Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Fool's

Tomorrow is april fools day. I'm hiding out at home hoping that no one finds me.

A few things I can depend on:
  • One sister will call as say she is preggers
  • Another sister will email with pictures of a new puppy or cat or mouse or .... emu?
  • Mom will call and say she retired

Always dependable. Thankfully I'm suspicious so it is hard to catch me!

Good news. Fin had BEAUTIFUL weaves tonight in class. Just beautiful. Dropped a double, but amazing weaves.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fitness for Agility

I haven't spoken much about fitness lately. When people ask, I say, "I'm working at it...I'm trying hard." The truth is, I've been great about exercise...food not so much.

Recently I went back to Weight Watchers. Even though I went back and was writing down what I was eating, I wasn't really applying myself. I'd eat fast food and put it down in my journal, but would not look at the points. Simply put, I've been screwing up on my eating. Not everyday mind you, but enough that I essentially keep loosing the same 5 pounds over and over.

Last week I go in to get weighed and there was a new leader. Something clicked. Something about her made me want to stay for the meeting. So I stayed. It was the same old stuff...but different. She is real. She speaks to me as an adult. I can hear sincerity in her voice. The meeting was good...so I stayed after to hear the talk on how to do the program. Nothing new there, but heck, I like her.

Another thing happened. I watched biggest looser. The gal that got sent home, gained weight when she went back. I felt so bad for her...then I thought, you are no better. Get your act together and get fit!

So this week. I am religiously writing down what I eat. I am choosing healthy options. I am eating within my points. Yesterday I was sorely tempted...and I passed. It is a new me. Exercise AND eating right.

For me each hour is a struggle, but I'm working very hard to be at a goal weight of 40 pounds off (from my starting weight) by my birthday. It is certainly achievable. I had hoped to be 40 pounds off by now, but my own bad habits have gotten in my way. I am proud that I've been proving to myself that I can do it.

I'm going back to my weekly report each thurs. I'll weigh in not only on my progress, but also what is getting me there. Look forward to some recipes and fitness tips. This thurs I've got to tell you about my turkey, red beans, and rice. Only 5 points for a full cup of delicious and filling lunch. Today I did a halibut on the pan with brown rice and veggies...yum!

Nothing is harder than taking charge of one's own life. It is much easier to tell other people what to do than to do something about one's own inconsistencies toward goals. My long term goals are what is important...not this short term gratification. Size 7 here I come!

Exciting and Inspirational

First off, I must send congrats to my husband. Once again he was amazing in his play "You Can't Take it With You." Although for this one he played two minor roles, when he was on stage, he stole the show. Here we are after the performance (he still has his makeup on). Below is Andy (my wonderful nephew), Kel, Mythalie (andys amazing girlfriend), and Mom. Trish was there too taking the pictures.
The play is about a nutty family and what happens when one daughters fiance's straight laced parents come to visit. Hysterical. Kel played an IRS agent and then a "J-man" (justice department) who arrest everyone in the house and takes them down to the big house for an overnight stay (including the fiance and his parents).
The group did a great job and if you are in the area check out the south valley civic theater for upcoming performances. The next one will be Annie Get Your Gun starting in May. Kel is one of the principle players in that one.
Secondly this weekend, Eric at Agility Vision offered streaming video and downloads of the AKC agility national championships.
I am always giving my husband a hard time about sitting all day watching golf. But all three days, I woke up early to watch agility. I would get up at 5:30 and watch till about 9am and then check in throughout the day to see what was happening. Thank GOD they finished up early (my afternoon) each day so I could get the dogs out for their walks and me my exercise.
The rounds were exciting and fun. Check out the AKC website for the course maps and it isn't too late to purchase the downloads of the challenger rounds and finals. I was inspired to work on my weave entries and that is what Fin, Tazz, and myself did 4 times each day. Take a break from the action, to go have our own action in the back yard.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Handling System for the Rest of Us

There has been alot of talk lately about handling systems. We've got Greg and Linda battling it out in clean run. There are a few blogs I've read lately that discuss this issue.

What is it about all the handling systems that work?

I'm watching live streaming video of the akc agility nationals. I see alot of different styles going on. The most successful dogs? Their handlers are giving clear cues in a position that does not slow the dog down. Handlers that position themselves so the dog has a clear line seem to be getting the best times.

I recognize some of the handling systems:

  • the pre-cues- arms indicating something while running (these are the people that can rub their tummies and pat their head at the same time)
  • the position - FC/RC/Serp/Threadle and run fast (sometimes resorts to verbal turn q's)
  • the hail mary - run as fast as we can and hope for the best (my favorite) using FC/RC arms failing, yelling, tripping...whatever works
  • the inconsistent - really no system, just try stuff and see what happens
  • the blame - when dog goes off course look at the dog as if it is their fault and you are horrified
  • the fail early but have an incredible run afterward - screw up and then get your act together for an amazing run
  • verbal directions - alot of yelling right/left

What is your handling system?

The thing that you can find in top handlers is that they can answer that question clearly. They will tell you how they handle a situation with three jumps in a row, their start line stay is EXACTLY the same every time, they can describe to you their contact criteria, and they train systematically practicing their handling every day.

Greg, Linda, or your own? You have to decide what works best for you and your dog, then do it over and over and over and over and over until you can describe exactly what you do in any given situation and do it the same every time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AKC Runs this Weekend

Overall, looking at my videos, I'm disappointed in myself but thrilled with Fin. Lots of errors that I should not be making. But, on the good side there are alot of good things to see. I will improve on the things I need to improve, and focus on the good stuff.

Standard: I screwed up the opening, but the rest is pretty good.

Jumpers - lots of good stuff happening here. Weaves - needs improvement... Ending - I need improvement.

Another standard: off course after the tunnel and missed weaves.

Such a Diva

Fin received her first real injury today. She gets the award for dramatic acting.

At first I was mystified as to what happened, but I believe now (thanks Trish) that it was a bee sting.

Scenario: I am watering my flowers, she is running around like a lunatic. Then, no Fin. I look over and she is laying on the grass looking at her foot. I go to see what is going on, she looks worried, stands up and hobbles on 3 legs into the house.

Once I get her, I can't see a thing. I finally notice something on the side of her foot and pull it (not an easy thing with a wiggling, squirming, bundle of scared pup). I was confused? Was this the problem. I notice that her paw was hot so I let her stand in the pool. Finally I brought her inside and put her in a crate (I had to work). I look at her in the crate and she is laying on her side holding her paw in the air.

I can NOT believe this. I broke her already. We don't even have a starters title!

After speaking with my sister, I realized what I pulled from her foot was probably a bee stinger. I gave her some benedril and she seems better now. She is sleeping and not holding up her leg anymore. If she continues to

Update 3/23 9 pm. Fin is fine. Foot is good. I'm convinced it was a bee sting. Sleeping it off the afternoon she was fine by class at 6:30. She ran a bunch of jumpers runs and not a thing wrong with her. I'm so relieved.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's all about the stick!

AKC trial in Dixon. There were a few MACH runs and people walking around with their sticks. I'm looking forward to mine. I'm going to really appreciate it...I promise!

Sat arrived at 7:15. Expected rain in the afternoon. Did not expect freak'in freezing wind in the morning. Did NOT dress properly. Spent a bit of time in the car instead of watching agility. Tazz liked the cold weather. Fin doesn't care.

Tazz, no Q's. Hey, anyone can teach their dog to go in and out of the weaves.. it takes real skill to teach a dog to go in one, skip two, go in one, skip two....

Tazzie is the little jokester. He likes to keep me guessing. Jumpers, good speed with no weaves = no Q. Tazz stayed home on Sunday. I was done with the jokes.

Fin was super both days. Sat. I walked her, played chuck-it, walked her, did circle work, walked her and about 2:30 it was her turn. Jumpers was first. I did a lead out. She missed #3, took #4 and then #10. I was thinking about the jump she missed and didn't front cross so she just kept going and once I calmed her down, we had a really nice finish. Those last 10 obstacles were fun! It was the first 4 that screwed us up.

Standard was a fun course. Despite me sending her off course (TOTALLY my fault) she q'd. I'm not looking back except to say what can I learn from it. I'll take the Q and move on.

Sunday drove up and arrived at 10am. A Fintastic day.

Standard was first on Sunday. My lead out pivot didn't work and she, in a zoomie moment, ran past the A frame (#3) and went into the tunnel (20 feet away)...came back out and I was able to get her back on course for a Q. Those tunnels!

Jumpers was perfect (except I had to put her back in the weaves). The course had a jump and then run about 15 feet to the weave entrance. She just didn't decell and hit the weaves so hard she sorta bounced out of them. No worries I just wrapped her around and into the weaves she went for a Q.

The best part of the whole weekend was the "craft" booth. They had a special "make your own toy" craft day. I learned how to make the "4 braid" toys and found it very relaxing to sit and weave the strands of soft fabric together to make a cool toy. Fin really liked the toy I mad for her and played with it alot.

Friday, March 20, 2009

If I decel on course and you don't care...

...was it really a turn cue?

Last night. Loads of fun. Bark night. Amazing weather. Just perfect for dog agility.

In amoungst the barking, we did a little agility. Rob was in a fine mood. He wanted to see us run. Lets do a pin wheel, ask for an ackward entrance to a jump and then run as fast as you can for 6 jumps in a straight line, have another pin wheel, and then just because that wasn't enough running, a difficult entrance to a set of weaves, then run 35 feet to a pin wheel requiring a rear cross to the dog walk. Why not.

Sue we missed you. Laura, Janet, and Carol were taking bets as to whether I could get there AND my dog finish her weaves...yep. A little wide on the left turn rear cross cue, but I could have been late...I wouldn't know, my entire thought process was all about the sprinting.

Lots of good runs. But that last one, well let's just say I had trouble remembering where we were going.

Always fun going to Robs. Thanks Rob for the fun times.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Hmmm. It is amazing here today. My flowers are exploding with color. The grass is a deep green. My trees are in bloom. A day to spend out doors.

Tomorrow is expected the same. Sat. I'll be in Dixon for AKC. It is gonna rain.

What's a girl gonna do. I can't complain. It isn't snowing. There is no ice. We need the rain.

Fin is a fish after all. We'll just swim through standard and fly through jumpers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AKC National Championships!

March 27-29 - AKC National Championships in North Carolina

To be eligible, for this competition, dogs must have earned 6 Double Q's and 400 Points during the qualifying dates of 12/01/07 - 11/30/08.

Very exciting that the runs will be covered by Eric.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Photos from this weekend

Starters Pairs:
start here and click the next button to see six photos

Starters Snooker:
start here and click the next button to see three. This is the jump she crashed...you can see she jumped too early and she really tried to make it.

Starters Standard:
start here and click the next button to see 12. Really nice series of dog walk, weave, then collapse tunnel.

start here and click the next button to see 4. My friend Laura ran her and a cute one of them playing before the run.

I think there are more she took on Sunday, but they aren't loaded yet.

Major E Ticket Rides this Weekend

Fun times. Headed to the land of Angels called Irwindale. Little over a 5 hour drive Friday afternoon in the Ford 350 van. 3 dogs, a puppy with the runs, ice chest full of chicken/ rice/ cottage cheese & diet cokes, bunch of agility crap, and a best friend. Arrive around 8:30pm to the residence inn Arcadia.

Dog walks, one bed, and a pull out sofa later, we settle in for the night.

Up at 5:30, arrive at a lovely location where the temperatures are perfect for dog agility.

I'm feeling good. Laura is feeling good. Fin is anxious to run. Brazen is snoozing. SpaceMonkey is just woo wooing and enjoying life. And finally Tazzie is around back smoking cigarettes and drinking tequila shots.

Almosts and a few Q's reigned. Fin ran well. She got a standard and snooker Q. All of the no q's were close and still tons of fun. Just silly babydog and baby handler stuff. Laura did excellent with Brazen who brought home a bunch of Q's and a number of 1st places. Tazzie ran well and was happy the whole weekend...just didn't q.

My goal this weekend was enter and run in a full load of USDAA classes with Fin. Personally I wanted to run smart, calm, and work on my position to indicate turns. I feel like the weekend was a success. Was I perfect, no. Was Fin perfect, no. Did we have the most awesome time. Huh...Yep.

Left 12:30 on Sunday so missed a few classes to get home. 5:40 arrived in Morgan hill. A little tired, but that smile ... can't wipe if from my face.

Dynamic dog photos was there and Trista took some GREAT photos of Fin (will be posted later). No video. So sorry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Sign of the Times

Tazz found a dead rat in my back yard yesterday. (I live on an acre so we have "creatures" on the property...I would rather deny their existance, but what can you do...it was there). It must have been dropped by a bird or cat as It was partially eatten. Tazz and Fin wanted to play tug with the new toy. I quickly ran away calling them and reluctantly they came running without any extra body parts.

This is what I would call "a husband job." With Kel home, he gets dead rat duty. He was thrilled.

I worked on Fins weaves. Ran as fast as I could.

Good news: I can replicate the weave faultering behavior.
Bad news: I can replicate the weave faultering behavior.

I started working on a systematic approach to find where it is that she has confusion.
  • Running about 3 feet to the side and just infront of her without excllerating she is fine.
  • Accellerating past her too fast will result in her popping the last 3 poles.
  • Running close will result in popped poles
  • Running past her will also see the stopping "Confunded" state

My plan is to pull out my clean run and Susan Garrets weave pole tests and to work on this over the next month to see improvement. Interestingly enough, I'm not real worried. I'm NOT happy, but I have to accept that Fin is 21 months old and these things happen.

Once I get my video camera fixed, I'll work on a series to show improvement.

This weekend we are off to a USDAA show in LA. Trial report will be on Monday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ups and Downs

Had class last night for Fin.

Popped the weaves 4 times. Brain totally fried. Then, she starts doing the weaves, wicked fast and stops at the end. Just stops. Looks at me. Targets the ground. Looks at me. Does this new thing 3 times. Oh Booooyyyy! This is fun, NOT!

The popping out. I need to work more on running by her as fast as I can. That's what I was doing last night and she wanted to chase me and then didn't know what to do after that. I think the stopping behavior happened because she was confused as to what I wanted.

She was really wired. Took out a jump. I'm not really happy as she can hurt herself. I know it is my fault. I wasn't where I needed to be, she got out of position and when I redirected her she slammed into the side of the jump. No self preservation.

Last run of the night was the best, but it was so dark, I was having trouble seeing.

I need to run faster. It is what it is.

So the confidence that I had from Sunday. The cockiness and swagger...well those are gone now.

I'm just a humble agility bum praying to the agility god in the sky for fair weather, good turf, and a dog that can break her crack habit.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ho Hum

No blog today...just a few words.

Nothing inspirational.

I'm just trying to get used to this darn time change.
Here's a pic to jog your memory. Fin is 9 weeks old here. She was a bundle of joy!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm Starting to Get "It"

Today my phone rang at 5:30am. It is my friend Laura. She's like, "Hey, are we meeting at 8:15?" I'm like, "Laura, do you realize it is 5:30AM?" She says, "Vici, it is 7:30!"

Now I'm confused. "Are you telling me we are meeting in 45 minutes?" I ask. Exasperated she responds, "Yes you dingbat! You lied to me and said we get an extra hour but we actually loose an hour! You set your clock wrong." I hang up and still not believing her, run into my office where my screen saver tells me it is 7:30.

"Kel! Help me! I need to leave in 30 minutes!" Since both of us were out with friends last night, we are feeling the effects of a late night out. He takes the dogs potty while I run around getting ready.

Out of the house and almost on time, I pick up Laura and we head down to Hollister for a wonderful morning running jumpers courses with friends. "Rob" was our trainer today and he had some really cool courses to work our dogs. Everyone did well.

I worked my acceleration and deceleration and at the end started to feel my timing was getting pretty good. My rear crosses were working and we ran clean our last run of the day. A very good feeling.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fin Teeter on Saturday Standard

Here is a series of Photos taken at the trial on Saturday of Fins Teeter. I thought they were fun. The pics were taken by Dog Gone Digital.

This first one Fin is running to the end of the teeter, she is almost to the end and it is still at full height, just starting to go down.

Here she is at the end and the teeter is making downward progress. I like how she is working hard to ride the teeter. Head down and shoulders bent.
Here is where she starts to get a little stiff legged. I still like her position. She is really working hard to hold on.

This photo cracks me up. Her tail hasn't quite caught up with the rest of her. I feel I'd like her legs to be a little more bent to take the impact that is about to come (still about 3-4 inches off the ground).
She ended with legs bending to take the impact (don't have that pic) and then stepped into 2o2o position.
I'm proud of her teeter. She was TERRIFIED of the teeter and the bang when we started teeter work more than a year ago. She mastered the bang game before I started her on her run to the end and let it drop behavior.

Are you my friend?

According to facebook, I have 125 friends. Here are some stats:
  • a few of my good friends aren't listed
  • a few people listed I don't really know
  • everyone listed I like, except for the ones I don't know...then I don't know if I like them...but I'm going with the assumption if I actually met them I would like them
  • I've accepted everyone that wanted to be my friend, but then I turn around and delete them if I totally don't know who they are (I'm not sure if that is anti social, neurotic, passive aggressive, rude, or sneaky....just don't want to hurt anyones feelings).
  • if it is an agility "friend" I generally don't delete them
  • if I don't know the person and they don't have an agility picture...I usually will delete them
  • I'm afraid I'm going to delete someone I know but don't remember I know them
  • my husband didn't accept me as a friend until I stood over his computer and showed him how to do it
  • one of my sisters tells me she accepted me as a friend...however, no sisters listed as my friend...I think she did my accept then delete habit
  • some of these friends hate facebook
  • some of these friends are on facebook all the time
  • one of these friends doesn't write in english and I have no idea what they are saying (even though I took 2 years of italian)
  • I play "risk" with my nephew on facebook
  • I see photos of my nephews, they probably don't want me to see on facebook
  • I got sucked into playing Mob wars and Vampire wars...I don't play anymore...just boring and sucks away time I could be playing with my dogs
  • I decline all application requests (pillow fight, dog awards, special friend, etc..) I just don't understand them and although I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I just can't deal with all these requests...makes me crazy
  • I did do some of the "Tag" stuff, I enjoy reading other peoples tags, but for me it got to be too much of a good thing and stopped playing (although I still read what other people write)
  • I do like seeing the old photos people post, especially the late 70's and 80's
  • for a couple of my "friends" I feel there is a false sense of knowing them when I read their updates, sometimes when I see them in real life I don't know what to say...my relationship with them is totally virtual but doesn't hold up in the real world
  • I've been tempted to just delete my profile and not be on facebook, but I'm afraid I'll miss something good
  • I started facebook because of my professional network
  • I stay on facebook because of my agility network and my nephew network

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ode to the Leash Runner

Thank you to the leash runner.

Flying leashes, through the air
Sometimes hitting you square
Flinged leashes, no where near
Making you dream of beer
and another job
maybe control the mob
at the gate
where everyones late

Thank you to the leash runner

Without a thought
the leash is brought
To the end
She hopes to send
over the last jump
the leash is dumped
Placed where you need
leash a dog with speed
To insure the Q
And drink some brew
To toast
the most

Thank you to the leash runner
Thank you to the leash runner

Ok, I seriously need a vacation. I believe I've broken every poetry rule known to man...you can see that poetry was not my strong suit... I just wanted to thank the leash runners who tirelessly get my leash to where it needs to be so that I can run my dog.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Trial Report

Mount Diablo put on a great show. My complements to the trial committee and all the volunteers.

Saturday the skys were clear and our runs fun. Sunday it was pouring and I ended up leaving after one run. Came home and took a nap. Sorta weird driving over 4.5 hours for a run that lasted 60 seconds.

Tazz 2 out of 3 runs (both Standard Q's and has an OA after his name now).

Fin 1 out of 2 runs (her NQ in standard, me...not her ).


Tazzies Open standard course was hard. Sorta the Excellent course with a few minor modifications. He was slow and steady and Q'd. He was the only dog in the class that Q'd so he got 1st and a cute toy. Next Tazzie ran jumpers. Lot's of people were having off courses, but it was a good course for Tazz. He started out slow but speeded up the last half. He was clean, but not fast so NQ...1 second over.

Fin. First run was jumpers. I felt the course was very straight forward with some difficulty at the end as jumps were really close together. She did a really great job but checked in with me at the end which slowed her up a bit. It was enough for a Q and first place. She really looked good. I was actually surprised as she wasn't her usual manic self. Her run wasn't until 2 in the afternoon and I had walked her alot, played ball, and just before her run did circle and one jump work. All the exercise helped get her mind into it. I feel she wasn't as fast as I've seen her, but despite me not being where I wanted to be, she was a good dog.

Second run was standard. My expectation was she wasn't going to do her contacts. My plan was to exit the ring if she didn't hold her contact. I walked the course with that in mind. She held her contacts. :) I, unfortunately mis-cued her at the weaves and she took an off course tunnel...then after the teeter, I handled poorly and she ended up missing the tunnel entrance. This was totally my fault. I consider the run a success as she did her contacts in competition. For me, my improvement needs to be in the game and not dwell on my mistakes (after I mis-cued her, I kept thinking about what I did wrong and that resulted in the mis-cue at the tunnel).

All in all, a good first AKC trial. AKC is definitely different. I was really worried about the new leash rule, but Tazz was excellent and did not leave the ring until I had him leashed. Fin was very good and jumped into my arms at the end of both of her runs so the judge did not have to yell at me. As AKC trials go, this one was really relaxed. I knew quite a few people there and it was fun to meet new people.

Next trial March 14. USDAA. Pray for contacts.

Note: A big thanks to Susan and Kraig for videoing my Fin runs. This allows me to see what I'm doing wrong and improve my handling.