Friday, February 27, 2009

Signs that Spring is Here

Why Jump when you can smash through them?

Last night had some high points and some low points. Second run of the night, Fin cuts the corner on a jump and her right hip and leg catch on the standard (Laura says, I said, "Here!" and that could have done it). The entire jump came down on top of her.

Not pretty. I tried to make light so Fin didn't get freaked out, but it really scared me. She puts so much of herself into agility, I feel I need to keep her safe.

Of course the one jump wasn't the only jump she smashed. A few other times she was just leaping early (tire and triple). She was having a good time...but very egdy ... reminded me of a teenage kid on a snowboard who keeps crashing and saying, "I'm OK, I'm OK....let's do that AGAIN!"

It's not nice to freak out the mom!

So today I'm taking a page out of Susan Garretts one jump video and Fin and I are going back to basics. I will also pull out a jumping grid and work on her adjusting her stride.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

AKC Agility Woes

I am at an arena, sorta covered with no sides sitting in my chair in the dirt. Waiting. I'm waiting for my turn. I take the pups for a walk. And wait. I don't know anyone there. The people at the gates are not helpful. I don't see my dogs name on the list. I read a book, walk the dogs and wait. Then I see people walking a course and I go up there and they call my name, I have to run with the dog, but wait, this is not my class...I didn't sign up for the FAST class and this run has a distance gamble. My class was before the Fast class. What the heck. I've been checking all day. The person at the gate says, sorry, next time pay better attention. I'm so frustrated by my lack of understanding and I KNOW that they didn't run my class. How could I have missed it after waiting all day.

Then I wake up.

Now I have to go work out this morning but I can't get my frustration out of my head. My trainers solution of course is to sweat it out. He now has me jogging as part of my work out. That sorta worked. At least I'm smiling now rather than being grumpy.

Today is a busy work day (been busy all week). Tomorrow should be easier and then off to the show on Saturday. Could I be a little nervous? Could this dream be part of those nerves? I don't feel nervous...I'm actually quite looking forward to the weekend.

Hopefully I'll have sweet dreams instead of frustration dreams tonight :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It Isn't Raining

Big news here abouts.

We've had rain these last few days. The ground is wet, but the wet stuff isn't falling from the sky. It's time for a celebration!

I know we need rain, but goodness it is nice to be out in the Sun. :)

Supposed to rain again this weekend. Should be fun in Dixon (she says sarcastically).

Maddie had a little adventure yesterday. Background: Maddie HATES the UPS truck. Maddie is not allowed outside without a leash because she will chase the UPS truck. We know this and therefore are very careful with the UPS truck comes to visit our house.

I leave yesterday for class. The UPS truck delivers a package. Kel opens the door, Maddie runs out and chases the UPS truck up the hill. Kel slams the door shut and chases Maddie up the hill. So we have the UPS truck going up the hill, Maddie in close pursuit, and Kel following going as fast as he can (and he can go) but it is up a really steep hill.

Kel is probably thinking he is dead meat if I come home and Maddie has been killed by the UPS truck. He is also probably very concerned about Maddie.... but I'm pretty sure he would be more scared of me. Maddie chases the truck around the corner at the top of the hill and poor Kel looses site of her. At this point, I'm sure that panic has entered the the top of the hill that truck is going to slow down and turn around and if Kel doesn't get up there, one little black dog is not coming back down on her own steam!

As he hits the corner, here is Maddie trotting down to Kel. She is very happy with herself. Kel is not happy at all (probably relieved...but at that moment, mad as hell).

Maddie is safe and Kel got his Cardio. I'm glad they are both safe and that I wasn't here. It's bad enough I got to hear about it when I got home. I love that silly little dog. Kel is also relieved. Maddie slept in his lap most of the evening last night.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Count Down...

...5 days until an AKC trial in Dixon.

I decided I needed to pick two things to work on for my upcoming trial. With the rain we've been having, it is difficult to get on equipment. I am getting both Tazz and Fin out for daily walks for physical fitness, but felt I wanted to focus on only a couple things for the upcoming trial.

  1. Jump work. We are working on Fin's turns, serps, and threadles. Reading my acceleration and deceleration. I'm rewarding alot.
  2. Contacts. I'm focusing mostly on the dog walk and A frame. I have a great deal of confidence in Fin's teeter (we'll see, won't we).

Counting down is fun. The schedule is that Tazzie runs in the morning and Fin runs in the afternoon. Dixon is always an adventure.

You Say Goodbye, and I say Hello...

SpaceMonkey's parents came back from "Vegas Baby!" I dropped her monkey self off about 4:30pm and I have to say, was a little sad. In just the 4 days she was here she wormed her way into our hearts (all except for Fin of course).

Fins attitude was, "here's your hat, here's your coat, don't forget your umbrella, what's your hurry?"

We had fun. Although it was really nice getting up this morning and not having to exercise a puppy before going to work. I'll admit that last night I sat on the couch and was surrounded by shelties happy...but still missing me some SpaceMonkey.

Looking forward this week I have to get out and train. I've got a trial coming up and Tazz my personal assistant/couch potato must run. Hopefully the rain will let up enough to get out and practice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Visit to Harvey Bear Ranch

Wynn needed a good long walk today. So did I. Tossed the SpaceMonkey into her capsule, brought Fin along, flew by and picked up Wynn and off we went to Harvey Bear Ranch.

Always happy to get out, Wynn delighted us with monkey faces in the back.

Here is SpaceMonkey trying to pretend she is a sweet little thing that is no trouble at all.
SpaceMonkeys fly. We learned this today.
Gotta love the puppy ears.

It is interesting. At Harvey bear all the paths go up. I could hardly find a down path, even on the way home they seemed to head up hill.

Wynn and SpaceMonkey had their eyes on the cows. Fin had her eyes on the road.

SpaceMonkey loves Fin. The feeling IS NOT mutual. Fin wants to send her back.

Time for a snack. Wynn was the best dog this walk. He gets an award...Except when he pulled me into the mud, wrapped me up in the leash and tried to chase the pig. Other than that...he was the best.

Wynn posing for the camera...this is about 5 minutes before I found myself tossed into the mud.

Kel taking a photo opportunity. Just to show he was there.

A really nice walk. We walked for 2.5 hours. I really love this park. We ran into no one. Had the place to ourselves.

A Quiet Nite

After all the excitement.

I somehow got 1 big crate and two small crates in my little PT. I swear, that car is sometimes like a Mary Poppins purse. It is amazing what I can get into it.

Drove over, picked up Wynn and took Fin, Wynn, and Spacemonkey down to Salinas for Bark Night.

All was ok, until I got there. It was calm so I got Fin out, Wynn out, and just as I opened Spacemonkeys crate, Janet opened her car and let her dog out who proceeded to run circles around me and my car. I didn't have Spacemonkey on leash yet, Wynn was charging the circling dog, and Fin didn't want anything to do with anything. I got wrapped up in leashes almost falling down and still didn't have a leash on Spacemonkey when I finally got my sense and tossed Wynn back into PT. Dropped Fin's leash and got Spacemonkey leashed and took the two youngn's for a potty.

So let's try this again. I put Spacemonkey and Fin away. Get Wynn out, take him potty. Then I walk him into the field and put him in his little spot. I go get Fin and Spacemonkey and tie them up in their spots and go walk the course.

I have no control. Three barking dogs. This is NOT fun. Rob comes over (he is going to run Wynn). As he runs Wynn I try to keep pups quiet, but it isn't working. Now, I KNOW Laura does not want me to teach her dog to bark while dogs are running. Knowing this and the consequences of what Laura will do to me if she comes back and her dog barks, I intelligently decide that Spacemonkey is going back to the car.

I get Spacemonkey and start walking back to the car and Rob takes Wynn back to his spot. I hear Janet yell and turn around to see Wynn running wild around the agility course, obviously enjoying this very much. Rob is out there trying to catch him and I figure...he's got it, and make a quick get away with Spacemonkey in tow. She is happily napping in her space capsule in the PT and we get back to the business of running dog agility.

Wynn has some beautiful runs with Rob. Rob has him housed in a crate next to Wingz and all is good.

Fin has some fun runs too. It is a beautiful night.

Just before the last run I take Wynn and put him away and bring Spacemonkey out. Her attitude is totally changed and she is a quiet appropriate puppy. All the dogs take one more turn out on the agility field as dusk settled into night. I get the dogs back to the car without an incident and head on home.

I dropped Wynn off about 7:30. Got to my house a little while later. My dogs got put away and Spacemonkey got one hour of play with Kel and I. She is a really cool dog. Laura is lucky.

A little before 9 we pottied everyone and she goes down for the night. Slept in till 6:30 and we start all over again. Today we are going to pick up Wynn and go for a long walk. Then I'm going to get some work done! Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rocks Likes him Some SpaceMonkey

The "SpaceMonkey" has landed. Fresh out of her capsule and she is on her way to taking over the world.

First things first, she must meet everyone if she is going to live in this new world of shelties. All I can say is Rocky loves him some ladies. SpaceMonkey's feelings are mutual. She thinks Rocky is da bomb. It is weird. He really must like those foreigners.

Laura says, don't worry she is ready for a nap as she drives away on her way to "Vegas Baby!" Ummmm nope. SpaceMonkey is NOT ready for a nap. As a matter of fact she is not having any of this nap stuff.

Off to the back yard for a romp. She chases me around the pool. She chases Kel around the pool. (I'm supposed to be is a work day...) We play tug. She wonders around on her own. We play fetch. I tell Kel, "you aren't busy, play fetch for a while."

Twenty minutes later, he brings her in to try to nap again. Unfortunately, he doesn't bring her in on leash or under any restraint. What we have is a zooming monkey running around the house leaping off the sides of the walls, grabbing shoes, running down the hall, through the chair legs, biting cloths, getting chased by Rocky, carrying a pillow cushion, jumping on the coffee table, and basically outwitting two grown humans.

Fin jumps on the bed not wanting any involvement. Maddie is under the bed and Tazz is guarding me (the usual). As she runs down the hall, through Kels legs, I grab her and she slips through my arms, away again for another long zoomie (didn't Laura say, "don't let her have zoomies"...ummm, how do you stop this?). She makes the mistake of running into Kel and he grabs her and picks her up. She has the happiest look on her face as she trys to get a better grip on Kels glasses as Kel is saying, "no spacemonkey no."

It's been three hours. She is now napping in our bedroom. Only 75 more hours to go and then the SpaceMonkey goes home. May the force be with us...we'll need it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Honey Do List

Well, it was bound to happen. Kel just got laid off.

He had this great job in Morgan Hill, about 7 minutes from the house. They build high end woofers for stereos. But, no one is buying high end woofers and there are tons of them sitting in warehouses. The company just didn't need his or about 20% of the workforce services any more.

We'll be tightening our agility belts for sure this year. The good news, I've still got work and we have a good savings plan...thanks to Kel.

For now, things will stay the same. The good news is that Kel will come with me to some things now as he'll have more time. It will be fun. The bad news is that he will be home, I work from home....sometimes not a good combination.

We'll make it work.

Well this morning everything is wet, but the sun is shining. A good dog walk is in our future and my sister is coming down for he weekend...always fun.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's the Big Deal About Contacts Anyway?

So, I've spoken about the Hail Mary contacts in an earlier blog and I am trying to improve.

Tazz is so totally Hail Mary that it hurts. I'm starting to even bring my rosary to class and trials.

Now we have Fin.

Do they have an anonymous meeting for people that have screwed up their contacts? I would really need to go and do the 12 steps to better training.

My criteria for Fin: Run as fast as you can on ANY contact obstacle, stop on a dime at the end, front feet on the ground, rear feet on the obstacle, nose touching ground, when released, move straight ahead unless otherwise cued.

Here's what I don't want:
  • Run as fast as you can and leap from the top coming back towards me and try and bite me.
  • Run as fast as you can and stop halfway down the a frame, look at me and leap.
  • Run as fast as you can and skid off the obstacle and bark at me.
  • Run slow (not even something I'll laugh at).
  • Do all your contacts in practice and go somewhere else and not do them.
  • Run as fast as you can sail beautifully over the top and keep going doing a tunnel and three jumps while I'm still trying to get to the end of the dog walk.
  • Bark the entire time you are doing the contact.
  • etc.

My trainer sent me an email this week. She said, do you want to move to a different class? I actually would like to do more sequencing, but I'm very proud of myself. I told her I shouldn't move until my contacts are better. Fin is a super dog. I'm not going to give up what I want in the long term for what I want now. I'm sticking to this contact criteria until I see it in all venues.

The good news is that I can get her to screw up in practice. Alot of people aren't able to replicate their problems. That's the good news. The bad news is that we have problems.

I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm looking forward to resolving it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Busy Wet Weekend

First of all, I want to announce that I did the dishes on Saturday. I know, I know. It is hard to believe, but my kitchen is clean. I cleaned off all the counters and washed them down with the special granite cleanser that I paid extra for. I even "FILED" the old bills and documents in my filing cabinet so the paper is put away. I took all the documents for taxes and put them in an actual folder (purple of course) that I can find easily.

And if that isn't exciting enough, I rounded up all the dust bunnies from downstairs and herded them back outside where they belong. I'm tired of Fin hunting them down and eatting is just disgusting to have dust bunny parts hanging off her face all the time. She can find them outside, chase them down, play with them, and then wash all the dust bunny parts off before she comes in.

And what is my motivation? Can I just clean to clean? Isn't enough that I want my husband to relax in a peaceful uncluttered environment.

I can hear you laughing. Perhaps some of you know me better than others.

Tis true, I have some motivation. Two in fact.

1. This weekend my husband is having 10 guys over for poker night. It would be nice if they could actually see the counter tops when they are here. Also, I understand that one of the guys is allergic to dust bunnies, and another screams like a girl when he sees them. So cleaning needed to be done.

2. I am baby sitting. I have baby sat before and I will tell you, that BC's are NOT like shelties. For my own protection, I must have a clean house when this little bugger comes for her visit out of my own self preservation. If my house is not clean, she will destroy it. So I am cleaning.
I also found time to do some training. Unlike some of my friends, my yard is not under snow and ice. It is muddy, but we can work with mud. Saturday found us at a friends agility field for some drills. We work front crosses, and rear crosses. I learned alot. I'm learning that I need to be patient and let Fin do the work. I'm tending to crowd on the rear crosses and I can see a big improvement by just getting out of her way.

Today was my mom's 75th b-day so I went up to San Francisco with my sister and we did a mini slave day. Pretty easy as slave days go. Then off to lunch. Home again and worked contacts and a little jumping. Fin is now sleeping :)

I will leave you with this link:

This is rather funny. I guess a clicker, a stick, and some duck tape would suffice, but these people have "invented" a clicker treat dispenser, target...all in one. I like that is it recommened by "Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs Inc."....especially when you read the information and find out that Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs Inc. are the creators of the contraption. Not sure of it's usefulness, but I give them credit for coming up with something new that is providing a reward rather than restricting a dogs movement or punishing the dog in some way.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Book Review

Sorry to disappoint, not agility related.

I just finished a book. The first few pages of the book tell how The White Tiger is a rare animal with only one born every generation. There are storks, monkeys, tigers, water Buffalo, mongoose, a dog or two, and lizards in the tale and not all these animals are what they seem. The story is about a poor boy in India and his experiences growing up.

I'm not really sure how true the story is, but truth seems to pour out of the pages. This book sorta depressed me in some ways, but there is also joy. What this story mostly did was make me think.

I listened to it on my ipod and I believe the narrator had a lot to do with my experience. I'm not sure I'd get the same experience just reading the pages.

I recommend this book. It is a story we all should hear.

The book is "The White Tiger."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Last List

Ok, I'm calling a halt to all this tagging. It is exhausting. I've been tagged numerous times both in facebook and now in the blog. So here it is, enjoy, tis the last, no more, done, finished, kapoot. Let the bad karma be dammed...this is the last one.

The 10/12/5/9 things I have learned from my dogs:
  1. Everyone likes a smelly butt.
  2. Bark like a seal and everyone loves you, bark like a dog and they tell you to shut up.
  3. Vomit is a second chance to enjoy a meal.
  4. If no cookies come when acting like an idiot, escalate...cookies will be shoved in your face as you are dragged away triumphant.
  5. The first step in the pool is the best place after playing chuck-it.
  6. Running free through a field is sheer joy. Being chased by a puppy not so much.
  7. Barking, tossing your body against the glass, and spinning will make bad things leave (UPS, garbage, solicitors, etc.)
  8. Rolling in smelly stuff will get you alot of attention.
  9. Putting on shoes is a time for a party.
  10. When playing with skunks, put the youngster in front.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Hotel Fiasco

Lovely Turlock California where we go to play agility has the BEST restaurant ever. Laura and I go every time we are in Turlock...even when we drive home the same day. Yummy Sea Bass awaited us as we took our seats in the atmosphere of elegance.

Heaven. Yummy meals, just the right amounts, and we were off to our motel. We stay at the travel lodge. People at the show kept asking us, "Why do you stay there?" We were confused. It isn't the grandest place in the world, but it suits us fine. Nobody asks us questions about how many dogs we have, clean towels, somewhat clean rooms, a TV for noise, sometimes even a microwave.

I guess we are just used to it. Well....

We arrive at 6:15pm.
  • First time ever, they tell me I have to leave $25 pet deposit for my one dog. I have 5 in the van, but one is a puppy, one only weighs 17 pounds, another is very quiet, and nobody counts the last two.
  • We get to the room and unload the van, get the dogs pottied and inside and realize the air conditioner doesn't work.
  • I walk down to the office, letting them know the air doesn't work and could they please give us another room.
  • I go to the new room. That air doesn't work either. Go back down to the first room, play with the air a little and actually get it to work.
  • Laura informs me that the toilet is overflowing. I say, "that couldn't be happening." I go in and foolishly flush the toilet, scream, shut the door and run into the main area yelling, "We have to get out of here!"
  • I take a pile of stuff and one dog upstairs. Laura takes two dogs potty leaving 2 dogs in the room.
  • I'm upstairs trying to get the air to work when Laura opens the door and yells (while she is crying), "Havoc just rolled in POO."
  • I'm like, "Ok give her to me, I'll bath her, you go get the rest of the stuff."
  • I've got Havoc in the bath tub, her entire head and neck covered in poo, trying to get her to put her head under the water spout when Laura comes running into the room yelling, "Do you have the key to the room down? I've locked the dogs in that room."
  • Laura heads back to the lobby where she gets another key to the room we are vacating so she can move the dogs upstairs to the room that has no air conditioning, now no towels, and 3 wet dogs.
  • After I finish bathing Havoc, I grab my key and head out to help Laura move stuff. She is at the bottom of the stairs with the puppy and Tazz and all the rest of our stuff. Tazz has sat down at the bottom of the stairs and won't move. She is standing there trying to get him to come up the stairs looking as if the world is going to poo.
  • I run down the stairs and pick up Tazz who is now terrified of different surfaces, carry him upstairs, go back, get the rest of my stuff.
  • We are now sitting in a room, it is over 80 degrees in this room, we have no towels, downstairs the room is cool, but the toilet is overflowed.
  • I head back to the Lobby.
  • I say, "Look, I'm not really trying to be trouble, but...the room down now has air, but no toilet, the upstairs room the toilet works, but has no air, and now no towels. Could you find us a room that has air, towels, and a working toilet?" It is now 8pm.
  • She send her trusty friend out to find us a room with air. She trys the room on the right of our room. She trys the room to the left of our room. Each time calling back to the desk telling us, "no air."
  • She finally finds us a room with towels, toilet, is a nice 63 degrees, but no air conditioning. Laura and I are beaten down. We don't care. We are grateful for what we can get. We move all 5 dogs, our crates, suitcases, bags of stuff, my pillow, and our exhausted selves to the new room. It is now 8:20.
  • Now the dogs have to go potty again.
  • We finally are in bed around 9.
  • Earlier in the day, Tazz got out of his crate (I have no idea who might have not properly latched his crate). In a van with open doors, most dogs would leave the van to go find someone to play with, not Tazz, he ate everything he could find. We are not sure how much he actually ate, but it was alot. That brings us to 1am.
  • Tazz has to go...baaaaad...multiple times.
  • Space Monkey also feels the need.
  • Havoc and Brazen get into it.
  • Fin, well for the first time, she was the good girl...intimated by Tazz, she slept with Laura for the most part.

A great trial, but not so great motel. At least it makes a good story.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Weekend Was Fun

Three videos to wet your whistle. I'm too busy for all the dirty details. Suffice to say, the weekend was "da bomb!" Tazzie got a grand prix and Super Q! He is now a SCH-br (snooker bronze). Fin was amazing. 3 out of 6 q's ...two of them a little dirty, but the one that Laura ran her in jumpers....simply amazing!

Stories to tell about our hotel, and all the weird things that happened. But the weekend results should keep me happy for at least a week.

Still have a ton of training to do with Fin. Contacts...really not good. Jumping...oh yeah baby! Directional cues...good for the most part. Start line stay...perfection. Weaves...speedy and beautiful. Me...needs improvement.

Tazz n I super Steeplechase. Fastest weaves he's done in competition in a year!

One last running Fin in Jumpers: