Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!

Bayteam Western Regionals!  Four days!!!!

Start out on Friday with some warm up pairs, GP, and Steeplechase.  Last opportunity for those of us looking for that bi into Sundays Finals.

Five rings on Sat.  Five courses to walk in the morning.  Five courses to run throughout the day.  Team Standard, Team Gamble, Team Snooker, Team Jumpers, and then last but not least, the all important Steeplechase round one (I already got a bi for nationals, so it is very good practice).  We end the day in one ring for Team Relay.  Wish us luck!!  Walk at 8:15.  Eight minutes per ring, then move to the next.  Once all the walking is completed, we start to run. 241 dogs, 168 humans - all trying to do the best they can for their team.  There will be cheering, there will be moaning, there will be WooHooing!, and of course, I'm sure someone will need a hug.

Excitement!  Yes there will be much of that. 

Sunday - Steeplechase Finals!!  That will be fun to run and watch.
Monday - GP Finals!  So much excitement in a short space of time!

I'll be there, what about you?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It is a reality

Wow.  We have a sign.  Must be true.  Laura and I now have an agility field AND agility students.  Will we have lights so we can continue classes next week?  Who knows.  But I will say, the field looks mighty nice.

Tazz has been busy boxing up stuff to take to the field.  He is very excited.  I think he believes he gets the job as enforcement officer.  I'm trying to break it to him gently that no enforcement is actually needed, but I know he feels this is his special talent.  Ah well.  I wonder if he would like to be a Walmart greeter instead.  I can see it now.  Person walks into the store and Tazz says, "GET AWAY.  MINE!"

We continue to battle with the ground squirrels.  So far they are winning.  This week they put a freeway intersection right in the middle of our crating area.  Just not practical.  I'm going to have to meet with their planning commission.  There has to be a way that Laura and I can get some input on when they are doing major remodeling projects.  Fortunately for us, so far, knock on wood, the squirrels have left the grass alone.  Maybe that Gopher fencing is going to work after all!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Butterfly Killer

I have to confess that little Olive is a butterfly killer.  I'm walking along the trail this weekend and my friend says, "On no! Olive." I look down and she is dropping a huge butterfly on the ground.  That quick.  I guess it didn't taste as good as it looked.

Her curiosity doesn't stop there.  Friday evening I'm walking along and she starts shaking her head, I mean really shaking.  I reach down and brush a bee off her face, immediately stomping on it as I have a HUGE aversion to bees near me (I do want you to know that I regularly save bees that have fallen in the was only a gut reaction to a bee that may sting me or Olive).  I pick Olive up and run over to my friend Katrina and say, "I think Olive just got stung, do you have benedryl?"  Katrina is the person you go to for such things.  If she was in prison everyone would go to her for "stuff."  Katrina and I walk to her car (me still carrying Olive) and she gets her "kit."  She looks at Olive and says, "Oh, poor thing, the stinger is still in there."  I look at Olive and sticking out of her nose is a stinger.  OMG!!!  Get it OUT! I'm screaming in my head.  On the outside I'm like, "Oh Katrina, do you think you could get it out."  She pulls tweezers out of her kit and just as soon as you can say, "I can't look," the stinger is out and Katrina is examining Olive to ensure that she is ok.  Not only did she have benedryl, she also had a "pill pocket."  I said, "I don't think Olive will take that" as Katrina gave it to her and she ate it down.  I guess getting stung gives you an appetite.

One last one.

"Little O" and "Piggy Smalls" were having a wrestling match in the xpen under numerous watchful eyes.  Just as the wrestling was getting really fun, Olive leaps from the xpen and grabs a bully from one of the open crates.  Someone goes to grab her and she takes off.  I jump out of my chair and yell, "Someone get a tennis ball!" (I know if I have a tennis ball she is 100% coming to me...without a tennis ball, the chances plummet).  She is running in a wide arc with about 3 people chasing her and me standing there with my mouth open when she takes a left turn toward the rings.  The rings that she is headed toward are currently engaged with dogs running agility (I have visions of her chasing the dogs running in the ring with the bully hanging out of her mouth).  I yell, "O-LIVE!!" and low and behold she turns and heads back to ME!!  She dodges about four people trying to grab her and runs into my arms still holding the bully stick.  I guess her recall is getting better.

Weekend Update

I love SMART trials. This year found us back at Manzanita Park in Prunedale for the lovely fog and ocean breezes.  85+ at home, 60 in Prunedale.  Very cool weather!

It was a small trial so I didn't get a chance to take many hikes.  Always seemed to be doing something or other.  Sat we had some really great runs.  Got the gamble but ran out of time :( Standard, close but no bananas.  Fin crashed a jump in Standard and then was fearful of the spreads the rest of the weekend.  Poor thing.  But Sunday, she blasted through her courses like a freight train coming home with two first places!

Sunday Gamble

Sunday gamble was a good one.  I executed it as planned and felt so great as she jumped that last jump and knew we had it in the bag!


In the opening, she started to go around the double and I moved out of position and she redirected over the double...but...that put me way behind.  Finnie made up for herself by getting out and doing that tire.  Good Girl!  The rest of the run was me just trying to keep up.

Grand Prix

I had high hopes for GP, but I faded away too quickly after 3 and just pulled her off of #4.  Couple other mistakes, but some really nice stuff as well.

Things we will be working on this week before the regionals are:
  • Contacts:  still getting a running contact when she is super excited.  Need to go the extra mile to proof them.
  • Spreads:  Fin has spreads in her future.  All week we will be working on spreads.  Spreads...more spreads
Things that were super extra perfect this week:
  • Weaves!!! OMG she hit EVERY weave entry I tossed at her.  There were some really tough ones.
Overall.  Fun weekend with friends.  Close enough to drive home?  Perfect.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Some words without pictures

Oh, I know how you like my pictures.  But alas, no pictures today.  Worked this morning and then packed up and headed to Prunedale for the SMART USDAA trial setup.

I'm on garbage detail again.  I'm also the vendor chair, but with only one vendor, I sorta feel useless in that area.

Put out all the trash bins out and had Olive with me.  Fin finds setup very boring and prefers to hang out at home rather than be in an xpen with no agility.  So Olive and I did our trashy work, helped set up a ring or two, and then had a bit of fun.

HotShot was there and I let them wrestle for 30-40 minutes in the xpen.  All went well until someone (I'm not naming names) jumped out of the xpen.  Then we just tossed the ball and had a great time.  She was EXCELLENT off leash and had perfect recall. 

Not to stretch my luck too far, I put her back on leash before she decided she didn't want to come anymore and headed home.

A few last minute things to get together for tomorrow, a relaxing evening, and then the big show tomorrow.  Getting ready for the Western regional next week!  Can't wait.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Dog Shaming:

I so could submitt my dogs to this!  Today a sign posted in front of Olive would read, "While my mom was on an important call with her client, I bit through the phone cord."  Yes, yes she did.  Give her an inch.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Olive is 6 Months Old



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A lazy Sunday

Home late last night.  Up at 5:46 to take pups potty.  Shelties go in crates for breakfast and Olive gets some breakfast and training.  7:00am  Olive morning snuggles. 7:15 Olive in crate for a nap and Shelties free. 

At this point I was thinking of changing and going for a walk.  I looked at my bed and it was very inviting so I snuggled under the covers.  Next thing I knew it was 10:30!!!  I NEVER sleep this late.  OMG I leaped out of bed yelling, "It's 10:30, it's 10:30."  My husband crawls out of bed and says, "what is wrong with you, you scared me."  I'm like, "It is 10:30.  Most of the day is gone and I have loads to do today!"  He's like, "Oh Jeez Vici, take a chill pill."

So I got up and spent some time with poor little Olive, who didn't seemed fazed by the extra sleep.  Went to the pet store and grocery, came home and am cleaning.  Olive has gotten a few training moments, but mostly she's been here in my office while I clean bringing me her ball to toss out my office door. 

Shelties are napping and enjoying life.  Kel went for some exercise and is in his bark-o-lounger with Tazz in his lap.  The weather is really nice.  I think I'll take a walk later today and enjoy this relaxing day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The same, but longer.

Me: Fin, you look a little annoyed.  Why is that?
Fin:  She keeps bumping into me and then you make me lay next to her.
Me:  Why, wasn't it just 5 minutes ago that you nearly knocked me over with the sand zoomies trying to play with her.
Fin:  Anything goes with sand zoomies.  It's like crack.  I can't control myself.  I have my mind back now.
Olive: Sand Zoomies!

The same view from yesterday, only a little darker on one side, and we walked a bit longer.

Olive:  Lizard!!!!!
Me:  Olive, stay on the trail.
Olive:  LIZARD!!!!
Me:  Come along now.
Fin:  Do you believe this?

Note to self.  Hiking 3.5 miles tires the human out (especially after an evening with only 5 hours of sleep).  Olive is not tired.  Olive sleeps on the way home and is ready to go again.  Upon waking from a brief rest (ok, I fell asleep in the chair), I found 7 shoes (no not paired) on my bed, a number of socks in the tub???, a soap under the bed, and a pair of underwear in the shower.  The bully was abandoned at my feet.  Four very well behaved shelties were sleeping on the other side of the bedroom door.

Friday, August 17, 2012


The balancing act.  Sometimes very difficult.  The age old question, "How do I get everything done in a day."

I've been having trouble getting everything done.  Feeling a bit guilty about stuff that is falling off my plate (like this blog).  Suffice to say that training is happening.  Every day. 

5:30:  Get up.  Everyone outside for potty.
5:40:  Tazz into a crate, Olive allowed to snuggle with Kel.  She is a champion snuggler.  Sure hope Kel wanted his nasal cavity cleaned out!  He really didn't need that toe, did he?
5:45:  Tazz, Maddie, Fin, Rocks - in crates for breakfast!
5:45:  Training with Olive - I have 30 minutes where we spend time working on bunches of stuff.  I use her breakfast for this training time.  After she gets food, then I select a tug toy and we work on tug.  Loads of tugging.  If no tug, she goes back to crate.
around 6:30 I take all dogs potty (Olive is on leash)
6:45:  I go to work.  This involves me shuffling into my office and turning on my computer.  Olive takes a nap.

Work day consists of me on the computer and phone... taking multiple breaks and trying to get in some crate games and tugging games.  When Olive comes out to play, the rest are put away or in another room.  During the afternoon if I do not have any conference calls, Olive gets free time in my office.  This time is generally spent in one of the dog beds barking at her toys and growling upside down while she smashes a toy into the bed.  Sometimes it involves me taking stuff away from her and taking a brief break from work to clean my office so she can't find things to chew on .... like the lap top cord which no longer works...thanks Olive.

After work (anywhere from 2-5 depending on the day).  I try to get some chores done while I break up little sessions with Olive.  We get a nice walk/hike in depending on the weather and sometimes get to play in  the swimming pool.  Evenings are often spent at a training field playing agility or taking a late walk or gym. 

So, when do I have time to work on my blog.....?  I guess today I skip doing dishes for blog time!  Won't Kel be thrilled.

OMG we got a sit stay for a moment!

Hike today.  At the top, I asked my two companions to sit.  And they did.  Yeah!  Tazz and Olive had a very nice walk.  Up, up, up, then down, down, down.  Horses tied to a post might have caused a mild meltdown, but it was shortlived.  I had a lovely walk with only a few people on the trail...just the way I like it.

Tazz is an exceptional hiker, unless we run into someone.  Then he needs management.  But he is a good mentor to hiking style.  Olive is learning to just walk along.  No blind crossing, no banging into the other dogs, no pulling the mama into the poison oak, no getting all wrapped up in the other dogs leash, and YES!! it is fun to hike.  

A tired Olive.  She is patiently waiting to get into her crate for a nice nap on the way home. 

Shes been here six weeks tomorrow.  She is around 13 inches and 12 pounds.  I don't know much about JRT size, but she is pretty perfect to me.  Tazz almost feels big next to her (of course he does have a bit more hair.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Whats better on a hot evening then...

... a slow walk with a creek to play in.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not gonna win any awards...

... but here is a video of Olive and some of the things she is learning.  Sorry for the shaky video at times, or when she almost knocks me over retrieving and tugging.

It is five minutes and the music is sorta irritating.  But, Olive is cute and her tail never stops!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Fact: Hiking in 92 degree heat, dumb.

In my defense, it has been much cooler lately. 

Today I've been working at the computer.  The house is closed up as it keeps it cooler (and it was cold early).  I did take the dogs out numerous times this morning for brief romps on breaks, but really didn't notice that it was hot.

At 2, I decide.  Hike time.  Put two in the car and head on out.  As I'm driving I'm thinking, "It seems a little warm."  Half way there I press a button on my dash and the temp pops up at 90. 

Ah well. We are almost to the trail head and much of it is in the shade.

Today I learned that when Olive is hot, she takes a break. We aren't moving till I cool down, kinda break.  I'll give her this, it was hot. Water is good, but water on her belly is fantastic!  Water falling on the ground in the shade making mud...priceless!

Tomorrow, we'll either go later or earlier.  Heat of the day, not Olives choice.

I was hot and Fin was hot.  Burned some calories and had fun.  Fortunately I always bring water and we took frequent water breaks.


ME: Olive, it isn't time for a nap right now.  Come on girl, we've only got about a 1/4 of a mile to go and it is ALL in shade. 


ME:  Look, Fin and I are going.  Are you coming?

OLIVE:  Huh.  You wouldn't leave me.  I remember how panicked you are when I go over the fence. 

ME:  Well, it is hot, Fin and I are going.

OLIVE:  Well ok...squirrel!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Road to Being a Better Dog Trainer

My best friend came up with the name of Olive.  She introduced me to “Olive the other reindeer” children’s story.  By naming Olive, memories came flowing back and the name has many levels of meaning for me and is a reminder of how far I’ve come in my journey of dog training.

13 years ago I wanted to do agility and my dog Sophie was older and couldn’t do it so I went looking and found a very nice breeder and came home with two shelties (I was so na├»ve back then J ). I researched everything I could find on agility, started taking lessons, bought equipment, and looked for seminars to attend. 
I attended my first Susan Garrett seminar about 11 years ago.  I drove down to Valencia, CA and stayed in a seedy Motel Six all by myself with my little Bi-Black Sheltie Maddie.  At that time, Susan was already making a name for herself and I was eager to find out the secrets of agility handling so I could be an agility champion. 

At the seminar Susan had a young Jack Russell named Decalf.  Decalf was adorable (and still is).  She wanted to use Decalf as a demo dog for the seminar, but was having some difficulty because there were olive trees dropping olives all over the ground and Decalf couldn’t focus. Decalf kept stepping on the olives and focusing on the olives rather than on the demo.  At the time I remember thinking, “oh, this is not going well.”  But then, the most amazing thing happened.  Susan laughed and used it as a training opportunity.  The entire weekend, she never got upset at Decalf.  She just consistently rewarded (even when he didn’t want the reward) for behavior she was looking for and ignored all the distraction around the olives.  I was confused.  Here was this person that I expected perfection from her dogs but my perspective of perfection was all wacky.

When it was my turn to work Maddie (we were doing what would become crate games), I was incredibly nervous.  I wanted so much to impress this woman.  I wanted to show her I knew what I was doing and deserved those secrets of becoming a champion.  But alas, between my stress and the pressure I was putting on Maddie, I couldn’t get her out of the crate. When she finally did get out of the crate, she started sniffing the ground and wouldn’t pay any attention to me.  Susan said, “Run away and hide.”  I was like, “What?”  “Run away,” she said.  “I want you to hide and see if she’ll come find you.”  Hide I did.  Sitting behind some sort of trash bin for more than 10 minutes.  I was so worried.  What was happening to Maddie?  Was she ok?  How long am I going to stay behind the trash bin?  I yelled, “Can I come out now?”  Susan yelled, “No.”  So I stayed there.  I popped my head around the corner because I couldn’t stand it.  What I saw was Maddie walking around with her tail up and wagging, visiting all the people sitting listening to Susan, not a care in her world. 
Finally Susan yelled, “Ok, come out now.”  I came out, found Maddie, and scooped her up in my arms.  Obvious to everyone there, but not to me was I needed Maddie more than she needed me.  As a matter of fact, I put so much stress on her, she was shopping new owners while I was cooling my jets behind the trash bin.  Susan said, “You need to develop a better relationship with your dog before you work on agility obstacles.”  I almost burst into tears.  I simply didn’t understand and had no idea of how to communicate my lack of understanding.  What the heck was wrong with this woman, couldn’t she see I love my dog!  So I walked back to my crating area, put Maddie in her crate and spent the rest of the seminar taking notes.  I didn’t work Maddie any more at that seminar.  I took as many notes as I could.  I tried to understand the lectures and demos, but my focus was not on secrets to agility handling, my focus had changed.  I was now worried that I might be a terrible trainer and even worse, a bad mom to my dogs.
Today as I sit here Maddie is fast asleep under my feet.  She never was the agility champion I had dreamed of when she was 8 weeks, but she is one of the most wonderful little dogs I could have ever hoped her to be.  She and each of my other dogs have taught me so much about patience, expectations, ego, and how to be my dogs bestest friend.   Teaching is in itself a learning experience.  With my little “Olive” I know that the journey will not necessarily follow the path that I expect, but I do expect that the destination will be worth the journey.  My focus today is not “how fast can she run the dogwalk,” but does she want to be around me more than that interesting hole in the ground. 
Susan Garrett has gone on to write books, provide training to the world, compete in multiple international competitions, and is widely recognized as an expert in the field of dog training.  For me what she represents is a person that absolutely adores her dogs.  She provides incredibly clear rules to live by and I know that each of her dogs lives a life that is full of love and low stress.  I aspire to do the same.

BTW:  Little Olive is tugging.  I still have to take it on the road, but I believe I’m figuring it out.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Vertigo.  Not for the person who wants to stand up straight.  Sitting, sorta ok. 

This evening sat in the chair and Olive taught me to toss the ball when she jumped in my lap dropping the ball in my hand.  So happy she is teaching me tricks.  She is very much into reward based training.  My reward.  She is sleeping right now and I can rest.

I'm learning too!

The Jack Russell life is quite the learning experience.  Going into this I didn't really think puppy raising would be that different from other breeds.  In some ways, that is correct, but in other ways I am having the opportunity to learn so many new things.
  • Did you know that unripened tomatoes look just like an old green tennis ball?  I didn't. 
  • Poo is an opportunity for second breakfast.  Now my yard is sparkly clean.  Essentially the result is that I am out there with the dogs and anyone that goes, it gets cleaned up immediately.  No more yard cleanup procrastination. 
  • All the toys belong to the JRT.  This is a new concept and difficult for Rocky and Fin.  Tazz takes what he wants and Maddie has no clue.  The result is very little Olympics for me :(  I spend my evenings playing individually with dogs that have their nose outta wack cause they didn't get the ball during group play because mom had a really busy day at work and couldn't take time for walks.
  • Did you know that green apples look just like an old green tennis ball?  Nothing like sitting in a chair on an old rotten apple.  Nice one Olive.
  • The hose that has water coming out of it is an evil snake that must be killed.  For 13 years I have turned on the hose to the pool and four very lovely shelties would go over and drink from the hose for a refreshing drink.  Now, I turn on the hose and one little 12 pound white dog grabs it and sprays water everywhere.  I'm considering hiring her out to water peoples gardens.
  • Did you know that the bestest toy in the world is the green tennis ball and if one naughty JRT goes exploring in the backyard and I bounce the tennis ball and get Tazz to play that instantaneously there is a little white JRT right in front of me?  But if I say, try to recall that same JRT without the tennis ball she is deaf?  Interesting.
  • Morning snuggles come BEFORE potty.  Can't go potty without a snuggle.
I am sure that I will learn many more things before I am through.  Right now I am working and she is napping.  She is really cute when she sleeps.