Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Little Bit Of Love

Just a few photos of what we love to do.
We like to Fly.
Changing leads over a jump.
Working the teeter...I'd like to see her closer to the end, but this teeter follows some mis-handling by me that slowed the teeter down so she didn't go all the way. I love the crazed look on her face.Riding the teeter.
Independent dog walk, me peeling off to the next position.

Going nicely over the A frame. Speedy over the dog walk.

A fun day in 108 degree heat.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fitness for Agility - Going to the Dogs

Fin needs more strength. She is crazy and doesn't think about her body and often hurls herself without thought. I want to give her more body awareness and strength. To aid that, she and I have a twice daily routine we are working on.

It starts with the rear end work on the treadmill. I'd like to work up to 10 minutes. Right now we are doing 3-4 minutes and then take a break. Then do 3-4 minutes. It doesn't seem like much, but I can tell she is tired after her work out.
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After the treadmill, it is time for the balance ball. I also work in stretching into the balance ball work. I'm really proud that she is now able to stand on her rear legs for short periods of time.
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I'm hoping that this work will help her strengthen her abs and provide her with more rear end propulsion. Right now I think she is doing a lot of the work on her front.

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We finish our workouts with a massage. She is really starting to enjoy her massages. In the past she had trouble staying still, she now lays down and readily offers behaviors letting me know she is ready for some body work.

We are also walking hills more. I hope in 3-4 months as I get more fit, all my dogs will improve with the new regime of training.

Secret Agility Practice



What happens to team whisner on a hot night in June! Secret agility practice night! Only those in the "know" get to go. I can not reveal the exact location.
It is a dangerous journey.

Many stops along the way.

The directions are not always clear.

You've got to know the secret code.
Once there, the path is well worn.In secret agility the dogs are really good and help each other out.
The best dog at agility secret practice.
Proof that agility did happen, it wasn't all about wine and stuff.
Anticipation is high in secret agility practice night.
Wooooo!
After agility, the good dogs get to refresh themselves with a little swim.


Ahhh!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fitness for Agility

Not good news folks. I've had a setback. No reason. Took a vacation from reality.
Took the reality train today with a kick butt workout and a weigh in. I wanted to cry. Been doing so good. Hey, they aren't kidding when they say portion control is important.
Wish I had better news. I'm really bummed and ticked off at myself for my bad behavior over the last week. This is not the actions of a winner.
Ok, so enough already. Next week, look forward to good news!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It is summer

It is summertime. This means that we can get in the pool. It means that tomatoes will soon be ripe, apricots ready to pick, plums beginning to get dark, cherries already gone, baby apples falling from the trees, and peaches, lovely peaches are ready to be eaten.

Rocky finds new ways to break the fence so he can get into the back and eat the fruit. This year, he is not waiting till it falls. He has found that the precious peach tree is low enough he can "pick his own." Much to his delight and my chagrin, he is out there now picking the few remaining peaches for himself.

Maddie finds the cool dirt to lay in. She manages to bring all the dirt into the house and wherever she lays, a little pile of dirt remains.

Tazz is our swimmer. He runs out in this heat and stands on the first step of the pool or the spa. If someone is in the pool, Tazz will be. He doesn't usually get in unless motivated by someone else swimming, but the boy loves to swim. This is the first year that he will swim to the deep end just for the shear joy of it.

Fins third summer with us, just is like all the other seasons. She is ready to play, chase the water, jump in the first step of the pool, and lay in the dirt. She does it all.

Training now is early morning and late evening. Mid day is for hanging out and enjoying the lingering heat.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Only the Nose Knows for Sure

Today was a really fun day.

I went to a nose work seminar. Two gals from southern California came up and taught us to teach our dogs to find things.

I agonized over who I should take to the seminar. Should I bring Tazz? He is a pain in the patutie around other dogs, but I know that he would really enjoy the stimulation. Should I bring Fin? She would love something different and is easy. Rocks is still recovering from dental stuff. Maddie is getting hard of smelling.

In the end. I took Fin. Tazzie hid under the table and didn't want to go and I walked out with Fin at my heels so she got to be in the seminar.

It turns out that in nose work, dogs are worked individually with non-working dogs in crates in the back (in our case a totally different room). Tazz would have done fine. He gets to go to the next one.

The seminar was broken up into some lecture and then rounds where each dog worked for 1-5 minutes. Empty boxes were used with a different colored one that would contain the search article. In our case, the dogs searched for a toy, a tug N treat, or a Kong with food.

First round started with a row of empty boxes. We held our dog and the seminar leader teased our dog with the toy and placed it in one of the boxes (I used tug and treat filled with b-b-q chicken). On leash, we walked the line of boxes and rewarded our dogs for finding the box with the toy in it. All of the dogs caught on to the game in no time.

Second round the seminar leader held our dogs and we did the teasing with the boxes. No problems, all of the dogs did great! Fin totally surpassed all of my expectations by being excited and talented at finding her toy.

Third round we added stuff to the environment (more interesting stuff). Fin did great on the first search, but on the third couldn't find the box containing her toy. In her frustration, she started offering behaviors (putting feet in boxes - fronts, backs, all four feet and targeting off plastic containers) it was hysterical. I just walked toward the wall, and Fin finally found her box. She really enjoyed the cookies.

Lunch was a lovely walk along Monterey bay, then back for more scent work.

For this workshop, we had a sorta accelerated plan and did things we would not normally do (like begin to trade our toy for a particular scent). The day flew by and I was not bored. There was lots to do and each dog taught us something.

I HIGHLY recommend this seminar if you get a chance. Lots of ideas of stuff to do with our dogs.

These people are starting a new organization:
http://www.nationalcaninescentworkassociation.com/

Just like other organizations, this one is working to promote the sport of nose work. There are levels for titling and competitions.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Course Maps

Cool website!

Thanks to Agility Nerd for giving us a head up on this excellent resource.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Tail of Poles and Farts

"I am a super duper weaver!"
I've seen brilliance and understanding in the obstacle we call "weave". I've got video to prove that I can say "weave" and Fin will successfully complete the obstacle and move on to the next. I have video proving that difficult entries do not need to be babysat. But in the last two weeks, there has been barking and herding. A lot of back talk. One member of the team seems to think that she needs to tell the other member of the team that her handling isn't quite up to snuff.

I'm not worried. It is understandable that we will find these holes as we grow together. We are getting faster as a team and with that speed comes excitement and shall we say (hold on, I"m going to use a real technical term here) "brain farts".

I do not place blame. Both members of our team are experiencing the dreaded brain malady. I hold 50% or more of the responsibility here. I am the project manager after all, delegating tasks to my project team of "one". Her success relies on my communication. Her success relies on whether the tasks have been properly trained.

It poses the question. When are you really finished teaching and learning? Obviously for team Fish, we are far from done. Seems we need to take a step back, then reintroduce a level of excitement, get the endorphins going, raise the bar in practice, simulate competition nerves, and see if we can get some Farts in practice so we can eliminate the gas explosions during competition.

I am contemplating not going to the upcoming AKC trial. I'll see what the next two weeks show. We are not far off from having a good solid framework for weaves, but I am worried about allowing her to practice the herding/barking wacky weaves in competition and may wait till I feel we can have a solid weave performance before taking it to the "big show."
"Tell me where those weaves are...NOW!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Teeth, not an exact science


Rocky visited the dentist yesterday. Three teeth extractions, gum repair, and a good cleaning later he is home resting. Rocky didn't like being at the dentist. Neither do I.


Poor guy. He had a cracked a tooth (the dentist said the damage was brand new...probably in the last 24 hours). I say, "good timing!" I'm sure he did it stealing my baby peaches in the back yard. Rocky is NOT allowed free range in the back. Not only is he stealing my fruit he is cracking teeth and costing $$!


After all the drama from last week, it is nice to have the old guy home with clean teeth, pain pills, and a good long life expectancy.


Last week we were looking at a spleenectomy, then, that wasn't needed, the canine extraction, then, that wasn't needed, then a root canal, that didn't happen. The result is 3 small teeth removed, some gum repair, and Rocks is good to go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scotts Valley AKC

A fun weekend at the Scotts Valley AKC both Sat and Sunday. Only two Q's for the weekend, but loads of fun. Tazz got another jumpers Q, and Fin got her OA with a standard Q.

Sat was foggy and it even rained on us a bit. The rain was sorta that heavy foggy rain, however, we all got wet whatever it was. Did I bring proper weather gear? No.
The toaster was our camp for both days. Since it was such a small trial I opted not to put up a canopy. Tazz got the back crate with the foil wrapping, Fin was up front.

Tazzie was his bad boy self. I did take him on loads of walks, but he needed his fashionable zebra head halter so that he would be a better citizen.
There was a nice long loop to walk the dogs. Both Tazz and Fin got walked. Of course, I almost missed a couple walk throughs enjoying the trail, but life is short and walks are important.
The trial was fun and lots of different dogs. Ashley Deacon was there. He is like 7 feet tall (ok maybe not 7 feet..but he is very tall) and I'm a short little thing. When Ashley and I chat, this is what I see.

Ashley and Luka waiting their turn.
His tee shirt says it all.
Fin had a great time and there were moments of true greatness. Then, there were moments of relaxation.
Lots of different breeds of dogs competing today.
This one wanted to come home with me.
Motion is a champion.
Venture is a star!

I had a great time and one of the best things is that we were home by 12:30 today! With allergies attacking me, it was nice to be able to come home and take a nap by the pool.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's all about dental Hygiene


Wed:
  • 8am drop Rocks off for a teeth cleaning.
  • 11am Vet calls, blood work not good. May have a tumor
  • I say, "did you even look at the teeth?"
  • Need xrays, more blood work. No teeth cleaning today. Dog really not good.
  • 3:30 No tumor. Canine teeth are bad. May need to extract. Extraction tricky, could break Jaw. Wants to schedule for two weeks out.
  • I say, "I want a referral to a dentist." Pause and then vet responds, "Oh yes, that's probably a good idea."
  • 4:30 Pick up Rocky, get contact info for Dentist.

Thurs:

  • Call Dentist. Bring him in. No need for the buddy to be in pain.
  • 4:00pm. Dentist looks at teeth.
  • Yep something wrong.
  • Nope not the canine
  • Back tooth broken and exposed.
  • She shows me. Yep, there it is.
  • Canines? well heck. They need cleaning, but, don't think they are infected.
  • Made appointment, Rocks gets a root canal on Tues. OK, this is all about $$ here. Extraction would be about $200 cheaper. But I'd rather have Rocks have his teeth.

So I've got to ask myself, what is up with the vet? I've been going to this clinic for 18 years. My vet is on vacation and this gal is managing the store. I'm going to wait until after the dental next week, but then I'm going to contact my vet. My confidence in the vet is gone.

Could Rocky have a tumor? Anything is possible. But good golly miss molly what was she thinking?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fitness for Agility


1.4 pounds. I feel lucky.


It hasn't been my finest week. I guess the whole change your metabolism is working as I did loose this week. It is totally due to the exercise and lack of having high calorie things near me. Not due to portion control.


Just like in real life, I had trouble jumping off that plateau last week. I kept looking over the edge and darn it, it looked mighty far down. I thought about jumping alot, but never quite made it. I asked Kel to push me and he wisely informed me I had to jump on my own.
I've already jumped today. Writing down everything I'm eating and I'm keeping track of calories as well as points. I'm pretending I'm on week one of WW and going to focus on exercise and veggies.
Searching for that motivation. Hopefully I'll find it right around the corner.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gotta Love the Rocks

Photos by Richard Todd Photography.

At 8 this morning Rocky was in the vets office for a check up and teeth cleaning. Vet calls at 11 and says blood work not good. Rocks has been loosing weight and vet was very concerned. Thought it might be a tumor on his speen given the blood test and the sore tummy.
I told the vet that Rocky is extremely sensitive about being touched. That often the vet has thought he has a sore tummy but couldn't find anything. He just doesn't like being touched and acts like your touching him with a cattle prod, just try touching his feet, he'll do the same thing and his feet don't hurt. In addition, I thought their scale was off. Rocks has been 30 pounds and maintaining that but at the vets he was 27. I said I really thought something was wrong with his tooth.
She said she wanted to do xrays and other tests as she felt it was serious. Of course I said yes. What else would I do.
Five hours later after a mentally tough day, they don't think it is a tumor any more. Now it is a rotten tooth that has a pretty bad infection. Two weeks on antibiotics and then a specialist dentist after the antibiotics is our future. Now the dental work by no means will be easy, but much better news than if he had a spleen tumor.
We love the big guy and don't like to see him in any pain, but glad it is not as serious as the vet thought this morning. This stress did not help me today. Didn't get alot done, changed meetings as to be prepared for the vet call. I've got to learn not to overreact.
If I gain weight tomorrow, I'll know why. I was weak today. No I didn't eat french fries. No I didn't eat a burger. Yes, I found stuff in the house to eat and eatting is what I did. All healthy stuff...but even healthy stuff needs to be in moderation.
As soon as Kel comes home, I'm off to the gym.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

AKC Weekend Update

Tazz Jumpers Saturday...the dog is looking like an agility dog (at least in jumpers)! Sporting a new "due" the boy is running mighty fine. I notice some hesitancy at the spread jumps, but other than that, one of Tazzies best runs.

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Fin Standard Sat. Really nice (although a late rear cross resulted in a spin at near the end).

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Fin standard Sun. A nice clean run.

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Tazz Jumpers Sun. Another fun run. An angel of mercy came down and saved the weave pools, but other than that, it was all Tazzie!

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Monday, June 8, 2009

A Thesbian in a Cowboy Hat

Kel has been working really hard lately. It isn't a paid position. Doesn't bring home the bacon. However, he smiles alot. Coming off a great run of "You Can't Take it With you," he signed up for Annie get your gun. A singing, dancing theatrical production.
Along with my mom and sister, I saw it on Saturday. The cast did a fabulous job and we enjoyed the production. The play started at 8 pm to a full house (standing room only...there there was some standing going on).

Kel brought to the stage a lively, genuine, funny, and entertaining Charlie Davenport. Each time he was in a scene, the stage seemed to brighten a bit...could have been me, but in my eyes he was the center attraction.
Sat night I spent a little over 2 hours in Buffalo Bill's wild west show enjoying pistol and shotgun antics following the love story between two competitive strong personalities, and watching Charle Davenport manipulate the cast in order for the show to go on. A fun time.
Kel, thanks for bringing music and dancing in my life. Gotta go hum now..."there's no bizness like show bizness...there's no bizness I know...."