Monday, November 30, 2009

The Team Visits with Silvia Trkman!

Edited: Thanks to Laura from team small dog we got a picture!!! She posted a bunch on facebook.

Someone forgot to check the batteries in the camera so no pictures of Silvia. However, I know of a few other bloggers out there that were taking pictures and if you visit them (team small dog, Taj Mutthall) you may see a few photos of the event.

She set up some really tough sequences. One of the first things she said was, "if these aren't tough enough, I can make them harder." Since I was at that point trying to figure out how in the heck Fin and I were going to make it through, I did not think it needed to be tougher.

If the goal was to show your weakness so that she would be able to help out, I achieved my goal. Fin had no contacts, couldn't finish her weaves unless I was right there and I was late, late, late, and even later. Oh vey!

Basically what she did was evaluate the path you chose to run your dog and show you a better path (this usually involved the handler being somewhere they weren't the first time). Every person improved their line due to her advice. Even top handlers that were there benefited from her eye.

I didn't think her advice was totally new. What was new was the way she set up the course to challenge us. Weave entries were really troublesome and exits weren't much better.

For me, basically the advice was to:

  • Move smoothly (I tend to run fast and stop). My motion was pulling Fin out of weaves and she wanted me to move quickly but more consistently.

  • Timing needs to be better. I need to be aware of my timing and how it is effecting her line (wide turns).

  • Run faster. Hmmm. where have I heard that before.

  • Send on straight aways, keep closer on tight turns. She is in a position to help her dog in turns. She wants our position to be in a place to guide more than I was today.

  • Independent obstacles. Hmm. I thought were were better than we were today. Some body better get out there at noon and do some training!

All in all some really tough courses and some sage advice. I had a great time even if I was late on a serp and fell in front of EVERYONE AND my friends took photos!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Team Visits an Equine Facility.. the middle of nowhere, California.
We went for an agility trial. For the AKC. Four runs, one Q. But that Q was a good one.
This was one nice place. Fin and I walked alot as there was much waiting for our turn. Neither of us minded. We enjoy our walks.

We got to see babies! These little tykes were probably only 8 or 9 months old. Fin wasn't too sure that she wanted to get close. But far away was ok.

The walks were tree lined.
We even walked with friends who took our picture.
Fin was trying to mimic the big bull standing in front of the bullish on America sign. She wasn't too impressed.

What impressed Fin were the leaves. She could NOT get enough of the leaves. The wind was pretty terrible on Saturday and all the leaves had gotten blown into these huge piles like snow drifts. Fin was all about the leaves.
We walked all over. This area was for eventing. Fin had to show that the jumps aren't "that" high. The ground had chips or saw dust on it and was really spongy. I bet the horses think it is heaven.
Oh, I almost forgot, we were there for an agility trial! It was in the indoor arena and even though it was a bit cold, it was really nice. Fin had nice runs, but mistakes took us out of the running in all but one.
She's like, why didn't you tell me the correct way Mama? Yeah, right. It's all "my" fault! Fin is still a rock star. I can't fault her for having a GREAT time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Team Is Sparkly

My sister and her girl friend came over today and helped me hang some Christmas lights. Kel played golf on this somewhat rainy day. It did not rain while we were hanging lights and no adults were electrocuted nor fell off the roof during our adventure.
Usually we hang the icicle lights. I have a ton of them. This year I wanted something different. Blue and white. So off to target to buy something I really don't need, but I feel that every little stimulation to the economy that I do has got to be a good thing. I got the task (it is my house after all) of climbing on the roof. Eve said that me crawling on the roof was the scariest thing she's ever experienced. Since she has lived in Israel and been in the military, I was impressed with my ability to scare someone. I thought living on the edge was pretty good. I would not have tried this last year before we replaced all the rotting wood and put a new roof on. This year, I felt very confident that nothing bad would happen.
My only regret is that I didn't call Laura P. up and tell her I was on the roof. That would have brought the giggles for sure... Well, if I'd started giggling, then I might have truly been in trouble.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Team Whisner is Thankful

The team had the family over for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. One poor 20 pound turkey was scarfed up by 16 adults and one young'un. Maddie is hopeful for scraps from Eve. Eve is new to our group and Maddie decided early on that she was an easy mark. I think she was right. If you look close, Fin is at Eve's feet. Hmmm Eve, I think both girls are work'n you good with those cute faces.
We had an 18th for dinner! Oh no! I didn't have silverware for the 18th. Luckily Dory didn't want to use silverware, and her tummy is about as big as a teaspoon. She enjoyed her visit. We put the "boyz" in the back so she could have a few moments of peace.

A tradition at our family gatherings is to bring "crap" you don't want and we have a raffle. Everyone gets tickets and they put their tickets in cups. We then draw tickets and the winner gets to take someone else's crap, now their treasure home. This works really well unless I put items in that Kel wins....then not so much.
Fortunately, this day, all crap donated went home with someone else. I won some tissue paper, a hot plate, and some gum. Not all items are crapalicous, notice the DVR player and I really wanted those knit caps...

After a full meal, a busy 30 minutes of pulling tickets, our young'n rested a while with the boyz. I love the expression.

All in all a fun day. A good meal. But most of all, a wonderful visit with some truly great folks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just when you thought it was over...

...there is a plethora of dog agility happenings going on in my neck of the world.
  • Nov 28/29 AKC trial
  • Nov 30 Silvia Trkman seminar the entire week
  • Dec 5/6 AKC trail
  • Dec 7 Marco Mouwen seminar for one day
  • Dec 12-13 the Screaming Monkeees will make an appearance at a USDAA team trial (Laura made these really cool T shirts for us...for the future, want a cool T shirt? Team up with Laura Harwick of team small dog. She is amazing!)

Yikes. I was feeling like I wasn't doing much agility. I guess I'm putting that thought to rest. When the heck am I getting all that Christmas shopping done? Gotta ask myself these tough questions.

Today I made cookies for my new neighbor. I haven't delivered them yet as I went over (saw all kinds of cars in the driveway) and no one answered. I haven't actually seen any humans over there. Maybe they are vampires....vampires that own boxers...ok, maybe they aren't vampires. But why don't I ever see them. Only hear their dogs.

I ask myself what they must think of me. All they hear is me calling my dogs, yelling, "Teeter!," "Tunnel," and "Weave, Weave, Weave, Weave!" They also hear, "No bark!" followed by alot of barking...hmmm gotta work on that one.

So I hope to deliver cookies real soon. But I'm only giving these cookies to humans. These are really good cookies!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The times they are a changing...

Love me some Bob Dylan!
So yesterday I realize that Thurs is Thanksgiving. All my thoughts have been on Nationals and I had put the whole holiday thingy on the back burner.
Last year I PROMISED myself that I would have my holiday shopping completed by TG. I'm not sure I'm going to meet my goal. As a matter of fact. I'm pretty much certain that I will not have finished my holiday shopping.

I will host TG this year. 17 of my dearest loving helpful adoring civil good looking relatives, a couple friends tossed into the mix, and we are sure to have a fun time. I'll be cooking up a 20 pound Turkey and the basic trimmings. I try to keep in mind my healthy life style, but also that I have young healthy relatives that like to eat. It will be a balance.

The pups enjoy TG as they get a nice long walk in the morning (so they'll be tired and not under foot - unless your name is Tazz). This way I won't feel bad if I have to put someone (not to name names, but Rocky) in a crate for barking at children and aunt Pat, or someone else (Fin) for fear barking at the children - who she does not recognize as human beings - in her crate for a time out. When the evening rolls around, all the relatives except for the mom unit will be gone and the pups will get another romp (usually chuck-it) in the back or a long walk.

I enjoy TG as I really do like to cook it. I enjoy feeding my family and find that the mess for this meal is not so bad.

We also celebrate all the B-days during the year that we have not been able to celebrate (there are about six). And we do a fish bowl raffle with all the junk nobody wants but everyone puts in a raffle ticket for.

A good holiday...maybe my favorite of the year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm Baaaaak!

Home from the USDAA Nationals. Had a great time. Stayed in an RV literally yards away from ring 6. I felt so special being so close to the action. Found I was incredibly relaxed (except for about 30 minutes before each run!).
Tazz and Fin enjoyed the RV. They were good puppies the entire week.

I covered all the furniture as they sat in every chair.
It was like goldie locks and the three bears. They wanted to know which surface was the most comfy. They decided the bed.
All in all I consider the trip a success although Fin and I weren't as successful as I wanted to be in all our runs. We did do really well the first day coming in 13th, but the rest of the time we had moments of brilliance, but didn't go clean the rest of the week.
I was able to spend alot of time enjoying watching some really great handlers and dogs, and also spent time relaxing reading, walking, and just hanging out.
Now we are back, I am working on a list of training goals. Certainly continuation of my obstacle independence is really important, but also, going wide and around things is a high priority. In two runs, we had problems as I took my eye off her for a moment and she was around the obstacle before I realized it.
It is good to be home and I highly recommend going to the USDAA nationals as an experience. All we did was team (no GP or Steeplechase) and although I thought it was silly at first to do this and not be in the "big" events, I am so happy I did.
I totally missed my best friend as she was unable to come, but it was nice hanging with other people and relaxing at the trailer was fun too. It is good to be back, but I was certainly getting used to walking every morning and going out and hanging with good people doing great agility.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I'm off. No time for blogging it. I'm slogging through the last of my work, cleaning house, bathing dogs, packing, and trying not to bring the entire house.

Dreams consist of me showing up at the site and an empty trailer is sitting in the parking lot and when I walk in it is gutted and the end is open. I walk around trying to find the lady that I rented the RV from, and there doesn't seem to be anybody there and no one I know is there. I might even be there at the wrong time and totally missed the dog show. In my dream I'm frustrated and confused. I wake up and think about lists of crap I may want....I know I'm taking too much.

If I can I will update the blog with reports from the site...but we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On the Road Again...

The USDAA Nationals are here. We leave in one week. The schedules are out and I'm getting excited. My dream of competing at Nationals is upon me, and I feel inadequate to the task. I'm sure once I'm there, it will all come together, but today I would describe my enthusiasm as nervous excitement with a touch of nausea.

Looks like I walk early mornings but don't run till late afternoons. Ten minutes to walk courses at 7:30am and then think about it all day running late afternoons. Fun times.

Good news is that my RV is right there by the rings. I can take long walks and then sit and watch all the other dogs run to finalize my plans (or run in to toss my cookies just before a run!).

My team is awesome. We all want to make the finals, but none of us expect that. We expect that our baby dogs will come in with a few E's and that's OK with us. We are there to have fun.

My plan is to leave early Tues morning and drive straight through (11-12 hours). I've got books on tape and will stop every 2 - 3 hours to walk the pups and hit the restroom. I've decided to take Tazz even though he isn't running and can be a pain. I just can't imagine 1 week away from my snuggle buns. Fin, if given a vote, would probably rather bring Maddie, but I'm making the decisions, so Tazz is joining the party.

Not sure about Internet, but I'll try to report every day.

Today I must focus on work, make lists of what I'm bringing, and not worry so much.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm not sure, but there might be a pattern developing in my handling.

I ran two dogs this weekend. Granted, I may not have been my best, but out of all my runs, both dogs had off course tunnels that ruined otherwise nice runs. Hmmm. My dogs love 'em some tunnels.

There were moments of brilliance, but yet again, problems in each run.

Tazzie: Overall, Tazzie was a good boy. He had some of the best runs he has had in a long time. Unfortunately he was in a rush to get to the cookie stash at the end and in two of his otherwise amazing runs and skipped the last jump to find his cookie.

Fin: I wasn't the best handler this weekend. That said, there were some high points but I don't think I've had such low points with Fin in a long time. I read Laura's blog this morning. It sorta sums up my feeling as well. One day, it is my hope, that I will stop screwing up out there!

My cold is almost gone. A lingering cough to remind me that I was indeed sick. But not sick enough as an excuse. I am NOT looking forward to getting those videos and the realization that I'll be able to watch it over and over again...oh the horror of it all.