Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fun in the Snow

It snowed only a bit yesterday, but it was enough to have a good romp. Both Cosi and Mike love to eat snow, so to get them focused on something else, I brought out the Frisbee and the Holey Roller, their two favorite fetching toys. I was surprised that Jenny came out to play, but not only did she come out, she participated in a good-hearted catch-me-if-you-can game with Brisco. Brisco was not showing his 10 years as he acted quite like a puppy, barking and prodding Jenny, asking her to play. Then Mike and Brisco got into a I'll-be-the-sheep-and-you-be-the-dog game. Mike make a dodge, then started running in circles. Brisco, too smart for such antics, cut off the corner and herded Mike into the garden. The Mexican Standoff around the yew bush was quite funny to watch. Brisco had him right where he wanted him. =:O)

Here are some photos of our time in the snow. Judging by the snow on the noses, I'd say the dogs had fun.

Cosi's favorite toy is the Holey Roller. As I threw it, snow gathered in the center and quickly made a ball. This baffled Cos and he tried to get at the ball in the center to eat it.

It looks like Jenny is minding the glare. She needs her diva sunglasses.

Brisco checks out the neighbor's yard in between chasing Jenny and Mike.

Mike brings the Frisbee back a few times, then lies down to have a good pup-sicle chew.

Happy New Year, everyone.

New Year's Barkin' Eve

New Year's Eve--anticipation is in the air. I can't believe it will be 2010! That sounds like the name of a science fiction movie, not the actual year.

The Shelties are ready to celebrate, and Jenny went to the groomer's yesterday so she is stylin'.

Here are our wishes for you in the New Year:

Cosi says, "May your agility courses be fun!"

Brisco says, "May your best sits be rewarded with excellent cookies!"

Mike says, "May your weaves be bouncy and fun!"

Jenny says, "May your stocking be Poodle-sized!"

Health and Happiness to all in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where's Waldo?

Here's the Christmas picture I promised you! Can you find Cosi's new friend, Gumby, in the photo?

Happy New Year from (left to right) Mike, Brisco, Cosi, and Jenny.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all and good will to all men.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day

There's nothing better than a fluffy, snowy Saturday when you have no plans. We're getting about 8" of snow today, and it's perfect for the dogs. I like the fluffy snows as opposed to the heavy, wet, almost rainy snows. This is a nor'easter so it will snow all day and into tonight. Just in time for Christmas!

Here's the yard BD (before dogs mess up the nice, white blanket).

It's only 9 a.m. and already the snow is up to Mike's elbows.

Cosi is always ready for any type of weather. Isn't the snow beautiful on his red/gold coat?

Anna sure is warm on this snowy day with all the dogs around her! You've heard of a 3 Dog Night? Well, this is a four-dog afternoon. =:O)

Mike is becoming quite the cuddle bunny! Here he's loving up Anna, putting his chin on her shoulder. What a dear boy.

After you come in from playing in the snow, grab your Gumby and have a nap...

or buddy up with a Sheltie in a nice warm crate.

That's our snowy day...hope you're feeling the Christmas spirit wherever you are.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Sad State of Affairs

This year's AKC Invitational was a sad state of affairs. I had read posted items on the AgileDogList, but sometimes those postings are exaggerations. However, someone at the event took video and edited it into this segment:

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

I saw that video and was appalled. I saw a fellow competitor, Maureen Waldren, in the video with her Keeshound, Meg. How sad that she had to put up with conditions like that. We've all known crazy weather days at agility trials. This was past that and into another realm! They were basically crating in a river!

As exhibitors what can we do? To whom should we write to effect change?

UPDATE

I saw a posting today from an exhibitor who was there. She writes that the AKC send an letter of apology to the agility competitors. As she put it, they learned a huge lesson from this event. I'm glad there's been a some positive results from this Invitational.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Toys

Santa Paws came early!

Cosi and his new friend, Gumby.

Anna and I went shopping at a pet store. I bought Cosi a giggle ball. She bought Aurora Gumby. When we got home, Cos went for Gumby, and Aurora latched onto the giggle ball. Go figure...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Puppies Continued...

I found this picture on the Sheltie Pacesetter site and laughed out loud! Ah, the funny things that puppies do...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Puppies!

Two friends of mine are getting Sheltie puppies this holiday season. *sigh* There is NOTING cuter than a Sheltie pup. And I have the photos to prove it. Here are some select photos of Cosi as a pup:

Best of luck to Melody and Scott with their new puppies Devon and Nate.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Last Trial of 2009

Well, the "kitty litter" trial as come and gone. It snowed all day Saturday, a heavy, wet snow. We ended up with 3 inches of snow and an ice rink for a parking lot! The worst part of today's drive was going from the car to the building.

Here are the highlights of the 2009 trial season:

January 24 - finished our novice jumpers with weaves title.

March, June, then October gave us 3 Q's in open jumpers. On to Excellent in both jumpers and standard (finally!).

August was a good month with Open FAST Q's on the 1st, 29th, and 30th.

Things to Work On

Cosi and I need to build our consistency and team work. When we click, it's a glorious feeling. *I* need to be more aggressive on course and get those blasted front crosses in! That's my #1 goal for next year.

We're done with trials now until the second week in February. Time to enjoy family, relax, practice little drills, but nothing serious. Everyone needs some down time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fortune Cookie

I met Jack for lunch the other day at his favorite Chinese restaurant. The best thing about eating there--aside from the crab rangoons--is the fortune cookie that comes at the end of the meal. He will usually grab them and switch them from hand to hand, mixing them up. I get to choose, and you must state what the cookie will predict before opening it.

I chose a cookie and said, "This applies to agility trials." I opened it and read, "You are grateful for the small pleasures in life." Truer words were never spoken. I enjoy seeing my friends run their dogs, cheering for their victories such as completed weave poles or a fast down on the table, sharing a bacon and egg sandwich with Cosi after our first run of the day, or snoozing next to Cosi back at the hotel, tired after a great day of "running, jumping, and barking" (my nickname for agility).

What simple pleasures in life do you enjoy? I think my top three would be (1) walking with my dogs early in the morning, (2) knitting as my dogs snooze, tired from an activity we did together, and (3) seeing my dogs happy, smiling, eager to know what's next.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pet Sitting Continued

My dogs and Aurora went for a long walk Sunday morning. It was quite crisp and cold (frost on the grass). Aurora did her 3-legged dog imitation every now and then, but was trotting along effortlessly in no time.

I got a call in the afternoon; a bunch of friends were meeting for a walk at 2 p.m. I packed up all the dogs and off we went. It was a lovely afternoon, warm and comfortable in just a shirt, no jacket. Bobo enjoyed herself immensely. I took the camera along and here's the story in photos:

Aurora and Jenny are ready to get going!

Mike checks on the ducks!

When you're used to walking four dogs, five is no problem.

We were quite a site. We probably turned heads as we walked along the paths.

Back home Aurora snuggles in for a post-walk nap. This only works if you're smart enough to not let the Poodle steal your blanket.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dog Sitting

Aurora is staying with us for the week while Anna is away. I know Anna reads this blog, so this is my Report for Day 1.

An excellent day. We walked for an hour at Masonic Homes. Although it was very windy, we'd walk where the trees formed a natural break. Turning the corner, however, brought the wind full force at us! Aurora handled it well, chasing the leaves that were blown across our path.

She had an excellent dinner and a good night's rest in her crate in our room. At one time in the evening, I had five dogs and me on a love seat--no easy feat! I was able to knit, even with all the dogs near me. I was toasty warm on a windy, cold night.

I'm off to run errands, so I put Aurora in her crate with the green turtle squeak toy. This toy is her favorite, and she can squeak to her heart's content while we're away.

Hope your flight went well yesterday, Anna. Aurora is great, and we're enjoying having her here.

P.S. - Jack won the golf tournament!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

First comes a bountiful feast...

Then come the naps.

=:O)

Hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful one.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spirit of the Holidays

Once again the holidays are upon us…more quickly than I would like, but here we go. In the spirit of the season, I want to give thanks for the people and dogs in my life that make a difference:

Jack – My love. His steady support and positive outlook are a force in my life. Where I waffle and am indecisive or unsure, he is rock solid. “Play the percentages,” is a lesson I’ve learned from Jack.

Anna—My joy and my dearest confidant. It’s such fun to have her as part of our family—even though it’s part time. My weekends are brighter because Anna is here.

Joy—My sanity buddy at work. With our daily endorphin release through humor, Joy and I keep each other laughing at life’s pitfalls and roadblocks.

Brisco—My champion, my better half, my steady-Eddie dog. We entered agility together and connected with a strong bond through travel and trials. Trust your partner; that’s the lesson I learned from Brisco.

Jenny—My little wonder girl. With her strong personality and intelligence, Jenny is a force to be reckoned with! I often think she is smarter than I and is just waiting for me to catch up to her. Use your intelligence to get what you want; that’s the lesson from Jenny.

Mike—My sensitive soul. Nothing is better than when Mike decides to give you affection. There’s nothing sweeter, nothing more dear than a gentle nudge from Mike. Quite moments can be the best; that’s the lesson from Mike.

Cosi—My wild child! Cosi’s joy is living here and now. Yesterday? Forget about it! Tomorrow? Too far off. NOW. What’s happening right now? Let’s go! This is the lesson from Cosi.

What are you thankful for this season?

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Thoughts

Sorry about the downer yesterday. That article really got to me. I find walking my dogs to be the most relaxing, rejuvenating experience. And to have that tainted by always being on guard--where's the next threat coming from?--really rocks my world.

On to more pleasant thoughts...

This weekend Cosi and I are off to NJ to try for that elusive excellent Q. We had a great class on Wednesday; Coleen had some good challenges for us. We worked on lead outs and pivots--fun stuff.

I did a bit of on-line shopping and found a nice coat for Cosi. I've been thinking of getting him a coat for when he's in these indoor trial sites that are not heated. When he's in a concrete-block building, I think he needs a coat to keep warm. I really like the design of the coat I got him. It doesn't have a belly band; it wraps around his chest and stomach and closes along his back. When I get it next week, we'll take pics and post them.

Next week is Thanksgiving...I'm thankful for my Cosi-Bear Man and the fun we have running together.

Monday, November 16, 2009

T-Shirt Philosophy

I saw these quotes on T-shirts this weekend, and thought I would pass them along:

Animals Don't Abandon People

The Less You Talk, The More Your Dog Listens

A Dirty Dog Is A Happy Dog

Have you seen any good bumper sticker comments lately?

JAG

I went to the Jersey Agility Group trial this weekend. Cosi and I had fabulous standard runs with only an R standing between us and a Q. Here are some stats from his standard run:

No dog in the 16" Excellent A class Q'd. However...Standard Course Time was 70 - Cosi's time 44.5

He beat the next dog by 5 seconds

He was running at 5 yps.

I have the video of his run and will post it ASAP.

His jumpers runs were also good, but the course had a pinwheel at the start (sort of demotivating to a dog who wants to take off). He dropped a bar in the pinwheel. Then some stupid handler talked to him as he was taking a double--crash. But with standard course time at 46, he finished in 29.19. I just have to remember to be patient in the pinwheel and shut up on course. =:O)

We'll be back in NJ next weekend to try again. The judges, courses, and dirt surface were most excellent this weekend.

Click here to see Cosi's video on YouTube.com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A New Knitting Project

As you may already know, I love to knit. One of my favorite projects is socks. They are easy to knit, work up fast so you see results quickly, and the variety of patterns keeps me interested.

When my friend Roxanne Franklin was going through chemo, I made her a pair of socks. I told her of the legend that when you knit something for someone, you incorporate one of your hairs into the object. This will forever tie this person to you. (Hey, it’s a legend. I didn’t say it’s true!) Well, I sort of modified that legend and told Roxanne that whenever I knit, my dogs are at my side. Thus there is definitely dog hair in the socks that I knit. According to the legend, Roxanne is forever tied to my Shelties. She got the biggest kick out of that. I was glad she was amused.

I got an unusual email this past week. A friend of Roxanne’s contacted me saying, “I heard that you knit socks with dog hair in them.” Apparently her vet’s once-in-a-lifetime dog is seriously ill. She would like to have me knit socks with this dog’s hair in them for the vet as a remembrance gift. I agreed to do it, and in talking to her via email, I found out the vet’s name: Dr. Sue. I know her—she’s Marilyn’s vet! Talk about 6 Degrees of Separation! Amazing.

Could this be my retirement job? Kntting socks with dog hair? Talk about a marketing niche! =;O)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trial Site

I heard from a friend of mine that someone (they suspect an animal rights activist) is trying to ruin the trial site for us agility competitors in NJ. Human feces were spread all over the bathrooms! Now I ask you...how does that help anything?

What makes me nervous is an open crating area. Sometimes animal activists think dogs in crates is cruel and they "free" them. (Yeah, they free them right into a parking lot with moving cars.) I think I may be taking my combination locks along this weekend to protect my dog from being "freed" when I'm walking a course.

*Sigh* I just want to play a game with my dog. Why is this so difficult?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Busy Weekend

Our Canadian Friends!

Anna's two sisters will be here this weekend for a visit. I know that Anna is thrilled to be showing her sisters her Pennsylvania home-away-from-home. The outlet shopping will be through the roof as well as a family dinner here on Sunday and parties with Anna's college mates. It all adds up to a very busy weekend.

The dogs love when the girls visit. The treats, attention, and love flow freely!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Preferences

I had to laugh today when I read Susan Garrett's blog about preferring female dogs over male dogs. I really prefer males, and here's why...one mood, all the time. I like the steadiness of the males, the sweetness in their character, and the eagerness to do whatever you're asking of them.

My experience with Jenny is exactly what Susan pointed out: She's a problem solver. Jenny may not do what you asked her to do. Instead she'll find a way (better?) to do it her way. This frustrated the daylights out of me when we did agilty together. Example: I would run Brisco on a short course in the yard with Jenny watching from the enclosed porch. I would bring Brisco in and ask her to come play. She came out, ran past me, and began to run the course without me. *sigh* Isn't agility supposed to be a team sport? Not according to Jenny.

Susan also talked about breed preferences. As I watch conformation dog shows on television, I like to breed shop and play the game of, "If I could have any dog, what would it be?" Or Kathy and I like to choose our "old lady dog"--which breed will suit us when we're in the rockin' chair? The herding group and the terrier group often have the breeds that I find asthetically pleasing: Shelties, Tervs, Pyrenean Shepherds, Norwich terriers, and Scotties. I like a pionted face and fur, fur, fur. Anna and I were talking about this just this past weekend. She likes short-coated dogs, and I like the hair. I enjoy grooming, so it's not an issue to me to spend an hour a week combing, trimming, and detangling my dog's coat. And then there's the look--a coat that flows in the breeze, the ruff on a Sheltie that stands out and frames a face, or the way the coat just makes the look like an Afghan Hound. Here's one of my favorite pictures of the boys on a breezy day:

The opposite is when a dog who should be coated is not there yet. When I first met Cosi he was a year and a half and not quite the beautiful boy he is today. When a dog is that age, he's gangly, not done growing and filling out. And the coat is there, but not full and glorious. To this day, Marilyn teases me about what I said about Cosi. "He's not very pretty, is he?" How wrong I was. Cos is drop-dead gorgeous. I just had to wait for that coat to come in to see it. Mike is the most heavily coated dog I have, and I love it. It's so thick and lovely and flows when he runs.

So for me, it's the boys, the fur, and the pointed face. What's your preference?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Sweater is Finished!

This weekend I finally finished my first sweater. I model it here with Cosi. Since he helped me with all the hours of knitting, I thought it fitting that he would help me show off the end product.

I also knitted the socks I'm wearing. =:O)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sparky Spunky


Brisco and I at Nationals

You wouldn't know it to look at him, but Brisco is quite the character. This little Sheltie had my heart from the very start, and to this day (9 years later) he still makes me laugh.

Brisco is an easy-going, "hey, how's it going?" kind of dog. But...put a leash on him and take him to an agility ring, and he's talking trash to every dog he passes.

Every now and then at home I'll get the soft toys out. Well, this just sets him off! He acts like he's 1 and flies around the kitchen, barking and bouncing. I love that fake-you-out kind of move that dogs have when they're playing. They run at you, fake left and run to the right.

This morning we had a fun play session--at 6:15! Brisco was a wild thing, which I encouraged just because I love to see him like this. Cosi was just sitting there, watching this Gong Show and Brisco was a maniac, running around the kitchen table with a stuffed squirrel toy in his mouth. I love this dog. He brings joy and celebration to my life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween

My town has a huge Trick or Treat night. We have tons of children going up and down the streets, so we need to be prepared. I thought I'd share some of our Halloween tips with you.

Avoid The Bell

Instead of having the children ringing the doorbell and setting off the dogs, we all go out on the front porch. The dogs are much happier being able to watch the commotion than hearing it from inside. So instead of putting your dogs away, get them out into the action. (On leash, of course.)

Good Ol' Down-Stay

Once we're on the porch, I have a blanket or dog bed (for Miss Jenny) and put the dogs in a down. They rest on their blanket as Jack and I hand out the candy. If a child wants to pet the dog, I closely supervise as some of the costumes can be "scary" for the dog. They may be thinking, "What kind of person is this? He's got a funny face and weird hands!"

The best compliment I ever got was from a father taking his children trick or treating. He looked at my dogs as we were handing out the candy and said, "Now that takes work. Nice dogs." Thanks. It *does* take work, but it's worth it to be able to have my dogs with me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Mud Fest

Cosi is thinking, "Why aren't we running today?" Well, Big Guy, it's like this. The rain made for very muddy conditions on Saturday. The rings were not tended to, and by the end of Excellent Standard, there was two inches of muck in the middle of the course. I opted to stay home on Sunday (make me crazy!). Instead we spent a beautiful fall day with our Anna with walks, bike rides, and short sequences in the yard.

Our next trial is *indoors* in NJ on our favorite surface, dirt. I'm looking forward to some good runs then.

Until then, enjoy the Indian Summer, everyone.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Interesting Quote

I saw this quote on an email signature, and wanted to share it:

"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be.

Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be.

But performance indicates what the animal actually is."

No author was given, but I sure would like to know where this quote originated. Quite interesting, eh?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweater Update

With all the rain we had this weekend, I made great progress on the sweater. (See this post.)

The pattern is a short-sleeved, V-neck pullover. The yarn I chose--two strands of different colored yarn entwined around each other--is working up nicely, giving a nice, variegated look to the garment. I'm working on the body now which is just "grunt" work. Nothing glamorous, just knit your brains out. Then I go back and put on the sleeves. I hope to have a photo of a finished product by December. Keep your paws crossed.

UPDATE: I took this photo last evening. Here's the work in progress:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Take a Breath

For the first time in three days, we can get outside. The crazy weather this fall brought three days of cold, miserable, rain. I understand that some of the northern areas even got snow. We were cooped up for three days, bored and restless. Today we took a lovely walk. Mike got to check on the ducks, and Cosi got to play a good game of fetch. Ah, the everyday, normal things. It's good to have them back.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hmmmm.....

Things that make you say, "Hmmm...maybe I should rethink this."

I was looking at my videos, and I found this one of Mike and me running a standard course (12" class) last year. Check out how GREAT he runs!

video



Hmmmm...think I should try running him in one class?

Punkie

Jamie and Punkie


We lost another good dog (to the Rainbow Bridge) this past week--it was my sister's dog, Punkie.

Jamie got Punkie in an unusual way. She had a golden retriever, Sophie, who was the perfect family dog for her growing boys.

Then she met a woman through her church who had a little Schnauzer that she adored. She mostly fed it cookies (I mean Lorna Dunes, not dog treats) so Punkie was really fat. This woman didn't have much, but she adored her dog and spoiled her. When she suffered a stroke and had to leave her home for a nursing home, she asked Jamie to take in Punkie. Because Sophie had died of old age, Jamie and her family decided to add Punkie to their family.

Punkie soon had daily walks, lots of people to "talk" to (she loved to grumble as you pet her), and lost about 10 pounds! Punkie lived such a good life with love and companionship. We will truly miss her sweet expression and grumblings.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Belly Break Through

Mike, Me, Cosi


I am so grateful to own multiple dogs. I have been using one dog to show another dog a behavior. It's worked beautifully.

Mike has never been a dog that you can pick up, cuddle, rub all over, ruffle his fur, etc. He just doesn't like it, and I can respect that. However, I do expect my dogs to let me touch them anywhere to check for injuries, bites, or tangles. Since touching Mike's belly is an issue for him, rather than forcing it or even click/treating it, I decided to use another dog to show him what I want.

Enter Cosi. In the morning I ask Cosi to lie on his side while I do a belly check which then ends in a rub, a tickle, and a kiss on the forehead. Mike has been watching this because I've so obviously staged it in front of him. It's worked. I can now come to Mike, ask him "Where's your belly?" and he will lie down, slide onto his side, and lift a hind leg exposing his belly.

You have to know Mike to know what a huge leap of faith this is for him. I hold his trust dear and know his limits and don't encroach on them. Checking Mike's belly in the morning is one of the best gifts I've ever gotten. Not to mention the lick (kiss) from him when the belly check is done. "Thanks, Mom!" he says.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Excellent

Finally!

This weekend in the dirt at Dillsburg Cos and I made it into Excellent jumpers. We had a fabulous run in Excellent Standard on Saturday morning. We only droppped a bar. His contacts were spot on (he even held the dog walk contact until I could catch up, do a front cross, and release him into the weaves), his weaves were blazing fast, and he had a quick table. In the ending sequence of teeter, tire, jump, when I released him from the teeter, he headed on through the tire and over the jump without looking to see where I was.

Then in Open jumpers we had a really good course. I actually planned on three front crosses, something I've been working on. When I rear cross too much, he head checks to see where I am. We started out gang busters, then lost our connection at one point. I called him off a jump, incurring a refusal (you can have one R in Open and still Q). We re-connected and ended with a blazing time of 24 on a 38 second course. We finished first and beat the 2nd place dog by 12 seconds. Out of Open! Wahoo!!

I checked his course time for his standard run that morning. It was 47 (course time was 64) and the winning dog Q'd with 53. He would have won the class, as he was faster than any other time listed. I check this to keep my optimism that once we gel and are more consistent, we're going to be contenders.

On Sunday he had a PERFECT standard run going. Then I must have rushed him in a two-jump sequence because he dropped two bars in a row. Stupid Handler. However, f-a-s-t weaves, tight wraps on two jumps, hit a wicked weave entrance, and gave me 110%.

Our first Excellent jumpers course was good, twisty and turney at the end, but do-able. Well....my guess is that Cosi's tank was out of gas. He lost his mind at the start line and it was u-g-l-y. The only saving grace was the last six jumps. We had a brilliant ending with all the bars staying up with 180's and 270's. I guess we still have a way to go in the maturity department.

My overall assessment of the weekend was fun. We had such a good connection for a number of runs, and it is always so good to feel that. I'm starting to rely on our experience together and trust him more. He's three years old and has one-and-a-half years' trialing experience. I'm thrilled with our teamwork. When we're connected, it's quite a rush. =:O)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Computer

Jack's computer (6 years old and we got it used!) finally bit the dust. I ordered a new computer, and it should arrive this week. It made me think of this picture. The caption is "The #1 Reason To Buy The Warranty!"

Monday, October 5, 2009

EnRICHment

I've had a funny four days.

On Day #1 I found an extra bonus in my paycheck. An unexpected award for a job well done.

On Day #2 I got a rebate check in the mail. An unexpected (forgotten) check for $7.

On Day #3 I found a quarter in the ladies rest room at work.

On Day #4 I was walking the dogs and found a 5-dollar bill on the ground!

Is the Universe trying to tell me something? Perhaps that I should be playing the lottery this week?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Aurora

Anna and Aurora joined us on a lovely walk. Anna brought her bicycle and showed me the latest Boston Terrier craze! I was impressed with how well BoBo stayed with the bicycle.

Anna and Aurora get ready to roll.

What an awesome team!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Toy


Anna bought Cosi a new toy--a yellow bowling pin. It's his favorite. I look at his face as he holds his bowling pin, and there's this silly glint in his eye. He's saying, "Go ahead. Try to take it!" This dog is a crack up! Little things make him happy. There's a lesson there...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Zoe

Zoe Rose Bradley

Condolences tonight to Marilyn on the loss of her beloved Zoe. It's always difficult to let them go.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The I-D 10-T Factor

The Lancaster Kennel Club trial on Saturday was fabulous. Their new site--an outdoor horse show facility--had a gravel/mulched rubber surface that was kind to dog and handler. We had no Q's but had a fabulous Excellent Standard run. (Sorry...no videos as I left the camera at home.) The good news was that Jack came to the trial and saw an absolutely awful Open JWW run. Just a mess. I got over my disappointment and walked the Excellent Standard course. It was tight and twisty--a perfect course for little 12" Brisco, but could 16" Cosi handle it? Turns out the answer was a hearty, "Yes!" We were a team, focused and together. It was such a rush. Someone told me later, "Congratulations on such a smooth run." Smooth. I liked that description. Jack commented that he thought Cosi didn't have a chance on such a tight course. He was impressed.

There was rain in the forecast for Saturday afternoon into Sunday night with a possible accumulation of 2"! It started to rain during the Novice Standard course, the last class of the day. I was scribing the class and got to see my friends Gail and Marilyn run their dogs--Sizzle and Summer. Both Q'd, and I was so happy I had a front row seat. (Love scribing. Does that make me an agility geek?)

Sunday morning it was still raining hard as Gail and I traveled to the trial site. At 6:30 a.m. it was still dark, making it difficult to gauge the condition of the rings. By 7 a.m. we were walking inside the rings. O.M.Goodness. The rings were nothing more than 2 inches of muck. I had on calf-high boots, and the tops of my boots were covered as my foot sank. Gail's dog Sizzle is just coming back from a shoulder injury. Cosi doesn't slow down for conditions. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for us to say, "We're not running today." Would the club cancel? We left.

Gail called me later in the afternoon to tell me what happened. She learned from a friend who stayed that the club was going to cancel and give a partial refund. (Yea!) However, a bunch of selfish idiots (the I.D.10.T factor) complained, "We need double Q's for Nationals!" So the club set up a one-ring trial IN THE PARKING LOT. The ring was part grass, part muck, and part asphalt. IMHO anyone who would run a dog under those conditions should be banned. If you need double Q's for nationals so badly that you run under these circumstances, you're too selfish to own a dog. What if the dog (or you) would ruin a knee, elbow, shoulder? Now who's going to Nationals?

As you can tell this has hit a sore spot with me. At what cost do we do agility?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Trials

Photography by RoxAnne Franklin.


This weekend will find us outdoors again at the LKC trial. I enjoy the fall trials--the mornings are crisp and the afternoons are pleasant. Hopefully the rain will fall on Saturday night and be done by the time classes start on Sunday.

We run in the FAST class on Saturday, which will give us a good warm-up and time to reconnect. Jack may even come and watch as FAST is now his favorite class.

Click here to view photographs from last weekend's trial in Westminster. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see Cosi and me on the Excellent standard course.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Belle of the Ball

This weekend was the SSCGB trial in Westminster. It's an all-Sheltie trial and my favorite trial of the year. This time was no exception. There's a different feel at this trial, a camaraderie because we all love the same breed, I guess. Or it could just be that Sheltie people are the *best*?!

Cosi had a great weekend with the best Excellent Standard run we've ever had. That Open jumpers Q (last leg needed) still eluded us, but the course on Saturday was fabulous. It flowed and had a high Q rate. Cosi slipped on the soccer carpet and dropped a bar. I was very pleased with our runs because it felt we were connected.

The Belle of the Ball was Summer Vidalia Bradley. From a puppy mill breeding bitch to an agility star, everyone was wowed by Summer's runs. What heart this little dog has! It was a joy to see her working.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Knitting

The sweater has officially begun! (I finished the baby blanket that I volunteered to make for a local charity. I felt I had to get that done first.) I took all of the yarn I ordered and made the skeins into balls. I made a gauge patch, and thank goodness I did! I needed to use a size larger needle than the pattern requires.

I've begun a notebook/scrapbook type of keepsake where I take a sample of the yarn, the label from the skein, and glue it on a notebook page. I then write the date, description of the project, etc. on the page. No only will it make a nice list of yarns used and projects completed, but will be a good reference for any future projects.

It is so exciting to begin a new project and see it take shape in your hands. The joy I find in knitting is twofold. I enjoy the serenity that the actual knitting brings. When I bring out my knitting basket, the dogs all find a good spot to snooze. They know we're in for a quiet time. The other joy in knitting is the process of making something, learning from mistakes, feeling creative, and--the best part--the enjoyment of giving something you made to someone.

I'm no artist like Kathy Stoltzfus, but I can appreciate how she feels about the creative process.

Shaping

Susan Garret's blog this week has been on the topic of our dogs shaping us. That's right--dogs shaping humans. Reinforcement builds behavior, and we often reinforce "cute" games our dogs come up with only to find out later on that this cute game is a pain!

When I got Cosi, he had a game with his reflection. He would look at himself (in the glass of the entertainment center, in a shiny oven door, etc.) then run into another room and bark. Come back; repeat. I didn't like this game; it seemed pointless (meaning it had nothing to do with agility!), and the barking was not something I wanted to encourage.

I use this game as an example of how our dogs do funny things, and we laugh at them. My neighbor just got a GSD puppy. I hear them in the yard with the dog, teasing it with a toy, laughing at the dog as he barks in frustration because he can't get the toy, and them laughing at the barking. I just keep thinking, "Wait until you have a full-grown GSD and you can't get an object from it because you're playing monkey-in-the-middle with the toys now."

Not that I'm any great, perfect dog owner/trainer, I just have seen the error of my ways with the exact same scenario--cute games that are funny now and make life difficult later. I am currently working on a behavior routine Cosi has devised on our walks. When he sees or hears another dog, he barks and lunges. I am working on getting him to walk by another dog without barking. It's a work in progress...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time Off

I had time off from agility trials this weekend--my only weekend in September. I took advantage of not going to a trial to go shopping with Anna. =:O)

Aurora had a great weekend with my four dogs. She is so toy driven; she is easily entertained. On Sunday we had glorious weather (about time! It poured buckets on Friday and Saturday), and I ended up walking the dogs three times on Sunday.

This weekend I will be at the Sheltie speciality trial in Westminster. Cosi will be among a number of RyLadd Shelties. This trial is often a homecoming for the RyLadd owners.

I'm thinking about not going to Massachusetts this year for the LEAP agility trial. It's a fun trial in that it is so huge (there are two rings of just Excellent dogs)and the vendors are spectacular. Cosi and I are coming together as a team, but he can't mentally hold it together for three days yet. Two days is about his maximum right now. I'm thinking of going back to Dream Park for two, two-day trials instead. But all those shopping opportunites are calling me! Hmmm....

One more thing before you go. Scroll to the bottom of this page and check out my new tickler of quotes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/9/09

Yesterday was the debut of The Beatles Rock Band game. Everything goes in cycles, so it is no surprise to me that the greatest rock band ever is surging to popularity yet again. Growing up in the '60's, I was a complete devotee of The Beatles. I remember getting my Meet The Beatles album for Christmas. It was opened and under the tree, next to my new record player. The reason it was opened was that my mother had been playing it for the previous two weeks. Before she gave it to me, she wanted to see what all the fuss was about. She said she'd put it on the hifi and clean the house, dancing to "I want to hold your hand"!

When the band members began to get married, I told my mother that Paul was waiting to marry me! We still giggle about that childish statement. I collected all their albums over the years, cherishing the music that framed my adolescent years.

And now they're part of a computer game. Who needs a computer? As a teenager I sang in front of a mirror, holding my hairbrush and pretending I was a rock star. Some things never change.

Who was *your* favorite Beatle?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

AKC Regulations for Agility

The updates from the AKC Agility Advisory Committee came out today. Many exhibitors are buzzing about the changes. I've summarized some of these recommendations for you...

No more MACH point multipliers for placing first or second.


There is now a PACH title for preferred dogs in Excellent B. (750 preferred points and 20 QQ's)


Silver, Gold, Platinum and Century titles awarded for dogs achieving 25, 50, 75 and 100 Q's from Excellent B (standard, jumpers, and FAST) classes.


A-frame height will change for 4 and 8 inch dogs to 5 feet. The 26" dogs will have a 5' 6" A-frame (like all the other dogs).


Weave pole spacing is now 24".


Table tops must be painted a light color.


The chute fabric is 6' (formerly just used in rainy conditions).


Tire change - lowered in height for all dogs, making it safer for them to jump through.


Weave poles must be completed in *three* tries for all levels (Novice, Open, and Excellent) then the team must move on! (My personal favorite!)


Position-less table - the count starts once all four paws have touch the table; neither a sit nor a down is required. (Wahoo!!! Can you say, "Way to speed up a trial!"?)


Longer course times for 24" and 26" dogs.


Preferred dogs can compete with in the preferred jump height class at the AKC National Agility Championship. (Awesome! Way to recognize hard work!)


Wow! Some of these ideas blow me away. The AKC really listened to competitors and make some huge overhauls in the regs. Now the AKC has to approve and adopt them.


What do you think?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

NJ Weekend

Cosi, Aurora, Anna, and I went to NJ for a trial this weekend. The facility was awesome; an equestrian facility that is perfect for dog trials. We had some good runs. The Excellent FAST class was were especially fun. The Send in the two courses were opposites--Saturday's was impossible and Sunday's was do-able. It was fun mapping out a strategy with Coleen today. We both ran the course the same: She Q'd with her BC. It was a thing of beauty to watch.

Marilyn was very successful with Summer, her sheltie. This was Summer's first AKC trial. She came through like a trooper. The judge was a little too close on one course, but Summer's will to work won out. She Q'd in Novice and looked fabulous.

We may be going back to this site to trial, but will *definitely* not be staying at the Motel 6, a flea-infested hole of a motel. Both our dogs got fleas. The washer is running as I write this. Everything that we took to the trial will go through a good washing--toys, mats, collars, and beds.

The other plus from the weekend was a gear purchase. I finally found a chair to replace mine that is falling apart at the seams. It will be embroidered with Cosi's monogram...very exciting! (Shhh. Don't tell Jack.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

A FAST Weekend

Cosi and I ran at an agility trial in Berks County this weekend. We Q'd in Open FAST both days, earning our Open FAST title. The great part about the weekend was seeing my friend, Gail, and her BC Sizzle tear up the Novice courses. Sizzle is shaping very nicely, coming back from a soft tissue injury. We had a great time ringside and much success on course. Good dogs, great friends = Fabulous Weekend.

Cosi is tired after a weekend of agility. He was chewing on his toy and fell asleep. Awwww...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun at the Fair

Cosi and the rest of the members of the HOT Agility (Head Over Tails) Club put on a demo at the E-town Fair last evening. In a word--f.u.n. The evening weather was perfect--cool with a breeze--and the surface was Cosi's favorite--dirt.

The special part for me came in the form of the audience. So many friends came out to see us...and I just found out this evening that his vet was also in the audience!

Cosi is ready to rumble. We've had our warm up practice, and we await our turn to run.

The audience really got into it and cheered on the dogs. We "raced" two dogs on a course at one time. This gives the audience a lot to watch (keep everyone interested), and lets them root for one team or another. Here is the video of Cosi's run against his buddy, Gabe. Thanks to Jack, we have a wonderful birds-eye-view of the run.

video

After the run we met my good friend, Joy, and her family. The girls enjoyed seeing Cosi run and got their own private "pet a dog" session. Cos was very glad to oblige.