Monday, September 27, 2010

The making of a puppy

Maddie is my sweet girl.  She came to live with us November 1999 and has been a light in our lives since the day she came.  She also has out of control coat.  I always tell people, grooming is not that hard, but that is really for all the dogs except Maddie.  If I don't brush Maddie every couple of days her coat gets matted and oily. 
Friday morning I go to the back area with all the dogs to pick veggies.  I returned to the kitchen washing up the veggies and innocent of what was about to run through the family room door.  Evidently, Maddie found a sappy area in the back and after getting sap all over, rolled in dried leaves and sticks.  She looked like something out of a fairy tale.  I tried, but the only thing I could do was cut the stuff out. 

After a bath, I continued trimming trying to even out everything. 

 Maddie actually seems really happy with the new dew.
 It is still a little rough, but look at that slender figure that was hidden under all that hair.
Fin wants nothing to do with the scissors or clippers. 
 Tazz says, bring it on!  I love my puppy cut.
Rocky says, "please mom, just stop already!"

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Professionals are On The Job

I'm not sure who is more professional.  The rat that is getting fat from all the peanut butter or the rat guy who has set all the traps.

I am relieved that the professional has determined my rat problem is not significant.  He can't really find much in the attic so most all of the problem is in the garage (and probably was due to the bag of dog food).

He still set stuff out and we'll see if we catch the bugger (there is still at least one rat there).

On other note.  Maddie got into something in the garden and came up to the house covered in a sticky mess (probably tree sap).  I've been spending the last couple of days trying to make her presentable.  Although I've had some successes with trimming Tazz up, I would consider the Maddie trim a big fail.  Poor Maddie.

Photos will follow (we all need a little hilarity in our lives), but I will probably get tossed from the sheltie owning club forever after this disaster.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Death of a Beloved Toy

Mr. Toy was beloved by one and all.  Adopted by us through an out of state adoption syndicate (brought home on a plane by Auntie Trish), Mr. Toy arrived in pristine condition, but soon started to show a little wear.  He seemed happy and fit into the household well.

Mr. Toy was a good babysitter and enjoyed being carried around upside down.
Mr. Toy showed his love by playing with the older kids as well as the young pups.
He was tollerant of the rough play and seemed to take everything in stride...until one day....
Things seemed to take a turn for the worse.  I'm not sure if it is something he said, or just a case of jealously.  We may never know.
Fin says she tried to warn me, but I did not realize the horrendous thing that was taking place.
Right under my nose, Mr. Toy lost his stuffing and is no more.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Luring vs positive punishment

Put out the sticky traps out last night.  The good news is I hit paydirt.  At least one rat visited the sticky trap last night.

In an effort to entice, I put a little dog food on the sticky trap.  My intention was not to feed them dinner, it was to lure them onto the trap. 

Although luring isn't the most effective method to teach a new skill, I felt that in this case luring was justified.

In fact.  It worked. Unfortunately, the sticky trap failed.  I did get some nice foot prints and a poop for scientific purposes. 

I'm next going to try positive punishment to see how effective that method is.  No, the electric box is not working yet, I have laid out the "old fashioned" rat trap.  Let's see if this "snaps" them to attention.

I had no idea that this whole experience was going to be a featurette on my blog.  But the upload video is not functioning and I have to keep everyone entertained.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Using the proper tools for specific situations

We continue to face the fact that there are some rats in the garage.  It is not a happy thought, and so far Whisners 4 rats (lots of damage).  For goodness sake, they ate a hole in my car sun visor!!!! Why!!!!

I finally found that I need to actually purchase some tools for this situation.  As the small "live catch" mouse traps really don't fit the need.
Does this trap make my butt look big?
Seriously smart creatures these guys are.  Last night I purchased a trap that is supposed to "instantly" electrocute them.  I got home and Kel named it "Mr. Sparky."  So far, I can't get it to work.  Perhaps the rats are smarter than me.
Today, Tazz figured out there is something out there.  He is curious, but scared.  Maddie pushed by him and stuck her entire body into a space in the shelving.  Wagging her tail and growling.  That got Tazz going and he barked and growled, bringing Fin over and she barked at Tazz barking at Maddie growling at, I don't want to know.  I grabbed a diet coke and ran inside scared they would actually flush something out.  Calling them (all came except for Maddie as she is deaf - I had to go grab her).  
It is time to call the professionals.  Not sure who to call.  But today someone with greater expertise will deal with this problem.  I will leave a bucket of money out front.

PS:  When I spell check, it trys to get me to change Whisners for Whiskers...I don't think that is a coincidence!

Another Weekend, Another update

For some reason, my blog is not allowing me to upload a video today.  Maybe later.

So for today, a boring update with no pictures, whether moving or still.

We had some ups and downs this weekend. 

Ups:  Fin brought home the bacon, Q'ing day one steeplechase and winning day two steeplechase, winning a wopping $17!!!! yipppeee.

Downs:  I think she was a little tired on Sunday, then had a weird slip in Standard (second class), and seemed just a little off.  Wasn't lame, just wasn't herself.  We called it a day and went for a massage (her not me).

Overall, I think she is running well at 12.  She still avoids spreads (for one of her standard runs, instead of taking the spread out, they just put one bar on it...she went around that one), and she had some trouble with the teeter in the master's ring.

Overall, a positive outcome.  Going to keep her at 12 for now.  Best to go slow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's all in the name, or is it?

Each time I am planning on a new dog, I spend a great amount of time thinking about names.  Much of the fun of getting a new dog is the name game.  They can have two names: the official registered name, and the call name.  Plus all the cute nick names (e.g., Montage Mad about Madeline, Maddie, Mads, Madmad, Sweetie pie, etc).
Take my little boy Tazz.  His name is "Hillstone's Razzmatazz."  I call him Tazz.  He absolutely has the spark of razzmatazz, but from the moment he came to live with us, everyone thinks he was named for the Tazmainian Devil.  Many of my friends call him Tazzmania. One friend nicknamed him T-Bone - and that has stuck. Tazzie is a sweet loving dog.  Ok, let me clarify.  He has figured out that all resources come from me and he wants to be as close to the person giving out resources as possible.  I choose to believe that he actually loves me.  On the other hand, he is a big jerk to other dogs.  I've been in tears multiple times over his behavior and once got bit, saving Tazzies life after HE got into it with a Doberman.  Tazz is really not that much fun to take places because it is a great amount of work.  I've learned to be a better, more patient person from Tazzie.  And despite the devil in him, I adore the little squirt.

There have been other names that seem to fit my dogs.  Rocky started out as O'Rielly.  The first name just didn't fit so we changed his name to Rocky (aka: Rockoroo, Rocktastic, Rock Rock, Big boy).  He is a solid fixture in our home and his name suits him.
My darling Chester who was taken from me too young was full of mischief.  He was an obedience king and earned a 200 for me at our second competition (the highest you can get).  He also spent more nights at the emergency vets than I care to recall having outsmarted me and eaten something he should not have.
Sophie, so full of life had a name that for me was elegant, distinguish, yet had a spark of flirty fun and that was my girl.  She lived to be 15.5 years old.  She taught Rocky and Maddie so much (how to chase the pool sweep, to bark at the garbage men, and chase squirrels). 
Since I've been doing agility, I hang around people who name their dogs Tantrum, Riot, Mace, Mayhem, Trouble, Rocket, Speedie, or Cyclone.  My latest (who can you believe is 3 years old) was Named "HiMarks Holy Mackerel!" Fin for short.  I was looking for a cute short name and Fin is my little fishfry, definitely slippery and oh so swimmingly beautiful.

I'm always in the market for a good name (although no new dogs are on my horizon, I still like to think).  Today, after Rocky chased the gardener, Fin threw up her breakfast on my clean bathmat, Maddie got lost in the closet, and Tazz jumped on the table and ate my sandwich, I'm thinking my next dogs name will be "Easy".

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh Rats!

I will admit.  I'm a bit prejudice.  I don't like wild rats living in my home.  If they live somewhere else, well, that is fine and dandy.  In my garage.  Not fine and dandy.  Much to my shock, I have discovered a family has taken residence.  Three down, goodness knows how many more to go.

Yes, as pets, I can see the charm.  They have sweet little faces when not scaring me to death in the dark.  But honestly I don't like the eeeeking when they are caught in the trap, and I don't like the noise of things going bump in the night when I'm going into the garage at night.

The shelties are USELESS.  It is like they don't even smell that the rats are there.  I might need a big Tom cat.  Maybe my neighbor will let me borrow theirs.  He can live in my garage for a few days.
I even considered staying home this weekend to clean the garage.  But alas, I'm going to another dog show.  I am home the following week.  Hopefully the traps will get 'em and then all I'll have is the aftermath.

What I would give for a good rat terrier about now!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Study on Weaves

I took a seminar from Moe Strenfel last year. One of the things she said was to video the weaves and watch in slow motion. She had a ton of video that she shared and seeing the dogs weave in slow motion showed issues that were invisible at speed.

It has taken me this long to figure out how to do slow motion video. Although my skills are minimal, I finally figured it out.

Although my eyes are not trained, what I see are good weaves. She is a bouncer, but clearly understands the decell before the entrance. She bounced her shoulders more than I expected, but not overly so.

If you see different, please let me know.

I'd video Tazz, but his regular weaves are sorta slow mo so we don't really need to see video for that :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The True Story

I have told many people that I broke my toe carrying laundry. No one believes me. Ok already, I'll tell the true tale.

Three weeks ago this past Saturday, around 10pm, my boyfriend backed his truck up to the back of the mobile home. He took the window out, tossed the couch through the window into the bed of the truck, grabbed the TV remote and sat on the couch cause he wanted to do a drive in movie. Unfortunately for me, the fumes from the truck came in and got me good as I was passed out on the floor of the living room after slugging down some primo box wine and smok'n some major kick ass weed.

The idiot had put the dog in the cab of the truck, and at some point in the evening, Ugly jumped onto the gearshift, putting the truck in neutral and causing it to roll down the hill taking the back end of the mobile home with it.

The shock of refreshing air hit me and I jumped up and ran to where I expected the couch to be and fell out of the end of the house landing in an old raccoon nest...well not so old as the raccoon was pretty pissed. I did look up in time to see the end of the mobile home bounce once in the air and then tumble over the side into the gully. That was a sight you don't see every day, I tell ya.

Luck was with me and I still had my cigarettes in my breast pocket. I lit one up to ponder my situation but unfortunately, the house blew up around me.

Later, as I smoked my cigarette and drank some liquid courage in the back of the police car, the medic told me I was lucky. All I came away from the experience was a broken toe, some singed hair, and one heck of a hangover.

Ugly did get out of the truck before it went over into the gully. He found me smoldering in the ruins of my house. Somehow the fridge ended up laying next to me and Ugly fetched me a bru just like the boyfriend taught him to do.

My boyfriend was found in the gully, lying on the couch with the TV changer still in his hand. Seems he slept through the whole thing. He sure is a keeper, that one.

Weekend Update

We had a fun time at the Nunes Agility Field in Turlock this weekend.

Temps got in the high 90's on Saturday, but under the shade was comfortable. We tried hard to enjoy the heat and not complain as we know we don't have too many of these wonderful warm days left.

My toe is still healing, but I'm getting around much better. Laura ran Fin and will run her for the next couple trials. It is good for Fin and good for me.

These are her runs from Sunday. I felt really good about her jumping and mostly she had good structure and function. I did find an early take off from her Jumpers run. It was the second jump in the 4 jump leadout. I included it in the clip above in slow motion. It isn't terrible, but certainly she took 3 strides and jumped a bit early.

Standard was nice and I found no problems (except if you want to talk about the A frame and teeter ... always something to work on!).

Although we missed going to our favorite resturant, we loved being home on Saturday evening and spending time with our husbands.

Next weekend is a "overnighter" up in Woodland. Can't wait.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Broken Toe Exercises

Just because I can't run doesn't mean that Fin gets to sit on her laurels. I'm keeping her busy. I am limited and am not moving too fast these days, but taking the opportunity to work on stuff that is movement independent.

We have some basic Salo Grids we are working on, in addition we start this week on adding the tunnel. These first four set ups start with easy and move to more difficult.
  • 5 jumps should be set for your dog (fin is 5', my friend BC is 6')
  • 5 jumps should be set at 4" or 8". DO NOT RAISE THESE JUMPS.
  • single jump sitting out there can go up or down
  • Start with the first sequence of heading toward the tunnel. Do not progress until dog is nice and even in the 5 jumps to the tunnel. Once dog is working nicely running toward the tunnel, move on to the next sequence of them running from the tunnel to the five jumps
  • To mix it up, make the jumps at angles.
  • Use your toy or food target.
I'm also working on weave entrance and distance from the teeter. The numbers represent my standing position. I'm not able to run, but I can hobble a little so I do show some movement. I have on friend who sits on her chair drinking wine doing something similar to this. Her dog has total understanding of weave entries.
Lead out pivots is also on my agenda. A simple one is below. I'm working on this then moving the jumps to make it more difficult...working both sides.

If you guys have some good lead out pivots you've seen recently, send them along to me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Fun USDAA Weekend

Big regionals this weekend. Friday was setup and I was in charge of vendors. We had some really amazing vendors this weekend and I made up a nice "avenue of vendors" for the entrance to our trial. I was there about 5 hours on Friday and unfortunately over did it a little.

Went back on Sat, but only stayed for a couple hours as I needed to get the "broken toe" in the air rather than on the ground.

Sunday and Monday Fin was entered and Laura ran her. Sunday, some nice runs, but small mistakes in each run kept her from Q'ing. I felt that each run she seemed to be getting more confident.

Today (monday) Fin seemed to be running alot more confident. In Snooker blind crossed Laura to an off course ended her run early, but she made up for it in Jumpers and Standard. I think her jumping is looking alot better and she seems much more confident.

These runs give me hope for our future. We've got a couple more USDAA trials this month, I will keep her at 12 inch performance and see how she improves each trial.

Fin ended her day with a massage and a nap. Now she is sound asleep on the stairs (one of her favorite places).

Thanks to Laura Pryse who ran her for me. And thanks to all my great friends for all the help this weekend. Seriously good times! (except for the Wasp incident...that, not so much fun...thinking of you both Laurie and Susan!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US Agility Team Blog

The US Agility team has a blog! Click here.

Excellent resource and will probably get busy as it gets closer.