Monday, October 29, 2012

A Fun Weekend

A weekend of really great running, and then not so much.

Fin has left me puzzled after this weekend.  We had more nice runs this weekend then we've had in a long time.  Loads of Q's, but mostly, fun happy sheltie running.  She seemed to really like the 12".  Except for Gamble, of which we got zero for two, the only reason we didn't Q in everything was a couple knocked bars and 3 spectacular crashes.

We got:
-2 pairs Q's
-2 standard Q's
-3 snooker Q's

We didn't Q:
-steeple - crash
-jumpers - knocked bar - and then followed a refusal because I was out of position
-GP - knocked bar, teeter (I don't wanna), a crash
-standard - crash
-gamble (2 of these) great openings just didn't get the gamble

For the most part, her jumping looks good.  Happy happy.  Then there are times when it doesn't.  I'm analyzing the video to determine exactly where the crashes are (no too worried about a knocked bar right now).  Of course she has been checked out and doesn't seem to be in pain nor has eye issues.  I  believe it is confidence.

I will continue to work her light during the next two weeks, grids and working on trouble shooting her problem areas.  Next trial is November 10-11.  I will see how she is jumping then. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Set up a set for balance.  Olive really enjoyed this game.  Tail wagg'n the whole time.

Headed off for a show this weekend.  I have no balance right now.  Go from one thing to another.  The show is three days.  Usually I'd skip Friday this time of year, but for some reason they have grand prix on Friday.  Gotta go to that!  It is Fins first show at Perf. 12.  Hope to enjoy the ride and rock those courses! 

Olive will come and enjoy watching and practicing puppy games.

In the meantime, gotta do something nice for Kel's B-day.  I'm thinking fish tacos and cupcakes.  All while watching the Giants game.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tadd bit busy....

I like my new "coat".  It scares Fin, tee heee.
  • Standing in line at the airport on Sunday evening to get home, the lady next to me said, "Do you live in Phoenix?"  I said, "No San Jose."  I'm thinking, why is she asking me about Phoenix?  Then she said, "Why are you going to Phoenix?  For business?"  I said, "I'm not going to Phoenix."  The plane is boarding at this point and I'm thinking, "oh good, we are on time."  Then she said, "This plane is going to Phoenix."  I said, "No, this plane is going to San Jose."  We both yelled up to the boarding guy, "Where is this plane going?"  He said, "Phoenix."  About 50 people got out of line and sat down.  They ended up stopping the boarding, and removing another 15 or so off the plane that got on the wrong plane.  Thank you lady.  Appreciate it.  I would have cried if I ended up on Phoenix.
  • Got back at 11:30pm Sunday from Seattle. Door to the house in the garage, locked.  Nice to know that the house/puppy sitter is good at locking up the house.  Unfortunate that I never lock that door and had no key to the house in my purse.  Really unfortunate my husband did not have a house key either.  So sad for my sister that I had to call her at 11:45pm to get out of bed and give me a key to my house.  Fortunate that she lives one mile away.  In bed around 1.
Don't go on vacation again...ok?!

  • Monday up at 5.  All pups up and at em.  Pottied, fed, and exercised.  Olive needs a little more playtime.  Mommy needs a little more sleep... "Would you stop barking at me Olive?"  At work at 7.  Loads of work.  Off to the agility field to teach around 5:30, got to work Olive and Fin.  Bed about 10. 
  • Tue up at 5. All pups up and at em. Pottied, fed, and exercised. Olive needs a little more playtime. At work at 7. Loads of work.  (Is this sounding similar).  Leave house at 8:10 to go to powerpaws.  Fin "rocked" the 12" jumps.  Really looking good.  Agility is getting fun again.  Back to work at noon...back to the agility field at 5, home at 8:30, bed around 10.
  • Wed.  To change it up, after I pottied the pups I put Olive in bed with Kel who said he wasn't getting up this morning.  I took a shower.  Olive was such a good girl and cuddled with her daddy the entire time.  Good girl.  Now back to work it is.....

I like me some 12" jumps!!!!  Just get rid of the white devil.  She scares me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Taste of Seattle

Kel found Kells where we had a couple brews and watched the 49ner/Seattle game.  We were very quiet in our cheers for SF.  We were surrounded by disgruntled Sea Hawk fans.  Hee Hee.

Our room at the Inn a the Market.  Very nice accomodations.

Took a tour of the underground areas in old Pioneer Square.  Wonderful stories, fabulous walking tour.

Walked the water front many times.  Did not take the ferris wheel, although I bet it was cool at night.

Saw some shrunken heads.

Saw some umbrella art.

Took the Monorail (short monorail ride, only 1 mile).

Had many a glass of brew or wine.

Took a photo with a pig at Market (funny story, as Kel is taking this picture, an old guy was standing behind him tossing me kisses...hysterical).

Got hungry and ate cockroaches....ok not really...just pretended.  I didn't even pretend.

Looked at the space needle.
Looked from the space needle.

Hung out with butterflys.

Sat in furniture too big for us.

Saw some amazing glass!

Glass was inside and out!

Took more photos of the space needle (artsy ones).

Enjoyed the fall colors.
Got cold on the ducks but had a great time.

Really, enjoyed ourselves.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We are off for a fun long weekend.  Just the husband unit.  All the doggy units are staying home with auntie Jeanine.

Am I a little nervous leaving Olive for a weekend?  Why yes.

Will I let it ruin an otherwise fun get away.  Why no.

We are going to do a ton of walking, see some museums, spaceneedle, and King Tut exhibit.

There are a number of sites on our list, but mostly we will see what the weekend brings us. 

Four days of no tennis ball tossing.
Four days of no poop pick up.
Four days of no Olive snuggles.
Four days of no Finnie flirtatious invites to play.
Four days of no Tazzie rug on my lap while I watch TV.
Four days of no Maddie grunts to have to pet her in the middle of the night
Four days of no Rocky head on my foot while I work.

I'll have a great time cause I'll be with my best bud.  But honestly there is much to miss at home.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Olive came to stay with us for training the 2nd week of July.  I remember that I started her on a number of behaviors right away.  I wanted to give this girl all I had.

Some things just came easily to her.  Sit, back up, it's your choice, crate games, nose touch....easy.  Then there was the down.  I couldn't get her to down.  Shaping, not happening.  Lure, just wasn't into it. I was worried because I wanted this down to be one of her foundation behaviors.  One of those things that become second nature to her.

As I tried different things without success, I decided to try raw meat. Using the raw chicken, I lured her to the down. She got down but lay on her side.  I thought, "well she is down, it's what she wants to do, let's just use it."  Thus we started the "Bang your dead" behavior.  We played this for weeks.  So much fun, but not really a down. I figured, I don't need a "Q".  I'll get laughs in agility when I tell Olive down on the table and she plays dead for the judge.  Ha!

Two days ago.  I pointed my finger to the ground and she did an actual down!!!!  Fortunately I had not given the verbal cue for "Bang" and was able to reward it.  Now, "poof" we have a down.  Amazing. 

Training isn't like waving a magic wand.  It is more like spending months conjuring up a spell. 

I just love dog training.  Do a little everyday and it will pay off in the end.

We have baby grids!!! woo hoo!!!!  Note:  All of the rewards for staying were edited out.  I went back multiple times and gave her a cookie for sitting at the start line.  She has a nice little jumping style.  Maybe we can get a little straighter, but very good for a first time.  Down is at the end of the video.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stepping outside the box

Saturday came and with it a new experience. 

We drove 1 hour 40 minutes and arrived at the Madera fairgrounds.  Driving into the fairgrounds I opened the window to see how cold it was and was bombarded with barking.  Consistent loud JRT barking.  A few hundred of them.  Barking.  We arrived during the races!

We pulled up, easily finding a parking place in the shade, got out and started walking around.  Olive was all about her ball (a good thing) and so we played with her while Kel and I were entertained by the lure coursing.  They did lure on the flat and lure with bumps.  This sport is a straight shot (not like the wide circles I've seen before.  Those Jacks give it their all.  Sometimes it was so rough I was thinking, "My little Olive will NOT be doing that anytime soon!"
Photo credit:  Peter Sakai

Olives grandpa won it all!  He was the champion for the day.  Congrats to Alison.

Then we walked over to the "go to ground."  There are two types.  Just plain go to ground and the "Super Earth."  The course is tunnels made of wood that the dogs navigate to get to the prey (in this case a rat in a cage).   The super earth adds obstacles the JRTs have to navigate inside the tunnels (like bungee cords or branches, or sand).  It was pretty cool to watch.

Once the awards for lure coursing were given out, the conformation started.  Olive's breeder was going to show her, but I got talked into it.  I tried, I really did. I did not do Olive justice.  My stupid A personality reared it's ugly head and I became a blithering idiot.  I mean, how hard it is to romp around a ring and have your dog stand.  As it turns out, really hard.

When the judge wasn't looking, Olive and I performed beautifully.  I got many compliments after I left the ring, however, anytime the judge was looking me and Olive...not so much. 

I made a rookie mistake.  Had her out too long.  By the time we got into the ring, she was like all about the sniffing.  Not about the beauty of her body.

In my mind Olive is a winner.  In the judges mind, Olive is a 4th place finisher. 

The last thing we went to see was the activity that I was really interested in.  The one that I think Olive will excel.  The barn hunt.  Basically they set up areas in a building like a barn, put a rat in a cage hidden in the barn, and time how long it takes for the JRT to find the prey.  The handler must say when they think the dog has found the rat to stop the clock.  If the handler is correct, they get a time and points.  If the handler is incorrect, game over.  I liked this activity because you could really watch the dogs do the work, as opposed to the going to ground where you could only see them go into the hole and then the other end.

After watching for a while, we left and headed home (we had other commitments in the evening).  A very fun day by any standards.  I have to thank Alison for graciously helping us understand all the in's and outs, her friend who striped Olive of her wire coat and made her all smooth and pretty, and my buds Peter and Liz for hanging out with us and making us feel welcome.  The JRT people were so very nice and Olive received many compliments, hugs, and kisses.

Note:  I have conflicted feelings about the rats.  In one sense the rats did not seem  to be in distress.  Seemed like they knew that the dogs couldn't get them.  Certainly none of the rats I saw were panicked in any way.  They just hung in their cage while the dog was barred opposite barking.  On the other hand, it has to be stressful.  But what is the option?  So for now, I'll continue my agility training and not worry about all the hunting.  Olive will hunt for tennis balls.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

And the Beat Goes On

It's time for a change.  Me and Fin, we've done well for ourselves but Fin is not showing the confidence that she should.  Time to go to performance to get the girl back in shape.  So for this year of competition, I'm running 12" performance USDAA.  In performance the spreads are taken out and the spreads seem to be causing the most issue. 

No spreads means clear sailing for the Finster.  This also means no AKC. AKC has spreads even in their preferred program.  It is an experiment.  Let's see how it goes.

Run from the weekend showed Fin jumping a little tucked in the rear.  Tail was going down and she was struggling a bit.

Next few weeks no agility competitions so a few classes with loads of hikes and some swiming should get the girl relaxed and ready to rumble at the next show where won't she be surprized to be running at 12". 

GP from this weekend.  A come instead of a flip of my arm would have given me a better result, but a very nice run!

Friday, October 5, 2012

World Competition going on now....

Watching the world competition, we see a bunch of moves that make many of us cringe because they go against our handling system.  In some cases we say, "Whoa! What was that?!  That was sooo cool!"

I found a pretty good article explaining one of those moves we are seeing more and more, the blind cross.

Currently I don't teach students the blind cross. In fact, I teach them not to allow their dog to blind cross.  I believe for most of us that the use of the blind cross could in fact confuse a dog and result in off courses more often then not.  So I teach a basic handling system, sending a consistent message to your dog. 

However, I'm not against the use of the blind cross, I just believe if one is going to use it, they need to add it to the handling system and provide consistent rules.  I would want someone to define it's use and when it would be used (as compared to a front cross or rear cross or serp or threadle). 

Many times when I see a handler that uses the blind cross, I see dogs switching sides when the handler doesn't expect.  So the question comes up, "how does the dog know what side you are expecting them to be on?" How does a handler communicate to the dog, "it is time to switch sides behind me now."

I love watching the videos of the world team running.  It is so very exciting.  I would describe the courses as very physically demanding (lots of running by the handler) as well as technical (the tight turn is so very important).  Straight tunnels to backside of jumps, running contacts almost certainly required, threadles to more threadles, and crazy speed sums it up.  Fun! 

There is streaming video and results can be found:

But just go on youtube and search or find a friend on facebook that is posting.  The runs are simply amazing!  Here is the Large USA team placing first place in Jumpers.  They ended up in 4th overall!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Olive Update

Olive is really enjoying life.  Yes, we still have some ways to go with Tazz, but he is now in the "ignoring" stage moving into the "I'll sniff you if you ignor me" stage.  Very good places to be if you ask me.

Here is a 3 minute video of some of the things she is working on.... just for fun! 

Busy, busy Busy

Who knew.  Olive is a recycler. She is making sure I meet her specific criteria for recycle.  For example.  I had no idea that diet coke bottles belong in the pup bed for later play time.  I thought all bottles should just go in the recycle container.  Olive is fixing my mistake

Also part of the sorting process is hind end awareness.  She very carefully stands on the edge with her rear and sorts with her front.  Olive is the most coordinated dog at 7.5 months that I've ever owned.

Hmmm.  That looks like it belongs in the container, Olive.  Wait, bring that back, OLIVE!!!!!!!
Hard to get any work done.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Customer service

I have noticed that Customer Service is back in style at our local businesses.  I found people to be very nice at the Honda dealership when I took my car in.  Gave me a loner for just a regular service.  Asked, "Would you like us to wash your car?"  Well duh?  "Yep, that would be nice."  Car looked all sparkly when I picked it up.  Unfortunately they only cleaned the outside.  I guess it was a stretch to think they would clean the inside too.  :(

Ahh well.

Now that the car is taken care of, Kel's registration done (a couple hours at the DMV), laundry done, I guess it is time for some dog training!  Yep, headed over to the field for a fun evening of agility and puppy training.

Some Moving Pictures

Grand Prix Warm Up

Really hard Jumpers and Standard on Last Day

Link to the USDAA Nationals Courses:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Time of my life!

Day one and two were all about the drive.  Day one we went through four states: California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.  A bit humbling to see all the space.  Weather was no problem as we drove  the miles.  Day two we finally entered Colorado as we drove south into Denver.

Arrived and checked into our hotel, drove over and looked at the show site. Dinner and to bed for an early wake up on Tues.

Tues found us on the road to practice at 7 am.  The practice area was an indoor facility with the best flooring.  Rubber mats but with a ton of bounce.  We worked contacts mostly, but also just ran courses to get back into the mood of agility.

Later we headed 50 miles north for a hike at a dam and to attend another practice at a place with turf.  I ended up opting out of the turf practice as I felt Fin and I were ready and took a walk instead.  I think the walk was more beneficial then the practice would have been. 

After the practice, we made the 50 mile drive back to the facility.  Dick's sporting goods is a huge complex and our area was 4 soccer fields surrounded by these tall mounds of grass.  Half of the field was a really nice turf, the other half was grass.  We all waited for the 4pm opening and then quickly found our crating area and spent the time to get set up.  Check in was relatively easy as storm clouds continued to threaten.  Just as we decided to leave and eat dinner, it started to rain.  People were still arriving as we were leaving.  I was happy we got all our stuff set up, dogs walked, and could now enjoy a nice dinner.

The excitement was building as we ate dinner and chatted about the runs to come.  A "Little bit of Crazy." was all set.

Day One:  Warm up run and Grand Prix Quarter Finals
Wed we woke up early and got our course maps.  If you were looking for us, you would find us huddled in small groups talking about our individual strategies.

First course was a warm up grand prix.  There are six rings and all the competitors are in groups.  Each of us have to find where we are running and what time.  To add to the confusion, three of the six rings are too soggy to run. There were tons of adjustments, and I thought everyone was doing their best to keep attitudes positive.

Fin and I did a great job on the practice course.  Nerves seemed to be worse then I expected.  I was so proud that I was able to work through my nerves and run well. 

My second run was grand prix quarter finals. Fin slipped in the weaves and that was it.  I made sure she was ok, then we finished the course strong.  I can't say I wasn't disappointed, but so proud of Fin, it was a scary slip but she got right back up and tried to finish the weaves.

Due to all the delays, rings were running until 8:30-9pm at night.  We waiting around to watch some of the Grand Prix and Steeplechase and "Wow!" was it exciting.

We headed to the room around 9pm.  Olive and Hotshot were high as kites and wanted to wrestle.  We tried to explain that wrestling was a quiet sport, but unfortunately they both ended up in crates allowing us to have a good nights sleep.

Day Two:  Team Snooker and Steeplechase Semis
All the dogs seem to be traveling well as we woke early and headed to the show site.  A quick walk, then grabbing course maps, and standing around the main ring to receive the briefing for the day.

I ran Snooker at 9:30.  I don't believe I have ever been this nervous.  I just kept breathing and telling Fin we were going to go out there and give it all we have.  I planned to do 4 reds, but once out there I felt I was running out of time so I headed to my closing after three.  We made it through!!!

The rest of the day was waiting for my turn at Steeplechase Semis and supporting my team mates.  They did awesome jobs, each running a great courses for their dogs and our team got a respectable number of points.

For Steeplechase semis, I went in again quite nervous.  I'm not sure why I was having trouble with my nerves, but all I could do is breath, do my stretches, make sure Fin was good, and go.  I did everything I could.  Fin did everything she could.  As we left the first set of weaves, I was a little out of position, and in an instant it was over.  Fin was in the wrong side of the tunnel!  Totally my fault.  I took a moment to breath, told her she was a good dog, and finished the course strong.

Day Three:  Team Jumpers and Team Gamble
Got to the site early to walk the dogs and were ready at 8am to get the briefing.  Although the briefing was all about Gamble, everyone was talking about the jumpers course.  Simply stated, it was hard.  Really hard.  So hard I was wondering how in the heck we would get through it.

Gamble for my team went really well for my team mates.  For me, Fin didn't want to do the teeter and we got our opening points, but failed in our closing.

Jumpers, I made an error at #3 and Fin flicked off my side into the tunnel.  I popped her back over the correct jump and ran the rest of the course like I could win it.  She was amazing.  I love my little girl so very much. 

Day Four:  Team Standard and Headed Home.
We only had one run today.  Walked at 8:20 and ran at 1:30.  The course seemed straightforward and I decided to give it all we had.  Fin read a wrap as a rear cross and I simply didn't get in there fast enough to save it.  Rest of the course was beautiful. 

Packed up and on the road by 4:30pm.  Gave everyone hugs and wished them luck.  Things happening at home caused us to make the decision not to stay for the finals.  We followed the show online as we drove the many miles back home.

Overall:  A truly wonderful experience.  I want to do it again!  Loved the venue.  Really enjoyed running on the turf surface.  Fin was AWESOME.  I need to step up my game, shake off the nerves and get the job done. 

We aren't in Wyoming anymore.