in my house hold.

Here is an example of someone doing a rear cross drill. A simple but effective example. She shows three different dogs. The only thing I would have like to see is when she was running her young dog, more reinforcements (reward) placed at the turn.

I can't help but like this gal. She's got a slower breed but she gives lots of rewards and is really working those rear crosses. She does have a rear cross on the landing side in there, but not all landing side rear crosses are bad. It is just better placement to have the rear cross earlier for communication.

Here is an example with a gal I know and see alot at shows. Her dog is actually blind in one eye. They are practicing to see whether a cue is needed.

I'm really not a fan of this exercise. To me this is just teaching the "flick away," rather than a true rear cross.

And lastly, not rear cross related, just inspirational. This lady is incredible!

Agility Saturday!

This morning found me sitting lazily at the kitchen table drinking tea and chatting with my husband. We were relaxed and talking about our day. Suddenly, I realize I'm supposed to be at a fun match in hollister at that very moment. It took me about one minute to decide to get dressed then I ran out to the car with two in tow.

Off I sped in my little PT filled with enthusiastic (ok, one enthusiasic, and one that feels he was kidnaped) pups to our friend Susan place in Hollister ( I got there and the festivities were in full motion. I was surprised to see so many people. I guess they took the "burn off the bird" seriously. I always love to see new people working their dogs and I noticed alot of new faces. Of course there were some old friends there too.

Since I had not walked any courses, I skipped jumpers and decided on a good path to work contacts. For Fin, my plan was jump, dog walk, and release early, and then loop around to the dog walk again and work the contact. After that we would loop out.

She did great. No problem on at all. I did the same run with Tazz, but he runs (or rather trots) his contacts so he just got two chances.

Next time we were able to walk the course and both Fin and Tazz were great. Fin needs more work on picking up her rear cross, but FC and running straight are going well. I even felt that there was improvement on her go on.

We had time to play fetch in the big arena where Fin played with me while Tazz went around wooing the ladies.

Back at home, I grabbed some clean runs and started looking for a drill that I could work my rear cross. I love the drills by Nancy Gyes and so pulled one that seemed simple yet had some good work on change of direction. October 2008, has a great drill called "nine."

I'll give the dogs a bit of a rest and this afternoon, we'll be working again.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

Started out the day with a workout at the gym. I was still pretty sore from Tues, so my goal was to work for 30 minutes but not kill myself so that I could get some warmth and oxygen into my muscles. It did help.

Back at home there was cooking to be done and guests to be entertained.

Dinner was good. Family had fun. Mom kicked my butt in scrabble. Andy left his jacket. Trish took home all the pies and cakes (thank you very much). Cheryl and Eric took home most of the fish bowl raffle. Uncle Arnold enjoyed the back yard and the dogs. Peggy and everyone helped in the kitchen. All in all a fun, relaxing, day.

The turkey sliders I did for Hordourves turned out great!

Since they worked well AND were a healthy alternative, here is the recipe:

-Take ground turkey, worsturser sauce, basil, garlic (paste), chili (powder or paste) mix up
-make into small meat balls
-spray pan with pam and cook over med heat until done

set aside until ready to make hordourve.

-take whole wheat flat breads (look like tortilla but thinner and cut into little squares
-on flat pan heat and spray with pam and toast squares of flat bread
-in another pan, heat up turkey meat balls
-once bread is done place on plate
-put one leave of spinach down on bread square
-place heated meatball on top of spinach.

For a difference, (contribution from my nephew), mix a little hot sauce with non fat ranch dressing and put a dab of this on the toast and the spinach. This hold everything together and adds a little more spice.

Guests eyed these things suspiciously (like was I trying to sneak something healthy in - which I was). Once they tried one, they couldn't stop eating them :)

The end to a perfect day found me doing some jump work with Fin and Tazz then settling down for a movie with my mum and husband (a dog on either side of me, one at my feet and one in Kels lap).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You are What you Eat

Today is the day before thanksgiving. There is alot to be thankful for.

I'm thankful it is raining.

I'm thankful that I enjoy a close relationship with my family members, they mean the world to me.

I'm truly grateful for the friendships I have developed both through work and agility.

I am thankful that Rocky and Maddie came to live with us 10 years ago. They have taught me so much.

I'm grateful (mostly) that my boy Tazz lives here with us and that he will play agility with me (even if he'd rather be cuddling on the couch).

I'm thankful that Fin is here to keep agility fun and lively.

And most of all I am grateful to my husband. He puts up with me and is still my bestest friend.

What is for Dinner?

The turkey has been in Brine now for about 18 hours. A few more to go and we'll get it ready to go into the oven tomorrow morning. I believe this will be one fine bird and I plan to eat the healthy parts and let the rest get eatten by the family.

Along with the turkey:
  • twice baked potatoes
  • waldorf salad (a healthy alternative one)
  • grilled asaparagus
  • steamed green beans
  • bread
  • gravey
  • cranberry sauce
  • pie for desert

I'm also doing turkey meatballs for starters as the guest will be getting here early and will want something to munch on.

I will get up and go to the gym tomorrow morning first thing. Just to get a little cardio in. Then the entire day will be about family and enjoying the company of friends. If they go home early, I'll go out and work some box work with Fin and Tazz. Never can get too much training.

I have no plans for shopping on Friday. I plan to sleep in, work out at the gym, work agility with my dogs, and enjoy a day off with my husband.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fitness for Agility

I'm now participating in TWO fitness challenges.

First: I'm in a challenge with the "getfitforagility" yahoo group to loose 12 pounds by Jan 15. Since I have to loose 12 pounds to hit my 30 so I can run Fin, I'm all on this! Winner takes home a goody bag (although if I loose 12 pounds I'll be the winner!).

Second: I'm in a fitness pool. No I'm not swimming (although some may say I'm swimming with the sharks). Each of us puts $20 in the pool and the person the marks the most hours of workouts between Dec 1-31 gets the whole whalloop. :)

So, what did I do today? I worked out at the gym. Did 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 on the treadmill, then stretched, then went home to work.

I had yummy tilapia with a spinach salad for lunch and I've got soup cooking for dinner.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fun Match Report

Fun times! A very small fun match at Fionas Farm. Cool, difficult courses.

Very relaxed and lots of time for walk throughs.

Fiona's farm is located in Brentwood. She does fun matches a few times a year. I see alot of newbies there and the matches seem well run, friendly, and relaxed. Here is a link to their web site:

The harder standard course presented some interesting challenges. I had no problems at all until 7-8. What I noticed is that trying to front cross, if you didn't get there super quick, all the dogs were going wide. Fin practically took the A frame my first attempt. If you didn't do the front cross, then you were rear crossing and way behind late for the teeter. The other area of major difficulty was the closing. Timing of the rear cross had to be perfect or else dogs went into the weaves.
Here is the jumpers course. No major issues, just getting behind on 17-18-19, Fin needs to drive better.

Fin was everything I know she can be with a little chaos thrown in for good measure. I did 6 runs total (that's alot in 3 hours). I didn't do whole courses at first. Just looking for challenges and opportunities for reinforcement. Got to work rear crosses and tight turns. Contacts were GREAT! She played the entire time I was there and at the end I stood talking to a friend and she layed down in the dirt and took a nap (a very good sign of a tired dog).

Tazz just wasn't himself, I think a little stiff. Balked at the A frame and triple. Had no problem with everything else. I decided after 4 runs that was it for him (2 standard and 2 jumpers). He did lunge at a few dogs, but only half heartedly, he is sleeping in his dads lap right now, I'm sure he'll be better by Power Paws on Tues.

A "well worth the drive" kinda day. Now gotta get ready for TG!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Crazed Sheltie Knocks out Owner!

Went to Salinas today. I ran Havoc and Laura ran Fin. We are working on this because I don't want another dog that won't let Laura run her. So at Robs class, Laura runs her 3-4 times and then we switch.

Laura had some great runs, I really love the way Laura treats her as her own and takes the time to get the training in. Havoc was amazing for me and I was blown away that she and are are starting to have the confidence in each other to get around a course.

When we switched and I ran Fin, the first run was fabulous! It was a really difficult opening of jump, 270 to the tire, a front cross to jump and real difficult weave entrance. She did smashing! I'm so proud of my little girl. She did pop the last weave pole, but I was really driving (something to work on).

The second run of the day was a real difficult straight line across the field over two jumps, into a tunnel and then I needed to get into position to serp a jump to get her going in the right direction.

I wasn't where I needed to be, and she exited the tunnel, got the jump, but barrelled right into me. She only weighs 18 pounds, but knocked me down into the dirt! I could not believe it. Down I went.

When I rolled over on my back and said, "Oh girly where are you?" she streaked from wherever she was and bounced on my chest. This encounter did not phase her in the least. For me, it made me move my sorry ass faster to get out of her way!

So since I don't have my cable, I don't have video of our encounter. Laura is most disappointed in this fact. I believe she would have played a video of me falling at her christmas party instead of white christmas. Now she is stuck with finding some other way of entertaining her guests.

All in all a fun day. I'm headed for a nice hot bath.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fatman errr, I mean Batman

I had a dream last night that I was running agility with Fin, Tazz, and a new dog. His name was Batman, but I nicknamed him Fatman. He was a cutie pie and spent a great deal of my dream in my arms. He was an enthusiastic agility partner. I've liked the Frenchies for a long time. Now I'm dreaming about them.

At least he was speedy, my little Fatman.

A Tax on Vet Services

California is looking at charging a sales tax on veterinary services. There are other states that have this tax (Hawaii, New Mexico, and South Dakota).

I gotta tell you I'm torn.

The argument against is that people won't take their pet to vet services. I just don't think that is a valid argument. Let's say the vet visit is $100. If you put sales tax against that, then the visit would be $108.25.

I have to ask myself, would $8.25 cents stop someone from taking a dog to the vet? Probably not, it would be the $100 that would do it.

So isn't the answer that like everything, having a pet is a responsibility. Humans need to make sure they have the $$ to keep the pet happy and healthy (probably not happening in my lifetime - but I can dream).

Another answer is what we have today, generous people putting together funds that assist individuals who have pets to get them check out, and spayed.

However, if the California government is looking for ways to increase revenues, then they should look broader than one group (pet owners). I heard that "movie tickets" are not taxed. Now really, I'm not sure how many of us actually go to the movies anymore, but for goodness sake, why aren't movie tickets taxed? Could it be that there are huge lobbyists supporting this notion of no tax on movie tickets.

I'm not for Taxes, believe me. I'm actually one of those flat tax types who would like to see all hidden deductions go away and if you make $100, $13 goes to the better good (after the first $40,000). But in the mean time, I don't think the government is the "bad guy" for trying to figure out ways to pay for state costs.

I do however think it is criminal that they increase taxes in one area and not in others due to lobbying.

I'm not sure how I'm going on this one, but here is the link to the petition to tell the California Government that you don't want them to tax pet vet services:

Go for it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fitness for Agility - more soup

Ok, so I'm taking this soup thing seriously.

Yesterday I wanted to do a mock minestrone soup. I really don't know how to make minestrone, but I was looking for that hearty flavor that we find in a minestrone.

Tossed some chicken broth in the crock pot with beef shank and porchini mushrooms (mom says I could have just used water as the beef would make it's own stock. Added garlic and onion and let that cook for about 4 hours.

I took out the beef and found there was alot of fat. Didn't want that so I skimmed it off added zucchini, carrots, more mushrooms and cut off the meat and tossed that back in. 2 more hours on low.

Raised the level to high and tossed in some white beans and string beans. The result was fabulous. Very hearty soup.

Kel said it was the best yet! Yum. No picture. Laura says soup pictures look like intestines not yummy at all. I'll refrain from showing more intestines on my blog.

Instead, you get to see sheltie pictures from halloween (thanks to mom for the costume!):

Monday, November 17, 2008

And the Dufus Award Goes to...

Only one day of agility this weekend found Tazz and I "almost" q'ing in every run. He did Q in Grand Prix (Yeah Baby!), and his standard was fabulous, if only he didn't pop out of that last pole! :) Would have q'd in pairs, but I missed a jump (dufus points!).

Havoc and I started off pretty wild. Our standard run - I thought it was the same course as I had run with Tazz, but Havoc certainly didn't agree. We had great fun providing much enjoyment for the crowd as Havoc cheerily made up her own course.

Laura ran Havoc in Grand Prix and not only Q'd, but took first place! Zoowza! I guess I can be thanked for getting all the wide turns and off courses out of her system.

Steeplechase found me running both Tazz and Havoc.

First Havoc. Q! I'm still giddy over it. We didn't get it on video, but all the more better as I can remember it as a "perfect" run. We did have one bobble as I didn't give her enough of a push to go up the A frame so had to bring her back around to take the A frame. Even with that extra time, she came in a solid 4th place! She is so much fun to run!

Tazz: I ran Tazz 11 dogs after Havoc. I ran back to the car with her, got Tazz out and ran back. I had one dog to go and then we were on the start line. All went well, Tazz had great speed off the line, then all went bad. I front crossed in the wrong place and found myself with no where to go and falling over the jump. I started to yell, "Ahhhhhhhhh" and then "I" jumped the jump. Tazzie was so confused, but jumped the jump and then we continued on. Unfortunately, there is a rule about humans taking the jumps and I "E'd," but I was proud that I didn't knock the bar! (More dufus points toward my award!)

A short weekend, a migraine last week caused me to have too much work to do and I had to come home to work on Sunday.

I'd have video, however, I still don't have the upload cable. I'll get it soon.

A Shout out to LP

blogmyspacedvd to ipod video convertertalkingphoto, dvd to psp convertertalkingphoto, dvd to zunetalking photo album

Friday, November 14, 2008

A New Bait for only $9.00!

This is Kazee. She is a half sister to Fin and obviously her owner has found a cool way to make some quick cash.

I'm thinking it is a little cheap for such a cutie pie, but this is the east coast and I've heard there are great bargains on the east coast.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So, all of a sudden, Fin doesn't know how to do contacts any more. It is the weirdest thing. All my trainers and friends say, "This is a good thing...get it out of the way and it won't happen in competition!"

Good thing my ass! I want my beautiful, fast, edgy, barely there, speed demon, crazy, contacts back! Instead I get, is this it? how bout this? This is it, I know. Ok not that, how bout this?

The picture you see is a dog stopping at the top of the A frame and looking at me, stopping halfway down, looking at me, jumping off running by two jumps into the tunnel, looking at me. Me saying calmly, "No, lie down." Her saying in a sing song voice, "I don't hear you!"

God help me. Why oh why.

OK, I know they'll come back. Back to basics with a target. We'll get em back. It's just, come on, we've already been here!

Enough whining or I'm going to have to go into rehab. Let's talk about what this Blog is about.

Today we are going to talk about indicating a turn. What really indicates a turn? Well in my class yesterday, a light bulb went on.

I've been worried that Fin is going too wide on her turns. Even though I've been working on acceleration and deceleration for a while now. Last night I worked on it with Fin without alot of voice (the toughest part for me) and low and behold Fin understands that when I start to slow down, I'm indicating a turn. If I start to slow and cross behind I'm indicating a turn away from the side I'm on, if I decelerate and stay on the same side it is a turn to that side. I don't have to yell anything. How cool is that?

Ok, not cool enough to give up my contacts, but pretty cool nonetheless.

So what I learned in a short 30 minute session is that her going wide was all my fault (did anyone have any doubt that it wasn't my fault?). It was due to me not using proper acceleration/deceleration. One of the tips my trainer suggested (something I should probably know) is when walking my course to not only look for where the turns were and determine the best way to indicate the turn (FC, RC, threadle, Serp), but also to look for where you will accelerate and decelerate. Good advise.

Now I'm going to go work on my contacts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Agility Dogs Walking

Went for an off leash walk today. Took everyone. Lots of fox tails, but I figured I'd groom when I got home. Here Rocky is running to Kel and Fin is coming out of the brush to ambush him. Sometimes I think Fin is part cat.

Kel was the photographer. He got all four to sit quietly for a few snapshots. I love my dogs.
Rocky limped the entire walk, but still had some go in him to chase Fin through the dead grass. He was a happy boy.

For some reason, Fin spent a weird amount of time either bouncing/running or stopped in the grasses.

While they ran around enjoying the freedom, I spent a good deal of time removing dead plant material out of their coats.
On the way home.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fun Project

Today started off well with a walk in the field and a swim in the creek. Then we sat in the car (me and 5 dogs) waiting for Laura to drop off her van for repair. A quick drive back to Morgan Hill to start our project. Laura and her husband decided "no more procrastination." So today I found myself at Laura's house putting in a doggy door. Her husband was worried and suggested a handy man. Laura and me, we don't need no stinking handyman!

Saws are fun, especially when it isn't your house. This doggy door is going in the wall and the inside wall, insulation, and outside wall needed to be taken out so the unit could slip in.

We had a few helpers, here they are slacking off on the job.
Before we cut the precise outside cut, we took a moment to revel in the glory of two girls building something wonderful.
Laura got to work too. I let her determine the outside hole size. I didn't want to make the mistake :) She thought I was letting her do the easy job....little did she know, this was the hardest part of the job.

Another helper. Got wrench?

The unit comes with a depth for wide walls. Our walls were only about 5" wide. We had to "snip" the extra tin away. Oh, did I say about 5"? I'm one of those seat of my pants kinda handi persons. At some point I ask Laura if maybe we should read the directions. No worries, we were on the right track. Notice the girl handi person footware. No foot protection for us! no way no how...we might want to show off our sexy painted toes at any given moment.
I have this saw that I've never really used before. Boy was it fun. I'm thinking I need to do more sawing...anybody out there got a hole they want made?

The finished product. Laura will now have warmth in her house as she won't have to leave the sliding glass door open. I'm always suprised when these things turn out. I'm no less amazed we did it. Only took 4 hours. We did run into one small minor problem, there was an electrical conduet running right through our hole. No worries, Laura made a call and here comes a relative to save the day. Moms husband, and retired electrician, saved the day in a matter of 10 minutes had us back to work.

A fun fufilling day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fitness for Agility - new soup

I'm always in search of easy, yummy, filling, low cal, receipes. Sometimes I just come up with something off the top of my head.

I saw this Turkey meatball soup on the biggest loser and have wanted that receipe. I had not found it, so I made up my own. My first attempt...well let's just say, didn't work. This second attempt has definately hit the mark. First make the meatballs:
-mix raw ground turkey, garlic paste, basil, chili, and a splash of worstasure sauce.
-make into little turkey balls
-heat a fry pan and spray with pam
-cook over medium heat (don't overcook)
-set aside (I put in a Tupperware in the fridge)

Slow cooker on low, add
-two cans of low salt/low fat chicken broth
-two cans chopped tomatos
-two cloves garlic
-dried portcini mushrooms (one package)
-salt and pepper

cook on low 4 hours
add meatballs
cook on low 2 hours (or just keep cooking until ready to eat)


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Vote for Obama is a Vote for Puppies

What would this world be without puppies. So I'm really excited that a puppy will be in the white house. One starts to wonder what kind of puppy should be in our white house. I have four that want to run for the white house.

HiMarks Holy Mackerel!: Her primary talent is leaping joy. She can leap from the floor to a 4foot tall kitchen counter with no effort whatsoever. She can jump straight up next to her momma and tap her mom on the top of her head. There is never a dull moment with this little giggle fest. The joy aura that surrounds this dog is contagious and the white house staff would be forever smiling. The staff would be an active bunch as she tends to get a little wild and perhaps bouncing off the walls during cabinet meetings might not be appreciated.

Montage Mad About Madeline: Maddie is perfect for those long difficult meetings with foreign officials. Her primary talent is loving affection, distraction, and negotiation. Maddie ALWAYS gets her way. She has the entire house wrapped around her little paw. Maddie is most talented at getting what she wants using fine tuned manipulative techniques. If Rocky happens to be chewing on a bone that Mads feels would be better served in her mouth, she will bring something in and play with it a few feet away from Rocky. She will make whatever she has so enticing that Rocks will drop the bone and go over to take whatever Maddie has away from her. She willingly gives up her item and before Rocky can think, Maddie will have the bone, curled up in the best bed, chewing away. Rocky can only stand there befuddled as once again he was out maneuvered by his little sister.

Hillstone's Razzmatazz: Tazz would have worked if Palin was elected (pretty, but not alot upstairs). Tazzies main talent is certainly his devotion to his resources. I'm not sure that this would work in the white house, unless we could turn his obsessive compulsive behavior to work for the good of the country. Tazz would promote, more for us and less for them ideals...maybe not the best strategy for our country, but if Tazz were to be the dog in the white house, I guarantee none of our resources would be going to foreign countries. All of our resources would be locked away in the white house with Tazz sitting on top of them making sure none of the foreign doggies got any bones.

Montage Sierra Granite: Rockys main talent is his compassion. Rocky would make a good diplomat, he doesn't want to go to war, but when push comes to shove, won't back down. Rocky is eager to lay quietly at your feet acting as a calming influence during those long difficult meetings. He is eager to go for a walk to shake off the nerves and focus on what's important, generally a easy going guy... except when it comes to balls and bullies. Rocky isn't very good at sharing these very special items, and during a negotiation, would not budge an inch if these resources were on the bargaining table.

Maybe my crew wouldn't make the best white house dogs. Each has their talents, but I would miss them too much.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Baaaaack

So I arrived back from the big trip to Arizona. Got a bunch of stuff in the Van. But of all the things I can't find, I can not find my docking station for my movie camera. I have absolutely no idea where it is. This means I have no way to download my movies and pics I took, nor can I recharge my video camera battery.

Could I have left it in AZ? Of course that is one possibility. Have I lost my mind? That is the other possibility.

I remember wrapping it up standing in the kitchen saying to myself, "Well, it would be a shame if I left this here." Evidently I did. I can NOT remember putting it in anything I packed nor can I remember leaving it there.

OK, enough of my battered brain cells, let's talk agility.

I went over on Friday to the USDAA Nationals ( and stayed Fri/Sat/Sunday for all the fun. Brazen Benji Warriors came in 8th OVERALL. This is out of 174 teams! Go girls! There were many many of my friends there and quite a few made it to the finals. For me the highlight is always the night agility. Friday night was PNS. Very exciting and fun. Saturday night was Steeplechase and Performance Speed Jumping. Somehow the agility under the lights seems very magical.

The daytime agility is fun too, but there is so much going on all around it is hard to concentrate.

The overriding theme was "Hot!" the weather was blazing hot on Wed/Thurs, a little better, but not much Fri/Sat, and then on Sunday, I think it finally came down a little (either that or I was getting used to it).

Shopping was ok, but I feel that if the USDAA would lower the cost to vendors, more would show up.

There were so many good dogs there, it was a little overwhelming. I'd see a great dog that I know turn in a blazing run that I would feel no one could beat, then a dog/handler team I didn't know would come in and beat them by more than a second. How could that HAPPEN? It was all very exciting.

So. Hopefully I will find my camera connection soon. Until then, you'll get old pictures or none at all.