Friday, October 29, 2010

More teeter work!

So, last year I spend many hours driving to friend's yards to work on Spur's teeter issues. It took a village to conquer his teeter fears and it worked pretty well. But, as I know these little paw wringers never forget. Yet, what do I do, dumb ass I am? I let it go, not doing much maintenance, working more on his running dog walk and jumps because his teeter was so good. Then we did the indoor on rubber trial. BANG! The teeter issues came up again. It had been coming at some of the outdoor trials, too. Like the one gamble class I decide to do the teeter TWICE in the opening. WTF was I thinking???

So, now that the weather is good for lots of training I am doing a TON of running contacts because........well.......loser I am I let him jump it SO much as a youngster I have all that to "undo". We are getting there, but damn it is slow. I decided I better get that teeter work going again, too.

I brought out his "bang it" game again. Haven't done that since the "crash", so I was nervous about it. Plus, my teeter REALLY needs to be replaced, the grit is nearly gone so it is kind of slippery, and the ends are rotting, but it's what I have for now and it's usable. Come winter I will take it apart and make a new plank for it.

Spur is doing GREAT with his bang it game!!! He is still a wee bit worried, but he seems to be enjoying the game!! You judge -

I am not worried about his release. He is unlikely to come off too early in a trial and when I did start working on a hold and release he started to worry, so I let it go. I want his teeter to be easy and uncomplicated. I think he will be fine!

We are off today for Y-Agility in CT. Indoors on dirt. Roscoe should LOVE it!!! Spur, who knows. He hasn't seen dirt footing in a while and has never competed in a horse barn before, so it could go either way, as always.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I am trying to be creative!!

Spur had a melt down at the last indoor trial on rubber mats. He could hear every little thing and the noises were amplified because of the rubber and the trial being SO small. So, I decided I had to make my teeter noisier. Nailed old license plates to each end. Then I have a cookie sheet on the ground where the end lands, so the metal to metal makes a good bang!! Then as the teeter recoils back up the license plates rattle. I didn't nail them in snug, so they bang around as it hits and returns. It DEFINITELY makes it louder!!! Of course, he will soon get so used to THAT particular sound and each one has a different sound, but by making my one at home as loud as possible I think that should help.
Do you suppose it is a bad thing the license plate has devil numbers on it? :O Someone mentioned they I never had Rich in any of my photos. That's not entirely true. He is in the hiking photos!!
But anyway here he is agin, working piling up our wood!! Most of this is poplar felled during some of those crazy storms we had. It's all good, though, good for next year's wood!!! Feels good to have that there, ready for next year! :D Such a fall work thing to do. Pile up the wood!

And just because........more poo. Remember the corn poo? Well, it's been rained on, stepped on by the horses, but it persists and is still there right on our path every day to see. Someone ELSE pooped on top of it!! Probably fox? So, this poo just piles up and is becoming a station. The dogs pee on it, other animals poop on it. It's a station. A shit station!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Silly ducks!

The wildlife is so active right now. Fattening up for winter. Yesterday I did a home check for Blind Dog Rescue. A National group who had no one in this area to check out this home. Lovely retired couple with the most adorable little chi mix, Hattie Mae. They felt they had room for another dog, but didn't want another high energy one like Hattie. So, they "fell in love" with a dog on the internet. Just amazing process! This organization has a group of pilots that fly the dogs around. This dog came from IL!!! Flew here on Sunday. I went over to check things out and finalize the contract. Sweet little blind shih tzu. He seems to be adjusting just fine. He was found originally in TN tied outside, matted, starving, the people had abandoned him when they move. Poor little thing!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You know, I start to squeek and my voice gets higher and more frantic!

Why? Well, yesterday we worked on running dog walks, again. Roscoe, he gets it. Yes, he might jump on occasion when he's really high and running as fast as his little stick legs can move. But, he gets it. No reward for the jump = try again really hard and run the contact. Got it MA!!! Cookies all around, I got it!!!

Spur, not so much. Just when I say something after the last session that went like this....."Hey Rich! I think Spur is finally getting it!!" and then quietly I say also to Rich......"Hmmm, I have said that before haven't I?" which Rich quietly mumbles......."hmmm, uh huh".

Yesterday 10 tries - 10 successes. And pretty fast. YAY! 100% success rate!!!! I am all like what a great trainer I am and I even posted my videos on the internet and wow, how cool, great trainer, great dogs, wicked awesome running contacts. YEAH!! We GOT IT GOIN' ON!!

Today - not so much. Like three jumps in a row with Rich watching. He comments about strides and adjustments and speed. Yeah,'s basically my crappy training that has prevented the buggar from connecting the dots on the dog walk. Dots connected = HIT THE CONTACT as you run real fast over it. It's THREE FEET LONG!!! Connect the dots, little dude!! OK, I try again and he hits it, lots of cookies, but I am deflated. He knows it, he feels it. I am a crappy trainer.

I'll watch my internet videos over and over and hope that I inflate again. It's how this goes.

I know it's a process. I infate, I deflate. The world goes round and round. Spur wins his PGP and PSJ and then barely manages to hold it together for team. The world goes round and round.

Maybe I will watch my videos again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Faster, faster, faster!!

OK, so this little video is from yesterday. Our last "horrah" agility training outdoors in Buxton. I tried to get a friend to video Roscoe's running contacts. I have been working hard to get him faster. He was a 2o2o for years, until his dog walk just kept getting slower and slower and sloooooowwwwwwweeeeeeerrrrrr. I went to a running and in NO time he got it. He was THRILLED!!!! For whatever reason, stride? Body length? Speed? He got it easily. Yes, he CAN jump it and does on occasion, but amazingly he has never missed on in competition.

Unfortunately, she didn't set up that well for seeing the contact, but he nailed it every time and I think his speed is improving. He is certainly faster than Spur on this day, but Spur had just had a wee melt down. When I ran Spur I stumbled over a number cone and kicked it while he was running beside me. OH, dear........he started to wring his tiny paws. But, he recovered OK and in this video you see one of his contacts. It started to drizzle, so these are all I got from the day because I put away my camera.

Good little Roscoe does look to be picking up his speed, though, which is making me happy. He is NOT an athletic dog, his jumping style is poor, he isn't fast by nature, he just isn't. But, the little buggar has heart!! So, one place I think I can get more speed on course with him is his dog walk. So, I am pushing for it lately in training and I think it's working. He looks faster, doesn't he?.............

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Freakin' freaky fast!!

This is my idol! This dog runs her contact like no other! And what's really cool, this dog just went through chemo for lymphosarcoma!! She ROCKS!!! This is Dylan, Angie Benaquisto's Rat Terrier. I mean, seriously Muffin Heads, check this out!!! -

I finally figured out how to crop and blend videos!! Now I just need to figure out how to put them in slow motion.

Here is my first editing attempt. Spur's running contacts from late spring at a friend's yard. -

Here is my next attempt. Spur's running contact work from early spring in my yard. I tried to put an annotation where there was a jump and it didn't come through? He jumps one time at second 4 -

This one is from today. He jumps at second 12 -

We changed one thing since the work in the spring. I bought another strike plate so the beeps occur in a greater area. We had some set backs for a while when he starting having good hits, but not hitting the 10x12" single plate. I would love him to hit middle contact, but he most often at speed hits higher up, so I put the two plates on the upper 2/3rds of the contact zone.

We are at about 80% good hits right now. I sure would like a better ratio, but it is the hardest thing I have ever had to train, so I am feeling OK about 80% right now. We have had so many set backs. Major teeter issues that transfered to the dog walk and set us back a LOT. My inability to SEE when he had good hits, so rewards were not always great. The addition of the second strike plate is a big help, I think. And I do think he is slowly having a better understanding of his job. He is a slow learner since so often he is worried, so I think this has taken longer than it should with most dogs? I don't know, but we sure have been at this a long time. I do this work with him daily, now that the weather is good. About 8 repetitions. Summer was WAY too hot, so we didn't hardly do anything contact work and he had a break from it. He seems to enjoy doing it, so that's good!

Fall, it makes me smile!

Colby is happy, she finds great big green grasshoppers to hunt and eat!! -

The ducks make us smile as they munch on something under the water. - And then there is poo. OK, so that doesn't make me smile. This is coyote scat after about three weeks. The rain washed away everything except for the hair? Oh MY! -

Roscoe, he has to mark it every time we pass it. It is right in the middle of the farm road.It was a busy week. VERY busy. One day I walked like 11 dogs! OK, some visits had two dogs, but still that was a lot of dog walks. My phone/email has been "off the hook" busy with calls coming in. I am very pleased and very lucky to be so busy and have business coming in right now.

The weather is GREAT for doing running dog walk work. So, every afternoon I run. And RUN and RUN and RUN. I really need to get back to my jogging, I get so out of breath sprinting a few running contacts. Poor Spur does SO well and then I have to stop and gasp for breath. Damn! When I think I am in good shape, reality sets in. But, the sprinting is good exercise and better than nothing. And I think Spur is starting to get it better. It is SUCH a long process. Of course, because I let him jump it so much when he was younger, just trying to get speed and confidence that is hurting us now. It may always hurt us. I just didn't know what else to do with him when he was in that state at the beginning. If you watched any of his old videos, struggling to even trot around the agility course, you know he was not easy to deal with. Now? We are practicing back crosses!!! It's awesome, he's doing SO well. I would like his dog walk to be faster, but I do think he is starting to understand his job and that's a good thing. And even though he isn't running full speed, it is faster than some people's stopped contacts, so that's cool. I settle for what I have and am happy for that! I think the speed will come. I know he can do it. I really do know that!!!

Today I will try to get photos maybe videos of his teeter work. Yesterday he ran to his teeter as we headed out for our walk (I didn't ask for it!!) and slid right off it because it was covered with frost. :O Oh, damn, I thought that might scare him, but NOPE, he jumped right back on and did a bang it game!!!! YAY!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Corn poo photo and the old man is still here! And read to the end, I put a video that's amazing on here!!!

That would be Roscoe's ear. He's sniffing the corn poo. See the hair? It must be coyote poo! ENORMOUS coyote poo!
Here is a better perspective. Roscoe standing near it! Yikes! That's a BIG poo!! Like Kielbasa size poo!! Do they make corn Kielbasa? -

Rest easy, though, the old man Zeus is still with us. I need to update a photo of him. He's really looking old, but his three pills are helping him hang in there and I really think he's doing pretty well. He must be on his ninth life!
This shot is from gathering the horses from the back pasture. Notice which dog is on a leash?? The Pin Heads have no interest in the horses. The "herding" dog? He is leashed.

Not sure why I liked this photo so much. The clear blue sky didn't really show, but I liked the "layer". The green grass, the dried grass, the trees. -
We are still working on those super fast recalls, hoping to get Spur to be FIRST to get to me. He's getting better. More confident. See? He's neck and neck with Roscoe!! He can totally out run Colby, but he lets her win. He used to always let Roscoe win, too, he would be last to arrive. Not so much any more. He beats Roscoe more and more. All this stuff with Spur is slow to come along. He's WAY faster than Roscoe, but that social intimidation has been tough to work through. When it's just Spur by himself, he's super fast. With the others, he worries.

We keep plugging along!!! I need to get some new videos of his teeter work. We are back to doing some crazy bang it games. I nailed two old license plates to the ends, so when it hits it BANGS and rattles!! I have a cookie sheet on the ground, so the metal to metal bangs, then the recoil also rattles because the license plates are not nailed tight.

OK, here's the video. Titled "Heartbreaking Ending". OMG, this is amazing!!! With dogs, anything can happen!!! -

Monday, October 18, 2010

Danger, danger!!!!

This morning on our walk the dogs knew someone had been there. They air scented and gathered around a clump of grass, all marking it simultaneously. We came across the BIGGEST poo!! Full of corn and hair. I'll bring my camera this afternoon and try to get a photo of it if the birds haven't picked through it. Nothing like recycled corn. Easier than picking it off the cobs, I suppose. The dogs all peed on it. I haven't seen our old Zeus kitty this morning.

This was taken last year, but I bet the poo came from someone similar. -

That fence line is about 4 feet tall. It may be why we haven't seen many of these this year -The construction across the street has devastated some of the deer and coyote grounds. Very sad. Rich flew over it yesterday and said it is disgusting and horrible to see from the sky.

We kept the little dogs really close on our walk this morning.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

3.38? Really?

That's what the timer said on my USDAA Nationals "tv" live feed last night when I clicked off. Um, nearly 3 1/2 hours watching? SERIOUSLY???

OK, Muffin Heads, I wasn't watching it the WHOLE time. I did get up to pee and get a slice of pizza at one point.

Finals today. Too busy to post here. Yeah, busy. I'm busy!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Since it's POURING rain, a major "NorEasta", I'm glued to my computer.

However, I am NOT watching the live feed from the USDAA Nationals as I had planned!!! They have had "technical difficulties" and the site and live feed are down. Waaaaaaaaa!!!!! They were down all day yesterday and we can only hope they will have it back up for tonight's runs. It's SO frustrating!!! It's like a Black Out for us at home wanting to watch!!! It just shows us that computers are vulnerable and we can't count on them like we would like. Although, it is especially frustrating that another group can DO this sort of thing without issue, they just did it of the World Championships a few weeks ago. A live feed from Europe that went very well, but NO can USDAA figure it out???? Nope. I am not one to be critical of computer technicals. I am a LOSER at that!!! But, still they did promise us? Am I whining?? YES!!! Whine, whine, whine!!!!

It's pouring rain, a real No'Easter and what else would I do? OK, so I can do my newsletter. Oh boy, how fun! I get to do that instead of watch my friends run at the Nationals. Yipeeeeeeeeeee!!! Oh boy!! First I have a few walks to do today and a couple kitty visits. I am very glad for my rain gear!

Now, I really can't complain about our weather, however. It has been the LOVELIEST fall so far! Just PERFECT dog walking weather. Yesterday's first walk was with Kojak, the best dog in the world, and we met up with my friend Marty and her Landseer (black and white Newfoundland), HunkiDori. Dori and Kojak were FAST friends, flirting and wanting to play. It was SO cute!!! Kojak is a grade 3 Mast Cell cancer survivor and nearly 14 years old!! He acts like a puppy sometimes!! Dori thought he was handsome. He thought she was to DIE for!!! What a great morning! Yesterday.

This is George and Spur racing for their recall cookies on Tuesday's afternoon farm walk. I just LOVE the fall light.

This morning, not so nice. Pouring rain. My dogs put on the breaks SO fast when we opened the door. I am VERY thankful I have a lean-to on the back of the barn. We headed out there and they did their business under cover. :D I just had to remind them, as they were distracted finding left over little bits of horse shit to munch on. :P Any tiny tidbit with do, you know.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE fall???

The cows have sex. Sorry, I didn't think it was appropriate to post his "lipstick", so this is foreplay. Those "bully sticks" are icky looking anyway. Did you really want cow porn on here? Naw, trust me you don't. -
I think the colors are fantastic!!! -

The geese arrive and fatten up on the tilled in corn. They gather. -

The ferns turn a golden, greenish, yellow and wither away -

Spur races along the woods road, chasing active chippies and squirrels busy stocking up for winter. -

The leaves are SO pretty. OK, so in auto mode my camera focuses on the tree. Still, it's kind of cool, really. Robert Vavra made famous horse photos where everything but the horses was blurry. Roscoe wants his chaise cushion back to sunbathe. Sorry, Muffin, it got wet in the morning dew. He backs up to the steps and sits on the warm flag stones. -

The hydrangeas turn a lovely shade of pink and engross my fence!! Trimming that bush is always a major fall project. Might not get done. -

I leave the dried sunflowers for the birds.
I have been working on sit-stays and really fast releases. Spur has always been last to get to me and it's all about his worry. He doesn't want to push the Pin Heads our of line. He knows he is low on the totem pole of dog authority in the pack. I want him FIRST. I want him to try to be first in line. It happens, on occasion and more and more lately, but it's rare. -

We will keep at it!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today it all starts!!

The official start of the "Cynosport World Games" in Louisville KY is today!!! This is the USA's premier dog event of the year. More dogs in one place than any other event, ever!!! It's HUGE!!!! It used to take place in AZ and all I heard about was how HOT it was. Enough folks complained, I guess, so they changed it to Louisville KY. That made it a drive-able event for many of my friends up here in New England!!!!

Many of my friends are there! Us home bodies are following them on facebook. We get updates, often. Like what time they get up in the morning and what kind of cover they put on the hotel bed. We get photos of their dogs on the beds. We get updates on where they eat, if they got a speeding ticket getting there, if the room was bed bug free. What route they took. All important things. I am envious. Wish I was there. It's kind of a lot $$$$. I will read updates on facebook and watch the live feed videos all week/weekend, if I can. And send good wishes to all my friends competing!!

Here is the schedule!! LOTS of stuff going on! -

Tonight some of them are going to a special event at Churchill Downs. How cool!!!! It all sounds so fun and so interesting and I will live vicariously through them. My friends. My agility competitor friends. Maybe next year? Maybe little Spur will get to go next year? One of my friends put away $20 each week to safe for her trip. OK, finding a nice envelope to do just that. Will I save it? Will I dip into it and spend it on fancy shoes and pedicures, or will I save it for next year? Do I even really want to go? Is it THAT much fun? Some say it is even if you dog isn't that competitive. It's just so fun to have THAT much dog stuff going on around you.

OK, that sounds pretty fun!!! Read the schedule. It does sound fun!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

More hiking photos!!

This is shell pond!! It has a lovely loop hike around it that is almost four miles. We did that after coming down from Blueberry ridge. It had lovely streams coming into it!

There were very cool lichens growing on the trees! Like stacks of pancakes!

The dogs had to pose, of course, at a rest stop!

This grove was the trail head as we entered the shell pond loop. Oh My God, it was the prettiest place, EVER!!!! The people who live at StoneHouse Rd. property maintain these fields and groves so well. It is SO lovely!! They are so nice to let the public on this property!!!! Although, we got such an early start and were the first car there and saw no one until we were almost back. Then there were about 10 cars.

The winding stream, we think is part of the stream that was rattlesnake pool up on the ridge. Just an out of this world beautiful spot!!! On a hot summer day what a great spot for the dogs to take a dip!!! The stream was so clear and pretty with the rocks and colored leaves!!! SO pretty!!!!
The Stonehouse. Thank you Stonehouse people!!!!! We LOVE your property!!!!!

This photo is so small, but if you look REALLY closely Spur is walking at the bottom of the photo in the shade (you may be able to click on the photo and have it come up larger?). The dogs were having a ball catching grasshoppers. The field was BUZZING with grasshoppers!!

Spur had to do zoomies around the field. I think it was stress relief after coming off the ridge. The ridge was awesome, but the winds that day were INCREDIBLE and made it a little scary at times. We were very glad to be off the ridge when some of the gusts came up. It was the only damper on the day. The very high winds!!! The field was a lovely respite from the woods and he had a great time zooming around. Colby was far too busy catching grasshoppers.There is something so clear and blue about the fall sky!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hiking photos!

Huh, seems I loaded these photos backwards. It's just too hard to move them around, so this photo "story" isn't in order. This first photo is on our way down and I stopped in a sun spot to warm up while Rich went to photograph the gorge. I didn't want the dogs anywhere near the gorge. Last time it came upon us SO quickly and the edge is SCARY!!! Like 30 feet drop straight down!!
I was a little cold so that little spot of warm sun felt GOOD. You don't work as hard going down, so I wasn't warmed up that well. And I hadn't expected it to be so cold. The winds made the chill really sharp. My light black shell just wasn't enough and I left my gloves at home, dumb ass I am.
This sign shows the way to the rattlesnake pool and the gorge. We did go check out the rattlesnake pool.

It was pretty cool, would have been REALLY nice had it been a hot summer day. The pool was really deep, crystal clear and I imagine on a hot summer day a wonderful rest stop for a dip!!! Just lovely, but this day it just looked COLD!
The colors of the leaves and rocks were so pretty. This shot is from above the pool....

I love how this photo looks like we are heading out of the dark and into the sun. My hands are shoved deep into my pockets.

Me and my three little black dogs -
Rich kept saying he didn't think the colors were as vibrant this year. Huh? Seemed BRILLIANT to me. This shows shell pond. Once we got down we did the loop around that pond, almost a 4 mile loop that was LOVELY!!!! -

On the way up. I was warmer then.

The photos just don't show the incredible stone steps that well. I mean, seriously muffin heads, this took a LOT of work to make!!! -
These next two photos just crack me up! I guess me and Spur have little discussions fairly often. I can't remember what we were talking about. He is so engaging!!! -
More tomorrow. Off to start my day. A home visit for blind dog rescue at 10:00, then ride my sweet little pony. Wash windows, move the lawn, do some gardening. I wonder how much of that I'll get done? Right now, another cup of coffee and the paper will do just fine.