Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun Successful Weekend

Spent the weekend with some really fun wonderful people at the SMART agility trial. Although I went there with the gloom of broken toe, as the weekend went on, I was realized how stupid I was for feeling sorry for myself. There was great joy in watching Laura run Fin. Fin had a fabulous time, and so did I.

Although we are still having trouble with the "going around things," she is getting better. On Saturday she took the hard stuff and had trouble with the easy stuff! On Sunday we moved her to 12 inches to make things easier and she seemed to do better.

Next week she is only in 12" so we'll see whether she keeps improving.

She was checked out this weekend after all the runs and she checked out totally pain free and healthy. Such good news, and worthy of the happy dance.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm going to wrap myself in bubble wrap and call it a day

Toe is broke.
No wonder it hurts.

Laura will run Fin this weekend.
Trish and Laurie will help set up for the weekend.

Thank goodness for good friends and sisters.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rubberizing Contacts

My clubs (Bayteam and SMART) are working on getting all their contacts rubberized before our two big trial weekends coming up. A few of the north bay people worked on the tables in June. You can read about their adventures here.

I decided I wanted to also rubberize my equipment. I purchased a teeter kit and a table kit. I started with the Teeter this past weekend as it was the least amount of preparation required.

I started by preping the teeter. Sanded down the sand, cleaned it up and it was ready. If I really wanted to be complete, I would spay paint the teeter to match the rubber. But I'm not concerned about aesthetics.
Next I taped my grids on the ground. Ok, well really I didn't read the instructions and taped plastic, and started to tape grids on the plastic (fail). Then read the instructions and taped the floor with my grid. The instructions say to make it much wider, but I found no shrinkage happened on my rubber and would probably only do 13 inches for a 12 inch teeter next time.

I also had to make a run to the local Home Depot for a few supplies.

After thinking about everything, making a plan, reading the instructions, changing the plan, getting all my ducks in a row, I started the process.

The first results are a beautiful purple and blue sticky skin.

Very important to the process is the mineral spirits. If not for that, I could not have evened out the skin.
Day two found yellow contact zones drying in the garage.
Tonight my plan is to glue and trim. Overall it was alot easier than I thought it would be. Most difficult part was the spreading of the granules, making the rubber even, and of course, not knowing what to do.

On a side note, on Saturday, after finishing my first rubber skin, I was carrying laundry from the laundry room to my bedroom and tripped on a carpet runner. This resulted in a bruised toe, possibly broken, for sure will loose my nail :(
Today I find myself on one hand THRILLED with my rubber contact project, yet frustrated that I am not able to walk with two big trial weekend approaching. I guess I'll be visiting the doctor later today.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Another unknown to me yet widely known jumping problem is the dreaded "early takeoff." I have seen dogs who take off early, or studder step before a jump, but I didn't know there was some research and articles on it.

To read an early article from Linda Mecklenburg, click here. (Thanks Diane!)

Fin does not have trouble all the time. There is absolutely a pattern emerging:
  • spreads
  • coming out of the tunnel at speed
  • if I get to far ahead

Some of the information out there seems sorta negative. I am taking the approach that it is a learning situation and obviously Fin learned to be not confident and we are going to teach her that she "CAN DO IT!"

To that end I'm setting up jump grids in the yard. My good friend Laurie is struggling with the same thing. Her dog had an illiopsoas injury and started early jumping spreads (sound familiar?). She came down and shared her knowledge with me and am working the grids she recommended.

At the end of the month Susan Salo will be in the area and we are meeting with her to get more ideas.

And of course, I've got some great minds working on ideas (my trainers and friends).

In the meantime, I have moved her to performance for the two USDAA shows at the end of the month where she won't have to see any spreads. We can play without the spreads :) Can't wait to get back into competition!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reactive Rover

Got to meet Kim Moeller Sunday as a participant in a seminar on reactivity in dogs, specifically leash reactivity.

Many of you know that I have had my own learning experiences with reactivity and agression with my dogs.

I am a handler that has had the dog that:

  • everyone has to be careful of
  • lunges and barks at other dogs
  • results in people looking at me like I have a terrible contagious disease
  • causes me stress when I think about taking him for a walk
  • teaches my other dogs to be reactive
  • makes me feel like a failure
  • is so cute and adorable and people don't listen when I say, "No! no back up and go away!"
  • causes me to yell at people who say to me, "don't worry, my dog is friendly"
  • I adore
I have heard good things about Kim and wanted to meet her and see what she had to say. I gave up a UKI trial for this, so I had high expectations. I will tell you that my final assessment was that it was worth giving up my agility trial to listen to her speak.

Much of what was covered is in her book, but she also provided video and live demo that I thought was very helpful. This lecture was geared toward training professionals who want to use these tools in their own businesses. Because of the audience, there was much information geared toward teaching classes and privates (not what I was interested in necessarily), but I found the information to be very straight forward and easy to understand.

My plan is to work with Tazzie using the methods I learned. I already have alot of what is needed, I think consistency is one of the areas that I have let Tazz down.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

When I got to powerpaws today, all the stripping was over. That will teach me to get there on time. Instead, I was part of the rubber crew. My two agility clubs have a couple big shows coming up. A few people got the great idea to rubberize all the contacts before the two shows. It is a big job. A few ladies did our tables and we used them at the last trial. The tables are so nice!
One can get a little chemical induced feeling of giddiness when working with the rubberizing chemicals. It is best to have some sort of filter. I didn't. I can still smell the rubber cement.

We had a couple tables to do. These went really smoothly.

There are also other chemicals that are involved. Notice the rubber gloves.

At the rubberizing plant, we had two dog walk planks to do today. One we did was very successful, one was not.

The rubber factory, thank goodness, is open air so that the neighbors can also enjoy the aroma of rubber.
Some people have infinity pools. Here at the rubber plant we have infinity dog walks.

Just another day at the plant. This photo is before it all went bad. It is sad when the rubber cement eats through the paint in the dog walk plant and then lifts away from the dog walk plant. Very sad indeed. Fortunately for me, I had an appointment and had to go. Unfortunately for others, they had to figure out what to do.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Rumor has it that I'll be stripping tomorrow at PowerPaws.

I was told to bring a power drill, gloves, and my talent. I want to know who has been spreading rumors about me and what have they been saying that I would get invited!

Don't worry, details and photos will follow.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Been thinking alot now that Fin is getting back in the game.
Fin thinks about it too. Mostly she thinks about going fast. But lately she is thinking (or maybe not thinking) about spreads. I'm trying to figure out why she thinks spreads are bad sometimes, but not all times. I think spreads are fun and cool. She thinks she'd like to avoid them when she is at full speed. When I slow her down, no problem. When I turn up the volume....around them she goes.

Tazz contemplates how to get me and the food back to the shade where he is hanging out.