Thursday, September 30, 2010
I love fall, I love winter, the woodstove, more reading, but I do not like that outdoor agility class comes to come to an end.
I will start up Rally obedience again, I think. My dogs love obedience. Why not? It's all fun stuff. Just look at my favorite trainer and her puppy class (see video). BOY do I wish she were in the US and in Maine even better. But, she is in Slovenia, so I can just "cyberstalk" her and hope she does another seminar in New England again.
Talk about a fun puppy class!!!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Colby at 4 months old taken by her first foster home........Spur at 5 months old having just been sprung from the shelter. He's smaller than Roscoe!!!...... They sure do grow up fast! I don't have any of Roscoe at that age. He arrived to us at about 1 year. We have nothing on him before that.
Still need to do some photo file clean up, but you know, there is a Red Sox game to go watch!
Monday, September 27, 2010
And it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!! The dogs dealt with it better and it's now the way it will be.
OK, so all my non-agility friends - PGP is Performance Grand Prix. PSJ is Performance Speed Jumping. In PGP there is nearly a full agility course of obstacles. The only thing missing is the table, so it's fun, fast and full of obstacles. PSJ is a course that includes doing the weaves twice or the a-frame twice, but has no dog walk or teeter or table. There can be tunnels and there are lots of jumps. It's FAST and fun and usually has a nice flow to it. These are essential qualifiers for bigger events. So, by winning the PGP Spur now has a "bye" for next year's Regional. We got a big ribbon and an official looking pink sheet confirming our "bye". What the heck? OK, I guess that means he can skip the first round and go straight to the second round at a regional. COOL!!! As if we have such big plans.
It was nice to get these wins and Spur ran really well. Roscoe was a close second in both runs. He ran well all weekend and showed no sign of his crash with the patio furniture last week. Phew!! He's a tough little buggar!!
One disturbing occurance during the weekend was Spur aggressed at two dogs. :O OK, so I kind of thought I had done my time with aggression in dogs. *Roscoe*. I guess not. I am still being tested, still paying my dues, still going to have to put in the time with a reactive dog? My consolation? He is not people aggressive at all. I think what is happening is he is feeling pretty good about himself now that he has had some BIG FAT RIBBONS and his all important "bye" and is pounding his chest some!! DAMN! I am glad he feels so pumped up and BIG, but aggressing at the giant shepherd as we entered the building was perhaps not the right choice? Time for some strict management at trials now. "WATCH OUT, HERE COMES THAT IDIOT LADY WITH HER TINY BLACK TERROR DOGS!!!" I thought I was over that. Roscoe is awesome with other dogs now.
Enough of that, I will deal. These dogs come to us for a reason, right? I will deal. Spur will be managed. Better. No letting the dumb cocker come sniff the left over salmon Spur is eating as we warm up ring side. OK, so really that was DUMB on the owner's part, but her dog has met Spur before and done fine. Still, when a dog is being fed.......well.....anything really, but especially yummy, stinky, slimey, smelly left-over salmon, don't let your dog come up and get in that dog's face!!!! Just don't do it! Not a good plan.
The shepherd incident? Totally unprovoked. The Spurminator just LAUNCHED into a snarling, explosion of teeth and spit. Luckily, I had a tight leash and grabbed hold firmly and pulled him away. Still, it freaked me out and is a bummer.
Oh well, see, like I said we had out ups and downs.
Here are the videos. PGP first, PSJ finals below that. What a good little Monkey Pants!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Well, yesterday morning Roscoe impaled himself on a chair leg. Stopped him dead short!! He smashed his mouth and broke a tooth. I think the tooth will be OK, it's just broken at the bottom and still seems firmly rooted. His head, neck and back are a bit sore. Took him to the vet for cold lazer and acupressure. Gave him aspirin and hopefully he'll be just fine. Poor little guy!!!
I hate to think this could end his chase-me games. Those are SUCH good exercise.
I may not get on here to post for a while. WAY busy day today and tomorrow as soon as my walks are done we are off to RI for the BARK trial. I can't WAIT!!!! I love that site. Long drive, but the site is lovely and the hotel really nice!!!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Carrie and I are sharing a two month job caring for four kitties. Last weekend one ripped open the barricade that the owner's had put up to keep them out of under the stairs. Duck tape and cardboard just don't do it. Well, turns out under the stairs is a tiny cubby hole that leads to a little closet area, that if the kitty climbs the shelves she can get into.........THE WALLS!!! Which she did. I had visions of her making her way deep into the walls of the house and not seeing her for the next 7 weeks. Um..........NIGHTMARE!!!
Rich helped me and removed a small panel of the ceiling and we did spot her. No reaching her, but she looked to have a dead end, THANK GOD! So, we left everything open, praying the other kitties would not join her. Carrie found her out yesterday!! WAHOOOOOOOO!!!! I ran right over with my drill and properly secured all wall/ceiling hole entrances! Damn, that was freaking me out! "Job From Hell" is cooling off and turning into not so bad. :D
This week my mid-day walks are at an all time high. Yesterday, as I thoroughly enjoyed every one, I thought about how I would be feeling if I had this many walks this past summer in that heat. This week, I am lovin' the extra walks! I felt like the heat just dragged me and the dogs down and we all were moving in slow motion. It's like we have LIFE back in our steps!! The dogs are feeling GREAT and moving out and I am finally feeling ALIVE again!! It was a long, hot summer for a dog walker and this great fall weather is absolutely THE BEST!!
So, if I am not posting here as much as usual, it's because I am logging the miles with a dog on my arm! :D I am also working really hard on Spur's contacts with the BARK trial coming up this weekend. Yesterday he did two very nice contacts at class. Not super speedy, we were in one of our strange melt-downs, but he wasn't trotting. He lopped it and nailed his contact twice, so perhaps we are onto something!!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Why? Maybe because I need encouragement? I need reinforcement, positive reinforcement and looking at this picture is that. Positive reinforcement that I CAN teach Spur to run his contacts. That it IS possible.
OK, so it doesn't really DO that for me, but it does show me what he CAN do. Whether I teach it to him or not, we will see.
Here is what I learned today. I CAN make it clearer to him if I remove toys from the picture. Why? I think there are several reasons. One - we reinforced too many misses with toys. Two - he gets too mentally unfocused with a toy.
Today I tried really hard to be very patient. I set up our planks in the back yard. They are about 8" off the ground. Essentially one long plank with a contact zone. I set up both hit-it boards to beep. He jumped, he jumped, he jumped, he jumped and I then had him do some a little slower and he hit it - JACKPOT!! Jackpot and smoked turkey sandwich meat all the way back to the start. Run again, HIT = JACKPOT!! This continued successfully for about 10 reps. We rested.
Tried later and had one jump, then 8 successes!! At OK speed. Not as fast as he would go for a toy, but running and adjusting his stride to hit the contact. YAY!!!
Later out in the agility yard on the full dog walk. 10 reps = 100% success. Still not the speed we get with a toy, but running and adjusting stride. I would prefer faster and no stride adjustment, but at least we have some sort of understanding. This is all with food only. I may have to resort to that for a while and settle with the slower speed, but greater success.
Have I mentioned how hard this is?
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The hike up took us up some very rocky trails. They had blasted the stone to make "stairs"!! What a LOT of work that must have been, but it was absolutely fabulous!!! A rugged hike, for sure, but without that work and without the "stairs" it would have been near impossible? -At the top there were few hand holds. The dogs just flew past me! Colby did great, regardless of her eye sight failing. We kept her close and made sure there were not big drops or leaps for her to mis-judge. We did have one slight scare just before leaving the forest and making our way to the summit...........the dogs flushed a porc!! Thankfully, a fast moving porcupine that allowed us to recall the dogs before they got to it!!! OI!!! That would have put a major damper on our hike. We stopped to rest at one point and admire the incredible views of Bald mountain. I loved those dead trees there!! The dogs loved their cookies.We found a shady spot for a photograph. Huh? I suppose a sunny spot might have been more appropriate? (Notice the agility tee shirt Rich is wearing!! Bwwaaaaaa!!!)Captain Roscoe had to pose on a cairn. Show off! (Oh shoot, my hand is there, showing the cookies I was using to get his attention! Oh well!) At the top we found this very cool wild flower!! It had gone to seed, but the seed heads were SO pretty and white and fluffy and awesome!! They grew in a big puddle of water!!
My trail guide, showing us the way home.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I don't know why this happens sometimes, but sometimes at agility class I feel like I have about ten thumbs, twenty big toes and a brain the size of a pea!! I do things that I know I shouldn't do. Over and over and over. I become that idiot person I see stumbling over their poor little dog, gasping for air, trying to remember the course. OK, so maybe it isn't THAT bad or maybe it IS, but I do hate those days when I drive home thinking..........WHAT WAS I THINKING????
I try to be all organized and plan my runs and what to do if things go wrong and make plans and plan and plan. OK, so all my planning and thoughts went out the window yesterday. I DID manage to put a stick in the ground pole at the end of the dog walk to make the contact successful for Spur, but other than that, my plans were non-existent. Gone from my head, so I end up simply giving him tons of cookies for doing nothing but being my buddy and getting pats at the end of our horrible run. It does nothing more than make the end of his run happy, make ME feel better. You know, I get that thing Patricia McConnell calls........"all oxytociny feeling".......just by feeding my dog. OI! Whatevahhhhhh............
I have to admit my classmates irritate me a little and that doesn't help my plans. We have many different jump heights in this class, and I don't like running my two back to back, and it is like pulling teeth to get them to help change the bars. Changing the bars makes class go so much faster, smoother, not so much waiting between runs. The instructor can not do it all herself, it would take TOO long. I always try to help change bars. I like it, because as I do it I am chatting about what went right or wrong with my run here, or there or with someone else's run here or there, or at that jump or the other. I am engaged in the class and it helps run things faster and smoother. The others......not so much help........off chatting, not ready when their turn comes, we loose precious time waiting for them......it makes me NUTS!
So, classmates if you are reading this and you very well might be..........PULEEEEEZZZZZZ..........HELP CHANGE JUMP BARS!!!! You will learn something while doing it, class will go so much faster and we might even get more time to do something ELSE at the end of class!! We pay good money for class, let's get all we can out of it, A? OK?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Check it out at Kirby's blog -
I'll be entering Spur. Pin Heads are too experienced. This is for novice heelers. Start with a preliminary video showing how much work your little heeler needs. Then by the end of October show another video showing your progress!!
Monday, September 13, 2010
We have until the middle of October to come up with a video submission. I wish I knew how to edit with music and slo mo and stuff, but I don't.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I told my instructor we could maybe put a citronella collar on my and she could spritz me every time I squeak. She said she didn't think there was enough citronella. :O
#2 - Roscoe will not be doing ANY more outdoor trials. I know, I said this before, but after that decision was made I decided to try one or two runs. Last weekend, he ran OK. Just OK. Yesterday? He was off. Way off. I scratched his second run and am now going to stick to NO outdoor trials.
#3 - Running two 12" Performance dogs in USDAA is WAY hard. Yesterday there were only two dogs between Spur and Roscoe. That meant I had to have someone hold them while I ran the other. That's limiting as there are only so many people who can hold Roscoe. And for both dogs it really isn't fair. The first one gets maybe 60 seconds of reward, then the second dog gets NO warm up? It's too hard and they run so differently I have trouble adjusting and trouble dealing, it's just trouble. I have both boys entered in many runs at BARK the end of the month, but hopefully that will be a bigger trial and there will be more dogs between us. But, that may be one of the last trials I run the two dogs together. Sucks, but it's just too hard. Or I can put them in seperate classes. I'll have to make plans and think hard about how I enter the two together.
It was/is easier in AKC only because the 12" class is WAY bigger. Sometimes it is even the biggest class!!! It's just the way it goes. USDAA doesn't favor little dogs, plain and simple, it's just the way it goes. The 12" class is small in USDAA.
Roscoe is 11, so even though he is in great shape, mentally he just struggles and we may have to settle with a slightly lesser agility schedule to let young Spur dominate. I wish I had more time so I could focus on Rally with Roscoe. It's his absolute favorite thing to do. We will get back into it come winter, but right now agility is my first love, so with Spur coming along so nicely that's what we are doing.
Spur found a team for the first weekend in October. Spur and Jace will be "Jace Gets Spurred On". LOL!! YAY!! Spur's first team! I hope we can pull our weight. Jace is seasoned, Spur is not. Sheila seemed OK about that.
Stop squeaking, stop squeaking, stop squeaking...............
Friday, September 10, 2010
Her silly little face scrunches up SO cute when she grabs her ball!!!
She is very smart. SO wish she had a tail. Her little bum wiggles just like my Jess' did and it melts my heart, but I am SO done with dogs not having tails. What the HECK??? Why do we do that? What's the point? I hear there was a point with big aussies, the tail caught so many prickers and brambles and dirt and could distract the livestock they worked. Um, OK, I guess that makes sense? Sort of. I have seen many aussies with tails and they do just fine. Heck, collies have tails and they do fine. Border collies have tails and they do fine. Talk about hair catching things, a collie has TONS. You wouldn't dock their back legs because of hair now, would you??? >:/
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
In the heat of the moment some things just fly right out of one's head and we do things we are hardly even aware of. It's weird. Like aliens take over our bodies. I say that in the collective as if it happens to other people. It does, doesn't it? I know it does, I see it. I see it loud and clear when watching others, but when I do it I don't see it so clearly. Odd how that happens.
So, after that nice whack in the head he doesn't start off all that fast, but then starts to pick up speed. Does one of his awesome A-frames and then we are moving!! My front cross doesn't look SO bad, but obviously he didn't read it that well and lands somewhat behind me, which slows him down. Darn. But, then he gets into his weaves and is REALLY moving along, so I peel off thinking I can since he is SO super fast and SO super awesome.......he does a 10th pole pop out, darn it!! But, look at him go, he looks so happy and good and having fun and flying along and doing a nice A-frame and racing me to the finish. Full little Monkey Pants!!!
This one is our standard run. Or most of it. Look at that AWESOME teeter!!! Yay for Spur!!! He was clean except for another 10th pole pop out. And I converged into him, thinking I could keep him in there, but out he came. Oh well, an issue we have to work on. I heard it said this is a common green dog issue, so something we will work on. He sure looks happy and fast and doing a great job!! I am SO proud!!!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Anyway, if you can watch it I am SO proud of The Spur Man!! Not sure it was all my fault his wide turn at my front cross to jump #3? I think he was simply focused on the big green tunnel opening looking at him straight away. My favorite part? Watch his A-frame!!! At first I thought the video sped up!! Seriously, it kind of looks that way! :D He FREAKIN' FLIES over that A-frame!!! Adorable!! He loves his A-frames and with really no training at all does them perfectly, I think. I love that! I love things that train so easily. Or essentially just train themselves. Can I peel off the A-frame and leave him to do the whole thing himself without me there? Not sure. I can at home, but not sure in a trial.
He does miss his dog walk contact, though, in this run. Damn. Not sure why, it does look like I am running pretty hard? Although you can't see me that well, so maybe I slowed down. Regardless, his dog walk is in need or work. He is enjoying it, but I need to get that going for us. That is perhaps the greatest training challenge I have ever encountered. If I can get that going, boy I will be SOME proud of myself. I am determined.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
We do seem to be having a 10th pole pop out issue at the moment. Three of four pole attempts had a 10th pole pop out. Huh. That we can work on, so we will. He enjoys his poles, so off to work we go on finishing his poles.
We also had two of three dog walk contacts missed. That I wasn't surprised about. His contact must be maintained a LOT and we haven't done much at all for over a month. I just can't get out there and run may ass off when it's 90+ degrees and humid. I just can't. So, this week, we will be running.....lots of running dog walks. I also know that I didn't run full out while he was on his dog walk and my slowing down is not a good thing. I worry and then he slows down and ends up leaping the end. If I can just stay at top speed the whole way he has a much greater chance of hitting the contact. We are having a bit of a learning curve here.
I had some gigantuan handling errors that messed him up big time here and there, but the good little buggar recovered and put his big boy pants on and looked sharp and happy again. His last run was standard and he had the most AWESOME, super fast A-frame. I beat him to the other side of it and was amazed to see his tiny body leaping the apex!! Wahoooooooooooo.......Spur Man!!!
And, this was his first trial completely in PIII (Masters) level!! YAY!!! We had a really nice snooker run for a Super Q!! Hah! His first ever PIII snooker and he gets a Super Q!
He just keeps getting faster and more and more comfortable with the whole scene. I could not BE more proud!
Roscoe did one run, just to test his outdoor agility trial status. It was OK. Pretty OK. Almost really good. I had stupid handling errors, but he looked pretty good.
**Video of his last run, Standard. He comes off the start line pretty nicely, with some good speed, you can see I start to slow down toward the end of the dog walk. It is going into "no where" and we have that kind of nasty weave entry after it, so I definitely am slowing down to get my front cross in there. My thoughts are that I should have RUN wicked fast, then just gathered him up and regrouped for the weave entry. Might have hit the contact, then. I look back at my other videos and the good hits I do keep running. I notice Angie Benaquisto does that, she RUNS like the WIND when Dylan is on his dog walk. And SHE can RUN!
You will also notice the second to last jump where I do a not so well executed rear cross, he knocks the bar and it scares him so he scoots around the last jump. Poor little buggar. I left the ring with him like he was a ROCK STAR! There were moments of brilliance out there and I didn't want him to think otherwise at this early stage in his career. He needs all the support he can get!! I mean, really, that was one of his nicest A-frames! Just how I want it done, perfect!
And just to compare, because I think that is very helpful with a dog like him, so I don't forget how far we have come. This video is from last June, 09 at class. Not too long after his teeter "crash".
Friday, September 3, 2010
Now to get some heeling at home videos. Maybe some brace heeling (two dogs).
I have been making sure my crazy volunteer squash plant is watered. It is producing so many squashes for us!! It's AWESOME! But, notice the brown grass below it? Some of my lawn is completely dried up and brown and crispy. Totally gone dormant and hopefully will recover at some point.
We have already picked about 15 of these from this crazy plant!!! :D
And if you are a lucky recipient of one, know that I washed it well before handing it to you. Hahahahaha........actually, I don't think any dog pee has landed on a squash, just the outer leaves. Hey, it's growing in the dog yard!!! I'm not going to tell them they can't pee out there. All my perennials have to be dog pee hardy or they just don't make it. I do feel a little bad for my lovely lilac, which doesn't really like acidic soil. Pee = acidic soil. Damn. It's strategically planted right where the dogs head out and first pee. Oh well, lots of wood stove ashes help, I think. Sorry Lilac!
This weekend will be Spur's first full PIII entry. That means Master's courses for everything he is entered in. Oh MY, Baby Spur is a "big" boy now! :O
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
We have two days of USDAA agility this weekend. Haven't practiced much. Too FREAKIN' HOT! After walking dogs all day in the hot breeze I came home and camped out in the office. My house is dirty. Dog hair every where, sheets need cleaning, laundry hamper is full, I can write my name in the dust on my dresser, so I holed up in the office yesterday afternoon with the AC and read my book. I simply couldn't do ANYTHING else. I totally melt into a grumpy pile of complaining bitchiness. Please heat, GO AWAY.
For the first time in, well, ever? I am not looking forward to agility class tonight.