Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who wore it better?

The Evil Ways of the Sheltie Mind

My friend recently wrote on her blog about her sweet little sprite of a dog stealing hot dogs during class.  Read Team Small dogs blog here.

Her blog made me think about my own mismanagement of my dogs.  What comes to the forefront is my dog Chester.  Chester was my best friend for a short 7 years.  In that time, the amount of food that he was able to steal and consume baffled my mind.  What really was shocking was how little I knew about controlling the environment to prevent these behaviors, and how much he knew about manipulating me and getting what he wanted. 

One October, there was about 20 people over for a birthday party for my husband.  The table was full and somehow the B-day cake was put near an edge.  During the hour or so that we all were selecting items from the table, eating, and standing around talking, NO one noticed that Chester was slowly eating the birthday cake.

During Christmas, my sister (who is a fabulous baker) gave everyone plates of cookies.  My mother-in-law was staying with us and she had taken her plate to her bedroom.  I asked, "did you close your door?" She said, "of course."  Not too much time later, here comes Chester running down the hall and slamming on the breaks as he enters the family room area.  He realized he had made a grave error in judgement.  In his mouth, still wrapped in saran wrap, was the entire plate of cookies.  He dropped the plate, turned and ran back down the hall knowing I'd be running after him!  I believe this was early in his food stealing career and and he had not developed the stealth and cunning that soon became his trademark.
Then there was the times we would come home from somewhere and Chester would be sitting looking uncomfortable and the remnants of illegally obtained goods would clearly be in evidence.  Multiple trips to the emergency in the wee hours of the morning were the norm during Chester's life.
Chester is no longer with us, and either I've gotten way better at controlling the environment, or Chester simply was a master of the craft of food stealing.  Either way, life isn't as interesting without my buddy in it.

That does not say that Fin, Tazz, Maddie, and the Rocks do not do their fair share, I'm just saying, I don't know the emergency room crew by first names any more.  No more when I rush into the vet office do they say, "You again?  Come on back, we have the charcoal ready for you."

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Had some serious fun last night.  There was:
  • no "Q" involved.
  • no 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place to strive for.
  • cool handling challenges.
  • Fin and I going for it.
  • confidence building (me and Fin).
  • a lot of smiles.
  • some jumping of 16" jumps!
  • play.
  • a little monkey screaming going on.
  • energy.
  • satisfaction.
  • excitement.
We are doing what we are doing, it is what it is, and enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More about boxes

Last night we worked on more double box work with the fabulous Laura Derrett. 

The three exercises that I participated in before my headache sent me packing focused on rear cross, the decell cue, and lead out pivot.

I'm quite familiar with all of these handling maneuvers and Fin and I did them with ease (although I did get a head turn on the rear cross and had to do it twice...oh and then there was the back jump on the second exercise - evil sheltie...and did I mention that I front crossed and fell over the jump ....).

It seems no matter how much I practice, there is always room for improvement. 

Right now in my back yard, I have seven jumps all set up ready for practice.  Once I finish my work for the day, I'll be heading out there to get these down so that when I see them on a course, it will be second nature.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Where do I begin?

For Kels birthday I decided to take him on an adventure.  I heard about zip lining in the redwoods ( and in some weird mood I thought, "This will be fun." 

I rounded up some friends and relatives to go with us, and signed up for the adventure online.  I didn't even need to chat with anyone...just signed up.  I read all of the FAQ's making sure weight challenged, hot flashy women were allowed, and no where did it say we were not allowed, so we were off.

Did I forget to tell you, I don't like to hang in the air?

Well to the adventure.  After the "gals" visited the restroom a number of times, we suited up.  We then waited a while to get our briefing.  Then had a training period where we zip lined about 3 inches off the ground (that was FUN :) ).  Then the zip lining experience began.
As I waited for my first zip line, was I worried about the heights? Was I worried about crossing a wiggly bridge...not too much... what could be on my thoughts?

Why yes, perhaps I was thinking about the little girls room.  Alas, too late.  We were off.

I like to think of myself as the adventurous type.  I would say, that now I realize, I'm more the "This is a good idea, we'd better do it quick before I change my mind type." 

There are a total of six zips.  My first zip I questioned my sanity and had to be my sixth, I was stepping off the platform and actually enjoying it.

We would zip right along and our wonderful guide Michael would catch us.  Justin was great too, but I am glad Michael was our "catcher."  
 I love the redwoods.  They are beautiful.  The platforms we stood on were maybe 3 feet off the base of the tree and surrounded the tree.  At first EVERYONE was "hugging the tree" after a few, we all were more relaxed.
 I will admit that when I arrived at the second platform, I was shaking so badly I wasn't sure I could go on...but I did.
Kel had no problems.  He had a great birthday.
I love this pic of my sister Trish.

This photo is of our group.  We had 8, but one of the girls did not end up going after she got to the first platform. 

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.  I think conquering fears is a great thing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Exciting Times and Back to Basics

The United States Agility Association is having it's national competition this week.  I'm not there.  I'm here.  I want to be there. 

In the past few years, the nationals were in Scottsdale.  Last year I was settled in my little trailer overlooking the grand expanse of lawn and agility fields.  Although I didn't know many people, the feeling of family was over riding.  When I walked my dogs in the late evening to the sound of mixers mixing drinks, laughter, dogs settling in their beds I would always hear "hey!" "hi" "how ya doing" "good evening" "wanna margarita? (my favorite)".

Each morning I would wake to the sounds of people shuffling, calling dogs, and the smell of coffee.  I would shuffle out of my little trailer and walk the dogs around picking up course maps and planning my day.  Usually my walk throughs were early (7:15-9) and all of my runs were LATE after 1:00pm as late as 5.  But all day there was much agility to watch. 

I will miss this very much.  I'm not sure if the experience will be the same in Kentucky.  There is no expanse of grass, the venue is indoors.  It looks like the RV area is out in the parking lot pretty far from the venue.  I'm sure the "RV City" will have the same feelings, but the question is, "will they allow mixers in the crating area!"

However, I am not there, I am here.  My foot is healing, my dog is healing and I'm getting back to doing sequences.  Last night I was thrilled to participate in more boxwork with Laura Derrett.  I can't get enough of this stuff!

We worked on a number of boxes, and it always comes back to the same thing.  The dogs path vs the handler path.  Before deciding on how I'm going to handle, I need to determine the dogs path and where they are turning.  Then I can determine my path and my handling preferences. 

Why is this important?

Because if I choose the correct handling option, I will not be in my dogs way, my dog will be more efficient, and I will get faster times (oh and yeah....maybe not send my dog off course!). 

As I watch the Nationals from my little office computer this weekend (and you bet I'll be watching!), I'll be thinking about how I will handle the courses.  I'm looking forward to seeing the course maps, imagining what I would do, then watching the the best in the nation run the courses.

Good luck to everyone out there! 

Monday, October 4, 2010


There are FIVE weekends in October.
  • 5 Fridays
  • 5 Saturdays
  • 5 Sundays
Five is one of my lucky numbers along with nine and six.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Game

Sometimes it feels like I'm on a board game.

You get to pick your playing piece, for me it has been "the sheltie".  For others it is the border collie, or maybe the rescue mix.  I think my husband would choose the mailman, I bet my friends husband would choose the dog bone.... I don't know who would choose the fire hydrant.

Roll a 4 and you get to skip ahead -you got the puppy of your dreams.  Roll a two, puppy is reactive, go back to start and do some obedience.  What ever the play, it can be the time of your life.

Right now, I'm in a holding pattern.  Not only did I land on the hospital square (still healing with a broken toe), but we are still in recover with Fin's injury.   Needless to say, even though we might have to skip a turn, we are still having fun doing small things and watching others get ahead in the game. 

Speaking about others, I've got some pretty terrific friends.  These friends take time out of their busy day to help me practice with my dogs!   Laurie ran the Tazzman and Laura ran Fin today.  It was fun creating strategies and deciding how we would run the large dog team jumpers course that ate up team after team.  Of course "my imaginary run" was perfect.  Real stuff, everyone did well (maybe not clean...) but we did well.  Tazz looked so good running for Laurie.  He is a true treat follower that one.  Fin actually did exceptionally well today, no hesitancy and had some stunning weaves.

Soon I hope to roll a big number and move ahead..but only time will tell.